Canadian government says it will enact stronger COVID-19 measures if provinces can’t

Canada needs a more unified approach in the fight against COVID-19 and the feds “will not hesitate” to step in with stronger measures if provinces can’t make it happen, the health minister said Sunday.

With messages varying across the country about the best way to limit the spread of the virus, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the federal and provincial governments are looking at ways to standardize public health advice across the country.

“Should we not be able to get consensus, that would indicate to us that we need stronger measures,” Hajdu said at a briefing Sunday.

In Ontario, for example, the provincial police said it would intervene if people were found flouting a ban on gatherings of 50 people or more. Meanwhile Nova Scotia, the latest province to declare a state of emergency, has barred any more than five people from being together.

Premier Stephen McNeil said Sunday residents are blatantly ignoring the need for social distancing.

“Hundreds gathering on our beaches and in our parks, large groups of people congregating, young people playing street hockey, cars parked everywhere, people disregarding law enforcement,” McNeil said.

“We are dealing with a deadly virus and this behaviour is unacceptable.”

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