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Prime Minister’s remarks on COVID-19 testing and support for Canadians

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Hello everyone.

It’s good to be here this morning with Dr. Tam and Dr. Njoo, as well as Minister LeBlanc, who’s joining us virtually.

I want to start this morning by addressing the unacceptable threats that were sent to a Toronto mosque over the weekend.

Islamophobia and right-wing extremism have no place in our country or our communities.

We must always stand united against hate or intolerance of any kind.

I would also like to revisit the terrible tragedy that occurred in Wendake over the weekend.

My thoughts are with the young victims’ family and friends, and with the people of the Wendake community.

We must get the bottom of what happened.

These young children had their whole lives ahead of them and we are all shocked by what happened.

We are living in unusual times.

We just had Thanksgiving weekend, and many people were unable to gather with their loved ones as they would have liked to.

But, despite the difficulties caused by this global crisis, Canadians are more united than ever. 

In the spring, we flattened the curve by all playing our part.

I know we can do the same this fall.

By continuing to download the free COVID Alert app—as 4.3 million people have already done—and by wearing masks and keeping our distance, we will once again flatten the curve and get through this pandemic.

And as you work hard to help your loved ones and your community, you can count on your government to always be there, by your side.

With rising COVID-19 cases, quick and accurate testing, deployed with the right strategy, has become more important than ever.

That’s why our government has been working around the clock with the provinces and territories to boost their testing capacity, while at the same time securing the world’s best rapid testing technology.

These efforts are paying off.

As Minister Anand announced, Canada recently secured up to 28.4 million rapid tests from Abbott.

And on that front in particular, we’re continuing to move forward.

Shortly, the federal government will be sending these new rapid tests—Abbott Panbio and Abbott ID NOW—to the provinces and territories.

Both of these new testing technologies are quick and reliable, so we’re getting them out to the frontlines as soon as possible.  

Our government is also continuing to provide surge support on processing tests, including for Ontario.

And for the First Nations communities of Kasabonika and Pikangikum, National Microbiology Lab employees are on the ground with testing kits.

It is vital that these communities—with cases of COVID-19—have the necessary testing capacity to control the spread of the virus and keep people safe.

From day one, we’ve worked with the provinces and territories to protect the most vulnerable.

Moving forward, that is what we will continue to do.

Soon, more Canadian Red Cross support will be deployed to a number of long-term care facilities.

Seniors must be safe and well cared for, and our government stands ready to help provincial counterparts in that work.

This is a point I will continue to make with the premiers at our twentieth First Ministers’ Meeting this coming Thursday.

Progress is also being made in terms of vaccines.

Toward the end of last week, Health Canada received an application for authorization for Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine candidate.

As with AstraZeneca’s application two weeks ago, this is another step toward a safe and effective vaccine for Canadians.

And while we’re on the subject, I would like to remind everyone to get a flu shot this fall.

It’s a good way to protect yourself, while helping hospitals and screening clinics to focus on fighting COVID-19 without being distracted by the flu. 

Our top priority is keeping you—and your family—healthy and safe.

That means protecting you from this virus, and also means ensuring you have the support you need to weather this storm.

Yesterday, applications opened for the new Canada Recovery Benefit.

The CRB provides $500 each week, for up to 26 weeks, for people who are self-employed or don’t qualify for employment insurance.

Since yesterday morning, over 240,000 applications have been received.

If you need this help but haven’t applied yet, go to the CRA’s My Account through, or call 1-800-959-2019 or 1-800-959-2041.

The application process is simple.

In fact, if you’ve used the CERB, you’ll find it very similar.

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

If you get COVID-19 and aren’t covered at work—the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit is there for you.

If a family member gets sick and you need to care for them—look to the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit.

If you’re affected by COVID-19—we’ve strengthened employment insurance to be there for you.

And if you can’t access EI—the Canada Recovery Benefit is able to help.

And for business owners, there’s more support, too.

This crisis has been very difficult for businesses across the country.

So we’ve strengthened major programs that we created that have been a lifeline for them. 

On Friday, we outlined the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, an expanded Canada Emergency Business Account, and the extension of the wage subsidy.

The new rent subsidy will provide support to businesses directly, not through landlords.

And the CEBA includes an additional $10,000 forgivable loan for those who need it.

We’ll also work to help businesses that temporarily shut down because of local public health directions.

Canadian businesses create jobs and drive our economy, and we will continue to be there for them every step of the way.

We’re all waiting for the moment when this pandemic is over: 

For the time when we can once again have a big family dinner, go to a crowded festival, or just have life return to normal.  

Those days will be back, but only if we all keep doing our part.

The numbers are still rising.

This is the time to double down on our efforts to stop the spread.

Our loved ones, our vulnerable family members, our frontline workers—they’re counting on us to do the right thing.

So follow public health guidelines and wear a mask.

Keep your distance and join the over 4.3 million people who have already downloaded the free COVID Alert app.

Together, we will get through this.

Thank you.