Policy Response

Policy Response

Working together

Across Canada, federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) governments are working together to find solutions to help all people in Canada, support health-care providers and the health system both immediately and after the pandemic has subsided. Billions of dollars have already been invested into supports for people, businesses and the economy. FPT government supports will continue to increase over the coming weeks as the COVID-19 outbreak continues. Some of the measures that are being supported by FPT governments include the following: protection for workers who fall ill or take leave to care for an ill family member; a new Canadian Emergency Response Benefit for those out of work or have a reduction in hours; procurement of personal protective equipment and supplies for health-care providers; support for childcare needs; drug and medical device monitoring; support for Canadians abroad; new Indigenous community support funds; increased investment into health research; and various tax measures.

To find what each FPT government is doing in response to COVID-19, what supports are available to you or for the latest public health advisories and guidance documents in your province or territory please consult the list below:

Emergency measures act

All provincial and territorial governments have declared public health emergencies within their jurisdictions. This provides the respective Minister of Health with broader authority to coordinate and implement measure to protect the public’s health during an emergency. Measures can include management of how the health-care workforce is used and/or deployed. Be sure to check with your provincial/territorial jurisdiction and employer to determine what measures are being implemented and how a state of public health emergency could potentially impact your rights and responsibilities as an essential care provider.

Health systems

Changes to community settings: assessment centres

Nurses may be redeployed to settings that support the increasing need of testing of community members, such as assessment centres. Assessment centres have been established in many provinces across Canada to support enhanced testing of individuals for COVID-19. The centres operate as out-of-hospital clinics located in the community, or less frequently in or near a hospital, where health-care providers triage, assess and test (if eligible) individuals for COVID-19. Assessment centres are often coordinated by local public health units and are used to manage the increasing need for testing of patients, and to steer potential COVID-19 cases away from vulnerable persons in emergency departments and hospitals. To learn more about assessment centres near you, visit your local health unit or provincial webpage for more details.

Changes to acute care settings: surge capacity

Many of Canada’s emergency departments and hospitals were experiencing challenges with capacity prior to COVID-19, therefore ensuring surge capacity during COVID-19 will require significant investment of resources and innovative solutions. Provinces and hospitals are reviewing and developing surge protocols1,2,3 in response to current and future needs due to COVID-19. Employers should ensure nurses are included in decision-making processes and that all staff are notified and trained appropriately to meet surge capacity needs. Nurses should ensure they are aware of their institutions surge capacity protocols.


1 Crawley, M. (2020, March 21). How Ontario hospitals are preparing for a surge in COVID-19 cases. CBC News. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-19-coronavirus-ontario-hospitals-emergency-plans-1.5504991

2 Guignard, J. (2020, March 25). Leaked SHA document shows worst-case scenario outcome of coronavirus in Saskatchewan. Global News. Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/6725314/coronavirus-sha-leaked-document-saskatchewan/

3 Roberts, K-A. (2020, March, 24). Province build Province builds ‘surge capacity’ for COVID-19 as minister slams ‘malicious’ social media video. NTV News. Retrieved from http://ntv.ca/province-builds-surge-capacity-for-covid-19-as-minister-slams-malicious-social-media-video/