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Prime Minister’s remarks updating Canadians on the COVID-19 situation and vaccination efforts

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Hello everyone.

From coast to coast to coast, vaccination is underway.

As of last week, we had delivered close to a million doses total to the provinces and territories.

There’s still a lot of work to do, but these shipments are already bringing relief – and hope – to communities across the country.

Every day, more vulnerable people in long-term care homes and more health care workers are getting vaccinated.

And in Indigenous and northern communities, too, the immunization campaign is ongoing.

Last week, on Vancouver Island, 600 doses arrived for the Cowichan Tribes.

Within just two days, every single one had been administered.

Over the weekend, nine Cree communities in northern Quebec received boxes of doses.

And in the coastal Inuit community of Nain, Nunatsiavut, Canadian Rangers were deployed and did great work to support the vaccination efforts.  

This is what teamwork looks like.

To everyone who’s part of this effort: thank you.

When we work towards a common goal, we get results for all Canadians.

Now, even with this good news, the situation is still critical.

Our fight is not over.

That’s why we have the plan Canada needs to get you and your family vaccinated as soon as possible, and to deal with any roadblocks that come up in our way.

For example, Pfizer’s global supply issues are not ideal, but that’s why we were so ambitious in the large numbers of contracts we signed and doses we secured.

I can tell you that Minister Anand is in contact with the company every day.

Remember:

This situation with the Pfizer delay is temporary.

Our vaccination objectives for the first quarter of the year – January to March – are not changing.

The total number of doses committed to us is still the same, with every Canadian who wants to get vaccinated able to get vaccinated by September.

When I say that everyone has to do their part, I am also speaking to travellers.

Now is not the time to travel abroad.

If you have plans to leave the country, please, on behalf of all Canadians, cancel them.

A trip south or elsewhere is not worth catching COVID-19 and bringing it back to Canada.

As you know, travellers must quarantine when they return to the country and the consequences are very severe for those who do not do it.

As for the new variants of the virus – in England, Brazil, and South Africa – we are monitoring the situation very closely.

But one thing is certain: with these new mutations, circumstances could change very quickly.

So, again, we are asking all Canadians to stay here, in the country.

Especially since ministers are continuing to assess various issues day-to-day, and new measures could be imposed without notice, depending on the situation.

More than ever before during this pandemic, our personal choices affect the safety and health of others.

Let us continue to be vigilant.

We must continue to help one another.

When we do not follow guidelines, it is our health care workers and our most vulnerable that we put at risk.

But remember, this situation is temporary.

Vaccines are coming.

We need to hang on for the next few months.

Like you, I can't wait for spring to arrive.

It’s absolutely critical that everyone keeps doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19.

We owe it to ourselves, to our families, and to everyone around us.  

In a few months, spring will be here.

So now is not the time to abandon our efforts.

I think of the tragic and unacceptable situation in long-term care facilities in Ontario and across the country.

Our parents and grandparents deserve better.

Our nurses deserve better.

So to the residents:

We’re doing everything we can to get you your vaccine as quickly as possible.

And to the workers:

I know your families are worried, as you are worried about them.

I know that your kids are afraid to lose you every time you go to work, and you’re afraid of bringing home the virus.

So if you haven’t already received it, we’re getting you your vaccine as soon as possible.

So thank you for everything that you do.

Your dedication, your commitment to Canadians impress us all.

There’s a lot more work to be done, but we’re making important progress.

Last Friday, Mayor Watson here in Ottawa said that all long-term care homes in the city have finished their first round of vaccination.

In Quebec, three quarters of long-term care home residents have had their first shot.

More doses are coming and we won’t stop until everyone is safe.    

As many provinces announced stricter measures to stop the spread of the virus in recent weeks, many people are still worried about their jobs and about the future.

Our government has created programs to help you, and we will be there for you for as long as it takes.

During the Cabinet retreat, the team considered our strategy to continue supporting families, workers, and businesses.

To get a picture of the national and global economies, we received presentations from two experts – Kevin Milligan from the University of British Columbia and Frances Donald from Manulife – and we talked about the recovery.        

As Canada recovers from this global crisis, we want to make sure that everyone – every worker, parent, and young person – lands back on their feet.

To help do that, part of our strategy is ensuring that Canada becomes the global clean tech leader, and that Canadian workers be at the forefront of that vision.

On that note, it’s great to see that Unifor members ratified their agreement with General Motors Canada to build battery-electric commercial vans here in Canada. 

Including this agreement, deals that have been announced over the past few months have secured nearly $6 billion of investments in the Canadian automotive sector.

These deals are protecting and creating good, middle-class jobs.

And they’re creating new opportunities right across the country.

With these investments, Canadian automotive workers and businesses will continue to lead in growing markets for efficient, electrified, and smart vehicles.

Like we said when we presented our climate plan – A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy – clean technology presents enormous opportunities for economic growth and jobs.

When a project is good for workers, for growing the middle class and for protecting the environment, everybody wins.

There’s still a lot of work to be done to rebuild a stronger, cleaner, and more inclusive economy.

And announcements like these are exactly what we need to get there.

Before we end today, I’d like to say a few words about this week’s inauguration in the United States.

Tomorrow, Canadians and people around the world will be watching the swearing-in of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris.

This moment will mark a new chapter in the incredible relationship between our two countries.

I also want to address reports surrounding the Keystone XL project.

Yesterday, I spoke with our Ambassador Kirsten Hillman.

We’ve had a clear and consistent position supporting this project for years.

Our government is making sure that Canada’s views are heard and considered by the incoming administration at the highest levels.

And of course, I’m really looking forward to working closely with the new president and his team to create jobs and build back better for us all.

Thank you, everyone.