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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

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Prime Minister’s remarks updating Canadians on the COVID-19 situation and continuing support for workers and businesses

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I don’t want to be here this morning.

You don’t want me to be here this morning.

In front of my home again to say that we are going to have to make sacrifices, but here we are again.

The cases across the country and around the world are spiking massively.

And we know what we have to do.

We are facing a winter that’s going to drive people inside more and more.

COVID-19 is going to be able to spread more easily inside, so we will need to be careful.

And we’re really at risk of seeing caseloads go up and hospitals get overwhelmed. And more loved ones dying.

So we need to do everything we can, right now, to slow the spread of COVID-19. To stop the spike in its tracks.

We have to follow public health guidelines. 

We have to reduce our contacts, to make wise, careful choices.

If you were planning to see friends this weekend—maybe don’t.

If there was a birthday party or a gathering for dinner you were thinking about doing—don’t do it.

We have to stay virtual. To stay home as much as possible.

We’ve reached the point where we’re going to have to tighten up again for a few weeks to block, to stop this COVID-19 outbreak.

And if we do well in the coming weeks, well, maybe it will be a little easier in the coming months.

But I’ll tell you the truth: the coming months are going to be hard. 

For 10 months, we have been doing this – people have been doing the right thing.

We have shown that we can control this virus. And we have now reached a moment when we will have to do it again, and do even more than we have done over the past few weeks.

But we’re still hearing stories about people who are still not following the guidelines. Who are putting themselves at risk. Who are putting us all at risk.

We’re in a moment right now where, even with all the sacrifices I know Canadians have been making over these past 10 months, we are now going to have to really tighten up once again. 

This is frustrating, because I know we’ve all heard stories of people who’ve thrown up their hands and are not doing their part anymore.

People who stop wearing masks or who are going out more than they should.

Although we may be tempted to do the same, we know that we can’t.

And it’s tempting for all of us to say, “Okay, maybe I can loosen up a bit more too.”

But the reality is we need to go on the opposite direction.

If there are people out there not following the rules when we know we need to, well then those of us who do follow them are going to have to do even more.

It’s not fair for anyone. But we know that we have to do it. 

We know that now is the time to work together and do what we did in the spring.

Because this is the future or our country. This is the future of our children; it’s the future of our loved ones, and our seniors. It’s our economy, it’s our businesses. It’s everything all together.

We’re going to have to do this. For another few weeks. For another few months.

But we can begin to see the other side of this. We can do this. We’ve done it before. We know what to do. We understand this virus much better than before. We need to reduce our contacts. We need to do it right now.

We need to do what we are doing to protect jobs, to support businesses, and to keep Canadians safe.

We need to work together—all of us—as a team.

Yesterday, I had a briefing with Dr. Tam, Dr. Njoo, Minister Hajdu, and the Leaders of the Opposition to discuss the current situation.

All orders of government must come together to stop the spread of this virus.   

This was something I discussed last week with the premiers at our 21st virtual First Ministers’ Meeting since the pandemic began.

Across the country, we’re seeing premiers and mayors making very tough choices to go into further shutdowns.

And I know how hard that is, and I want them to know that they have my support, our support as the federal government.

The best way to protect the economy is to get the virus under control.

Doing things to protect people’s health is the best way to minimize lasting damage to the economy.

You know in the beginning, we thought of this as a contradiction. That the things we need to do to keep us safe are things that are actually hurting the economy. That was how we framed that first wave of shutdowns.

But we actually now know better. From seeing what has happened around the world. From seeing how Canadians have made it through that first wave and through this second wave that’s ongoing.

Doing the things that protect our health are actually the best things to do to protect our economy.

Going into lockdown and supporting businesses while we’re in that lockdown is a better way of ensuring their success in a few months, in a few years, than trying to tough through a virus that is running around unchecked. 

We know that we need to be there for each other, and the federal government is going to continue to be there to help businesses that are impacted by these shutdowns.

That’s a promise I made from the beginning. That’s a promise we’re keeping.

This isn’t the fault of any individual business, and we’re going to do everything we can to get them to the other side of this crisis.

That’s why it was so important that last night, that our government’s bill providing unprecedented levels of support to Canadian businesses became law.

And I want to thank all parliamentarians for working together to get this through.

These support measures include a new rent subsidy for businesses, which will go directly to tenants, not through landlords.

Up to 65% of rent can be covered for small businesses affected by COVID-19.

And if your business is facing a public health lockdown, then we’re also providing an additional 25% rent subsidy through the new Lockdown Support.  

Combined with the rent assistance, hard-hit businesses could get a rent subsidy of up to 90%.

Canadian businesses can begin applying for these new measures as of Monday.

And they will be retroactive to September 27.

Lastly, this new law also means that the wage subsidy has been extended until June of next year, securing jobs and support for workers across the country.

This program has been a lifeline for millions of Canadians.

So we’re making sure people continue to get this support. 

Go to Canada.ca/coronavirus to find out what supports are there to help you.

Just like our government is here to support businesses, we’ll also continue to send additional targeted support to areas that are seeing concerning situations with rising cases.

Last week, I announced specific support for Indigenous communities in Manitoba.

Today, we’re providing over $120 million in immediate funding to regions that are affected by outbreaks in Saskatchewan and Alberta. 

This will be used to support public health measures, food security, and other surge capacity needs.

Minister Miller and Dr. Wong will have more to say at their regular update later today, but the bottom line is that we will do everything we can to keep people safe right across the country.

Earlier today, Dr. Tam presented the updated COVID-19 modelling for Canada.

Canada could have up to 20,000 new cases daily by the end of December if we don’t limit or reduce our contacts now.

And if we loosen and increase our contacts, we could see tens of thousands more.

I know this isn’t what people wanted to hear, but we have to be realistic about the situation.

The only way to reverse the trend is to reduce our in-person contacts.

If you do not need to go out, stay home.

Reduce your contacts. Help us beat the second wave and save lives.

We’re seeing huge spikes in places like Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Nunavut, with a record number of hospitalizations across the country.

Overwhelmed hospitals are a problem for people who need COVID-19 care. But it’s also an issue for people who need other care, whether it’s cancer treatments or emergency surgery.

And each new case of COVID-19, every extra week that goes on with more cases, puts added pressure on our front-line workers and our health care system workers. 

Think about it. Our doctors, nurses, personal support workers, orderlies, hospital staff: they’ve been on the front lines for almost 10 months now.

Putting in incredibly long hours.

Being creative in how they can save people and protect people while at the same time trying to keep themselves safe.

While at the same time having the same worries that each of us have. About our loved ones. About their kids in schools. About our parents and our grandparents.

And yet they keep showing up every single day to be there for us. Putting their health, their lives and, in many cases, their families’ lives on the line to keep us safe.

And they’re tired.

They have been heroes.

They have been going above and beyond anything they might have thought they were signing up for.

We need to help them. We need to give them a break. We need to stop this spike in cases.

We need to think about them as we think about our loved ones who need medical help, who are vulnerable to COVID-19.

As we think about the damage this is doing to families and to communities across the country.

We need to step up now. All of us.

The numbers show that right now, more of the most vulnerable Canadians are getting COVID-19, including seniors.

And outbreaks in long-term care homes and Indigenous communities are rapidly rising.

The only way we can reverse the tide is if we immediately reduce the number of people each of us come into contact with.

If you live in a region that is experiencing a surge in cases, stay home if you can and avoid all non-essential travel.

To employers who can do so, please make arrangements for your employees to once again work from home.

And if you don’t need to, don’t leave your home.

And if you haven’t already, join the over 5.3 million Canadians who’ve already downloaded the COVID Alert app.

5.3 million Canadians. That’s over a quarter of all the Canadians in jurisdictions that have used the app who own smartphones. 

We are on our way to making a difference with this app, because every use alerts other people that they need to be careful.

And it’s in addition to contact tracing, to nurses and public health professionals calling up to see who you might have come in contact with. This will catch people you didn’t even know you were in contact with.

It’s an easy thing to do to download the app for free.

It’s an easy thing to do to take a moment, once you receive a COVID-19 positive diagnosis, to plug it in.

If you get a positive test result, enter your code in the app.  

How you get the code varies from province to province, but it’s a very important step. 

Many provinces give you that code right away as soon as you get your positive case so please plug it in immediately.

Some other places require you to make a phone call, which will take a minute to get the code to plug it into the app.

Doing our part with this tool will make a huge difference.

And I said that’s over 25% of all people in participating provinces that have the app and have smartphones.

Of course there are two provinces that haven’t yet made the app available through their health care system.

But I want to directly touch on that right now for people in Alberta and B.C. If you live in Alberta and B.C., you can already still download the app for free yourself and put it on your phone.

And there’s two reasons to do that right now as we go through this second wave.

First reason is I am still hopeful that the local health systems will put together a system where they can give you that one-time code, which will allow diagnoses in those provinces to be plugged into the system to alert people.

But secondly, from the minute you download that app, it starts to work in tracing your contacts with people who also have the app. So, if you’re in Alberta and you come into contact inadvertently with someone who then goes home to Saskatchewan and gets tested positive, you’ll be alerted that you should maybe get yourself checked.

It can work even if your health system isn’t yet onboard. It’s free. It absolutely protects your privacy, and it’s an extra tool we have at a time we need to be using all the tools we have.

Each person that we lose to this virus is someone just like you who had a family and friends, who had plans for tomorrow and things they still wanted to do.

I think about the woman in Toronto who survived the Holocaust, and recently passed away from COVID-19.

Forced to flee her home during the war, she and her family ended up at a labour camp in Siberia.  

She made it through, and started a new life in Canada.

She got married and had kids, who loved her dearly.

So to her loved ones—my deepest condolences for your loss.

And to the thousands of other families who have lost someone because of COVID-19—my thoughts are with you.

Every loss is a tragedy. And each story reminds us of what is at stake in this fight against the pandemic:

Our parents and grandparents.

Our friends and neighbours.

People who give so much joy to those around them.

People who are loved. 

I know that it’s not easy, but we need to be able to count on each other.

For 10 months now, our front-line workers in the health care system have been doing an extraordinary job to help us.

Our doctors, our nurses, everyone who works in our hospitals and our health care systems are there for us, working long hours, facing incredible and unexpected challenges. And they are doing all this while managing the same stresses as the rest of us. Am I going to get sick? Am I going to pass this virus on to my children? How will my children get through this? How will I get through this?

It’s the same stress we’re all facing. And they are facing it in addition to their responsibility to save each and every one of us.

They have dedicated their lives to this. They chose these careers, but no one chose this pandemic.

And we owe it to them to do everything we can to help them. To give them a break. To stop this spike in cases.

As the government, we will continue to be there for you, for all of you, with direct federal assistance for workers, for families, and for businesses, and it will continue because we are going to get through this crisis together.

If you need to stay home, we will be there for you.

If you need to temporarily close up shop, we will be there for you.

We will continue to listen to these doctors and experts, and we are taking every necessary step—whether it’s personal protection equipment or vaccines—so that Canadians can stay safe.  

So in the coming days, I will be working from home as much as possible and I’ll be addressing you again from these steps next week.

Now is the time for each of us to once again rise to the occasion and do our part.

We know what to do, we know how hard it is, but we know it works. Because we did it this spring.

Together, let’s bend the curve, and keep each other safe.

This weekend, I’ll be virtually joining the G20, as part of our government’s work to respond to this virus at home and abroad.

And on that note, today I can also confirm that the Canada-U.S. border restrictions have been extended until at least December 21.

We will continue to work with our American counterparts to keep people safe on both sides of the border.

We will also continue working with our partners around the world, not only to protect Canadians, but also to rebuild a strong economy that works for everyone.

Today, I spoke at the APEC Leaders’ Meeting, and I talked about our response to the pandemic, about the need to build resilient economies, and about what we are doing to fight climate change. This weekend, I will be meeting with the other G20 leaders to discuss our common fight against COVID‑19, and what we are doing to protect jobs and restart the economy.

So, I’ve shared a lot of information this morning.

But here’s the bottom line.

We have a long winter ahead.

As the weather drives us indoors, we really are in danger of seeing more transmission and far too many more deaths.

I’ll be tough, but we know what we have to do.

Wear a mask, keep your distance.

Download the app and use it.

Avoid gatherings of all sizes.

And know that together, being there for each other, we will get through this.

Thank you.