Canada

Trudeau's daily coronavirus update: 'Help is on the way' for out-of-work Canadians (Full Transcript)

In his briefing for March 25 the PM said any Canadian not making money due to the coronavirus outbreak will get $2,000 per month for four months

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a daily update on the coronavirus crisis each day in front of his home in Ottawa, where he remains in isolation after his wife tested positive for COVID-19. Here are his remarks in English from March 25, 2020.

Right now a lot of people are sitting around the kitchen table with bills, trying to figure out what needs to be paid and how to plan for the coming months. If you’ve been paid off, had your hours reduced or are worried about your industry, these might be really stressful decisions.

Far too many Canadians are having these tough conversations about finances and their future. Just look at the numbers: Last week almost a million people applied for Employment Insurance. The hard truth is that people are out of work because of this crisis and worried about what comes next.

So I want you to know that we’ll be there to help you. Our government is doing everything we can do be there for you.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will provide $2,000 a month for the next four months for workers who lose their income as a result of COVID-19. This will replace the two benefits we announced last week, the Emergency Care Benefit and  the Emergency Support Benefit, in order to streamline the process.

Like I said from the start, we will adapt our approach wherever needed.

READ MORE: A heat map of coronavirus cases in Canada

If you’ve lost your job because of COVID-19, whether you’re full time, contract or self employed, this new benefit will be there for you.

If you’re sick or quarantined, looking after someone sick, or at home taking care of your kids, it’s there for you. And even if you’re still employed but not receiving income because of this crisis the CERB is there for you.

An application portal will launch as quickly as possible and people should start receiving money within 10 days of applying.

I know people are concerned about delays. Public servants are working around the clock dealing with unprecedented demand and all of the same personal stress everyone else is facing.

They will get to your application. Help is on the way.

In order to speed things up, we’re rapidly deploying workers from other departments to help deal with claims. In the last 10 days, we’ve boosted the team by close to 13,000 people to take your calls, process your claims and get you the support you need. And since last Monday, we’ve already processed 143,000 employment insurance claims. That means more money will go directly to people right across the country. We’re working to get you the support you need, when you need it.

And if you’re doing okay, there’s a way you can help someone else. As an employer, a landlord or even just a friend, you can be part of the solution. It can make all the difference. Because it’s by working together that we’ll get through this.

And our team knows that. We’re collaborating with the provinces and territories, as well as with First Nations, Inuit and Métis nation communities to co-ordinate our efforts and make sure that everyone is supported.

Earlier this week, with the premiers, we also discussed testing for COVID-19. We know that how long you wait for your results varies widely. The premiers and I know we need to address that, and we are. This is something Minister Hajdu and I discuss with officials every day, and we’ll continue doing what’s needed to speed up results for everyone.

But I also want to recognize the incredible work medical professionals are doing on this front. According to Dr. Tam, we’re now testing about 10,000 people a day. That’s a huge increase in numbers in a very short period of time. And it’s because people across the country are working tirelessly to make it happen.

At the same time, we’re helping companies, labs and scientific institutions produce and supply what we need most. From masks and ventilators to vaccines and antiviral drugs.

We’re collaborating with airlines to get Canadians to home from abroad and instructing everyone that they must isolate at home for 14 days.

We’re also working with our international partners on this crisis. This morning, I had calls with President Sall of Senegal and President Kagame of Rwanda to share strategies on keeping people safe and addressing the economic impacts of this pandemic. I’ve also spoken to Prime Minister Abiy of Ethiopia and President Kenyatta of Kenya about international coordination. And tomorrow I’ll be speaking with other G20 leaders to discuss further global coordination to our response.

Right now it’s more important than ever that Canadians have access to the latest news and information.

To ensure that journalists can continue to do this vital work, our government is announcing new measures to support them. Minister Guilbeault will have more to say about this shortly, but I want to take a moment to thank our journalists and media for everything they do, today and every day.

Above all, the most important way we can work together is by staying apart. Social distancing is our best tool to stop people from getting sick. I know people are seeing different graphs about how effective social distancing can be and new maps tracking the spread of this virus.

Every time you turn on the TV or go online, you probably read something new. I know I do. And you’ll want to know what’s coming next. Today, I’ll be getting the latest modelling from the Public Health Agency of Canada and we’ll discuss how to share this information even more directly with all of you. But you deserve the best information we’ve got about what’s happening today and what tomorrow might bring, because otherwise, the uncertainty can be really tough, not just for your routine, but for your mental health, too.

We’re facing a once in a generation challenge and on top of that you can’t do many of the things that keep you feeling good: Getting together with friends or having dinner with your neighbour. If you need help, reach out to your neighbour, to a sibling, to a friend, to a hotline—but do it from home. Don’t go out unless you absolutely have to.

If you are already following these rules, thank you for doing your part. If you aren’t, know that you are making a dangerous choice, because ignoring these rules puts every single one of us, yourself included, at risk.

[Translated from French] This is the reality, if people refuse to follow the recommendations, our doctors and nurses have a more likelihood of contracting COVID-19. And if our health care professionals get sick, they cannot go to work, and therefore they cannot take care of you if you get sick.

Our country is facing the greatest health-care crisis in its history. We cannot allow ourselves to put people at risk who take care of our health. So instead of inviting people over for dinner—don’t do it. That puts everyone at risk. Grocers, technicians, bus drivers, farmers, people who collect our garbage—all of those people deserve better, we must protect them.

It’s not hard to do what we’re asking you to do. Just stay home. If you absolutely must go out, keep a two-metre distance between you and others. And if you are coming back from travel abroad, go directly home and stay there for at least 14 days. That applies to everyone. In order to come through this, we must all look after each other and we must all do our share. I know that we can do this, and I know that Canadians are equal to the task. Thank you.

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