Canada

Trudeau's daily coronavirus update: On the tragedy in nursing homes, governments must 'do better' [Full Transcript]

In his daily briefing for April 15, the PM said leadership is needed to support seniors 'who built this country' and announced a pay boost for essential workers in care facilities

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 April 10, 2020.

Before I get started I want to take a moment to recognize Canadians who are doing some of the toughest jobs in the country: the women and men working in our hospitals, our seniors homes and our long term care facilities are making sacrifices every day.

If you do one of these jobs, thank you. Thank you fort keeping us safe and healthy and protecting our loved ones. You deserve our full support. So if you need a hand getting through these tough times we’ll be there for you.

Today, we’re announcing more help for more Canadians. This includes topping up the pay of essential workers. At the same time, we’ll also be expanding the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to reach people who are earning some income as well as for seasonal workers who are facing no jobs, and for those who’ve run out of EI recently.

And a little later, I’ll have some news about where we are with testing.

[speaking in French] In Parliament you heard me talk about the contributions of the largest generation, people who grew up and fought in World War II. Now, right across the country, the last members of this generation are now living in seniors homes and long term care facilities. The truth is tragic and worrisome.

These are the places where we look after our seniors and yet they are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. This is something I want to address with the premiers during a discussion tomorrow evening. We must all do better. We must all show leadership to support those seniors who built this country. To begin with, our government will be working with the provinces and territories to increase the pay of our essential workers, earning less than $2,500 a month. And the same applies to long term facility workers. [French translation ends]

About the contributions of the Greatest Generation who grew up during the Depression and fought through the Second World War. Today, across the country, the last members of this generation live in nursing homes and long term care facilities. The uncomfortable and tragic truth is that the very places that care for our elderly are the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

I’ll be addressing this with premiers tomorrow night. We all need to do better. We all need to take leadership for the seniors who’ve built this country. Our government will work with the provinces and territories to boost wages for a essential workers or making under $2,500 a month like those in our long term care facilities.

For many workers looking after the most vulnerable Canadians, including seniors and those with disabilities, we know conditions have gotten more difficult over the past weeks and you need support right now.

Tomorrow in our weekly meeting, I will discuss with provincial and territorial leaders the importance of getting this wage boost in place as quickly as possible.

As we face an unprecedented threat to public health, you, are our most important line of defence. We will do whatever we can to help you do your job and support you through this time.

[speaking in French] In March, our government introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. This measure is part of a plan that we put in place to ensure that everyone can receive the necessary help to come through this difficult period. Millions of Canadians have already received the benefit, but we know that many other people were not eligible. And yet they still need help. So today we will be relaxing the criteria to allow even more Canadians to benefit from it.

If you earn a thousand dollars a month or less, you can now receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit because many people do not work as many hours as before, and others must adjust to the reality of contract or gig work.

Workers who have run out of EI benefits recently will also be able to receive the benefit. And across the country, many people will not have any seasonal work this year because of the pandemic and therefore the CERB will also be available to them.

This is a difficult context as well for creators and artists right across the country. The cultural venues are closed and work is rare. Minister Guilbeault has heard from artists who are asking the copyright for their work before the crisis happened not make them ineligible for the CERB. And therefore, at these anxious times, artists continue to help us reflect on life and dream. They bring sunshine into our daily lives and we are very grateful for that. [French translation ends]

I can announce that we are expanding the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to include people making up to $1,000 a month, seasonal workers and people whose EI has recently run out.

Maybe you’re a volunteer firefighter or a contractor who can pick up some shifts or you have a part time job in a grocery store. Even if you’re still working or if you want to start working again, you probably need help in making ends meet. So if you earn a $1,000 or less a month, you will now be able to apply for the CRB. If you were expecting a seasonal job that isn’t coming because of COVID-19, you’ll now be able to apply. If you’ve run out of EI since January 1st, you can now apply for the CERB as well. And for others who still need help, including post-secondary students and businesses worried about commercial rent, we’ll have more to say to you very soon.

No matter who you are or where you live, we’re in your corner.

[speaking in French] After accepting an initial request for help from the CAF from Nunavut, Quebec sent us a request for the North Shore. And I can confirm that the Canadian Rangers will be there to lend a hand. [French translation ends]

We accepted the first demand for help from the Canadian Armed Forces for Nunavik.

The government of Quebec has sent us a second request for Cote-Nord. I can confirm that the Canadian Rangers will be there to provide support. I want to thank our women and men in uniform and the families who serve alongside them for all that they do. Whenever we need you most, you’re always there for us.

[speaking in French] From time to time, we may feel overwhelmed by events. We’re in a situation that may seem unreal. And it’s not always easy to deal with everything happening around us. This week, the government is launching a new portal that will bring together mental health resources and we’ll make them available to Canadians. You can go to Canada.ca or use the application: Canada COVID-19 to talk to someone.  There is no reason to feel embarrassed about that. The important thing is to get the help you need. [French translation ends]

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, know that you aren’t alone and there are people who can help. We have launched a mental health portal at Canada.ca and through the Canada COVID-19 app where you can go to find support to if you need to. Please reach out. We’ll be there for each other.

Finally, we have more news today to share on testing. LuminUltra from New Brunswick, with whom we signed a contract, is now ramping up production to supply enough COVID-19 test chemicals to meet the weekly demand in all provinces. And in the last few days, we received a new batch of swabs to make sure every province has the supplies they need to keep testing.

Whether it’s reagents or test kits, we are ensuring that Canada has the tools to fight this virus.

Tomorrow, I’ll also be speaking with the other G7 leaders about continuing to coordinate a strong and effective global response to this pandemic.

[speaking in French] The business LuminUltra, New Brunswick, is now ramping up its production capacity in order to provide enough chemicals for COVID-19 test kits and tests that need to be conducted in the provinces and territories. Up until now, we have also received a new batch of swabs.

I know that everyone wants to know when life will go back to normal. But the reality is that we cannot give you a specific date. But this is what we know: for this to be over, people have to stay home. We have to limit our movements as much as possible and keep a distance of two metres from others. And if everyone does his or her part, we will come through this together.

Thank you.

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