News Release

For Immediate Release

Government of Canada and Canada’s video game industry team up to #CRUSHCOVID

October 2, 2020                      Ottawa, ON                  Public Health Agency of Canada

As cases of COVID-19 among young Canadians are increasing, people aged 13 to 29 years old have a critical role to play. These young Canadians can reduce the spread and protect their friends and families from getting sick, especially older adults and those with underlying medical conditions.

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, together with Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, announced the launch of a public health awareness campaign entitled #CrushCOVID or #PilerCOVID. In partnership with the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC), the campaign will reach gamers and youth across the country through major video game studios here in Canada.

During the COVID-19 epidemic, many young people have and will continue to use video games as an outlet to pass time and stay virtually connected with friends. Through ESAC’s and their members’ social media platforms, the #CrushCOVID initiative will help engage young Canadians where they are congregating virtually, reminding them of important public health practices.

This fall, it will be more important than ever for our youth and young adults, especially those who live with older or high-risk family members, or work in customer service settings, to follow public health advice. Young people were part of the collective solution to crushing the spring wave and now, with high incidence rates in this age cohort, they are a critical element in the solution we need to ramp up the defences to help crush COVID and stop a big resurgence from occurring.


To reach young people, we must meet them where they gather. Through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s partnership with Canada’s video game industry, we can connect with more young people and share important ways they can protect themselves and their loved ones. We need to work together if we want to crush COVID-19. This new campaign will help youth learn and remember public health measures, that will protect everyone.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

“The Entertainment Software Association of Canada is helping to communicate a critical message, at a critical time, to a critical audience. Over the past month or more, youth aged 13 to 19 and young adults aged 20 to 29 years accounted for 38% of reported cases. This is concerning as many young adults live with family members at high-risk, or work in customer service jobs. The time is now for everyone, especially young Canadians, to come together to help crush COVID-19.”

Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Public Health Officer

“Canada’s video game industry is proud to partner with the Public Health Agency of Canada. We are helping communicate a very important message; we need to stay vigilant, this pandemic isn’t over. We all have a part to play in controlling transmission of COVID-19. Together, we can create environments which support Canadians in engaging in safe activities. Our sincere hope is that our public health awareness campaign will drive this message in an exciting and meaningful way.”

Jayson Hilchie
President & CEO
Entertainment Software Association of Canada

 Quick Facts

  • For more information about #CRUSHCOVID, visit the Entertainment Software Association of Canada’s website.
  • Since the initial wave of COVID-19 in Canada, the infection rates among younger age groups has grown substantially. Since late August, the highest infection rates for COVID-19 have been among those aged 20 to 29 years. Recent national surveillance data indicate that young people are getting infected more than others.
    • Youth aged 13-19 years of age accounted for 9% of total cases but account for only 7.73% of the Canadian population.
    • Young people 20-29 years of age accounted for 28% of total cases but account for only 13% of the Canadian population. Visit to learn more about the current situation in Canada.
  • We know that 65% of Canadians play video games, and more than 90% of teens play video games. It is essential for the Government of Canada to engage with Canadians in an innovative way at this critical point in our fight against COVID-19.

 Associated Links


Cole Davidson

Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu

Minister of Health


Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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