Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is calling on volunteers to assist health care workers operating on the frontline, and announced the government is building an online system to connect specialized personnel with volunteer positions.
In his daily press conference outside Rideau Cottage Sunday, Trudeau explained how the Government of Canada is collaborating with provincial and territorial governments to seek out volunteers in the health care industry who are interested in assisting with the National COVID-19 Volunteer Recruitment Campaign.
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“For those of you with specialized skills looking to help our frontline workers, we do want to hear from you,” Trudeau said.
Volunteers would provide their services in areas such as case tracking and contact tracing, health system surge capacity, and case data collection and reporting.
The creation of this registry of volunteers ensures that provinces and territories across the country can draw upon the diverse expertise as needed.
Trudeau reminded Canadians that they can sign up to be a part of this initiative through canada.ca/coronavirus and that applications are open until April 24.
Jobs for reserve workers
On top of the specialized healthcare volunteer initiative, Trudeau is also offering full-time jobs for military reservists across Canada by providing them with the same pay and benefits as regular personnel.
“Bolstering the military’s ranks will help offset some of the economic consequences of COVID-19 and ensure that our communities are well-supported,” Trudeau said.
The Canadian government will directly contact reservists.
Foreign workers and summer jobs for students
With an unprecedented amount of pressure currently placed on Canada’s agricultural and fishery services, Trudeau has requested the additional support of some 60,000 foreign workers to assist in these industries.
However, he clarified that these workers will undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine before they can “start doing work that is so necessary for us all.”
Trudeau also hinted at the possibility of recruiting students who may struggle to find money to pay tuition or find summer jobs to participate in these positions.
“This is an issue that we are very, very, aware of,” he stated.
Trudeau continues that the government will be implementing alterations to the Canada Summer Job Program and will have more to say on the issue in the next coming days.
He continued that he is fully aware that more must be done to support young people coming out of university.
“We acknowledge that it is a real need in our society, and we will be there to help them.”
An update on 3M
In his press conference, the Prime Minister was asked for updates surrounding the US respiratory manufacturer, 3M, which was instructed by the White House to cease its exports to Canada.
“We have to get the necessary equipment and PPE to our frontline healthcare workers,” Trudeau stated.
“There is a global shortage right now, and we are continuing to work with all of our traditional suppliers and new suppliers to make sure that we are providing equipment to Canadians.”
When asked whether he has discussed the situation with US President, Donald Trump, directly, the Prime Minister explained that the governments are “working as (we) usually do with our different levels involved in the administration.”
According to Trudeau, the government’s stance is that it would be in the interest of both countries to ensure that the movement of essential goods and services continues on both sides of the border.
“It would be sad for both of our countries if we had to stop this,” Trudeau stated.
“We have developed a capacity to achieve/settle situations like this one, and we are doing all that is necessary to settle this in the right way because we know that it is essential to have the equipment for frontline workers.”
The Prime Minister explained that he was looking forward to speaking with President Trump in the coming days, “My job is to make sure that Canadians will have everything they need.”