Trudeau urges Canadians to be vigilant as COVID-19 cases climb

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is urging Canadians to be vigilant in following public health guidelines as COVID-19 cases climb across the country.

Speaking with reporters before a two-day cabinet retreat in Ottawa, Trudeau warned that as the number of new infections rises, “we are not out of the woods” when it comes to the health crisis. He said people need to “be there for each other” by maintaining physical distancing, washing hands and wearing masks.

“The last thing anyone wants is to go into this fall in a lockdown similar to this spring, and the way we do that is by remaining vigilant,” he said.

The cabinet retreat comes ahead of the Sept. 23 return of Parliament. Trudeau said the government’s focus is on keeping Canadians safe through the COVID-19 crisis by keeping transmission under control and not overloading the health-care system.

The retreat, which will bring together most ministers in person, will be followed by a news conference Wednesday.

The parliamentary session will begin with a speech from the throne, which will lay out the government’s plan for economic recovery from massive disruption caused by the global pandemic.

Sources have told CBC News that the throne speech could promise investments in housing and a long-term overhaul of the employment insurance system.

The government is also expected to signal its intention to make child care more widely available and to launch a green recovery plan, while focusing on the ongoing public health crisis.

The speech from the throne will lead to a confidence vote, which could possibly topple the government and trigger a fall election.

Trudeau prorogued Parliament to reset the government’s agenda, stating that the mandate had been knocked off course by COVID-19.