Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been slow to act in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. 

On several issues, including public health screening, travel advisories and creating a coronavirus task force, Canada trailed behind the US by several days or even weeks.

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested that Canada was not on the same trajectory as the US because it had acted sooner. 

“I think I would say we’re not necessarily on the same trajectory. We were quicker to get the screening done, and I think we have had more success in getting people to self-isolate,” Trudeau said in French. 

However, on several key issues, Trudeau lagged far behind US President Donald Trump. Here are several places where Canada could have followed Trump’s lead and acted much sooner to curb the pandemic. 

Warning about travel to Wuhan, China: 

January 6 – (US) The Center for Disease Control issued a travel notice for the epicentre of the outbreak

January 9 – (Canada) Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam tweets a travel warning to the area

Implementing public health screenings at airports for travellers coming from Wuhan:

January 17 – (US) The CDC implements public health screening at 3 major U.S. airports 

January 22 – (Canada) Major airports are directed to implement health screenings in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver

Creating a coronavirus taskforce:

January 29 – (US) The White House announces the formation of a coronavirus taskforce to inform the president on the pandemic

March 4 – (Canada) Trudeau forms coronavirus cabinet committee

Declaring a public health emergency: 

January 31 – (US) Trump declares the coronavirus is a public health emergency

February 3 – (Canada) Health Minister Patty Hajdu says Canada does not need to call a public health emergency

Implementing travel restrictions: 

January 29 – (Canada) Dr Theresa Tam says to follow the WHO and not implement travel bans

January 31 – (US) Trump announces travel restrictions on China

January 31 – (Canada) Border official says they don’t have a list of 24 countries where the virus has spread; only limiting identifying passengers who have been to Wuhan

February 2 – (Canada) Trudeau underlines the importance for Canada to combat racism

February 29 – (US) Trump announces travel advisory to Italy and South Korea and bans travel to Iran 

March 4 – (Canada) Hajdu says the border is not relevant to the spread of coronavirus

March 5 – (Canada) Trudeau defends Canada’s open borders approach, denounces knee-jerk reaction 

March 11 – (US) Trump announces travel restriction to Europe 

March 12 – (Canada) Travellers arriving from Italy reporting that they are not being interviewed or screened 

March 13 – (Canada) Hajdu says “border measures are highly ineffective” and could create harm

March 14 – (US) Trump extends travel restrictions to UK and Ireland 

March 16 – (Canada) Trudeau finally restricts international flights except for diplomats and Americans

March 17 – (Canada, US) Both countries mutually agree to close their borders to non-essential travel 

March 18 – (Canada) Foreign nationals from all countries except the US are banned from entering the country

Putting the army on standby for coronavirus response:

March 17 – (US) Trump says the US Army Corps of Engineers is ready to help Americans fight the coronavirus

March 30 – (Canada) Trudeau says that 24,000 members of Canada’s military are on stand by to respond to the pandemic

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