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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

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Prime Minister's remarks updating Canadians on support available to them during COVID-19

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Hello everyone.

I’m pleased to be here with Dr. Tam and Dr. Njoo.

I want to start today with an update on COVID-19.

In the last few days, Ontario and Quebec have had their highest-ever numbers of cases.

And across the country, totals have gone up, including in long-term care homes.

That’s not where any of us wanted to be on the way into Thanksgiving.

But even if we can’t gather this long weekend, we still have a chance to turn things around for Christmas.

You’re probably already wearing a mask when you go out – now more than ever, keep it up.

The same goes for staying two metres apart, and washing your hands.

I know we keep saying it, but that’s because these small things can make a big difference.

And if you haven’t already, download the COVID Alert app now, which is another way of keeping yourself and others safe.

Seven provinces have brought the app fully online, and we’re expecting more news on this later today.

COVID Alert is free and protects your privacy, so download it from Google Play or the App Store.

The more people who sign up, the more powerful this tool will become.

Already in Ontario, over 600 people have registered a positive result, which automatically notified thousands of people they came into contact with.

Now is the time for all of us to use the app.

Our government's number one priority is people's safety.

We have now procured more than two billion pieces of personal protection equipment for Canadians.

Over the past month, our government has delivered tens of millions of items to the provinces and territories – from face shields to masks, gowns, and gloves.

In terms of screening equipment such as swabs, not only have we supplied the provinces and territories, but we now have two Canadian companies that are authorized to supply swabs made right here in Canada with 3D printers.

And last week, Health Canada received its first request for authorization for the AstraZeneca vaccine candidate, to which we have secured access.

This is another step towards ensuring that Canadians get a safe and effective vaccine as soon as possible

Our government will continue doing everything we can to support people through this crisis, whatever it takes, as long as it takes.

Yesterday, I had a very productive call with Mayor Tory of Toronto, about addressing the challenges facing Canada’s largest city.

Later today, I’ll be speaking with Mayor Watson from Ottawa, and Mayor Brown from Brampton.

I will soon be speaking with Mayor Plante from Montréal, and I just spoke with Mayor Labeaume from Quebec City.  

Beating this virus is a Team Canada effort, and we’re here for Canadians right across the country.

We’ve created the COVID Testing Assistance Response Team, to quickly deploy across Canada because the federal government stands ready to help.

Federal lab space is also providing surge support on processing of tests, including for Ontario for 1,000 tests a day.

And additional federal labs will be added.

On contact tracing, we have agreements in place with Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta, with more to come for other provinces and territories. 

There are 500 full-time contact tracers provided for Ontario, including 30 tracers specifically for Ottawa.

At the same time, we’re moving forward with programs that go directly to Canadians.

As of this morning, applications for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit are open.

These two programs are for Canadians not covered at work if they get COVID-19, or if their kids or parents get it and they have to take care of them.

If you need this support, go to the CRA’s My Account through Canada.ca, or call 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.

Next week, applications will also open for the Canada Recovery Benefit, to support people who are directly affected by COVID-19 but can’t access EI.

These three new programs – the Recovery Benefit, the Sickness Benefit, and the Caregiving Benefit – are there for you.

This fall is turning out to be pretty challenging for a lot of Canadians, including for young people.

For students:

I know this isn’t the Thanksgiving – let alone the year – you had hoped for.

But even if things are different this long weekend, I hope you still take some time – probably online – with loved ones.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed or you’re struggling, reach out.

You have a whole network – family, friends, teachers – that’s there for you.

I know we’re going through really tough times right now – everyone is – but we need you, your strength, your resilience, your vision for the future. We will continue to be there for you. You got this.

And on that note, I’d like to mention that it is World Teachers’ Day.

As a dad, and someone who’s spent time at the front of a classroom, I know how important teaching can be.

So to teachers and educators across the country: thank you for everything you do.

Of course, even in regular times the job is not without its challenges.

And right now, teachers are facing circumstances that none of us could have ever predicted.

But despite everything, you are doing an incredible job.

You are devoted every day and you are making a huge difference in the lives of our young people.

Later today, we will be announcing the names of 71 exception educators from around the country who will be given the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

These are people who believe in our children and, as a result, are helping build a better future for us all.

Not only are you navigating health rules and online learning, you’re guiding young people through an incredibly difficult and challenging new world.

You’re there for our kids, and know that our government will be there for you.

We created the $2 billion Safe Return to Class Fund, to keep you and your students safe.

For Edmonton Public Schools, this money has helped with rapid testing to protect staff and students.

For schools in London, Ontario, it has meant buying more PPE and hiring additional teachers.

And right across the country, this investment is going towards keeping all of our classrooms healthy.

As with the Safe Return to Class Fund, we will continue to find other ways to ensure the safety of all Canadians.

Flattening the curve – whether in schools or workplaces – is our top priority in the coming weeks.

And finally, I want to let Canadians know that I’ve asked the Foreign Minister to travel to Europe, to discuss with our allies the developments in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, particularly in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Thank you very much.