Federal government pledges assistance for Ontario

Federal Ministers provide details on supports for Ontario. April 18 2021. (Photo courtesy of YouTube).

On Sunday, federal officials announced that help would soon be on the way for Ontario as the province struggles with record-breaking COVID-19 numbers.

In a video update released Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged that health care workers employed by government departments such as national defence and immigration will be redeployed to Ontario, specifically focusing on hot spots in the Greater Toronto Area.

He added that the federal government would be working directly with municipalities to deploy rapid testing to hard-hit locations and would cover the costs of relocating resources from other provinces who can spare them.

In a news conference Sunday afternoon, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc added that the federal government would be investing $84.2 million in new funding for voluntary safe isolation sites across the province.

The Ontario government and the Government of Canada also signed a bilateral agreement to enhance virtual COVID-19 efforts, with $46 million in funding to go towards expanding virtual health care services in Ontario.

Additionally, the federal government said it would be providing an increased supply of tocilizumab, which is used to treat severe pneumonia is COVID-19 patients, as well as other needed drugs for Ontario through reallocation from other provinces and territories.

The announcement comes after Ontario Premier Doug Ford rolled out a series of new restrictions on Friday, including travel limitations and stricter guidelines surrounding outdoor gatherings.

On Sunday, Ontario reported 4,520 new cases of COVID-19 and 18 additional deaths. Meanwhile, the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 in Ontario increased by 42 to a new high of 2,107.