Trudeau said the federal government has been working alongside the provinces to provide care for seniors and the most vulnerable throughout the pandemic.
“Our women and men in uniform are doing a remarkable job,” he said. “Their help is still needed. So we’re making sure that our elders continue to have this vital support.”
The announcement comes as Quebec Premier François Legault has repeatedly requested for soldiers to remain in long-term care facilities until mid-September. The province hopes to have 10,000 new orderlies trained and ready to work by the fall to fill critical staffing shortages.
“It’s a matter of emergency and necessity for Quebec,” said Justice Minister Sonia LeBel.
“Two weeks is two weeks, but two weeks is not the end of the conversation,” Lebal added. “We will make sure that the federal Government understands clearly that if we need them to be here longer, they will have to be very open to that.”
Legault said on Thursday that nursing homes remain in a difficult situation even as the province begins to move in the “right direction” after three months of lockdown measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. There are 218 facilities where infections are reported and more than 1,100 people who live in them have currently have the virus of Thursday.
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Legault said 400 soldiers from the Canadian Armed Forces remain in embattled long-term care homes and an additional 350 elsewhere in the province.
On Friday, Trudeau spoke of a “medium-term plan” to support efforts in those facilities until Sept. 15.
“This plan includes the active participation of the Red Cross with paid, well-trained people who will be as effective as members of the Armed Forces,” he said.
— With files from Global News’ Kerri Breen and the Canadian Press