Canada

Trudeau's daily coronavirus update: Health Canada approves first Canadian clinical trial for COVID-19 vaccine [Full transcript]

In his May 16 briefing, the Prime Minister announced Health Canada approval for a vaccine trial at Dalhousie University

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a daily update on the coronavirus crisis each day in front of his home in Ottawa. Here are his remarks for May 16, 2020.

Hello everyone, happy weekend.

I want to start by noting  that tomorrow is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. Every year, this is a day where we speak out against the stigma and violence that target the LGBTQ community. We need to show our solidarity tomorrow, and every day. Homophobia, transphobia and biphobia are never okay, we all have a role to play in building a Canada where everyone can be proud of who they are, and whom they love.

[speaking in French] Regardless of who you are or where you live, your life has changed because of this pandemic. Your challenges and needs are no longer the same, because your situation is no longer the same. Our government has implemented new programs to help us get through this crisis — whether you be studying or retired, with or without a job. At the same time, we are foreseeing more support for programs and organizations whose essential work is even more essential these days.

Health Canada has now approved the first Canadian clinical trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine at the Canadian Center for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University. The National Research Council of Canada will be working with the manufacturer so that if these vaccine trials are successful, we can produce and distribute it here at home. Research and development take time and must be done right, but this is encouraging news.

A few weeks ago we announce $40 million for womens’ shelters and sexual assault centres across the country. And for Indigenous women and children fleeing violence, we’re providing $10 million for emergency shelters. Our goal was to help these organizations take all the necessary steps to protect people not only from violence, but from COVID-19. To date, more than 500 womens’ shelters and sexual assault organizations have received additional support, including Inasmuch House in Hamilton, the Miramichi Emergency Centre for Women, the Saskatoon Interval House and the South Okanagan Women in Need Society.

I now want to turn to what we’re doing for parents. As you’ve probably heard, we’re boosting the Canadian Child Benefit for the month of May. You can expect to receive $300 more per child when you get your benefit this Wednesday. But that’s not all. Starting on July 20th, we will increase the Canada Child Benefit once again for the upcoming year. Every summer for the past three years, we’ve boosted the CCB to help keep up with the cost of living. This summer will be no different. As the price of your groceries go up, so will the benefit.

Our number one priority has always been to protect the health and safety of Canadians, and we’ve been able to count on the Canadian Red Cross to do just that. They have been playing a key role in supporting Canadians during this crisis, helping both individuals and communities with their most pressing needs. But, like many organizations, the Red Cross is facing an increased demand for its services at a time where they are getting fewer volunteers, and receiving less in donations, so today our government is investing $100 million to ensure that the Red Cross can keep responding to COVID-19 while also preparing for potential floods and wildfires.

[speaking in French] I would like to end this morning by speaking to the youth and children listening to us. I know that the past few weeks have been very hard. You’re looking forward to seeing your friends, to going back to school, and yes, to have a break from your parents. For teenagers from the LGBTQ community, it’s even more difficult. Oftentimes things are hard at home and we are all far away from our support networks. We will be there for you and together we’ll be able to get through this. Things are going to go better. Continue to contribute around the house, continue to help your parents because this helps us all, it helps us all to go through this as a society. Hold fast, hang on and we’ll see each other on the other side.

Thank you very much.