Government of Canada provides $70 million in additional funding to the Red Cross for ongoing COVID-19 response

News release

December 23, 2020
Ottawa, Ontario

The Government of Canada remains steadfast in its commitment to protecting the health and safety of Canadians, and reducing the spread of COVID-19 in Canada, while ensuring a safe, and sustainable economic recovery. We will continue to be there, in partnership with provinces and territories to help Canadians and communities across the country to get through this difficult time. At the forefront of the Government’s response is protecting those most vulnerable to infection and complications.

In May 2020, the Government of Canada announced a commitment of up to $100 million to help the Canadian Red Cross meet increased demand due to COVID-19, and to support future floods and wildfire relief efforts.

Today, recognizing the ongoing need for support to help manage the COVID-19 response, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced that the Government of Canada will provide up to an additional $70 million to the Canadian Red Cross (Red Cross) to support its ongoing relief efforts.

Specifically, the Government of Canada will provide federal funding this fiscal year (April 1 to March 31) to the Red Cross for the following:

  • up to $35 million for Red Cross personnel to support Outbreak Crisis Management activities; and,
  • up to $35 million for testing-related activities led by the Red Cross COVID-19 Testing Assistance Response Teams (CTART).

Through this funding, the Red Cross is continuing to build and maintain its capacity to support deployments to those communities in greatest need.

The Government of Canada’s overall national pandemic response provides support to provinces, territories and Indigenous communities, as we continue to work together to manage the impacts of COVID-19. Conversations are ongoing between all orders of government to assess the needs of regions hardest hit by the pandemic’s resurgence and prioritize the deployment of assistance.

Moving forward, the Government also announced in its Fall Economic Statement its proposal to provide $150 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to support the Red Cross and other non-governmental organizations in building and maintaining a humanitarian workforce to provide surge capacity in response to COVID-19 outbreaks and other large-scale emergencies.



“As Canadians continue to adapt to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are continuing to support the Canadian Red Cross to build the capacity they need to help communities respond rapidly and effectively to this virus. While needs and level of community spread differ across the country, it is clear that increasing this capacity to support local responses will be critical in limiting the impact of this pandemic to the extent possible.”

- The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness


“The Canadian Red Cross has been supporting efforts across the country since the initial onset of COVID-19. The Red Cross is strengthening its capacity so that it can continue to be ready to provide this vital assistance to communities most in need. We are currently recruiting for paid and volunteer positions and encourage Canadians who wish to make a difference to apply.”

- Mr. Conrad Sauvé, President and CEO, Canadian Red Cross

Quick facts

  •  Beginning in May 2020, the Canadian Red Cross deployed to support long-term care homes in Quebec, and more recently, in Ontario and Manitoba. It has also supported isolation sites in Windsor-Essex, Ontario for temporary foreign workers from across Southwestern Ontario.

  • The COVID Testing Assistance Response Teams (CTART) funding will help the Red Cross to create and deploy more teams of clinical and non-clinical staff who will support logistics, distribute information, meet surge testing needs, and fill the gaps for targeted COVID-19 testing.

  • Through the Outbreak Crisis Management teams, the Red Cross continues to  provide support in the areas of epidemic prevention and control, isolation site support, emergency care services in living environments, mental health and psychosocial support services, and health emergency response units.

  • A request for federal assistance is how provincial and territorial governments formally request support from the Government of Canada in their emergency response efforts. Provincial and territorial governments make requests for federal assistance when an emergency event overwhelms, or threatens to overwhelm, their resources and help from the Government of Canada is needed to effectively support the response.

  • This federal surge support is made available when all other resources have been exhausted. Provinces and territories prioritize the needs of their municipalities and are responsible for formally requesting support from the Government of Canada. The federal government is responsible for assessing these requests and deciding here help can be provided based on the greatest need, urgency and the capacity available.

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Mary-Liz Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

Cole Davidson
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

Canadian Red Cross
English Media: 1-877-599-9602
French Media: 1-888-418-9111 

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