Evidence of meeting #2 for COVID-19 Pandemic in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was chair.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Chair, like a lot of other provinces, Quebec decided yesterday to progressively end the lockdown in order to support an economic recovery, while still complying with public health rules, great though that challenge may be.

However, for several days in his news conferences, the Prime Minister has seemed to question the decisions made by the Government of Quebec about the current lockdown.

Can he tell us today whether he agrees or does not agree with the plan proposed by the Government of Quebec?

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

The Honourable Minister of Health has the floor.

April 29th, 2020 / 12:25 p.m.

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Patty Hajdu LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Chair, I'm incredibly proud of the collaborative work of the provinces, territories and the federal government to come up with a shared set of guidelines that will help us ensure that as we move together—and obviously separately, given our own epidemiological situation and our own particular approach—we have a set of guidelines that will protect the health of all Canadians. I know that the Prime Minister worked very diligently with his counterparts, with all the provinces and territories, and we're thrilled that there is such collaboration across the country.

Thank you.

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Mr. Rayes, you have 30 seconds for another question.

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Great. I will ask my question once more, very simply.

I would like to know whether the federal government, or the Prime Minister himself, who speaks for it every day, agrees with the plan to end the lockdown that the Government of Quebec has put in place. Very simply, yes or no.

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

The honourable minister has the floor.

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I think, as my counterpart indicates, these conversations are ongoing with the Prime Minister and his counterparts across the country. This is a collaborative process, and I am thrilled that we have a shared set of guidelines that all provinces have agreed to use to guide them in the safe practices as we move forward to reopen our economies. It's a delicate process. In fact, much of it is being developed at a local level because, of course, situations vary so greatly across the provinces and territories. Those guidelines that are in place will ensure that provinces and territories have a road map that will protect the health of Canadians.

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

Ms. Block.

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Reports in the news about a surge in counterfeit personal protective equipment coming into Canada are deeply concerning to many Canadians.

Can Hon. Anita Anand advise us as to the extent of the problem?

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

The honourable minister.

12:25 p.m.

Oakville Ontario

Liberal

Anita Anand LiberalMinister of Public Services and Procurement

Mr. Chair, our priority is always to make sure that we have safe, effective equipment and supplies in the hands of our front-line health care workers.

Given the complexity of the global supply chain, ensuring the quality of the product is extremely important. We are working with established suppliers and distributors as well as quality assurance experts. We have strong processes in place to help ensure that the supplies we receive meet all necessary standards.

In addition, the Public Health Agency of Canada has robust testing measures in place. We must make sure that equipment is safe.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I would like to ask the minister how many shipments, or can she tell us who is ordering these supplies?

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

The process we are following at Public Services and Procurement is that we are ordering based on orders that have come from the provinces based on what Public Health tells us they have requested.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

I'm going to stop the clock for a second.

I want to remind everyone that the length of the question should be reflected in the length of the answer. I know it's not always easy, but I wanted to point that out, so we are well aware of the guidelines we are using.

Ms. Block, please.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Can the minister tell us which companies are ordering these counterfeit supplies?

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Chair, as I said, we are engaged with a number of diverse suppliers internationally and domestically to ensure that our front-line health care workers have the supplies they need. We are engaged with rigorous quality assurance controls internationally and domestically.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Thank you very much.

Can the minister at least tell us what measures are in place to ensure that Canada is only buying PPE from reputable sources?

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

There are a number of points at which quality assurance is occurring, Mr. Chair. We are ensuring that manufacturers are required to certify that they are meeting specific standards. New controls by the Chinese government for international procurements require additional oversight, and PSPC is working closely with Public Health to make sure that there is quality assurance taking place right here in Canadian warehouses.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

The CBSA has confirmed border agents have stopped shipments from coming into Canada that contain suspected fake PPE.

Can Minister Blair confirm how many shipments the CBSA has seized?

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Rota

The honourable minister.

12:30 p.m.

Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

I can tell you that the CBSA very vigorously checks the quality and the provenance of the protection equipment that is coming in. If it is determined that it is counterfeit and, therefore, in violation of the agreements, it is subject to seizure. I don't have the precise number of seizures that have been made, but I can assure the member opposite that the CBSA is very rigorous in ensuring that no counterfeit material is allowed into the country.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Can the minister advise us as to what measures are being taken to stop these shipments from coming to Canada?

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Chair, as I mentioned we are taking a number of measures to make sure quality assurance occurs in the country of origin with direct communication with the manufacturers and the on-the-ground logistic support that we have engaged from private corporations as well as the embassy in China. Then, once again, when the goods arrive in Canada, they are quality-tested by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Thank you very much.

Can the minister please advise us of what those measures are?

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Anand Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Chair, as I mentioned, the Public Health Agency of Canada is taking extreme caution and extreme care to make sure that no defective goods are delivered to front-line health care workers. That is a process that we take very seriously because of our commitment to our front-line health care workers.