The federal government is “actively discussing” how to re-open the Canadian economy with provinces and territories, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday (April 27).
The comments came as COVID-19 deaths in Canada topped 2,600 and total cases reached 47,347. More than 717,000 people have been tested with about seven per cent positive for the virus.
Freeland said the re-opening process would be “guided by science” and in collaboration with the provinces. At an earlier press conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it would be a long operation.
“Normal is something that is a long way off for all of us,” he said, noting a full return to regular life will not happen until either a vaccine is developed or effective virus treatment options are discovered.
Trudeau cited the 1918 Spanish flu, which lasted until 1920 and killed 55,000 Canadians.
“The spring was pretty bad but the fall was much worse,” he said. The first wave of the flu hit Canada in the spring of 1918, with a second wave coming that fall. This second wave caused 90 per cent of the deaths that occurred during the pandemic, according to the federal government.
Trudeau noted many decisions about re-opening businesses and schools are under provincial jurisdiction. A set of guidelines is being worked on but the prime minister remained vague about when that would be released publicly.
Those guidelines will include provinces and territories having enough personal protective equipment, testing capacity and making sure there is hospital capacity to handle any surges in COVID-19 cases.
Trudeau said it was “premature to speculate about” how COVID-19 immunity worked and if people who got the virus were protected from being infected again.