We know that we will face more COVID-19 variants in the years to come. We need to be ready.
Canada’s Conservatives will ensure that our country is ready to face future pandemics, including the elevated risk of bioterrorism threats. Our goal is simple: be prepared and take rapid action to protect the health of Canadians while avoiding long-term impacts on the economy and the mental health of Canadians.
We will call an immediate public inquiry to examine every aspect of the government’s pandemic response. The inquiry will ensure that all lessons learned from the crisis are publicly aired, and learnings can be immediately adopted. It will include all aspects of Canada’s pandemic preparedness and response.
We will also work with our allies to support an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
Canada’s Conservatives will implement a Canada Emergency Preparedness Plan. The Plan will bemeasured and updated annually, including by incorporating the ndings of the inquiry.
Part 1: Making Canada resilient to threats
Vaccine Research, Trials & Manufacturing Capacity
Ramp up Canadian research and production capacity by making Canada one of the best jurisdictions globally for pharmaceutical research and development and the production of vaccines and medicines.
We won’t allow Liberal regulation to drive pharmaceutical companies out of Canada anymore.
We will follow the UK’s example by putting in place a sector strategy to grow the sector in a well-thought-out way rather than just handing out money.
We will also end the Liberal hostility to the pharma sector that has driven investment out of Canada, left us near the back of the line for vaccines and risks leaving us at the back
of the line for new medicines. Instead, we will negotiate constructively with the industry to reduce drug prices while providing long-term regulatory certainty.
Overhaul Canada’s Pandemic Plan and preparedness to include domestic vaccine research, trials development and manufacturing capacity and readiness – with a focus on novel vaccine platforms, keeping and attracting the best minds in Canada, and ensuring secure access to supply during pandemic scenarios – working with universities, the private sector, provincesand territories, and international partner countries to build for the future; and
Review Health Canada’s regulatory processes and the balance between Canada’s industrial, health, and economic relationships with the global biomanufacturing sector in light of Canada’s poor performance in accessing vaccines during COVID-19.
Increasing Domestic Production of Critical Supplies
Partner with pharmaceutical companies to increase production of critical medicines andActive Pharmaceutical Ingredients in Canada;
Work with the United States to strengthen the North American supply chain forpharmaceuticals to reduce our shared reliance on imports; and use procurements bygovernment and those receiving government funding to enhance domestic production of PPE
Reinstate the tariff on imported PPE to recognize and secure the longevity of Canadian manufacturers of PPE. Canadian manufacturers have responded to the pandemic by enhancing their capacities to produce PPE, and they deserve to compete within a fair domestic market. A strong domestic manufacturing industry for PPE is a pillar of pandemic readiness and ongoing resiliency. Canadian manufacturers are also at the forefront of PPE innovation, seeking to address the environmental impact of the mass manufacturing of PPE.
Stockpiles, Lab Testing & Contact Tracing
Overhaul Canada’s National Emergency Stockpile System to ensure supplies are there to rapidly respond to infectious disease, bioterrorism, and similar threats, including ensuring the security of supply for personal protective equipment, diagnostic reagents, and swab supplies, and adopting modern tracking systems to ensure supplies are used before they expire and available when needed;
Overhaul federal lab testing processes and the support PHAC provides for provinces and territories to markedly improve consistency and scaling of lab capabilities across Canada, including the development of rapid testing capabilities at our borders, across our cities, inrural and remote communities, and within long term care facilities; and
Fill the response gap left by Ottawa between lab testing and costly lockdowns by working with Canadian infectious disease experts, provinces, and territories to develop evidence-based contact tracing systems for our borders and support public health efforts.Delaying and pushing unproven technologies on the provinces and territories over scientific procurement processes allowed the virus the time to spread and undermined Canada’s social, economic and health structures.
Develop a national system for sharing data across jurisdictions on pathogen transmission, immunity levels, and vaccination rates with transparent reporting requirements and coordination among jurisdictions.
New High Containment Laboratory Capacity and Infection Control Capacities
Bolster our infectious disease and pandemic science infrastructure, research, and expertise, through the development of new and novel high containment laboratory capabilities, alongside the National Microbiology Laboratory, to rapidly identify the threat to Canadians of novel and emerging infectious disease and bioterrorism agents, including by:
Enhancing our basic scientifc understanding of the transmission of novel pathogens in built environments (notably, long term care facilities, hospitals, and other communal settings) on different surfaces (e.g. nurse stations, medical equipment, doorknobs, retail, and workplace surfaces) and the importance of infection control measures (e.g. masks,hand washing);
Supporting the development and testing of new infection control products/biomaterials,safe and high-performance architectural designs, air ow systems, and isolation facilitiesfor the control of infectious diseases during regular times, and ensure Canada has the rapid response capabilities – including issuing science-based public health guidelines for front line workers and essentials services – during outbreaks and pandemics. Never again should essential workers be left to their own devices or our economy simply be allowed to collapse.
Part 2: Preventing pandemics
Addressing the Threat Posed by Animal Markets and Trade in Wild Animals
Support and encourage the closure of poorly regulated wildlife markets globally that carry anelevated risk of becoming sources for future pandemics;
End the importation of and trade in wild or exotic animals and their products that carry an elevated risk of spreading zoonotic diseases.
Prohibiting the export of deadly viruses to jurisdictions that cannot be trusted.
The government will create a list of these countries subject to the export prohibition based on a national security assessment.
Part 3: Detecting and assessing threats
Public Health Intelligence
Overhaul Canada’s public health intelligence-gathering systems, including restoring the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN) shut down by the Liberal government and strengthen the sharing of public health intelligence across the federal government and with the provinces and territories.
Establish a threat-level warning system that uses data points and sources from our overhauled public health intelligence-gathering systems to assign risk levels from a scale of 1-5 for Canadians when a new virus is detected.
Overhaul the federal government’s disastrous risk communications infrastructure,
including developing trusted mechanisms for communicating the real threat to
Canadians of novel and emerging pathogens and rapidly changing information.
Part 4: Countering the threat
Assign ultimate responsibility for the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to a qualified physician – public health expert with eld and front line experience;
Establish a set of actions corresponding to each level of risk in our new threat-level warning system, including but not limited to when border measures will be implemented, when travel should be restricted, and data-sharing requirements across jurisdictions.
Develop a data-driven system of benchmarks for removing bans, restrictions, and quarantines to provide certainty to businesses and their populations.
Ensure adequate enforcement of these actions is undertaken and that monitoring both internationally and domestically is consistent and ongoing.
Restore the dual leadership role of the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg, within the Public Health Agency of Canada, so that infectious disease science and expertise drives ourdomestic pandemic response and Canada once again is a global pandemic leader; and
Overhaul Canada’s Pandemic Plan and preparedness to include a focus on infectiousdiseases and bioterrorism threats rather than solely on “in uenza,” which led to Ottawa’sslow response and mishandling of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Maintain access security and stringent screening protocols for scientists granted access to the Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg.
Strengthening Health Canada
Strengthen the department to ensure it can rapidly review crucial innovations like new tests, treatments, and vaccines. With new variants on the horizon, we can’t afford the same bureaucratic pace as in the past.
Partner with the private sector rather than over-rely on government. We know that there are some things best done by the private sector and will be faster to reach out for help.
Work with the provinces to harmonize ICU training to ensure that ICU credentials are transferable among jurisdictions so that that capacity can be bolstered in emergencies.
Secure the future, help elect Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives and get Canada’s economy back on track.