PM creates COVID-19 cabinet committee to deal with novel coronavirus

The COVID-19 committee is meant to complement the work being done by the government’s incident response group

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has created a new cabinet committee to deal with the novel coronavirus outbreak, which began in China but now has spread around the world.

“We need to make sure that people make the right decisions. That’s why we put forward a committee that will be responsible for ensuring that Canadians have the right frame to make the good decisions for their families, for their communities,” Trudeau said in an appearance in St-Jerome, Que., north of Montreal.

“We need to keep alert, but we need to keep moving forward in a way that keeps Canadians safe and keeps our economy rolling.”

The COVID-19 committee is meant to complement the work being done by the government’s incident response group, Trudeau said. That group often includes top permanent officials in addition to politicians.

The cabinet committee will continue to monitor the health impacts of the virus to make sure the government response takes all possible measures to prevent and limit the spread in Canada, Trudeau said.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland chairs the group; Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos is vice-chair.

The other members include Industry Minister Navdeep Bains, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, Health Minister Patty Hajdu, Economic Development Minister Melanie Joly, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough.

Kirsty Duncan, deputy leader of the government in the House of Commons, will also be a “core participant.” Duncan is a medical geographer who studied and lectured on pandemics before she was elected to parliament, and wrote a book on her studies of the 1918 Spanish flu. She also was minister of science for a time.

Trudeau said the government has been watching the global impact of the virus on the economy closely.

“We’re seeing that in terms of tourism there’s an impact, there’s an impact on investment, on the airline industry, on the auto industry as well. We’re seeing a slowdown,” he said.

He pointed to supply-chain disruptions in China affecting Canadian businesses as well.

“There will be an impact and we’re there to try to find solutions together with companies and communities.”

The risk of community transmission of the virus and its accompanying respiratory disease, COVID-19, is still considered low in Canada, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Canada now has 33 cases of the new coronavirus, most of them in Ontario.

But globally, the number of countries detecting new cases increases by the day, and the virus is circulating in several of those countries, including the United States.

There are now at least 90,870 confirmed cases in 72 countries, including nearly 3,000 deaths, according to the latest numbers released by the World Health Organization.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Some Cowichan schools to reopen for children of essential-services workers

Cowichan Valley will open 8 elementary schools this week

Residents urged to stay close to home over the holiday weekend

Time to be extra vigilant during the COVID-19 crisis

Vandekamp moving on from Cowichan Capitals

Head coach returns to AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm

Not to become bored the game plan for COVID-19

Board game developed by Crofton family just the remedy for filling time at home

Nanaimo, Royal Jubilee to be Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 frontline hospitals

Other Island hospitals will be admitting COVID-19 patients and will be used in a support role

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Long list of events disrupted by COVID-19 around the community

Challenging situation affecting fundraisers, entertainment, sports and more

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Comox spring training cancelled for Snowbirds next month

The team announced that due to ongoing travel restrictions they will not be training in the Valley

Some Cowichan schools to reopen for children of essential-services workers

Cowichan Valley will open 8 elementary schools this week

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

Physiotherapists turn to technology to reach patients during COVID-19

Just because services, jobs, and socializing have been put on hold, it… Continue reading

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Most Read