Trudeau announces $240M investment in virtual healthcare

May 3 2020, 8:31 am

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is investing $240 million to expand virtual care infrastructure so people can see a doctor remotely during the pandemic and afterwards.

The money will help doctors access new technologies that enable them to see patients via videoconference, Trudeau said from Rideau Cottage Sunday. Some telehealth services are already established in certain provinces, but availability is not universal throughout the country.

“If we can use apps to order dinner … we can use new technology to keep each other healthy,” Trudeau said.

Virtual care is for when patients don’t need to see a doctor in person, Trudeau said. He hopes the investment can let hospital emergency rooms focus on patients who need to be there.

$175M for Canadian antibody research

The federal government is also giving more money to Vancouver-based biotech company AbCellera to support its coronavirus antibody research.

Trudeau said the company is looking to move to human trials for its antibody therapy as early as July.

Canada forms COVID-19 supply council

Trudeau also announced the government is creating a coronavirus supply council to procure personal protective equipment for Canadians as the country prepares to open up.

The group will be mandated to come up with “innovative solutions to ensure our country continues to have the vital supplies necessary to keep Canadians safe,” Trudeau said.

Those supplies include face masks and hand sanitizer.

Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand will provide more details later on Sunday, he added.