Canada is building a specialized volunteer network and offering full-time jobs to reservists in the military.
During his morning update, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Health Canada is looking for volunteers with specific skills who want to help out front line workers. He said Health Canada is also creating a specialized volunteer database that provinces and territories will then be able to use to recruit volunteers to help on the front line.
“For those of you with specialized skills looking to help our front line workers, we do want to hear from you,” Trudeau said.
Volunteer work could include tracking cases, tracing contact as well as collecting and reporting data, said Trudeau, adding that those who want to volunteer can register online.
The Prime Minister also announced that the government is offering full-time jobs to all reservists in the Canadian Armed Forces and that those full-time positions will come with the same benefits and pay as regular personnel.
“Full string, the military’s ranks will help offset some of the economic consequences of COVID-19 and ensure that our communities are well supported,” he said.
Trudeau briefly discussed the Canada Emergency Access Benefit, which provides $2000 per month for the next four months to workers who have lost their income as a result of COVID-19.
Canadians can begin applying for the benefit beginning tomorrow.
Trudeau said direct deposit payments will take three to five days while those who wish to receive a cheque by mail can expect it to take 10 days.
Students are not eligible for the benefit and Trudeau, in response to a question from the media, said his government is looking at modifying the Canada Summer Job program. He also suggested that there could be work opportunities on farms across the country this summer.
“They may be interested in helping out on a farm or helping out to feed Canadians through this important work,” Trudeau said.
The Prime Minister was also asked repeatedly about the situation with the United States and President Donald Trump, who has ordered 3M to stop shipping N95 masks to Canada and other countries.
Trudeau said his government continues to have conversations with the U.S. administration, explaining that it is important for supplies to cross both sides of the border.
“I am confident that we are going to be able to solve this and I am going to be speaking to the president in the coming days,” he said.
Trudeau said there is a global shortage of medical supplies and that Canada is turning to domestic producers for help.
“We are continuing to work with all our traditional suppliers and new suppliers to make sure that we are providing the equipment needed for Canadians,” he said. “That’s why we’ve ramped up domestic production as well.”
There are more than 14,00o confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada according to Health Canada.