Leader of the NDP Jagmeet Singh has called on the Prime Minister to invoke the Federal Emergencies Act in Ontario amid climbing cases.
Trudeau raised the possibility of invoking the act in April of last year, but backed down after provincial leaders opposed it.
The act, which replaced the War Measures Act and received royal assent in 1988, has never been used before. It temporarily grants the federal government the power to override provincial legislatures in order to ensure “safety and security” during national emergencies.
In a letter shared via Twitter, Singh urged Trudeau to declare a federal emergency in Canada immediately in order for the government to issue orders and reallocate funding more effectively.
“Canada is not yet receiving enough vaccines, and vaccines have been slow to arrive. In some places, this means that vaccines are not available to those in danger,” Singh wrote.
“The most glaring example of this is in the city of Toronto, where the wealthiest neighbourhoods have higher rates of vaccination than neighbourhoods where racialized and working-class people live – and which have higher levels of COVID-19 positivity.”
“I know you share my deep concern at the escalating third wave of COVID-19,” wrote Singh. “In light of the dire situation in Ontario, the question of The Emergencies Act must be revisited.”
Singh has noted that the declaration wouldn’t have to apply to all provinces, but Ontario as a special exception given the case numbers.
So far, 2,202 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 across Ontario, including 755 who are in the ICU. As of April 19th, the province has seen 421,442 virus cases and 7,735 deaths.