Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Emergencies Act in the fight against COVID-19 is “not necessary at this time.”
On Thursday, Trudeau had written to each of the provincial and territorial governments to consult them on the possibility of invoking the federal Emergencies Act in order to be granted specific powers.
The Emergencies Act, which came into effect in 1988, gives the federal government swift powers to regulate and/or prohibit travel, control distribution and resources, order people to provide essential services, and establish emergency shelters and hospitals.
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The Prime Minister said if provincial and federal measures start to fail in response to the crisis, he would consider the Emergencies Act.
“It is our hope that we don’t have to use it, ever,” he said. “We are seeing that the collaboration, the partnership among provinces and territories, and the way we’re moving forward on this means we might not ever have to use the Emergencies Act and that would be our preference.”
Meanwhile, Trudeau said he would be speaking in the House of Commons during Saturday’s briefing to consider wage subsidy legislation.
He also said he will be taking Sunday and Monday to spend time with his family and will deliver another COVID-19 national address on Tuesday.
Trudeau acknowledged that the Easter Holidays and Passover would have a different feel this year and stressed that physical distancing even during holidays is important. “You’ll have to Skype this weekend’s family dinner,” he said. “Regardless of our age, we all are to play this Easter weekend.”
The Prime Minister says Canada is “on a track” to let ourselves out of this pandemic quicker than other countries.
“If we do things right, this will be the first and the worst phase of COVID-19.”