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COVID-19 Policy for 2021 Leaders' Debates

The two leaders' debates will be held at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec on Wednesday, September 8 (French) and Thursday, September 9 (English).

This policy was developed by the Leaders' Debates Commission and the Debates Broadcast Group, with advice and guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada and Public Health Outaouais.

This policy may change, if required, to respond to local conditions and evolving guidance from public health authorities.

There will be no public audience at the two debates. This policy applies to accredited personnel (party leaders, political staff, on-site security, venue staff, technicians, producers, journalists, moderators, crew, Commission staff, and accredited media) working at the debate site.

This policy outlines:

  1. Rules for entering the debate site
  2. On-site rules for the debate site
  3. COVID-19 policy for participating leaders

Rules for entry to the debate site

All accredited personnel at the leaders' debates must:

  • Provide attestation that they are fully vaccinated; OR
  • Provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of being on-site

Attestation and screening documents will be sent to all accredited personnel in advance.

Individuals who are unable to attest to being fully vaccinated will receive instructions for where and when to go for testing.

In addition, all accredited personnel on-site must:

  • Perform self-screening each day that they are on-site and be free of all symptoms of COVID-19
  • Go to the COVID-19 screening locations each day to confirm that they have performed self-screening and are symptom free
  • Have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the 10 days prior
  • Not be awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test
  • Adhere to the on-site rules (see below)

Before entering the site each day on Monday, September 6, Tuesday, September 7, Wednesday, September 8 and Thursday, September 9, accredited personnel must go at the COVID-19 screening locations to confirm the above. They will then be given a wristband that confirms their COVID-19 screening has been completed for that day. Please note that the wristband will change daily.

Accredited personnel will need two items to be on-site:

  • Accreditation badge and lanyard: this indicates the name of the individual and the level of site access
  • Wristband: this indicates that the individual has been screened for COVID-19 and is symptom-free

On-site Rules

The following rules are in place at the debates site (The Canadian Museum of History):

  • Capacity and attendance at the debate site will be limited
  • There will be no live audience
  • Two-metre physical distancing is mandatory at all times; for technical positions where distancing is not possible and individuals must remain in close proximity with each other for more than 15 consecutive minutes, plexiglass or other types of appropriate barriers will provide separation between individuals
  • 3-ply, disposable masks provided by the Debate Broadcast Group must be worn at all times while working in the museum or in debate production areas
  • Party leaders, moderators and journalists on stage must wear masks until they are stationary, behind their podiums, at which points masks may be removed (podiums are 2 metres apart)
  • Masks can be removed ONLY when eating or drinking
  • All individuals must remain stationary and distanced, keeping at least two metres from others while eating or drinking
  • Masks must also be worn outdoors, anytime two metre distancing cannot be maintained
  • Eye protection (goggles or face shield) must be worn in high-risk situations, including any time a person must be within two metres from another individual not wearing a mask (e.g., makeup artist, audio technician)
  • Hand sanitizer will be placed at strategic locations
  • The Canadian Museum of History follows all the industry guidelines of the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers), including the use of MERV 13 filters
  • High-touch areas (including doors, escalator handrails and washroom fixtures) will be cleaned four times daily
  • Technical equipment or workstations will be disinfected by those using the equipment, both before and after it is used
  • Arrivals and departures will be staggered to reduce crowding and maintain physical distancing
  • A minimum two metre physical distance must be maintained during breaks and meals
  • Staff will be encouraged to eat outdoors, weather permitting
  • Quebec's vaccine passport applies to the museum cafeteria. As such, any accredited personnel eating in the museum will be required to show proof of vaccination

COVID-19 for participating leaders

If a leader of a political party is unable to attend the debate in person, due to a positive COVID-19 PCR test, he/she will be invited to attend the debate virtually.

The Debates Broadcast Group will provide all necessarily equipment to ensure their safe and equitable participation, remotely. The leader will be represented on stage with a large video screen to ensure that other party leaders are able to participate and engage with the party leader taking part in the debate virtually.

There are five leaders invited to attend the debates on Wednesday, September 8 and Thursday, September 9.

In the unlikely event that three or more of the five party leaders are unable to attend the debate in person due to a positive COVID-19 PCR test, the debate will move to a virtual model. The dates of the debates will remain the same.

Definitions

"Debate site"

The debates will be held at the Canadian Museum of History on September 8 (French) and September 9 (English).

This policy applies to accredited individuals in the areas of the Canadian Museum of History which is rented and occupied for the leaders' debates on September 6,7, 8 and 9, 2021:

  • The Grand Hall and Grand Hall dressing rooms
  • The Haida Gwaii Salon
  • The Resource Centre
  • The Douglas Cardinal Salon and adjacent VIP salon
  • Panorama Salon
  • River View Salon
  • Theatre foyer
  • Gallery A
  • Main lobby

Please note that the Canadian Museum of History is not open to the public between September 6 and September 9, 2021.

"Fully vaccinated"

To have received the second of two doses at least 14 days prior to presence at debate worksite.

Date modified: September 2, 2019