A timeline of events for the biggest public health crisis in over a century
December 31, 2019: Chinese Health Authority in Wuhan Province informs the World Health Organization (WHO) of an outbreak of pneumonia that infected 44 patients
January 10, 2020: WHO publishes guidance for testing, detecting and case management to all countries
January 15, 2020: Federal government of Canada activates Emergency Operations Centre in response to WHO guidance
January 23, 2020: Canada’s Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam acknowledges several people in Canada were being monitored as possible carriers of the novel coronavirus
January 25, 2020: A man who travelled from Wuhan to Guangzou, China before returning to Toronto becomes the first presumptive case of COVID-19 in Canada
January 27, 2020: Testing at a laboratory in Winnipeg confirms presumptive case
January 28, 2020: BC Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry confirms first presumptive case in the province
January 30, 2020: WHO releases statement declaring coronavirus outbreak a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern”
February 6, 2020: Bonnie Henry announces fourth case of COVID-19 in BC; Ontario confirms its third
February 12, 2020: Ontario woman previously confirmed to have contracted coronavirus is first to recover from illness in Canada; BC announces its first recovery a week later
February 20, 2020: First Canadian diagnosis of someone who hadn’t recently visited China occurs in BC—bringing that province’s total to six
February 27, 2020: First presumptive case reported in Quebec (a Montreal-area woman who had recently travelled to Iran)
March 3, 2020: BC Government Officials asks travellers from China and Iran to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to Canada—a foreshadowing of what was to come
March 5, 2020: Bonnie Henry announces possibility of first-ever case of community spread, as opposed to contract through travel or with other cases
March 9, 2020: A long-term care home resident in British Columbia becomes first COVID-19 related death
March 12, 2020: Major North American sports leagues including the NBA, NHL and MLB suspend their seasons indefinitely
March 16, 2020: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes major announcement to close borders to all countries except the United States; British Columbia announces ban on gatherings of more than 50 people
March 17, 2020: States of emergency declared in Ontario and Alberta; BC and Saskatchewan declare their own states of emergency the following day; Ontario also bans gatherings of more than 50 people
March 20, 2020: More than 1,000 cases of COVID-19 in Canada are confirmed
March 23, 2020: Quebec closes all non-essential businesses
March 25, 2020: Legal requirement enacted to mandate anyone returning to Canada abroad must self-quarantine for 14 days
April 2, 2020: COVID-19 death toll in Canada exceeds 100; confirmed cases surpass 10 thousand. One-million people are now infected worldwide
April 6, 2020: Nearly 3.2 million Cnadians apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which pays $500 a week for up to four months workers who’ve lost their job due to COVID-19. By the end of April the number of applicants approached 10 million
April 9, 2020: Twenty-thousand (20,000) cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Canada; federal government projects between 4,400 and 44 thousand Canadians could die of COVID-19
April 14, 2020: Twenty-thousand (20,000) cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Canada; federal government projects between 4,400 and 44 thousand Canadians could die of COVID-19
April 15, 2020: Despite suggestions that a reopening of provincial and Canadian economies could be forthcoming, PM Trudeau asserts that we “need to continue doing what we’re doing now for many more weeks” before things return to normal
April 23, 2020: Saskatchewan becomes the first Canadian province to announce a five-phase plan to re-open its economy.
April 27, 2020: Ontario and Quebec announce they intend to begin reopening sectors of their economy beginning in May.
April 29, 2020: BC Premier John Horgan says the province will announce its plans for reopening the first week of May
May 1, 2020: There are 53,657 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 3,223 deaths
May 4, 2020: Minister of Health, MP Patty Hadju cautions COVID-19 outbreak is “not over” in light of major provinces signalling they’re about to announce phased reopening plans; Quebec delays its plan to reopen daycares and school in early May
May 6, 2020: Governments in British Columbia and Ontario announce the phases of their reopening plans. BC will start to allow gatherings of 2-6 people and the resume elective surgeries by mid-May; Ontario to open garden centres and hardware stores May 8 and 9
May 8, 2020: There are over 65 thousand confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada, of which: 53.8% are in Quebec, 30% in Ontario, 9% in Alberta, and 3% in British Columbia
May 12, 2020: Ontario extends its state of emergency until June 2nd, allowing for continued enforcement of COVID-19 related policies like limiting public gatherings.
May 14, 2020: Some regions in the province of Quebec begin to reopen their economies while it continues to be the hardest-hit Canadian province with more than 40,000 confirmed cases and 3,300 deaths.
May 15, 2020: BC Premier John Horgan says children can go back to school on a part-time basis starting June 1; BC’s health officer urges British Columbians not to travel during its Victoria Day long-weekend
May 17, 2020: Ontario announces 23 new COVID-related fatalities—its lowest increase since mid-April. 76.6% of all cases are now considered Resolved.
May 19, 2020: British Columbia begins its second phase of re-opening, which includes restaurants and pubs being allowed to operate at 50% capacity.
May 21, 2020: Quebec continues to be the province with the most confirmed cases and fatalities (45,495 and 3,800 respectively); announces small outdoor gatherings permitted starting May 22.
May 22, 2020: Ontario announces third straight day of increasing new daily cases; total number of cases surpass 24,600.
May 26, 2020: Candian military tasked with supporting residents in Quebec and Ontario long-term care homes release scathing report detailing poor conditions and patient neglect.
May 28, 2020: Ontario continues to see mixed results in lowering the number of confirmed infections, announcing 383 new infections—100 more than the previous day.
May 29, 2020: British Columbia announces 4 new cases.
June 2, 2020: Ontario’s legislature extends state of emergency until June 30; Province reports 446 new confirmed cases
June 4, 2020: Quebec announces amateur baseball and soccer can begin practising on June 8
June 8, 2020: BC’s top doctor Bonnie Henry reports no COVID-related deaths for three straight day; Henry profiled and praised in a New York Times article
June 10, 2020: Quebec continues to outpace the rest of Canada in terms of COVID infections and deaths; death toll surpasses 5,000
June 12, 2020: Premier Ford says Ontarians can expand their social circle to 10 people; sets single-day record for COVID tests in Canada
June 15, 2020: Premier Legault announces Quebec will allow gatherings of up to 50 people starting June 22.
June 17, 2020: Ontario’s new daily infection numbers remain below 300 for the 10th straight day. Toronto remains in stage 1 of reopening phase.
June 18, 2020: British Columbia marks its 6th straight day without any COVID-related deaths. Eight new cases are announced, bringing BC’s total to 2,783, of which more than 2,400 have recovered