CMA welcomes more aggressive steps from the federal government to contain the COVID-19 pandemic

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlined measures today that effectively closes the border to those who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents, with some exceptions, and to anyone showing symptoms of the coronavirus.

“The CMA is encouraged to see the seriousness with which the federal government is treating the pandemic, as well as Mr. Trudeau’s emphasis on listening to experts and taking an evidence-based response to the exceptional challenges presented by COVID-19,” says CMA President Dr. Sandy Buchman.

The latest federal measures complement a number of actions taken by provincial and territorial governments in recent days to slow the spread of the coronavirus and ease the financial burden on individuals and employers.

Dr. Buchman also commended Canadian physicians and health care workers for their commitment to identify and treat those infected with COVID-19, while continuing to provide necessary care to existing patients.

“We want to once again impress upon all Canadians the seriousness of this situation and the importance of complying with measures to protect your own health and wellbeing to control the spread of COVID-19,” says Dr. Buchman. “Key to this is social distancing, respecting quarantine measures if you’re returning from international travel, avoiding crowds and respecting visitor restrictions that may be in place.”

The CMA continues to work closely with all key stakeholders, including the Public Health Agency of Canada, to maximize a coordinated response to the pandemic. We are recommending emergency measures to the federal government to boost our health systems to support Canada’s domestic response to the pandemic.

In a submission sent to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is recommending the federal government implement six priority measures to support the domestic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The recommendations are:

  • A clear federal recommendation that Canadians uniformly implement social distancing, paired with supportive financial and economic measures;
  • Federal leadership to ensure the acquisition and of the domestic supply of personal protective equipment for health care providers, along with the dissemination of clear guidelines on appropriate usage to ensure dissemination to community-based and primary care clinics;
  • New federal emergency funding to boost capacity of our health care systems and social supports, and to ensure a consistent and coordinated response by provincial/territorial governments;
  • Establishment of emergency pan-Canadian licensure for health care workers;
  • Establishment of an emergency National Mental Health Support Service for health care workers;
  • Implementation of a targeted tax credit to alleviate the negative financial impacts experienced by health care providers if they are quarantined following patient care.