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

West Kelowna man charged in relation to cannabis grow robbery in Sicamous

Two suspects remain at large; police believe they left the robbery scene in a white hatchback

40 Under 40: Adam Relvas

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has launched its “40 Under Forty” for 2020

40 Under 40: Ross Derrick

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has launched its “40 Under Forty” for 2020

COVID-19: Parking adjustments at Kelowna’s Mission Creek park to reduce visitors

Available parking will be cut to 100 stalls — half the current capacity — at Mission Creek Regional Park

Okanagan College health care students step up during pandemic

Okanagan college thanks its students for their hard work through the COVID-19 crisis

WATCH: Kelowna choir members sing together virtually

UpStage Kelowna Show Choir wanted to sing together, even if it’s in video form

UPDATE: Coronavirus concerns prompt event cancellations across the Okanagan

This is a running list of events cancelled across the Okanagan

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

VIDEO: B.C. singer creates frontline workers tribute song

Cambree Lovesy’s song saluting those battling COVID-19 draws interest online

Statistics Canada report looks at COVID-19’s impact on violence in the family

Police across Canada reported almost 100,000 cases of intimate partner violence in 2018

COVID-19 cancels Funtastic 2020

The sports and music festival in Vernon, Enderby and Port Alberni was scheduled for late June

LUCK involved in new Okanagan online campaign

Two Vernon women create giveLUCK to hear about the “beauty of humanity” in these troubled times

132,000 B.C. jobs lost just the start of COVID-19 impact, finance minister says

B.C.’s latest employment figures for March show 7.2% increase

B.C. asking companies to contribute through online COVID-19 supply hub

New platform to co-ordinate, source, expedite supplies and equipment to support front-line workers

Most Read