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The federal government released its COVID-19 modelling Thursday.

In what officials say are among the best-case scenarios for the disease, between 11,000 and 22,000 Canadians could die as a result of the pandemic over the next year.

At a technical briefing Thursday, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, and her deputy, Dr. Howard Njoo, outlined three possible scenarios facing Canada over the next year.

The federal pandemic models show that the country could see 22,580 to 31,850 cases by April 16, resulting in between 500 and 700 deaths. Canada already has 19,291 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 435 confirmed deaths as a result of the disease.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, usually written by Chris Hannay. Michelle Carbert is taking over today while Chris helps with other important duties at The Globe. The newsletter is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


News is currently dominated by the COVID-19 outbreak. For a full rundown, you can subscribe to our Coronavirus Update newsletter (sign up here). Here are some stories that speak to the political and governmental response.

More than one million people in Canada lost their jobs in March and the unemployment rate climbed to 7.8 per cent, reflecting the first wave of layoffs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data from Statistics Canada. The job losses surpassed a record one-month decline set in January of 2009 – when employment dropped by roughly 125,000 – according to Labour Force Survey data that dates back to 1976.

Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux says the federal deficit could reach $184.2-billion this year based on the measures announced in response to the coronavirus pandemic. A deficit of that size for the fiscal year that started April 1 would represent a deficit of 8.5 per cent of GDP. The last time the deficit was near 8.5 per cent of GDP was in 1984-85.

Long before COVID-19 emerged, top health authorities from across Canada put together a playbook to prepare for a situation strikingly similar to the one the country now finds itself in. The Globe takes a look at the 2006 federal report on pandemic preparedness and how, fourteen years later, its words are eerily accurate.

Ontario’s top doctor, David Williams, says anyone moving into a long-term care facility should be tested for the coronavirus, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not. The new guidance, issued late Wednesday, reverses a policy that said only patients with symptoms should be tested.

Dr. Williams’ comments come after Premier Doug Ford said Ontario’s low testing rate for COVID-19 is “unacceptable” and vowed to significantly increase the numbers to catch up with the rest of the country.

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on why the emergency response benefit might be a mistake: “Canada Revenue Agency has earned everyone’s respect by successfully enrolling millions of suddenly unemployed workers in the Canada emergency response benefit in a matter of days. But what if CERB itself is a mistake? As the Trudeau government scrambles to include one forgotten group after another in the wage-support program, the argument for shifting to a universal basic income grows more compelling."

Cindy Blackstock and Isadore Day (The Globe and Mail) on funding for First Nations during COVID-19: “Despite the Prime Minister’s agreement with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, the federal government has refused to develop a plan with First Nations to eradicate all of the inequities that communities experience. Without a plan, First Nations will continue to be 'at risk’ to a greater extent whenever a natural disaster or pandemic hits.”

Simon Usherwood (The Globe and Mail) on how the British government will keep calm and carry on with Johnson in the ICU: “What is clear is that there is only the prime minister; there is no option of an acting or temporary PM. In short, you are prime minister until you resign or you die. You can farm out the work to others if you like, but you still remain the person nominally in charge.”

Dennis Matthews (The Globe and Mail) on how COVID-19 has created a high-stakes moment for companies: “When this pandemic is all over, consumers will be making new choices about how they travel, shop, work, and conduct their daily lives in a transformed economy. As these choices are made, it’s the corporate reputation of businesses across the country that will be foundational. And there will be long memories for how companies behaved and treated people during this crisis. Those who understand that will make it through stronger than ever.”

Allison Harell (Policy Options) on how Canada’s pandemic response is shifting political views: “The level of support for a minority federal government after an election where the governing party lost the popular vote suggests that Canadians are, to a certain extent, rallying in the face of crisis. This certainly seems to be the case when we consider the longer-term trends in attitudes toward Trudeau’s government.”

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