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Coronavirus: Military deployment to Quebec, Ontario long-term care homes extended to June 26

Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says CAF to assist with Ontario, Quebec long-term care homes until June 26
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Friday that the Canadian Armed Forces' (CAF) deployment in Ontario's and Quebec's long-term care homes to help deal with COVID-19 outbreaks would be extended until June 26, amid the ongoing pandemic, in order to continue assisting with elder care.

The Canadian Armed Forces will continue to assist in Quebec and Ontario long-term care homes hit hard by the novel coronavirus crisis until June 26, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Friday.

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.

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“It’s a matter of emergency and necessity for Quebec,” said Justice Minister Sonia LeBel.

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“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.”

READ MORE: Quebec headed in ‘right direction’ but situation remains difficult in long-term care homes — Legault

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.

Legault said 400 soldiers from the Canadian Armed Forces remain in embattled long-term care homes and an additional 350 elsewhere in the province.

READ MORE: Quebec long-term care homes grappling with major challenges, military report outlines

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.

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— With files from Global News’ Kerri Breen and the Canadian Press