Canadian military to provide medical personnel, specialized nurses to help Ontario

Locally, there are 1,044 new cases in Toronto, 673 in Peel, 452 in York Region, 171 in Durham and 150 in Ottawa.

By News Staff, The Canadian Press

The federal government has approved a request from Ontario for military assistance and support in dealing with a surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

The Canadian Armed Forces will send in reconnaissance teams on Tuesday to assess specific needs in certain hot spots.

The military will then bring as many as three multi-purpose medical assistance teams of nurses and technicians to hospitals stretched to the limits in this third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This comes after Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones made a formal request to the federal government for Canadian Armed Forces and for Red Cross to help out Ontario’s many hospitals, including the ICU.

“As the province continues to add more critical care capacity, we are exploring every potential measure to further build up Ontario’s healthcare workforce including ongoing provincial initiatives to bolster the workforce and ensure our trained healthcare professionals are deployed where they are needed most during this third wave,” said Jones in a statement.

“At the conclusion of that process, we have made a request for the assistance of those identified resources, many of whom reside, for example, within the Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian Red Cross organizations.”



The plan involves providing teams of nurses and medical technicians to hospitals and other facilities struggling to keep up with a spike of new infections.

Such teams were deployed into long-term care facilities in Ontario and Quebec last spring as the first wave of COVID-19 swept across the country.

Military aircraft are also being made available to fly medical professionals from other provinces to Ontario to help with the pandemic.

“We will continue to work with Ontario to keep Canadians safe and healthy,” Minister Blair added.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has twice offered Red Cross help to Ontario as far as staffing for hospitals is concerned.

The Ford government had turned it down – until now.

“The request for assistance, and I thank the federal government for approving it, is for Canadian Armed Forces,” she says.

“The request for assistance doesn’t get into a specific number.”

In mid-April, the Ford government appealed to other parts of the country to send health care workers to help Ontario deal with the surge in hospital and ICU patients.

At the time, Trudeau said the federal government was prepared to deploy the Canadian Red Cross to help Ontario with their mobile vaccination teams and send aid to hospitals and long-term care homes.

“We are extremely preoccupied with the situation in Ontario right now,” said Trudeau, announcing that help is available to Ontario should they need it.

The Ford government quickly responded to the Prime Minister’s proposal, saying the province has a supply issue and not a capacity issue.

Newfoundland and Labrador, meantime, are sending nine healthcare workers to Ontario on Tuesday to help the province deal with the third wave.

Premier Andrew Furey says the healthcare professionals – one of whom is his wife – include three doctors, a nurse practitioner, and five critical care nurses.

“This is a Canadian problem,” the premier told reporters Monday in St. John’s. “COVID knows no boundaries. If we were in a scenario like (Ontario’s), I would hope that the rest of the country would come to our assistance as well.”

The premier’s wife, Dr. Allison Furey, works in pediatric emergency care and has experience with Newfoundland and Labrador’s COVID-19 assessment unit.

The nine health professionals are expected to be deployed to downtown Toronto.

“They’ll be briefed there and get straight to work,” Furey said, adding that the volunteers will be working with the University Health Network.

On the weekend, Premier Doug Ford said the province’s intensive care capacity “has been stretched to its limits by the U.K. variant” of the virus that causes COVID-19.

With files from The Canadian Press

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