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Federal election during the pandemic would be challenging but feasible: PHAC official

Last Updated Oct 29, 2020 at 2:54 pm EST

OTTAWA — A senior official at the Public Health Agency of Canada says holding a federal election during the COVID-19 pandemic would be feasible, despite the logistical challenges that Elections Canada would face.

Barbara Raymond, an executive medical adviser at the federal public health agency, told MPs today that two federal byelections in Toronto and recent provincial elections provided valuable experience that would help Elections Canada overcome challenges.

The House of Commons committee on procedure and House affairs is exploring how Canadians could safely head to the polls during the COVID-19 pandemic.

B.C. health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told the committee the recent provincial election is not responsible for a surge in COVID-19 cases, since there were no reports of anyone exposed to the novel coronavirus at an election-related event.

She says early planning and voting by mail and, in some cases, by telephone helped prevent any outbreaks.

Raymond says her agency helped Elections Canada connect with provincial health authorities to ensure the federal election planning takes into account local health rules.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 29, 2020.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press