Announcing support for vulnerable Canadians affected by COVID‑19
Good morning, everyone.
The last month has been really challenging for a lot of people.
I hear that.
And our government is doing everything we can to help.
Over the last week alone, we’ve announced new support for families, for workers, and for businesses.
But even with this extra help, it’s hard out there right now.
And for people who were already struggling, it’s even harder.
Staying at home, for example, is not always easy.
For some, physical distancing means juggling taking care of the kids while trying to get some work done at the kitchen table.
But frankly, that’s not everyone’s reality.
For far too many people, home isn’t a safe place to be.
For others, it’s somewhere they’re isolated and alone.
And for too many more, they have no place to go at all.
Tough times fall first, and hardest, on the most vulnerable in our communities.
But we can change that.
We can make sure that no one is left without help.
Let me take a moment to speak directly to kids.
I know these past weeks have been tough.
You haven’t seen your friends, you’re not able to go to school, you’ve been hunkered down with your parents, and you’re watching the world you know change radically.
It’s a source of anxiety, it’s a source of tension.
Maybe there’s extra tension in your family, but there are people who can help.
Reach out to Kids Help Phone.
You can call them or text them. Text at 686868 or call 1-800-668-6868, or go online to KidsHelpPhone.ca.
They are there to listen, they are there to support you.
They are there to make sure you know you are not alone, and help you, and all of us, through this.
No matter where you live, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in French and in English.
Indeed, to make sure that you have the help you need, we’re investing $7.5 million for more counsellors and trained volunteers with Kids Help Phone.
There are people in your corner, making sure you’re OK.
And kids, I want to speak with your grandparents now.
Our seniors are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
We all know that, and it’s for them that so many of us are staying home, are self-isolating, are following the rules.
But even if they’re safe and isolated, this is not easy on them.
Maybe they’re having trouble getting out to get groceries.
Maybe they’re feeling particularly lonely.
Maybe they’ve already been isolated and this is just an extra degree of stress on them.
Well, we’ve got help for them as well.
The Minister of Seniors, Deb Schulte, is announcing $9 million through the New Horizons for Seniors Program to United Way Canada, for everything from health check-ins to grocery delivery.
In fact, United Way Canada is already stepping-up—here in Ottawa, they’re helping people like you with things like meal delivery.
We promised to help everyone get through this tough time.
If you can’t go home because it isn’t safe, or because you don’t have a home—we’re not going to forget you.
We’ll work with the organizations you rely on and we’ll have your back.
Earlier this month, we committed $200 million for shelters.
If you need to get away from domestic violence, or violence because of your gender, if you need somewhere to stay, there are places you can go and be safe.
This new funding is already having a huge impact on support for you.
Just take the shelter in Toronto that can now rent additional space to isolate residents with COVID-19 and keep everyone safe.
And we’re going to keep working with charities and non-profits on this.
On that note, I want to recognize the incredible people who work and volunteer in their communities through these groups.
I know it’s been hard lately.
Not just because more and more people need your help.
But because you’re struggling to keep doing this work, for marginalized and vulnerable people, during a public health crisis on a scale Canada has never before seen.
Soon, I’ll have more to say about how we’ll make sure you’re supported, and can keep helping Canadians who need it most.
But the bottom line is this:
Whomever you are, whatever you need, we’re here for you.
And if you are fortunate enough to have a little extra to spare right now—I’m asking you to join in and be part of the solution.
Please, donate to your favourite organization, or find out how you can volunteer in your community.
Even working from home, you can make a real difference in the impact an organization can have.
As an individual, a family, a company, think of how you can lend a hand to help others through this tough time.
We all have a role to play in keeping people safe and healthy.
As we have often repeated, it’s very important for people to continue staying 2 metres apart, to stay home, and to avoid busy locations, so we can flatten the curve as quickly as possible.
I know that it’s even more difficult to stay at home on the weekend.
Sometimes, we can feel very lonely.
But don’t forget that we are all going through this together.
Just look around you, and you’ll see signs of solidarity.
Across the country and around the world, people are putting up rainbows to remind their neighbours that better days are ahead.
And if you’re in Montreal tonight, look to the Samuel De Champlain Bridge, which will be lit up with rainbow colours.
I know these are hard times.
But I also know that we’re going to get through them together.
Thank you everyone.