First Ministers’ statement on shared public health approach to support restarting the economy

First Ministers’ statement on shared public health approach to support restarting the economy

OTTAWA, April 28, 2020 


Governments in Canada have taken wide-ranging steps within their own constitutional jurisdictions to slow and contain the spread of COVID-19, including through strong and continued federal/provincial/territorial (FPT) collaboration. As the first wave of the virus’ activity passes, all governments want to safely restore economic activity, while protecting the health of Canadians. Until there is a vaccine or effective treatment for COVID-19, strong measures must be in place for this new normal phase of living with COVID-19 to contain future waves or outbreaks and protect Canadians and economies across the country.

While there will be regional differences during this process, all governments intend to continue their present collaboration in the interest of all Canadians. Governments will make decisions suited to their jurisdictions, geography, and disease activity. These decisions will be informed by experiences in other countries in Asia, Europe, and around the world – particularly those who had outbreaks earlier than Canada and who have achieved demonstrable successes. A shared key objective is to minimize the risk of another wave of COVID-19 that forces governments to re-impose severe restrictions, further damaging the social and economic fabric of communities.

Using public health as a foundation, these principles, criteria, and measures will help guide governments to ease restrictions as they work to restore economic activity and address future outbreaks. Continued collaboration will help to protect the health of Canadians and the economy.

First Ministers acknowledge the importance of restarting the economy through a gradual and phased approach. As governments develop plans to gradually lift restrictions, they will focus on:

  • protecting the health of Canadians;
  • easing restrictions gradually;
  • protecting high-risk groups (e.g., those vulnerable due to age, underlying health conditions, remote location, close living spaces, and temporary or unstable living spaces);
  • ensuring our public health capacity remains strong to prepare for, and respond to, any future waves of the pandemic, including through enhanced testing and contact tracing; and,
  • supporting a broad range of economic sectors.