Answering some of your questions about coronavirus in Canada

COVID-19 virus. Image: U.S. Army

How many COVID-19 cases are there in my community?

The federal government has set up a website which tracks COVID-19 cases and provides key information.  On the main page you will find information by province and general information. If you click on the link labeled <<the detailed epidemiologic information>> you will find further demographic analysis and the raw data provided by the provinces and by municipalities. This information is updated daily.  

Please do check the raw data on this site and Fact Check before sharing information about outbreaks hotspots because a lot of misinformation is being shared.

What supports and stimuli are the federal and provincial levels of governments providing? 

One of the most comprehensive compendiums of the provincial and federal responses I have found is the insights section provided by Mathews Dinsdale, a human resources law firm. Please also do your research using primary source documents from the government. 

As part of its $82-billion COVID aid package the federal government has provided $305 million for First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities. The Assembly of First Nations declared a state of emergency for its First Nations, saying the money Ottawa has committed to date will not go far enough to meet the unique needs of Indigenous populations facing this pandemic. The Native Women's Association of Canada is worried about people in need not being able to access aid so is encouraging First Nations, Inuit and Metis people to post online offering and asking for help. They have also developed a comprehensive website to address the needs of First Nations communities.   

What needs to be done to support vulnerable communities?

rabble.ca bloggers and other activists are on the frontlines working with vulnerable communities and demanding government action to protect them.

What else needs to be done to support workers?

Unions and community organizations, like the Fight for 15 and Fairness, are consulting with workers and are demanding increased support for workers. Check with your labour federations, unions and workers centres to find out about campaigns you can support to ensure that all residents of Canada get the support they need and frontline workers are protected. 

What needs to be done to support frontline workers?

Some of us are able to self-isolate, others must work. Workers are still being asked to provide health-care services, operate grocery stories and pharmacies, clean and provide security in public spaces, deliver meals, transport essential goods, maintain vital transit, infrastructure, community and emergency services and provide services like childcare and fly and staff airplanes. 

These workers need to be safe. We have all heard the stories of frontline health workers who don’t have adequate protective gear. Low wage workers are often told to buy their own safety equipment. The most important thing you can do when in contact with frontline workers is to let them know if you may be or are sick so that they can protect themselves. If you see workers working without protections, please ask if they can use them. 

Workers also need to know how to refuse unsafe work requests and to know their rights if they get sick. Here are the most comprehensive sources of information we could find on workers rights and supports during the COVID-19 outbreak.

What shouldn't the government spend money on?

And if you are in the government, don't use top-of-the-line safety equipment for your photo op when health workers in your province are going without! 

What was the health-care situation by province before the crisis?

Across Canada, every province has been seeing cuts to health-care spending, insidious privatization, and health-care facilities and teams running at capacity which as, Michael Hurley from the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions points out, is not efficient and is dangerous. 

We need to work together to make sure that the COVID-19 crisis helps to make our health systems stronger instead of deepening the crises and opening the door to health-care provision ideas which run counter to medicare.

Image: U.S. Army

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