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Over the last week, we’ve seen significant changes in what COVID-19 means for the country.
Every day, we’ve had new updates for Canadians.
We have put new travel restrictions in place to slow the spread of the virus.
For example, we have temporarily restricted non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border.
We have invested in health and research.
And we have unveiled an unprecedented economic plan.
We’re moving fast, because that’s how we will protect Canadians and the economy.
But I know it’s also a lot to take in.
People are having to figure out how they can work from home, or close up shop temporarily.
Parents are trying to explain to their kids what’s going on, and why school is cancelled.
Right now, the last thing anyone needs is to be worrying about how to make ends meet.
People need to know they have support – for their jobs, their businesses, and their industries.
And that’s what our government has been focused on since Day 1.
Yesterday, we announced an $82-billion plan that will support all Canadians.
This includes a whole range of measures.
And people should be checking Canada.ca for the latest information.
Our team is hard at work with the public service in making sure these new supports get to Canadians as quickly as possible.
They’re doing a fantastic job already.
And I’ll have a long discussion with the Clerk of the Privy Council later today to talk about how we can support our public servants, and ensure that Canadians can access these new programs.
But the bottom line is this:
We’re giving you more help when you need it.
If you’re a parent, we’re here for you – just like for the single mom of two who will get nearly $1,500 by the end of May because of the increase in the Canada Child Benefit and the GST Credit.
If you’re worried about making ends meet, we’ve got your back – just like for the family that was concerned about their mortgage, and now doesn’t have to make payments for the next 6 months.
And if you’re helping others, we’re standing with you – like with the Samaritan House in Brandon, Manitoba that, on Wednesday, was able to open and deal with COVID-19, thanks to new funding.
They were worried, because their clients had nowhere to go since everything else closed.
But now, with the new support, they can stagger entry to 10 people at a time, extend hours, and stock up the food bank.
These are challenging times.
But we’re going to get through it together.
Whether you need more time to pay back a student loan or you’re a farmer who’s worried about your income: we are here for you.
And we will continue to do everything that we can to help you.
On health, we’re continuing to pull out all the stops to keep you safe.
We’re moving forward on vital research for everything from better understanding how this virus spreads, to developing vaccines and treatments.
As part of the $1 billion fund I announced earlier this month, $25 million will directly support 49 researchers and their teams across the country.
Their work is focused on developing and implementing measures to detect, manage, and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Across the country, scientists and researchers are working extremely hard.
I want to take a moment to specifically thank them for all the essential work they’re doing.
At the same time, we will expedite access to COVID-19 lab test kits and other medical devices.
The reality is the need for these test kits is growing.
Yesterday, Dr. Tam said that officials have now tested more than 50,000 Canadians since the beginning of the outbreak.
25,000 of those were done just in the last week alone.
So while we ramp up, we’re making sure Canada is ready to keep up.
Minister Hajdu and Minister Freeland will continue working with the provinces and territories so that everyone has the resources they need.
In times of crisis, Canadians come together.
We’ve heard from businesses from coast to coast to coast, who are telling us they want to help.
Soon, I’ll have more to say about procurement and how industry can help with this effort.
But until then, I want to let people know that we are working tirelessly to keep our hospitals, healthcare system, and Canadians supported.
On that note, let me take a moment to recognize again the incredible work of our nurses, doctors, technicians, and other healthcare professionals.
They are on the front lines of this and they’re doing a remarkable job.
We need to support them and keep them healthy as well.
But even if you don’t work in a hospital, you can still keep people healthy.
For example, we still need blood donors, so if you’re able, consider going in and donating.
Book an appointment online through blood.ca, or by calling 1-888-236-6283.
We’re also looking for other ways to support Canadians who are abroad.
Earlier, I spoke with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine about the situation and how we can coordinate our efforts.
I will also be speaking with Prime Minister Löfven of Sweden this afternoon.
Earlier this week, we announced new funding to help people borrow up to $5,000 to return to Canada or to cover their needs while waiting to come home.
We are also working with telecommunications companies.
They have agreed to send a text message to Canadians abroad about the consular services that are available to them.
Ministers Bains and Champagne worked with partners to put this in place.
We will continue making sure that people get the information they need.
There is a lot of false information circulating, and we want to make sure that people know how they can get help.
I want to remind everyone that Canadians can – and should – return home.
And to all those who are having trouble coming back: we are working hard to resolve this situation.
I also spoke with the heads of Air Canada and WestJet about this yesterday afternoon.
I know people are worried about what the days and weeks ahead hold.
There’s no doubt these are uncertain times.
But no matter what happens next, we can count on each other.
So keep supporting your neighbours by picking up some groceries for them if you’re already at the store.
Check in with people on the front lines, like cashiers and truckers, pharmacists, and hospital staff.
Take the right steps, like staying home and working remotely, to help flatten the curve.
And as you do, know that your government is right there with you.
We’re working to slow the spread of this virus.
We’re taking steps to support you through tough times.
There is nothing we won’t do to keep you safe and to protect your health.