COVID-19: Support to provinces and territories

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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:

Since March 2020, Canada's National Emergency Strategic Stockpile has been buying the following items in bulk:

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:

Health Human Resources Assistance Program

The Health Human Resources Assistance Program will help provide critical care to patients through reimbursement to provinces and territories. Reimbursement will be for the costs associated with the temporary transfer of health human resources from one province or territory to another.

Health care professionals include:

The program will work with provinces and territories to reimburse the costs of visiting health care professionals during temporary transfers, including:

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:

Services should only be considered when all other resources have been exhausted. Provinces and territories are responsible for:

Once we receive a request, we prioritize support based on:

This surge capacity will help us to respond to critical needs through different support services.

Human resource recruitment

The Public Service Commission has 4 staffing rosters that the provinces and territories can access to recruit candidates in Canada. The rosters are broken down by skillset, experience and location. A list of potential candidates will be provided for further assessment.

Health Canada's COVID-19 Task Force is working with the Public Service Commission, and can also help with assessment if needed.

The rosters are:

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:

An outbreak response unit leads investigations in the case of multijurisdictional outbreaks of COVID-19. The unit:

Outbreak management

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:

Testing assistance

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:

These services will include testing in mobile units and locations within communities.

For example, a team of 25 to 40 staff would be able to test 150 to 300 people each day.

Testing equipment

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:

Each province and territory decides how and when to use devices, as informed by:

Tests are distributed by considering the following priorities:

  1. COVID-19 hotspots where communities have requested assistance
  2. regions with higher-risk populations
  3. 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.

Laboratory services

Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory is supporting 6 federal surge capacity testing sites in:

  1. Guelph, ON
  2. Ottawa, ON
  3. Moncton, NB
  4. Winnipeg, MB
  5. Vancouver, BC
  6. 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 over 1,000 tests a day. Robotic automation will support capacity in some of the labs.

Contact tracing

We're providing up to $17.5 million in funding to Statistics Canada to support contact tracing services, including:

Statistics Canada can currently make over 17,000 calls a day.

Provincial and territorial public health authorities provide Statistics Canada with guidelines and direction to help with contact tracing services.

Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program

The Government of Canada committed over $181 million to the Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program. The program supports municipalities and health regions across Canada from 2020 to 2023. The program funded projects in:

The program helps communities establish and operate COVID-19 isolation sites for individuals who were unable to isolate safely in their usual place of residence.

This program is one of Canada's rapid response tools to help stop the spread of COVID-19. It was deployed to regions requesting support to contain outbreaks and has supported over 64 sites in 51 communities. To date, over 21,000 people have been supported through one of the federally funded sites across the country.

Access to these sites is voluntary, and local public health officials determine eligibility and manage all aspects of the sites. If you've tested positive for COVID-19 and need somewhere to isolate safely, contact your local public health authority. They'll be able to determine what options are available in your region.

The Safe Voluntary Isolation Sites Program is scheduled to end on March 31, 2023, and is no longer accepting new funding applications.

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