CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
I’m pleased to be here with Minister Joly, Minister LeBlanc, Dr. Tam, and Dr. Njoo.
Before I get started, I’d like to address the recent news coming from the United States where the President and First Lady have tested positive for COVID-19.
Sophie and I both wish President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump a safe and speedy recovery.
Earlier this year, Canadians worked hard to slow the spread of COVID‑19. Our fight against the virus isn’t over, and we must all continue to do our part to save lives.
While the number of cases is increasing across the country, it is important to follow all public health advice.
That means wearing a mask, staying two metres away from others, washing your hands, and downloading the free COVID Alert app.
We continue to encourage all provinces and territories to launch this extremely useful tool. The app is now active in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, which join the other five provinces that have already signed on. The Government of Quebec will also be making an announcement about this very soon.
As a Quebec MP, I cannot emphasize strongly enough how important it is to make use of all the tools available to us to protect the population.
I want to reassure you by repeating that your privacy is fully protected with this app.
It does not collect data on your location. In addition, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada supports its use.
And even if your region has not yet officially signed on, don’t wait, because the app starts working to protect you from the moment it is downloaded.
So I encourage all Canadians to download the free COVID Alert app from the App Store or Google Play Store as a way to help keep you and others safe.
Tackling COVID-19 has been a Team Canada effort and, last night, I had my 19th First Ministers’ meeting with the premiers since the start of this pandemic.
Minister LeBlanc will talk more about how all orders of government are continuing to work together to keep Canadians safe.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, our government has been focusing on supporting Canadian workers, and the small businesses that create good, middle-class jobs.
We created the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which kept employees on the payroll. And we also introduced the Canada Emergency Business Account that helps employers pay for things like hand sanitizers and face shields.
To support even more businesses, we invested almost $1 billion to create the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund.
This funding flowed through the Regional Development Agencies, with a portion also going to the Community Futures Network of Canada, to help businesses in rural and remote areas.
These organizations know the specific needs of their regions and the businesses they serve. And we’ve heard from small businesses about how important that funding was to keep the lights on.
We need to continue to support workers and small businesses as we move through this second wave.
So on that front, I have some important news to share.
Today I can announce that our government is investing another $600 million for the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund.
This funding will support the Community Futures Network of Canada and five Regional Development Agencies—the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, FedDev Ontario, FedNor, and Western Economic Diversification Canada.
Minister Joly will have more to say, but here’s the bottom line: we will be here for Canadians, whatever it takes, for as long as it takes.
In the last six months, most Canadians have been able to stay at home if they need to, because they have a safe place to live.
But that isn’t the reality for everyone.
Women and children who are the victims of violence often don’t feel like they have anywhere else to go.
And that’s unacceptable.
Earlier this year, we invested $50 million to support over 1,000 women’s organizations and shelters across the country. And this funding helped them do things like hire more staff to manage work, and improve cleaning and safety plans.
No one should have to choose between facing violence at home or dealing with a pandemic in the streets.
We know that women’s safety must be the foundation on which all progress is built, and today, we’re taking another step to address gender-based violence.
The Government of Canada is investing an additional $50 million to support organizations that provide services for women and children who face violence.
The funding will include $10 million for women’s shelters and sexual assault centres across the country, and another $10 million for gender-based violence services that support Indigenous women and children living off-reserve.
The remaining $30 million will go to women’s organizations that combat gender-based violence, including those that deliver vital services like counselling support and crisis intervention.
I’d like, as always, to thank Minister Monsef for her tremendous work on this important issue.
Our government will continue to be there for those who face gender-based violence, and we will continue to work with the organizations that support them.
I’d like to end today by recognizing that October is the start of Women’s History Month.
Our country would not be what it is without the tireless and selfless contributions of women throughout our history.
Every day, women across the country dedicate their lives to making Canada a better place for everyone.
As we celebrate these women, I encourage us all to remember our own role in being active allies.
And let’s work together to advance gender equality through our everyday actions.
Thank you, everyone.