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Summary of the Prime Minister's news conference March 31

31 March 2020
CEO, Elizabeth Mulholland summarizes government measures being taken in response to COVID-19 to support people living on low-incomes and those that serve them. Read the latest update from the Prime Minister's Office, March 31.
Update on response to Ukrainian International Airlines tragedy
The government continues to pursue accountability and justice for the Ukrainian International Airlines tragedy and to work with international partners on a strategy to prevent similar tragedies.
He has appointed the honourable Ralph Goodale as special adviser for Canada’s ongoing response to the downing of Flight 752. He will guide the government’s response, provide best practice recommendations, and push for compensation for the families affected.
Progress on Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19
To make it easier for companies to help out, the government launched Canada’s plan to mobilize industry to fight COVID-19 a little over a week ago.
Since then, they’ve spoken to almost 3,000 companies who’ve offered their help.
The pandemic has been incredibly challenging for people, but we’re also seeing the best of Canadians
Thank you to all the owners, entrepreneurs and managers who answered our call to action -- a real sign of leadership and of what Canadians do best. In tough times, we pull together and ask, “How can we help?”
Thank you also to everyone who’s making, shipping and delivering these products. People who are getting people the items they need are on the frontlines of this fight. We need you and thank you.
$2 Billion for diagnostic testing, ventilators and protective personal equipment
The federal government will invest $2 billion to support diagnostic testing and purchase ventilators and protective personal equipment (e.g. masks and face shields, gowns, and hand sanitizer). This includes bulk purchases with provinces and territories.
The government has signed new procurement agreements with three Canadian companies – Thornhill Medical, Medicom, and Spartan Bioscience -- to purchase and boost capacity to manufacture critical medical equipment and supplies.
The government has ordered millions of supplies to ease the pressure on health care facilities.
It has also signed letters of intent with five companies – Precision Biomonitoring, Fluid Energy Group Ltd., Irving Oil, Calko Group, and Stanfield’s – to produce additional test kits, hand sanitizer, and protective apparel including masks and gowns.
The government has welcomed the cooperation of other companies and industries that have answered the call to action in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
This includes re-tooling their facilities, doubling their production capacity, to collect and donate existing supplies and equipment, and to combine resources to manufacture needed supplies more quickly.
$50M investment in Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster
The government is providing $50 million for the Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster to develop and scale-up new, in-demand technologies, equipment, and medical products.
This includes technologies and products to test and treat Canadians, such as novel virus detection tests, vaccines, therapeutics, and symptom management treatments.
It also includes medical equipment to care for Canadians, such as ventilators, peripherals, personal protective equipment, and cleaning and sterilization chemicals and equipment.
Protective personal equipment is essential to protect our health care workers. More is needed and everyone is working day and night to provide essential supplies.
Alibaba has donated 500,000 surgical masks and 10,000 testing kits.
Companies like Magna, General Motors, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, Ford, Linamar, Shell, Suncor, and The Home Depot have also donated personal protective and safety equipment and sanitizing supplies.
Thank you to all the companies that have donated for your leadership and generosity.
We will need more masks, ventilators and testing kits. But how many more we need depends entirely on us.
If we stay home and follow public health recommendations, we can slow the spread.
That means fewer patients in our hospitals, fewer people to test, fewer ventilators to use on critical patients.
So, let’s keep doing our part and help keep Canada safe.