Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a Minister speak via video conference during a news conference in Ottawa, Tuesday November 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a Minister speak via video conference during a news conference in Ottawa, Tuesday November 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Trudeau warns premiers that feds don’t have ‘infinite’ resources for pandemic support

Number of severe cases in Canada continues to rise, with an average daily increase of 1,400 hospitalizations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is warning premiers that provinces need to take stronger action to stem the rapid spread of COVID-19 or the federal government could face “impossible decisions” about where to allocate its limited resources.

As several jurisdictions notched grim new records this week, Trudeau said Friday that it will take a collective effort from all levels of government to reverse the alarming trajectory of the outbreak.

He said individuals will also have to do their part by limiting their socializing with people outside their household. Trudeau said decisions now will determine what happens come the holiday season.

“We need to hang in there together for a little while longer,” Trudeau said. “What we do in the coming days and weeks will determine what we get to do at Christmas.”

Canada is reporting more than 45,000 active COVID-19 cases, the highest total since the pandemic began. There was also a new national daily high of 5,516 new cases on Thursday.

Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer, said Canada is projected to hit 10,000 COVID-19 cases per day by early next month if the wildfire spread of the virus continues.

Tam said public health labs tested an average of close to 55,000 people daily over the past week and six per cent test positive.

The number of severe cases also continues to rise, with an average daily increase of 1,400 hospitalizations, including 280 in critical care, she said.

Trudeau said premiers told him about the challenges they’re facing during a conference call Thursday evening.

The prime minister said he assured the premiers his government is prepared to offer more support, but reminded them that “our resources are not infinite.”

He said without stricter provincial measures to rein in the surge in COVID-19 cases, there may not be enough federal help to go around.

“Controlling the virus now reduces the chances of impossible decisions and choices we might have to make down the road,” Trudeau said Friday.

He acknowledged that provinces continue to make tough but necessary decisions to control outbreaks in their communities, such as localized shutdowns and restrictions on businesses and activities.

But he said there’s a “threshold” at which the soaring tally of infections and hospitalizations will outpace the federal government’s ability to offer backup.

“If we have limited resources, we may at some point have to choose between helping one region or another,” Trudeau said in French.

The Canadian Medical Association echoed Trudeau’s appeals for provincial leaders to put people’s health ahead of business concerns.

In a news release Friday, the doctors’ group said Canada may be at a “tipping point” as the rising tide of cases pushes parts of the health-care system to near or full capacity.

“The measures being taken to mitigate the virus are not sufficient,” the association said. “The strength of the economy should not come at the expense of Canadians’ lives.”

Saskatchewan heeded the calls for tougher restrictions with a 28-day mandate expanding its mask rules and imposing a curfew on alcohol sales.

The province reported 81 new COVID-19 cases, a slight dip from the prior six days of more than 100 new daily infections.

Each of the Prairie provinces reported new highs in COVID-19 hospitalizations this week.

Manitoba reported 437 new COVID-19 cases and five additional virus-related deaths Friday, a day after new restrictions shut down many non-essential businesses across the province.

Meanwhile, Ontario reported 1,301 new cases of COVID-19 following a record-breaking three-day streak of more than 1,500 new cases per day.

Ontario lowered the thresholds for imposing stricter COVID-19 measures under its colour-coded framework Friday in light of what Premier Doug Ford called “alarming” new projections and the looming threat of another provincewide lockdown.

Trudeau also announced $1.5 billion in federal funding on Friday to help provinces retrain workers left jobless by the pandemic, on top of the $3.5 billion that had previously been committed.

The premiers and prime minister have agreed to meet early next month to discuss potential increases in federal funding through the Canada Health Transfer.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

Mayor Darryl Walker gives a welcoming hug to Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell at the inaugural meeting of the current White Rock council in 2018. (Alex Browne photo)
White Rock council under fire for inaugural prayer

BC Humanist Association charges city violated Supreme Court ruling two years ago

Chief Robert Gladstone of Shxwha:y Village at a federal flood funding announcement April 24, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress file)
Consortium of Indigenous chiefs seeking a way to participate in cannabis economy

All Nations Chiefs from the Shxwha:y, Cheam, Soowahlie and Sq’ewlets holding online forum Dec. 2

Joined by his family, BC Liberal Trevor Halford is sworn into office as MLA for Surrey-White Rock Friday, Nov. 27. (contributed photo)
Cadieux, Halford sworn in as BC Liberal MLAs for Surrey South and Surrey-White Rock

Ceremony took place virtually this year, in keeping with COVID-19 restrictions

National champion beatboxer Vino Cuenca, a Surrey resident, in photo posted to facebook.com/BeatboxCanada.
WATCH: Surrey man’s beatboxing skills make him a national champ with an eye on Worlds

Vocal-percussion whiz Vino Cuenca won the Beatbox Canada title in 2019

Mayor Ken Popove and Justice Thomas Crabtree at the 2018 inaugural council meeting on Nov. 6, 2018. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Most municipalities no longer begin council sessions with prayer: BC Humanist report

Chilliwack, Langley, and White Rock among 23 cities that violated ‘duty of religious neutrality’

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
Two Fraser Valley churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

Chilliwack school board trustee Barry Neufeld is taking heat over using a ableist slur to refer to three Black Press employees. (Paul Henderson/ Progress file)
BC School Trustees Association president keeps heat on Chilliwack Trustee Barry Neufeld

In a news release, Stephanie Higginson called on voters to take careful note of Neufeld’s behaviour

Most Read