CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Before I get started this morning, I want to talk about what happened in the House of Commons yesterday.
Our government tabled legislation that would, among other things, provide a much-needed, one-time payment of up to $600 for Canadians with disabilities.
To make sure this support could move forward, we separated the measures for people with disabilities from everything else in that legislation.
I want to take a moment to speak to everyone who lives with a disability, or cares for someone with a disability.
We will not give up.
We’re not going to let you be left behind.
And we’ll keep working to get you the help you need and deserve.
This morning, it’s great to be here at Régimbal Awards and Promotions, along with Minister Mona Fortier.
I’ve just had a chance to meet some of the employees, who showed me the new process they’re running for printing patterns on face masks.
As Luc here explained, this isn’t what their family business normally does.
When COVID-19 hit, they decided to pitch in.
They’ve already helped supply thousands of masks to people across Ottawa.
On top of that, they’re also contributing to the Ottawa Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund, and donating buttons that make wearing a mask more comfortable for doctors and nurses.
All across the country, we have seen small business owners step up and do their part.
But we cannot forget that we are going through a difficult time and that a lot of people need help at this time.
That is why our government is working around the clock to give businesses the support they need.
Whether it’s with the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy or business loans, our priority has always been to help employers stay in business and keep their employees.
For this family business, just like so many others, the pandemic hit hard.
They had to go down to three employees, and they were worried about making ends meet.
Today, because they used the wage subsidy, this business is now back to 16 staff members.
I want to thank them for stepping up and using this program not only to stay up and running, but to protect people’s jobs.
Businesses like this, which use the support available, will help Canadians get through this tough time.
Because in addition to the wage subsidy, they’ve also accessed the Canada Emergency Business Account and the rent assistance.
And that gives this family business the confidence they need to keep their doors open and keep people on the payroll.
Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and the lifeblood of our economy.
So, as we look to restart and get Canadians back on their feet, making sure small businesses have the support they need will be key.
And on that front, this week we’ve taken yet another step forward.
Yesterday, Minister Ng announced that our government is partnering with the private sector and the Business Council of Canada on their People Outside Safely Together (POST) Promise program.
This initiative calls on businesses to commit to five key public health measures – like physical distancing and handwashing – to protect customers and employees.
I encourage all business owners – whether you have a restaurant, a tech start-up, or a boutique – to join in today at postpromise.com.
Together, we can keep people safe.
And together, we can give Canadians the confidence that’s needed to restart our economy.
With this initiative and others, we’re making progress.
That said, we know there’s still more to do.
For many Indigenous businesses, the last few months have been extremely difficult.
We hear that.
So today, we’re investing an additional $133 million to support Indigenous businesses, protect jobs, and help communities weather this storm.
Of this funding, $117 million will help small and community-owned Indigenous businesses get through this tough time.
And our government will provide $16 million to support Indigenous businesses in the tourism industry, a sector that supports thousands of jobs across the country.
The goal is to help as many people as possible.
I know Minister Miller will have more details to share about all of this later today.
Any plan to restart the economy must look at supporting businesses and workers.
But it has to go beyond that, too.
To move forward, we also need to make sure that our communities have the resources to keep providing the services Canadians need.
Last week, I announced that we would accelerate funding for municipalities.
Today, Minister McKenna is publicly releasing the amounts of funding that will be available for communities.
Our government has already delivered this money to the provinces and territories, so that it can get it out to cities and towns as soon as possible.
Providing municipalities with funding sooner than expected is just one part of the plan our government will be implementing to restart the economy safely and effectively across the country.
During the meeting with the provincial and territorial premiers later today, we will be discussing the next steps.
Last week, our government indicated that it was prepared to invest $14 billion in a safe restart agreement.
This money would help pay for everything we will need in the coming months.
This evening, we will be discussing what this safe restart will include, whether it’s funding for childcare, paid sick leave, the purchase of personal protective equipment, or support for those who are most vulnerable.
I want to end this morning by recognizing that yesterday, across Canada, many people took time out to celebrate Portugal Day.
This week, throughout Portuguese Heritage Month, we have a chance to celebrate the many ways that Luso-Canadians have made our country a stronger and better place.
Look no further than Nosso Talho in Toronto, a Portuguese grocery store that’s dropping off food to people who are struggling because of this pandemic.
The Portuguese community recognizes the value of family and the importance of hard work, and it has given so much to our neighbourhoods and cities.
I would like to thank all Canadians of Portuguese heritage for their many contributions, and I wish you all a wonderful Portuguese Heritage Month.
Communities of diverse backgrounds across the country continue to step up.
And I want to thank everyone who’s doing that for understanding that the way we get through this, is by getting through this together.
Thank you very much.