The Canadian Press
A timeline of events in Canada’s fight against COVID-19
Here’s a timeline of key developments in the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada since the first presumptive case was reported on Jan. 25:
Jan. 25: A Toronto man in his 50s who returned from the Chinese city of Wuhan — the epicentre of the outbreak — becomes the first presumptive case of the novel coronavirus in Canada. The man is placed in isolation in Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital.
Jan. 26: The man’s wife, who had travelled with him from Wuhan, also tests positive, becoming the country’s second presumptive case. The woman is allowed to self-isolate at home.
Jan. 27: The National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg confirms that the Toronto man being treated at Sunnybrook Hospital is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Canada.
Jan. 28: The Toronto man’s wife is declared the second confirmed case of COVID-19. Health officials in British Columbia say a man in his 40s who travels to China for work is presumed to have COVID-19. The man is in self-isolation at his Vancouver home.
Feb. 4: There is another presumptive case reported in B.C. — a woman who had family visiting from China’s Hubei province. She is in isolation at her home.
Feb. 7: A plane carrying more than 200 Canadians from Wuhan arrives at CFB Trenton in eastern Ontario, where they start a 14-day quarantine.
Feb. 12: Ontario health officials report the first resolved case of COVID-19, a woman in London.
Feb. 20: A woman who returned from Iran becomes B.C.’s sixth case of COVID-19 and the first person in Canada diagnosed with the illness who did not recently visit China. The Toronto man who was the country’s first confirmed case is cleared after testing negative for the virus.
Feb. 27: Quebec public health officials report the province’s first presumptive case, a woman from the Montreal region who recently returned from Iran.
March 5: B.C. announces eight new cases, including Canada’s first-ever case possibly contracted within the community, rather than through travel or contact with other cases.
March 8: Canada records its first death from COVID-19. A man in his 80s died in a North Vancouver nursing home.
March 11: The World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic. Canada has more than 100 cases. A Utah Jazz player tests positive two days after a game against the Toronto Raptors, causing the NBA to suspend its season.
March 12: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau self-isolates after his wife tests positive for COVID-19. The NHL and most other sports leagues suspend seasons. The Juno Awards are shelved. Minor hockey across the country is cancelled. Schools in Ontario announce they’ll be closed for two weeks after March break. Manitoba and Saskatchewan report their first cases.
March 13: The federal government announces Parliament will go on break.
March 15: Nova Scotia reports its first three cases.
March 16: Apart from Americans and a few exceptions, Canada announces it is closing its borders to non-Canadians.
March 17: Ontario and Alberta declare states of emergency. Federal government says it will screen and isolate irregular border-crossers for COVID-19.
March 18: Canada and the United States announce they will close their shared border to non-essential traffic. B.C. and Saskatchewan declare states of emergency.
March 19: New Brunswick declares state of emergency.
March 20: COVID-19 cases pass 1,000. Trudeau says asylum seekers crossing into Canada on foot from the U.S. will be turned back as part of the border shutdown. About 4,000 Canadians are trapped on cruise ships. Manitoba declares state of emergency.
March 21: U.S.-Canada border officially closes to non-essential travel.
March 22: Quebec closes shopping malls, restaurants and salons. Canada says it won’t compete in the Tokyo Olympics or Paralympics if held this summer.
March 23: Ottawa announces repatriation flights for Canadians stranded in foreign countries.
March 24: Olympics officially postponed until next year. Community transmission overtakes travel-related spread.
March 25: Emergency aid bill passes. Canada makes 14-day quarantine for all arrivals mandatory.
March 28: Trudeau announces ban on air travel for those with COVID symptoms. His wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, says she has recovered.
March 30: Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says 24,000 Canadian troops ready to help deal with COVID-19. Trudeau says new wage subsidy program will cover all businesses whose revenue has dropped by at least 30 per cent because of COVID-19.
April 2: COVID-19 death toll passes 100 in Canada.
April 3: Ontario projects COVID-19 death toll could reach 15,000.
April 4: U.S. company 3M told by the White House to stop exporting N95 respirators to Canada.
April 6: 3M makes deal with the White House to provide N95 masks to Canada. Canadians start applying for emergency aid. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, says wearing masks is a way for people who might have COVID-19 without realizing it to keep from spreading the illness.
April 7: A seniors home in Montreal reports more than 100 infections and eight deaths.
April 9: Ottawa projects 4,400 to 44,000 Canadians could die of COVID-19. Government announces more than one million people lost their jobs in March.
April 11: Quebec says 31 people have died in a Montreal-area long-term care home since March 13.
April 13: Federal government announces nearly 5.4 million Canadians are receiving emergency aid.
April 15: Canada passes 1,000 deaths.
April 22: Ontario and Quebec, the hardest-hit provinces, call on the military to help out in long-term care homes.
April 23: Canadian death toll passes 2,000 as country announces it’ll pour $1.1 billion into vaccine testing. Ontario Premier Doug Ford chokes back tears as he discusses the crisis in long-term care homes.
April 25: New Brunswick introduces a two-household bubble, allowing people to interact with others.
April 28: Canada hits 50,000 cases.
May 3: A rapid test for COVID-19 is voluntarily recalled after issues are discovered.
May 4: Restrictions begin to lift in several provinces including Quebec and Manitoba. An Alberta meat-packing plant reopens after a two-week shutdown caused by a COVID-19 outbreak.
May 7: Canada completes its millionth COVID-19 test.
May 8: The unemployment rate rockets up to 13 per cent, the second-highest figure on record in Canada.
May 11: Some Quebec schools reopen and Ontario stores start offering curbside pickup.
May 12: Death toll passes 5,000.
May 13: The country’s top doctor says Canadians in communities where COVID-19 is still spreading should wear non-medical masks when they can’t stay physically distant from others.
May 14: Many stores, child-care centres and hair salons open in Alberta.
May 15: Canadian Forces announces five members working in long-term care homes have tested positive.
May 19: Many stores reopen in Ontario, B.C. and Saskatchewan.
May 23: Thousands pack a park on a sunny day in Toronto, creating fears for a new outbreak.
May 26: A new report from the military helping battle COVID-19 in five long-term care facilities in Ontario reveals extreme neglect and exposes the extent of the horrific conditions facing residents.
May 27: New Brunswick officials confirm a health-care worker who travelled outside the province had failed to self-isolate upon their return and subsequently infected other people.
May 29: At least 41 staff and students test positive for COVID-19 in the first two weeks after elementary schools outside the Montreal area reopen.
June 1: Political leaders encourage people to keep COVID-19 in mind when attending anti-racism protests.
June 12: Ontario enters Stage 2 of its reopening, except for Toronto, Windsor-Essex and Peel region.
June 16: Trudeau says his government’s signature benefit for people whose jobs have vanished amid the pandemic will be extended by eight weeks.
June 16: Trudeau says the Canada-U.S. border would remain mostly closed for at least another month, until July 21.
June 18: Canada officially records more than 100,000 cases of COVID-19 over the length of the pandemic.
June 26: The Canadian Red Cross sends 900 people to work in Quebec’s long-term care homes until mid-September, replacing Canadian Armed Forces members.
June 26: The Nova Scotia government announces all bars and restaurants could operate at full capacity after more than two weeks without a single new case of COVID-19.
June 28: Pride events take place around the world, with major adjustments. Toronto, where up to two million people usually gather for one of the world’s biggest Pride parades, holds this year’s event virtually.
July 1: The COVID-19 pandemic leads to an unusual celebration of Canada’s 153rd birthday, with backyard gatherings and digital events replacing large ceremonies. Trudeau spends part of the morning with his family harvesting broccoli at a farm operated by the Ottawa Food Bank.
July 3: P.E.I., Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia begin allowing their Atlantic neighbours to visit without self-isolating for 14 days after entering. The so-called “Atlantic bubble” is meant to boost struggling local economies.
July 5: Hamilton-raised theatre star Nick Cordero, who had legions of supporters rallying for him on social media during his harrowing health battle with COVID-19, dies in Los Angeles at the age of 41.
July 16: Trudeau says the federal, provincial and territorial governments reached a deal on billions of dollars in transfers to continue reopening economies amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Trudeau says the federal government will contribute $19 billion to the effort.
July 18: The Blue Jays are denied approval to play in Toronto amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Trudeau government turns down the request citing danger to Canada because of all the cross-border travel involved.
July 18: Quebec becomes the first province in Canada to require mask-wearing in all indoor public places.
July 28: Remdesivir becomes the first drug to be approved by Health Canada for treatment of patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms. The federal agency says the antiviral drug may be used to treat adults and adolescent patients with pneumonia who need extra oxygen to help them breathe.
July 30: Temperature screening stations are set up at airports in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. Transport Canada says passengers with a temperature above 38 C wouldn’t be allowed to travel.
July 31: A voluntary smartphone app that can warn you if you’ve come into close proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 becomes available to download.
Aug. 3: Quebec increases the limits on indoor and outdoor public gatherings from 50 people to 250 people. The province’s health minister says despite the relaxed rules, COVID-19 continues to circulate in Quebec, especially among young people.
Aug. 17: The CFL cancels its 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, making it the first year since 1919 that the Grey Cup won’t be awarded.
Aug. 21: Canada takes a major step toward producing personal protective equipment, as Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford announce an agreement with 3M. The company will produce up to 100 million medical-grade N95 masks a year at its plant in Brockville, Ont.
Sept. 8: Hundreds of thousands of children and teenagers across Canada re-enter classrooms for the first time in six months. Alberta and Quebec are among the first to report new cases of COVID-19 related to the reopening of schools.
Sept. 14: The Bloc Quebecois caucus, including leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, enters self-isolation after a member of Blanchet’s staff tested positive for COVID-19.
Sept. 16: Federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says he, his family and some party workers are in self-isolation after an aide tested positive for COVID-19.
Sept. 18: Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announces Canada will extend the partial closure of the border with the U.S. for another month. Polls suggest the majority of Canadians wanted the restrictions maintained.
Sept. 18: The president of the Public Health Agency of Canada announces her intention to step down. As the country heads into a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tina Namiesniowski says in a letter to staff that after six months of responding to the crisis, she needs a break.
Sept. 19: Quebec Premier Francois Legault says he tested negative for COVID-19.
Sept. 19: Nunavut reports its first confirmed cases of COVID-19. The territory’s chief public health officer says there are two cases at the Hope Bay gold mine 125 kilometres southwest of Cambridge Bay. Dr. Michael Patterson says both miners were exposed in their home jurisdictions.
Sept. 22: Rebecca O’Toole, the wife of Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, tests positive for COVID-19. The couple and their two children had been in self-isolation since the previous week, after an aide tested positive for COVID-19.
Sept. 23: The throne speech from the Liberal government promises to introduce or greatly expand COVID-19 benefit programs and supports for nearly every sector of society. Among them, extending the federal wage subsidy program into next year and targeted support for businesses hardest hit by the pandemic. The Conservatives say the plan has no measures to control government spending and they will not support it.
Sept. 23: In an address to the country, Trudeau says the second wave of COVID-19 is already underway. He says families won’t likely be able to gather for Thanksgiving, but it is not too late to save Christmas.
Sept. 25: Some pharmacies across Ontario start offering appointment-only COVID-19 testing. Tougher COVID-19 restrictions are also reimposed in Winnipeg and Ontario due to a spike in cases. In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford says bars and restaurants will have to stop serving booze at 11 p.m. — and strip clubs must close entirely.
Sept. 27: The Correctional Service of Canada suspends visits to federal prisons in Quebec due to rising COVID-19 cases in the province. The service reports no active cases among inmates in its 43 institutions across the country.
Sept. 30: Parliamentarians unanimously pass Bill C-4 to usher in a new batch of COVID-19 benefits. For Canadians left jobless or underemployed because of the pandemic, the legislation supplants the CERB support program with a more flexible and generous employment insurance regime.
Oct. 1: Stringent new rules take effect in three Quebec regions at the heart of rising COVID-19 case counts in the province. Bars, cinemas and restaurant dining rooms are ordered closed for at least 28 days in Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudiere-Appalaches. Restaurants are still allowed to offer takeout. The strictest of the new measures include prohibiting private gatherings. Violators could face a $1,000 fine.
Oct. 19: Canada’s COVID-19 case count surpasses the 200,000 mark. The development comes just over four months after Canada reached the 100,000-case threshold.
Oct. 25: Quebec’s overall case count surpass the 100,000 mark.
Oct. 26: Opposition parties win their bid to launch a probe of the Liberals’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. MPs from all four opposition parties vote to pass a Conservative motion that orders the Trudeau government to turn over to the House of Commons health committee all records on many issues related to the coronavirus response.
Oct. 28: A report from Canada’s chief public health officer focusing on the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic says Canada ranks 26th in the world for total deaths per million population. Dr. Theresa Tam’s report says more support and stricter rules are now in place in long-term care facilities that should help Canada avoid a repeat of the spike in deaths seen in the spring.
Oct. 30: Yukon records its first death from COVID-19.
Nov. 1: Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is cleared of COVID-19. She got tested after her COVID Alert phone app told her she’d been near an infected person.
Nov. 10: The Manitoba government forces non-essential stores to close and bans social gatherings in an effort to stop a surge of COVID-19 cases.
Nov. 11: Remembrance Day is marked with scaled-down ceremonies across the country because of COVID-19. The Royal Canadian Legion tells Canadians not to attend ceremonies in person.
Nov. 16: Canada’s COVID-19 case count tops 300,000 — less than a month after it crossed the 200,000 threshold.
Nov. 17: The head of the World Health Organization says Canada deserves praise for its efforts to fight COVID-19. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also says distributing any vaccine would be among the most daunting logistical efforts since the Second World War.
Nov. 19: Data on emergency COVID-19 aid shows some of the country’s highest income earners used a key benefit for workers. Figures from the Canada Revenue Agency show nearly 115,000 people who earned between about $100,000 and $200,000 last year applied for the $2,000-a-month Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Nov. 23: The premiers of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador announce they will temporarily pull out of the so-called “Atlantic Bubble” for two weeks amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Atlantic Canada.
Nov. 24: Canada reaches another agreement with a pharmaceutical company to buy doses of a potential COVID-19 treatment. Trudeau says the federal government bought 26,000 doses of an unnamed drug co-developed by Vancouver’s AbCellera Biologics and Eli Lilly, with an option to buy thousands more. The two companies announced in March they were co-operating on developing a treatment using antibodies from a patient who had already had the illness.
Nov. 26: Federal health officials say Canada has purchase agreements with seven COVID-19 vaccine producers.
Nov. 26: New Brunswick becomes the latest Atlantic province to opt out of the so-called bubble and demand anyone entering the province self-isolate for 14 days. The province also introduces heightened public health measures in the Fredericton area.
Nov. 27: Trudeau says most Canadians should receive the COVID-19 vaccine by September 2021. The prime minister says Canada’s vaccine distribution program would be led by former NATO commander Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin.
Nov. 29: The federal government extends the myriad travel restrictions and rules meant to curb the spread of COVID-19. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu say the rules, first imposed near the beginning of the global outbreak, would now be in effect until Jan. 21, 2021, for travellers entering Canada from a country other than the United States. Among the rules is a requirement for anyone entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days.
Nov. 30: With the federal deficit closing in on $400 billion this fiscal year, the Trudeau Liberals say there is even more spending ahead. The government’s fall economic update proposes to send extra child-benefit payments to families with young children next year as well as cash for skills training and to create new jobs. It also plans to inject another $100 billion into the economy over three years once the pandemic is over.
Dec. 2: Johnson & Johnson begins the process of applying for emergency approval of its COVID-19 vaccine from Health Canada and the European Medicines Agency, while Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is given permission for emergency use in the U.K.
Dec. 3: Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says the Conservatives will be introducing a motion in Parliament demanding details of Ottawa’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Dec. 4: Canada records more than 400,000 cases of COVID-19, just 18 days after it hits the 300,000 mark. It took six months for Canada to record its first 100,000 cases, four months to reach 200,000 and less than a month to hit 300,000.
Dec. 7: Trudeau says Canada will receive up to 249,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine this month.
Dec. 8: Partial results published in the medical journal Lancet suggest the COVID-19 vaccine candidate from Oxford University and AstraZeneca is safe and about 70 per cent effective.
Dec. 9: Health Canada approves national use of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. The decision clears the way for the delivery of up to 249,000 doses this month.
Dec. 14: The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine are administered to people in Quebec and Ontario.
The Canadian Press