Canada

Trudeau's daily coronavirus update: Seniors to receive additional financial support (Full transcript)

In his May 12 briefing to Canadians, the PM announced that the government will be boosting OAS and GIS to help seniors through the pandemic

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 in English for May 12, 2020.

Hello, everyone.

Before we get into things, I want to note that earlier this morning, Minister Gould announced a significant contribution to the Vaccine Alliance, Gavi, and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. These organizations deliver vaccines to some of the world’s most vulnerable. Saving millions of lives. Most recently, Gavi is also helping developing countries build capacity to respond to disease outbreaks like COVID-19. Once a COVID-19 vaccine is available, Gavi will help get it to the people who need it, and that will keep us all safer. Because in our interconnected world, to end this pandemic for good in Canada, we have to end it everywhere.

Today our government is announcing new measures to support seniors during this pandemic. First, if you’re receiving Old Age Security, you will get an additional $300 to offset some of the extra costs you’ve had to cover because of the virus. This means that across the country, almost 7 million seniors will get help that they need. And to better support the most vulnerable seniors, we will also give an extra $200 to people who are eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement. So if you’re receiving both OAS and GIS, you will get an additional $5000 in total to help you. Our government is also investing an additional $20 million in the New Horizons for Seniors program a few weeks ago. We boosted funding so that organizations could provide delivery services and help seniors stay in touch with family during the pandemic.

So we’re making another investment today to create more programs to help isolated seniors and improve their quality of life. Now, there’s no question that COVID-19 has been taking its toll on seniors, both emotionally and financially. And with today’s announcement, our government is taking action to alleviate some of the stress they may be feeling. But there’s a lot more work to be done, not only to find short term fixes, but long term solutions. COVID-19 has exposed some uncomfortable truths about our society, including how we care for seniors in Canada. We’ve seen heartbreaking tragedies in long term care facilities and nursing homes right across the country. Overworked staff, understaffed residences, grieving families. There are serious underlying challenges facing these facilities. And in the coming months, the federal government will be there to help the provinces find lasting solutions.

Every Canadian, no matter where they live for what they do, has a role to play in supporting our seniors during this pandemic. It starts with following public health recommendations. You know the drill. Staying home, washing our hands and keeping a safe distance from others when we go out.

That’s how we can protect the physical health of our parents and grandparents during this pandemic. And let’s not forget about their mental health. A lot of people, especially single seniors, are feeling really lonely right now. So call your grandparents. Ask them how their day is going, how they’re doing, and how you can help. Consider writing a letter or a postcard to isolated seniors or volunteer with a local organization to fight the isolation of seniors. We need to be there for those who have built this country for the rest of us. And that’s what Canadians will continue to do. And together we will get through this. Thank you.

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