COVID-19: Support to provinces and territories
On this page
- About our federal response
- Rapid surge capacity support
- Public Health Rapid Response Team
- Outbreak management
- Testing assistance
- Testing equipment
- Laboratory services
- Contact tracing
- Voluntary safe isolation sites
About our federal response
Federal partners are actively working together to support provinces and territories in responding to COVID-19.
As part of the Safe Restart Agreement, we’re providing more than $19 billion in funding to provinces and territories. This funding will help them to invest in priority areas, including:
- increasing testing and contact tracing
- strengthening support for health care systems
- securing personal protective equipment (PPE)
- supporting those at risk of severe illness from COVID-19
Since March 2020, Canada's National Emergency Strategic Stockpile has been buying the following items in bulk:
- testing equipment and supplies
- medical equipment (such as ventilators)
We’re working with companies that are developing new and innovative testing technologies. We’re also buying testing supplies like test kits, swabs and other equipment to provide to the provinces and territories.
The Government of Canada’s response to requests takes into account current case counts and data trends:
We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation, focusing on:
We’re working closely with provinces and territories on a plan to distribute vaccines.
Rapid surge capacity support
Federal partners are working together to support provinces and territories in creating the COVID-19 Federal Rapid Surge Capacity. Collaboration will help manage the impacts of COVID-19 across the country and support existing services related to:
- contact tracing
- testing assistance
- testing equipment
- laboratory services
- outbreak management
- voluntary safe isolation sites
- public health response teams
We’ve notified provinces and territories that these services are available until March 31, 2021. Services should only be considered when all other resources have been exhausted. Provinces and territories are responsible for:
- prioritizing requests from their municipal or regional jurisdictions
- formally requesting assistance from the Public Health Agency of Canada
Once we receive a request, we prioritize support based on:
- who has the greatest need
- the capacity available at the time for a response
This surge capacity will help us to respond to critical needs through different support services.
Public Health Rapid Response Team
The Public Health Agency of Canada has teams of technical experts available to deploy within 24 to 72 hours. This allows us to rapidly assess and identify opportunities for ongoing federal needs for outbreaks. Team members have a range of public health expertise, including:
- occupational health
- risk communications
- outbreak assessment
- infection prevention and control
An outbreak response unit leads investigations in the case of multijurisdictional outbreaks of COVID-19. The unit:
- helps with information sharing between affected jurisdictions
- collects, analyzes, interprets and disseminates information to form a national picture
- centralizes analysis of case exposure information
- coordinates investigations between the following partners:
- public health
- develops investigation tools and processes
We’re working with organizations, like the Canadian Red Cross, who are adapting existing services to emerging needs in Canada.
The Canadian Red Cross will provide support in the areas of:
- isolation support
- mental health services
- outbreak crisis management
- health emergency response units
- care services in living environments
- infection prevention control services
All levels of government are working together to assess the needs of the regions most impacted by COVID-19. We assist with:
- infection prevention and control practices
- personal services to seniors, including:
- mental health support
- help with daily living needs
We’re providing funding to the Canadian Red Cross to support surge testing sites. Funding helps them create more teams of clinical and non-clinical staff to:
- support logistics
- distribute information
- meet surge testing needs
- fill the gaps for targeted COVID-19 testing
These services will include testing in mobile units and locations within communities.
By the end of December 2020, we’ll be able to deploy up to 10 teams who can respond to different types and levels of need. For example, a team of 25 to 40 staff would be able to test 150 to 300 people each day.
We’re bringing point-of-care testing equipment and supplies for outbreak scenarios directly to areas in need.
To increase provincial and territorial capacity to provide testing, we’re buying:
- molecular tests, such as the Cepheid GeneXpert platform
- antigens tests, such as the Abbott Panbio
Each province and territory decides how and when to use devices, as informed by:
Tests are distributed by considering the following priorities:
- COVID-19 hotspots where communities have requested assistance
- regions with higher-risk populations
- provinces and territories based on an agreed upon distribution approach
We’re working with Indigenous Services Canada to distribute these tests to northern, remote and Indigenous communities.
We’re working to continue to provide a supply of COVID-19 tests to provinces and territories on an ongoing basis.
- Guelph, ON
- Ottawa, ON
- Moncton, NB
- Winnipeg, MB
- Vancouver, BC
- Lethbridge, AB
Having laboratory testing in each region will help reduce wait times for test results and increase the impact of regional contact tracing efforts.
These labs are performing diagnostic tests and provide the results to public health authorities. Each lab is able to process 1,000 tests a day. Robotic automation will support capacity in some of the labs.
We’re providing up to $17.5 million in funding to Statistics Canada to support contact tracing services, including:
- contacting those who have been near an infected person or people (contact identification)
- providing listed contacts with information about how to monitor their health and prevent disease transmission (contact listing)
- regularly following up with contacts to monitor for symptoms and direct them to appropriate health services (contact follow-up)
Statistics Canada can currently make over 16,000 calls a day, increasing to 20,000 calls a day by the end of December 2020.
Provincial and territorial public health authorities provide Statistics Canada with guidelines and direction to help with contact tracing services.
Voluntary safe isolation sites
The Government of Canada has established the Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program with an investment of $100 million over 2 years. This will support the efforts of provinces and territories, and regional health authorities in the areas of infection prevention and control.
The program aims to decrease community transmission of COVID-19 by helping individuals who can’t safely self-isolate at home due to crowded housing or resource constraints.
Sites under the program will provide a centralized location where identified individuals can self-isolate for the required period. Local public health officials will identify eligible individuals who may be offered the option to transfer to the isolation site on a voluntary basis.
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