Canada

Trudeau's daily coronavirus update: We're working to 'protect people and the economy' (Full Transcript)

In his briefing for March 26, 2020, the PM announced a new ambassador to the U.S. and issued a stern new warning to travellers returning to Canada

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 for March 26, 2020.

Hello everyone.

[French translation] Yesterday, our emergency plan to help Canadians was passed by Parliament with even more generous measures that will help even more Canadians. We’re talking about $107 billion for workers, families and businesses that are going through tough times because of COVID-19.

We are now introducing a single benefit. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit to help workers who have lost their income because of the pandemic. Whether you are eligible for EI or not, that benefit is there to help you.

People will receive $2,000 from the federal government every month for the next four months. We will also be launching an online portal as soon as possible so that people can apply quickly, receive money and receive money in the next 10 days. [French translation ends]

Our plan to help Canadians, save jobs and support our economy was adopted by Parliament with more generous measures to help even more Canadians. We’re now talking about  $107 billion to support people and businesses.

We launched the new The Canada Emergency Response Benefit which will provide  $2,000 a month for up to four months to people who are not being paid as a result of COVID-19. This will replace the two benefits we announced last week to make it even simpler for you to get help.

An application portal will launch as quickly as possible and people should start receiving money within 14 days of applying.

As part of this plan, we’ll also be boosting the Canada Child Benefit for families in May. Parents already know how much the CCB helps with the cost of raising kids. By increasing the CCB we will put even more money in the pockets of families to help them navigate these uncertain times.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: The early show

We will also be supplementing the GST credit, which is sent to low-income Canadians every few months. And for people who are still paying off their student loans, we’re putting a six-month interest-free moratorium on their Canada student loans. You can find more information on what else we’re doing, and how to access your benefits, at canada.ca.

I’m sorry to say there appears to be a text scam going around on the new Emergency Response Benefit. I want to remind everyone that the government’s website is the best place to find reliable information on everything we’re doing.

[French translation] You can consult the site canada.ca to receive more information about what our government is doing to counter COVID-19, and on the way to have access to benefits. Unfortunately, some people have received a text message that seemed to come from the government with respect to the new Emergency Benefit. This is a scam. I want to remind you that the government website is the best place to find reliable information about what we’re doing.

It’s clear that the pandemic is placing a lot of pressure on our health-care system, on employment insurance and particularly the government apparatus. But know that we’re doing everything we can to shorten the deadlines. I know that bills are piling up and pressure is mounting, and that concerns many, many families. Rightly so. But we are working as quickly as possible to put money into your pockets.

We also know that people abroad are still having trouble finding flights to come back home, and we continue to work with airlines in order to bring people home. Yesterday, Air Transat announced two other flights leaving from El Salvador and Guatemala for Montreal. [French translation ends]

At the same time, our government is in close contact with our international partners who are also facing this crisis. We are looking at what has worked for them and we are trying to see whether we can take inspiration from their success.

I spoke to G20 leaders. One thing is clear, we can only overcome COVID-19 if we take action together as a global community. So we’re going to do whatever it takes. That means making sure the World Health Organization and our public health agencies have the resources they need. It means working together to develop a vaccine, identify treatments and increase testing.

We are also expanding manufacturing capacity for critical medical equipment and working to keep the supply chains moving to get that equipment to the people who need it. Our government is helping companies in Canada retool their manufacturing facilities to produce the things we all need.

On the economy, the G20 has also made significant investments to help people and businesses get through this challenging time. And we’re going to be working closely together to coordinate our efforts to protect the global economy. COVID-19 is a global crisis and demands a global response. Now, more than ever, we must work with our allies to protect people and the economy.

And on that note, I announce this morning that I am appointing Kirsten Hillman as our new ambassador to the United States. Ambassador Hillman is a gifted and brilliant diplomat. She was instrumental in securing a good deal for Canada and for Canadians during NAFTA negotiations. Most recently Ambassador Hillman played a key role as we worked with our southern neighbours to temporarily close the border while keeping trade flowing.

As we fight COVID-19 we must protect the supply chains on which we depend for things like fresh vegetables, medicine and supplies for our health care systems. Our ports, railways and trucks are vital to bringing in the things we need and I want to thank all the workers who are keeping our country moving.

Everyday our government looks at what we need to do better to help you and keep you safe from this evolving crisis. So in response to the fact that too many travellers are still not self-isolating upon returning to Canada, we’re taking greater action. I’ve been very clear on this. The premiers, Dr. Tam and public health officials have all been very clear on this. If you’ve just returned from abroad, you have to go home and stay home for 14 days.

But some people have not been taking this seriously. They’re stopping by the grocery store on their way home from the airport, they’re getting together with friends after being away for March Break. This kind of conduct is not just disappointing, it’s dangerous. So now, a 14-day quarantine will be mandatory for all Canadians returning home from abroad. We are implementing the Quarantine Act to keep all Canadians safe.

If you do not comply with these instructions, you could face serious fines and even prison time.

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