Government of Canada to assist Alberta with COVID-19 response

News release

October 2, 2021

Ottawa, ON

Today, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Bill Blair, confirmed that the Government of Canada has received additional information from the Province of Alberta on the additional medical personnel needed to combat the fourth wave of COVID-19 across the province.

The Canadian Armed Forces is preparing to provide up to eight critical care nurses to assist in intensives care units in hospitals in Alberta. An initial element, expected to be in position by Monday, October 4, will seek to confirm where and how these nursing officers will be integrated into the Alberta heath care system.

The Canadian Red Cross is planning to provide up to 20 medical professionals, some with intensive care unit experience, to augment or relieve existing staff working in hospitals in Alberta. The Red Cross is working closely with Alberta Health Services to finalize the plan to send its personnel to areas in need. The Red Cross deployment is funded by Public Safety’s new Humanitarian Workforce Program, which was stood up in Summer 2021, following the 2020 Fall Economic Statement.

The Government Operations Centre is working closely with federal and provincial partners to coordinate the federal response to the situation in Alberta.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government Operations Centre has administered more than 130 requests for assistance from federal, provincial, and territorial partners. These requests have been administered in collaboration with federal organizations such as National Defence and Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada and non-governmental partners, such as the Canadian Red Cross.


“We are always ready to help Canadians across the country during difficult times, and this pandemic has been no different. The Canadian Armed Forces, Canadian Red Cross, and health professionals have stepped up time and again over the past 19 months to answer the call to protect people, and I want to thank all those on the front lines who continue to keep Canadians safe.”

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

“The women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces continue to help Canadians in the combat against COVID-19. As part of Operation LASER, Canadian Armed Forces members will use their experience to help the Province of Alberta in the fight against the fourth wave of the pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic the Canadian Armed Forces has received and responded to more than 65 requests for assistance from provincial or federal partners. No matter the challenges, our members are always ready to answer the call and help Canadians.”

- The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

“The federal government is here for you and stands ready to help all provinces and territories in the fight against COVID-19. We can all help protect our friends, family and communities to stay safe by getting fully vaccinated, helping others to do so, and following public health measures”

-The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health

“The Canadian Red Cross is pleased to be working in support of Public Safety Canada and Alberta Health Services to help fellow Canadians battling a fourth wave of COVID-19. The Red Cross is ready and well-positioned to provide support with medical personnel. Throughout the pandemic, the Red Cross has sent specialists to intensive care units in hospitals, supported public health units with vaccination and provided comfort and care to returning travelers requiring isolation. The Red Cross continues to strengthen its capacity, in order to be ready to provide this vital assistance to communities most in need.”

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

Quick facts

  • The Government Operations Centre is responsible for coordinating the Government of Canada's response to emergency events including the pandemic. It supports the Public Health Agency of Canada, which is the federal government lead for the response to COVID-19.

  • In Canada, emergencies are managed first at the municipal level and if they need assistance, they request it from their province or territory. If the emergency escalates further, provinces or territories can get help from the federal government.

  • A Request for Federal Assistance is initiated when an emergency event overwhelms or threatens to overwhelm the resources of a province or territory and federal government help is needed to effectively support the impacted region.

  • Should a province or territory make an official Request for Federal Assistance, there is a well-established process in place for managing the request, through the Government Operations Centre, and includes provincial/territorial and interdepartmental consultation and coordination.

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James Cudmore
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-904-3333

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
Phone: 613-957-2983

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

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