FILE – Members of the Canadian Armed Forces march during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 8, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

24,000 Canadian Forces members ready for COVID-19 response: Defence Minister

No direct requests made by premiers yet, national defence minister says

The military is ready to help provinces and territories with the fight against COVID-19, National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Monday (March 30).

Sajjan made the announcement at a now-daily press conference by Canadian health officials and federal ministers in Ottawa.

The national defence ministry was tasked with coming up with a “mobilization” plan for the COVID-19 crisis. Sajjan said the three main aims of the plan were to: support efforts to slow the spread of the virus; support for vulnerable communities, especially Indigenous and in the northern; and to assist provinces and territories with logistics, including help for municipalities.

Sajjan said military members have been told to physically distance since the start of COVID-19 in Canada to ensure they would be ready.

He said no premiers had yet made requests for military assistance.

“There is no priority set. This will be based on the needs on the ground.”

Monday’s update comes just one day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there were “no plans underway to have the army intervene.”

On whether the military would help enforce quarantines, Sajjan said that was not off the table, but different parts of the country could need different measures.

READ MORE: Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

More to come.


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