Coronavirus: Trudeau says provinces ‘just need to ask’ for additional money

If provinces aren’t able to keep up with COVID-19 contact tracing and need additional resources, they can ask the federal government for more support, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau told 680CJOB’s The Start on Wednesday that the feds have already doled out $19 billion over the summer to ramp up testing.

“Unfortunately, not every province … has hit their agreed to targets … that they committed to in terms of tests per day,” said Trudeau.

“We’ve made available federal employees that only are waiting for an ask from the provincial governments to come in and actually do more contract tracing.”

Asked to clarify if the money was there for provinces for contact tracing and all they have to do is ask, the prime minister said “Yes, absolutely.

“We are there to support provinces right across the country … it is up to the provincial government to roll out the resources we’ve given them in the right way, and ask for more if they need it, because we’re there to help.”

Manitoba currently has the second-highest per capita number of cases in Canada, behind only Quebec. On Tuesday, a record-number of cases were identified in the province at 124.

In Ontario, contract tracing has all but been abandoned as cases rise in several major cities, including Toronto.

The Ontario provincial government said they will spend an additional $1.3 billion for contact tracing.

The government will continue to keep the Canada-U.S. border closed to non-essential travel as coronavirus cases surge in the states, but Trudeau said he won’t completely prevent Canadians from flocking south.

“Ultimately, if someone chooses to travel, we’re not going to keep them imprisoned in Canada.

“There’s freedom of movement in this country, but people have to recognize they’re putting themselves at risk,” Trudeau added, pointing to the rising numbers in traditional snowbird states like Arizona, Florida and Texas.

“They may not have the kind of supports or health insurance or repatriation flights that we did early on if they choose to leave the country.”

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