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Prime Minister’s remarks updating Canadians on the COVID-19 situation

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Hello everyone.

Yesterday, 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 Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which will provide $2,000 a month, for up to 4 months, to people who are not getting 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.

Whether you are eligible for employment insurance or not, this benefit is there to help you.

An application portal will launch as quickly as possible, and people should start receiving money within 10 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 costs 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.

We’ll 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.

It’s clear that the pandemic is putting a lot of pressure on our health care systems, on employment insurance, and on the entire machinery of government. But please know that we are doing everything we can to reduce delays.

I know that the bills are piling up and the pressure is mounting.

A lot of families are worried, and with good reason.

But we are working as quickly as possible to put money in your pockets.

We also know that people abroad are still having trouble finding flights to come home, and we are continuing to work with airlines to bring them back to Canada.

Yesterday, Air Transat announced two more flights to Montreal from El Salvador and Guatemala.

At the same time, our government is in constant communication with our international partners, who are also facing this crisis.

We’re looking at what worked for them, or even what didn’t work, to see if we can learn from their success.

Earlier today, 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’re 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 re-tool 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 are going to be working closely together to coordinate our efforts to protect the global economy.

COVID-19 is a global crisis and it 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 announced this morning that I’m 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.

Every day, 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 have 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.

We all have a role to play in slowing the spread of this virus.

What we are asking of you, it’s not complicated.  

Stay home. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Call your friends instead of going to see them.

And above all, if you have just returned to the country, you must not leave your house at all for 14 days.

We all want life to get back to normal, but for that to happen, everyone must do their part.

Thank you.