Canada

Trudeau's daily coronavirus update: Small business rent could be lowered by 75 per cent (Full transcript)

In his April 24 briefing to Canadians about the COVID-19 pandemic, the PM introduced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance and cautioned that despite coming talks of reopening, 'we're not out of the woods'

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 24, 2020.

Hello everyone.

This has been a heartbreaking week for Nova Scotians and all Canadians. At 2 p.m. Atlantic time, we will observe a minute of silence in honour of Constable Heidi Stevenson and all the victims of the Nova Scotia shooting.

I also want to remind everyone that at 7:00 p.m. Atlantic or 6:00 p.m. Eastern, a virtual vigil will be held to remember those who were taken from us too soon and support their friends and family during this particularly difficult time. I hope that many of you will join us and wear red today in a show of solidarity. Let’s come together to support these communities that suffered immeasurable loss. Let’s celebrate the lives of those who left us too soon. And just remember the families, friends, loved ones whose absence will linger for years and lives. You can find more information at Nova ScotiaRemembers.com.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, the government has been working with its provincial and territorial partners not only to get through this crisis, but to position our economy to rebound once it’s over. And a big part of this work means listening to the concerns of Canadians and making adjustments as we go along.

One thing we’ve heard is that small businesses are having trouble making rent because of COVID-19. If you’ve had to close up shop because of public health recommendations, if you don’t have a lot of money coming in because people aren’t spending as much these days, you may be worried about losing your office space or not having a coffee shop to reopen after this crisis.

So last week we said that we’re planning on introducing the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance. And today I can announce that we’ve reached agreements with all provinces and territories to lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses that have been strongly affected by COVID-19 for April, May and June. The government will cover 50 per cent of that reduction with a property owner covering the rest. If you are a small business that has been strongly affected by COVID-19, and you’re paying less than $50,000 per month on rent, you’ll be eligible to receive this support. We will also be there for non-profits and charitable organizations that are struggling right now. We’ll also have more to say in the coming days about rent support for larger businesses.

As I said yesterday, what we’re witnessing in long-term care facilities across the country is extremely troubling. It’s unacceptable and our government will be there to help the provinces. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces will be deployed after the minister of Public Safety received and approved two formal request from Ontario and Quebec. Reconnaissance work is underway in both provinces. We’re identifying what needs to be done and mapping out next steps. As I’ve said many times before, we will be there for Quebecers, Ontarians and all Canadians during this crisis. We’re deploying the military to provide emergency support to help provinces regain control of the situation. But we all know that this is only a short term solution. We’re also offering billions of dollars to provinces to top up the pay of essential workers and make sure that elderly Canadians get the support they deserve.

Later today, I’ll be meeting with the first ministers to continue our work on supporting Canadians during this time. We’re also going to talk about reopening parts of the economy. Canada is a vast country and some regions have been hit harder than others during this pandemic. We’re a federation, so we have to adapt our response to the realities and challenges of each province and territory.

But I want to be clear that getting back to normal will not happen overnight. It’s going to take time. It won’t be as simple or as easy as flipping a switch. It will require a lot of coordination at the national level and our government will be there to do that work.

We will be working with the provinces and territories to establish principles and guidelines to start re-opening the economy safely. Over the coming weeks, you’ll hear more talk about reopening, but you need to know we’re not out of the woods. It’s absolutely critical that everyone continues to follow local public health instructions as we move forward.

For now, these instructions are the same for all Canadians. No matter where you live, you should be staying home as much as you possibly can. You should be washing your hands regularly and you should always keep a safe distance of two metres from others.

That is the only way for us to make it through together. Merci beaucoup.

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