This week alone, 971,000 applications were received for the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit, bringing the total to 9.65-million applications. Of those, 9.51 million have been processed, accounting for nearly $22.4-billion in CERB payments so far.
Meanwhile, nearly 43,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 to date, with the death toll exceeding 2,100 people. In Friday’s Cabinet Committee update, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer said COVID-19 in long-term care homes continues to define the nation’s biggest struggles and deepest heartaches. Dr. Theresa Tam took the chance to highlight the work of those who have rushed in to help in this time of crisis sharing a poem written by a healthcare worker’s child. She asked Canadians to “hug it out” for our heroes and for all those who are isolated and cannot hug their own.
Ottawa has also engaged the full might of Canadian suppliers in the race to secure Made-in-Canada personal protective equipment. Canada’s Minister of Science, Innovation, and Industry says more than 18-million gowns will be made thanks to Intertape Polymer and Auto Live collaborating and effectively bypassing supply shortages. Navdeep Bains adds New Brunswick’s Lumen Altra is gearing up to deliver reagent for up to 500,000 tests on a weekly basis. He noted how Air Canada and Cargo Jet were essential in securing the delivery of base chemicals for these tests.
And, Ottawa says Canadian procurement efforts are at full speed both in response and in anticipation of global shortages. The Federal Minister of Public Services and Procurement said much of the world’s supply of PPE is manufactured in China and moving materials out of that country is highly complex. Nevertheless, Anita Anand confirmed the arrival of six planeloads since last Friday and over 10 carriers have brought goods back to Canada from China. Anand also announced Toronto’s Jacobs and Thompson, as well as Windsor Mold Group, have signed contracts for 16-million face shields. She also noted Quebec’s Striker will be providing 82 Health Canada-approved sterilization units in the coming weeks.
*** Story by Mo Fahim ***