Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Canada’s response

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How Canada is responding to COVID-19

For detailed information on Canada's whole-of-government actions to respond to the outbreak, refer to Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

COVID Alert app

Canada has developed a free COVID Alert app that notifies you if someone you were near in the past 14 days tells the app they tested positive. That way, we can take care of ourselves and protect our communities.

Download COVID Alert


A public health ethics framework has been developed to help guide policy makers and public health professionals when making decisions in the context of COVID-19. The framework outlines ethical principles and values for public health authorities to consider. It also sets out questions to help clarify issues, analyze and weigh relevant considerations and assess options to support decision making in real situations.

Health care preparedness

To help communities across Canada, we have mobilized resources where needed, such as:

We have also developed pandemic guidance for the health care sector on:

Economic and financial support

To learn more about Canada's actions to help Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, refer to Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

Border measures and travel health

The Government of Canada is continually assessing travel risks for Canadians. Official travel advisories are in effect: Avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada and avoid all travel on cruise ships until further notice. In addition, a pandemic COVID-19 travel health notice has been issued.

All international passenger flight arrivals have been redirected to 1 of 4 airports:

Since May 21, 2020, the Public Health Agency of Canada, under the Quarantine Act, has gradually increased its presence at key high-volume ports of entry across Canada, including land borders. We have added more:

We are also:

More information on border measures and travel health is available.

Support for Canadians abroad

To help Canadians return home or cope with challenges they are facing while travelling, the Government of Canada has created the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad.

The Program will provide the option of an emergency loan to Canadians in need of immediate financial assistance to return home or to temporarily cover their life-sustaining needs while they work toward their return.

Global Affairs Canada is providing 24/7 consular support to Canadians abroad affected by COVID-19 through the Emergency Watch and Response Centre and through consular staff at its network of missions.


The Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence are working with civil authorities at all levels of government. While helping out communities, we're doing everything possible to protect armed forces members from exposure.

Support includes:

For more information, refer to our military response to COVID-19.

Helping people who use substances

The COVID-19 pandemic is compounding the ongoing public health crisis related to high rates of opioid overdose and deaths, as well as acute substance use harms. These crises are made worse in communities where there is chronic overcrowding, including a shortage of housing or other shelters. To address these issues, we are taking a number of targeted actions to reduce the risk of harm for people who use substances.

Public education

Public education plays a critical role in our response to COVID-19 by providing timely, accessible and evidence-informed information that:

We have developed many awareness resources on topics such as handwashing, making a mask, and how to isolate, so that Canadians can better understand and take steps to protect themselves and their families.

We have launched a national public education campaign that provides Canadians with evidence-based information on COVID-19, and encourages behaviours that protect individuals and our communities. This campaign includes:

Research and technology

Canadian researchers are working hard to support international efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. To slow, and eventually stop, the spread of COVID-19, we need to advance research and technology development.

Research is taking place to enhance our capacity to:

Research is also underway to quickly detect, manage and reduce the transmission of COVID-19, including:

To learn more about federal actions and initiatives in COVID-19 research, refer to the Government of Canada's Research Response to COVID-19 Report.


The Federal/Provincial/Territorial Public Health Response Plan for Biological Events has been activated to ensure a coordinated response across Canada.

The Special Advisory Committee has been established to advise Federal/Provincial/Territorial Deputy Ministers of Health across Canada on the coordination, public health policy and technical content related to this outbreak. This committee consists of the members of the Pan-Canadian Public Health Network Council and the Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health, and is co-chaired by Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, and Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer. On May 1, 2020, the committee released: Foundations for Living with COVID-19 in Canada: Lifting of Restrictive Public Health Measures. On May 20, 2020, the committee released a fact sheet on mask wearing for community settings.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is working closely with partners domestically and around the world, including the World Health Organization (WHO), to respond to this outbreak.

Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) has developed a real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) test that can diagnose COVID-19 from clinical specimens. The NML is working collaboratively with Canadian provincial public health laboratories through the Canadian Public Health Laboratory Network to ensure there is additional testing capacity in multiple jurisdictions.

At this time, the NML also supports the use of other international assays that have been posted publicly.

Further collaborative scientific studies to investigate the virus are underway.

The Government of Canada is working with international regulators to help fast-track clinical trials and applications for vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests. The International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities held a global medicines regulators web meeting on March 18, 2020. Discussions included regulatory considerations for anticipated COVID-19 vaccine candidates to advance regulatory convergence. A key objective of the meeting was to discuss and agree on an approach to the requirements to support first-in-human clinical trials. The press release and meeting report are available for access. Health Canada has also engaged with international regulatory partners under the Australia-Canada-Singapore-Switzerland Consortium to explore potential collaboration on regulatory issues related to COVID-19.

We are also working closely with international regulatory partners, including the European Medicines Agency, the United States Food and Drug Administration, and the Therapeutic Goods Administration, to share information on any signals of global supply disruptions.


We have developed ethical and technical guidance for managing COVID-19 for health professionals and a broad range of sectors in collaboration with:

For clinical trial sponsors

Companies and researchers with drugs, medical devices, or natural health products that may be effective in treating or diagnosing COVID-19 are encouraged to contact us to facilitate clinical trials.

Clinical trials are studies to find out whether a drug or medical device is safe and effective for people. We can authorize a clinical trial quickly in urgent situations. We also publish a list of all clinical trials authorized in Canada.

Please contact us at:

Drug and medical device supply monitoring

The Government of Canada is actively monitoring the novel COVID-19 and its impact on the supply of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, natural health products and medical devices in Canada. We do this through regular contact with:

We are aware that there may be supply disruptions related to COVID-19 and are monitoring the situation closely.

Companies that market prescription drugs for human use in Canada must report anticipated or actual drug shortages on Drug Shortages Canada. We have contacted companies to remind them of this requirement. Industry stakeholder associations have also been asked to notify us of any early signals of shortages related to COVID-19. Drug and medical device shortage signals can also be reported by the provinces and territories, healthcare professionals or the public.

We will continue to use all available tools to help manage critical national shortages when they happen, and work with partners so that Canadians have access to the medications they need. Learn more about drug shortages in Canada.

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