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Good morning, everyone.
I’m happy to be here this morning with Deputy Prime Minister Freeland and Minister Champagne.
A year ago, there was so much to learn about this new virus and the pandemic was about to be declared.
But right from the start, one thing was clear – that Canadians would step up to whatever challenges lay ahead.
Well, every day since, we’ve seen that to be true.
From the experts running testing centres and doing world-class modelling, to the manufacturers making masks and gloves – Canadian know-how has kept people safe.
It has saved lives, and it has helped us chart the path through this crisis.
And that is something worth investing in.
When researchers learn more about a virus like COVID-19, develop better cancer treatments, or make our air cleaner, they help save lives.
Of course, science also helps us make sure our kids inherit a healthier planet.
In other words, research is important.
It improves our lives each and every day.
And that’s exactly why we must continue to support it.
Today, we are taking another historic step forward for Canadian innovation.
With $518 million through the Canada Foundation for Innovation, we’re investing in ground‑breaking research.
This funding will support over 100 projects – and hundreds of researchers – whether in studying viruses like COVID-19, or developing cancer treatments and fighting climate change.
Just take the research into digital healthcare that’ll be possible because of today’s investment.
With this funding, doctors at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto will be able to develop a cutting‑edge virtual care lab.
This will move us forward on getting everyone the healthcare they need, even if they can’t leave their home.
After the year we’ve had, I think it’s clear why that matters.
Of course, when it comes to innovation what we’re all thinking about right now is vaccines.
With our historic investment of $518 million in Canadian research through the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, we’re supporting efforts to manufacture vaccines in Canada.
Through the Innovation Fund, a team of researchers from the CHU de Québec-Université Laval is working on ways to continue ramping up vaccine development and testing right here in Canada.
This funding will support that work and work being done right across the country.
Canadian innovation is one of our best tools to beat this pandemic.
That’s why we’ve made historic investments in science and research to fight COVID-19.
And that’s why – since 2015 – we’ve funded domestic vaccine research, development, and manufacturing.
In the last five years, we’ve made historic investments in science and research.
This pandemic has reminded us why that matters so much. And the pandemic has reminded us that there’s work still to do.
An investment in innovation is an investment in you and your family. It’s an investment for today, tomorrow, and years to come.
Canadians have the know-how and the creativity to meet any challenge, and we will always be there to support that.
Whether it’s vaccines or virtual care, your health is our top priority.
And with that, I’d like to update you on vaccine deliveries.
This week, Canada hit a big milestone – 2 million vaccines administered across the country.
This is a true Team Canada effort. We’ve been working every single day to reach our targets, and everyone who wants to, will be vaccinated by the end of September.
Maybe your grandparent, your parent, your family member, or friend has already gotten their shot, or has an appointment to do it soon. We all want that feeling of relief.
To everyone – know that your vaccine is on the way. Very early this morning, our first half a million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, from the Serum Institute, arrived in Canada.
Already, the National Operations Centre has worked with provinces and territories to coordinate shipments of these vaccines across the country.
Our priority is getting doses into arms as quickly as possible.
Because we’ve got a lot more vaccines on the way.
With Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca, we will receive a total of more than 1.8 million doses this week and next week.
What these numbers mean is that someone you know may get vaccinated soon – parents, grandparents, and front line workers.
It’s the light at the end of the tunnel you’ve been waiting for.
Thank you to everyone waiting patiently for their parents and grandparents to get their shot first.
If you’ve already made an appointment to get a shot, I know you will continue to be careful and protect yourself and others.
Just last June, I met Luc.
He’s the owner of Régimbal Awards and Promotions, a family business here in Ottawa.
The first wave of the pandemic hit their business hard, but with the wage subsidy and rent support, they were able to rehire staff and keep their doors open.
Well, eight months later and Luc’s store is still going strong.
In fact, they’re even continuing to give back to the local fight against COVID-19 with their #StrongerTogether campaign.
Through this great initiative, they’re donating proceeds from their fabric face masks, tees, and hoodies to the Ottawa Community Foundation for the most vulnerable in the city.
Across the country, there are so many stories like Luc’s.
To date, the wage subsidy has supported more than 5 million people.
And the rent subsidy has been there for over 129,000 businesses and organizations.
We’ve come a long way in the fight against this pandemic.
But we’re not out of the woods yet.
So for Luc, and for people across the country, I have some important news to share.
We are extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support at their current levels until June.
In other words, we’re making sure that the wage and rent subsidies continue through the spring and that the amount of support remains consistent.
This isn’t the time to pull back on support for workers or business owners.
It’s the time to see people through what is hopefully the final stretch of this crisis.
And it’s the time to get the whole economy ready to come roaring back.
So that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
Whether you’re an employee or a business owner, you’ll have the certainty and the support you need to get through the spring and get back on track.
Times are tough, but we’ll be here with the support you need to get through this crisis, for as long as it lasts.
Spring is coming. Vaccines are on their way.
Better days are ahead.