Canada's response to Ebola

In Canada, all levels of government are involved in preparing for and responding to any infectious disease emergencies.

To date, Canada has committed over $110 million in health, humanitarian and security contributions to help fight the spread of Ebola. The Government of Canada has also provided in-kind support and donations of the Canadian-developed Ebola vaccine.

Learn how the Government of Canada is protecting Canadians from Ebola both at home and abroad.

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What is being done to prevent the spread of Ebola to Canada?

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is working with all levels of government to stop the spread of Ebola virus disease to Canada. Preventing further transmission of the Ebola virus is essential to controlling the current outbreak. Canada is making every effort to improve current safety measures.

Provincial/Territorial readiness

PHAC is meeting with the provincial and territorial health authorities on a weekly basis to support cross-jurisdictional cooperation and readiness. PHAC has Ebola Rapid Response Teams ready to deploy in a moment's notice upon provincial or territorial request.

Online public awareness campaign

An online Ebola public awareness campaign was launched in November 2014. The campaign will seek to increase Canadians' knowledge about Ebola and its symptoms. It will also provide reassurance that reasonable and responsible measures are in place to ensure the protection of all Canadians.

Enhanced border measures

The Canada Border Services Agency regularly assesses everyone arriving in Canada for signs of illness. All passengers arriving from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia are referred to a PHAC Quarantine Officer for a full health screening and assessment, including temperature check.

Quarantine Officers will provide these travellers with instructions and an information kit. This kit includes a thermometer that travellers will use to check their temperature twice daily for 21 days. Should travellers develop symptoms, they are to immediately report to public health authorities for treatment.

PHAC is also helping industry to decide on the appropriate measures for airports, airplanes, trains, ferries and cruise ships.

Visa applications

As of October 31, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will not process new visa applications or continue processing pending visa applications for individuals who were in one of the three affected outbreak countries within 3 months prior to the application being received.

These temporary measures apply to worker, student and visitor classes of foreign nationals. This includes individuals who have resided, travelled or transited countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Applications for temporary residence and applications for permanent residence are affected.

Discretion will remain for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to grant entry on a case-by-case basis in exceptional circumstances where travel is essential and in Canada's interest.

Funding for domestic preparedness

The Government of Canada has dedicated millions of dollars to strengthen Canada's domestic preparedness.

  • $3 million will be used to support the delivery of infection control training and equipment. It will also go towards assisting provincial and territorial health authorities with additional resources if needed such as the deployment of the PHAC Rapid Response Teams.
  • $1 million will be invested to deploy additional Quarantine Officers to Canadian airports to support screening measures.

Canadian Phase I clinical trials for Canada's Ebola vaccine (VSV-EBOV)

PHAC and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) launched a Phase I clinical trial for Canada's Ebola vaccine (VSV-EBOV) November 14, 2014. The trial is led by the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN) and is taking place in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The vaccine trial is being led at the same time as trials in the United States. Running concurrent trials can help move onto more clinical trials in larger populations as quickly as possible. The results are expected in early 2015.

What if a person in Canada has Ebola?

There has never been a confirmed case of Ebola virus disease in Canada. In the event a person in Canada is diagnosed with Ebola, the Government of Canada will:

  • work swiftly and collaboratively with government and health officials to identify any individuals the patient may have come in contact with,
  • deploy a Ebola Rapid Response Team, at the request of provinces/territories, to provide surge capacity and additional resources to provincial/territorial and local health authorities,
  • update Canadians regularly on how to protect their health, and what the government is doing to ensure that Ebola does not spread,
  • increase the monitoring of infectious diseases across Canada, and
  • continue to support infection-control standards that are already in Canadian hospitals and other healthcare sites.

Any person diagnosed with Ebola virus disease will receive world-class care through provincial healthcare facilities.

How is Canada helping with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa?

The Government of Canada is actively engaged and committed to supporting the global effort to combat Ebola virus disease. Canada is currently monitoring the Ebola outbreak by working with international partners including:

The Government of Canada is also taking a comprehensive approach to fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. This includes financial, technical and in-kind contributions provided by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) and PHAC. This is an effort to:

  • help stop the outbreak,
  • treat the infected,
  • meet the increasing humanitarian needs arising from the crisis, and
  • reduce associated threats to health and security.

Efforts are being coordinated with the United Nations Missions for Emergency Ebola Response (UNMEER) and through experienced partners within the United Nations system and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Canada's financial contributions

Canada has committed funding to support health, humanitarian and security interventions in West Africa. Allocations include:

  • Over $20 million to the World Health Organization (WHO):
    • Over $15 million to strengthen the medical response in Ebola-affected countries.
      • This will be used to assist with preparedness activities in neighbouring countries not affected by Ebola.
      • It will also be used to improve coordination efforts.
    • $5 million to support international security-related Ebola response activities in West Africa.
      • Canada's contribution will support essential biosafety and biosecurity measures. These measures will strengthen the field response to the outbreak and reduce associated threats to health and security.
  • $10.5 million to the World Food Programme (WFP):
    • This will be used to meet immediate food needs and prevent acute malnutrition among young children and women.
  • $10 million to UNICEF for health education efforts in communities. Canada's support will:
    • increase the knowledge of health staff and community volunteers on preventative measures,
    • expand in-community care services for Ebola patients, and
    • improve access to basic services such as food, water and non-Ebola health services.
  • $9.5 million to the WFP's United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS). This support will help the Logistics Special Operation:
    • meet the critical logistics and transportation needs of responders, and
    • improve the efficiency of the overall humanitarian response.
  • $4 million to the UN Ebola Multi-Partner Trust Fund to address critical gaps in response efforts.
  • Over $3.8 million to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). This will be used to:
    • support medical capacity to trace contact cases and manage clean-up efforts,
    • strengthen capacity in non-affected countries to prepare for and respond to the Ebola crisis, and
    • enhance coordination efforts.
  • $5 million to the Canadian Red Cross (CRC) to help fill urgent medical and emergency staffing needs in emergency treatment centres. Canada's support is designed to save lives and stop the spread of Ebola.
  • $5 million to the French Red Cross Society (FRCS) to support the operation of its Ebola Treatment Centres in Guinea. This support will ensure that Ebola-infected patients receive the treatment and care they need to survive.
  • $4.2 million to Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) will be used to:
    • support treatment efforts, including in community care locations,
    • train medical and support staff in Guinea,
    • provide isolation and protection measures to limit and contain the spread of the Ebola virus, and
    • provide care to people affected by Ebola.
  • $2.6 million to Samaritan's Purse to meet the urgent needs of those affected and prevent further spread of Ebola in Liberia. Canada's support will also be used to provide home-based care kits, educational material, and infection prevention and control kits.
  • $1.3 million to Action Contre la Faim (ACF) will be used to increase awareness and training in communities in Sierra Leone and Guinea. These activities are designed to help contain the Ebola virus.
  • $1 million to Plan Canada to set up Ebola Care Units. These Units will provide complementary care to people in Liberia who are affected by Ebola. This support will also be used to train healthcare and community workers.
  • $1 million to CANADEM to support the deployment of Canadian and non-Canadian experts. They will be deployed to help United Nations agencies responding to the Ebola crisis in West Africa.
  • $1 million to OXFAM Québec will be used to help contain and reduce the spread of Ebola. This support will also increase access to treatment facilities for affected populations in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
  • $1 million to Save the Children will be used to implement an integrated multi-sectoral Ebola response in Guinea. This response effort will provide immediate assistance to vulnerable children and their families.
  • $500,000 to CARE Canada will address the broader humanitarian impacts of Ebola. Canada's support will improve access to clean water. It will also enhance awareness of good hygiene practices to help contain the Ebola outbreak in Liberia.
  • $23.5 million to support further research and development of Ebola medical countermeasures. Canada's Ebola vaccine and monoclonal antibody treatments will be used to:
    • support clinical trials in Africa, and
    • help produce monoclonal antibody treatments.
  • $3 million to support the provinces and territories in the delivery of infection control training and equipment. These funds will be used to help with the deployment of the Public Health Agency of Canada's Rapid Response Teams.
  • $1 million to deploy additional trained Quarantine Officers at Canadian airports to support these enhanced border measures.
  • Contingency planning to provide appropriate duty of care for Canadian personnel deployed to affected regions.

Canada is engaging in discussions with a number of partners on how best to continue to respond to the Ebola outbreak.

Technical and in-kind contributions

The Government of Canada has made numerous technical and in-kind contributions to help stop the spread of Ebola virus disease.

  • Canada provided infection prevention and control, and enhanced surveillance and outbreak response capacity in the affected region.
  • Canada sent two mobile laboratories to Sierra Leone with rotating teams of Agency scientists. They will do rapid diagnostic testing and infection control measures.
  • Donated 800 vials of Canada's experimental VSV-EBOV vaccine to the WHO. The 800 vials were shipped to Geneva starting on October 20 and the last shipment was sent on October 27.
  • Donated vials of Canada's experimental VSV-EBOV vaccine to support clinical trials happening in Maryland, USA, Europe and Africa.
  • The final shipment of donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the WHO was sent on Friday, October 31, 2014. It arrived in Conakry, Guinea and Monrovia, Liberia on November 1, 2014. This fulfills our previous commitment to provide over $2 million worth of PPE to frontline healthcare professionals.
  • Canada is sending up to 40 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) healthcare and support staff to Sierra Leone to support efforts on the ground in West Africa. Canadian military doctors, nurses, medics and support staff will work alongside their UK military partners.

What do Canadian travellers need to know?

The Government of Canada recommends that Canadians avoid all non-essential travel to Guinea and Sierra Leone and practise special precautions if travelling to Liberia. For more information, Canadians should consult the Ebola virus disease: information for travellers page.

For the latest travel advice please consult the Country Travel Advice and Advisories page.

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