Announcing support for food banks and local food organizations
Good morning everyone.
Thank you for joining us today.
Before we get into things, I have two pieces of news to share with everyone.
The first one is about the distribution of critical equipment to provinces and territories.
For the past few weeks, our government has been working closely with industry to produce the supplies our health care workers need like masks, face shields, gowns, ventilators, and test kits.
Well today, I can announce that our government has signed an agreement with Amazon Canada to manage the distribution of this equipment to the provinces and territories.
Today, I am announcing that our government has signed an agreement with Amazon Canada to send medical supplies to the provinces and territories.
Amazon will use its wide distribution network to deliver medical equipment where it is needed the most.
The second announcement I want to make this morning is about the army.
We have received a request from the Government of Quebec for help from the Canadian Armed Forces for northern and isolated communities.
As I said earlier this week, Canadians in uniform are always ready to help communities fight COVID-19.
I can therefore confirm that the Armed Forces will be there for Quebecers and for all Canadians.
COVID-19 has been turning our lives upside down for a few weeks now.
We are doing school work at home. We are limiting our travel. We are staying at home as much as possible.
The pandemic is having consequences on all of us, but some families are going through even more difficult and uncertain times.
If you have lost your job, if you are not getting a paycheque, you are wondering how you are going to not only pay your bills at the end of the month, but als o buy food the next day.
Across the country, there are food banks that can help.
But like most organizations, food banks are facing new challenges because of this pandemic.
With everyone staying home, they have fewer volunteers. And a difficult economic climate means that they are receiving fewer donations that they normally would while demand rises.
The staff at the Neighbour to Neighbour Food Bank in Hamilton told us that they’re getting more and more calls. And it’s overwhelming for volunteers who are spread really thin and working overtime to help their community.
There is also Maison de Quartier Villeray, which I have known for many years, where people work extremely hard to help their neighbours in my riding of Papineau.
The work being done by food banks and their volunteers is essential, so there’s no question that they need more support during this crisis.
If you have the time and ability to help, reach out to your local food bank and ask them how you can help them.
At the same time, I’m announcing that the government will provide $100 million to meet the urgent food needs of vulnerable Canadians, including those living in Indigenous and northern communities.
This money will help ensure that organizations can buy and deliver food to those who need it the most.
It will help support organizations you may already know like Food Banks Canada, Breakfast Club, and the Salvation Army, and many more.
And on that note, I do want to take a moment to thank all the volunteers and organizers.
Thank you for feeding our communities, we see you and we are grateful for the incredible, tireless work you do even in these extremely difficult circumstances, especially in these extremely difficult circumstances. You are doing essential work for our most vulnerable. You are showing what it is to be Canadian, to be there for each other in times of difficulty.
Today, I am announcing that the government will invest $100 million to meet the urgent food needs of those who are most vulnerable, including those who live in Indigenous and northern communities.
This funding will help food banks to buy and deliver food to those who need it.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, food banks have been facing specific challenges.
For example, most of their volunteers are retirees, who are more at risk of catching COVID-19. This means fewer people to serve a growing clientele.
Food banks and charities do incredible work for our communities all year long.
I am thinking, for example, of Maison de Quartier Villeray, with which I have been familiar for many years, where people work extremely hard to help their neighbours in my riding of Papineau.
If you have the time and the means to help these days, I invite you to contact organizations in your area directly. They need your help.
And with today’s announcement, we are supporting a number of organizations that you may already know, like Moisson Montréal, Breakfast Club of Canada, and the Salvation Army.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the volunteers and organizations for their hard work.
You are feeding your communities.
We greatly appreciate everything you’re doing. It’s not easy, as demand is high and you have limited resources, but I know that you will continue to help your neighbours, to help those who need it.
That’s what we do in moments of difficulty: we are there for one another and we will be there for you.
I know that many of you are having a hard time right now.
The pandemic is creating a lot of uncertainty and you’re worried.
But I want you to know that our government will not let you down.
We are investing in food banks so that you can meet your family’s urgent needs during this crisis.
And, at the same time, we are providing financial support to those who have lost their job or their paycheque because of COVID-19.
We are implementing the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which will provide you with $2,000 a month.
Our government will also supplement the GST credit to help low- and modest-income families.
We had said that eligible adults would receive up to $300 and up to $150 per child starting in May, but I can now confirm that they will receive this assistance this month, in April.
Our government is also supplementing the GST Credit to help low-income people.
We had said that in May, every qualifying adult would receive up to $300 with $150 for each child, but I can now confirm that help is coming sooner, this month, in April instead.
Our government has also been working with major banks to deliver benefits, including the CERB, through direct deposit.
Effective today, people should visit their bank’s website for information on how to enroll for direct deposit if they haven’t already.
I know that a lot of you want to know how long this is going to last.
You are asking when you will be able to see your friends, hug your grandparents, and have people over for dinner.
Last night, I spoke with the provincial and territorial premiers and we mainly discussed the sharing of information and projections.
The good news is, we are testing a lot more people and the experts have new data to analyze.
The provinces and territories are currently updating their data and will publish the latest information soon.
As for the federal government, we are working very hard to check the latest figures so we can post them online.
Please visit canada.ca/coronavirus for the best up-to-date information on the spread of the virus.
I would love to be able to tell you exactly when this will end. I often talk about weeks or maybe even months, but the truth is, it will really depend on each of us.
The best way to minimize the impact of COVID-19 is to continue following the experts’ advice.
You know what they are saying.
Stay home as much as possible.
Limit non-essential trips.
And if you must absolutely go out, stay at least two metres away from other people.
Continue doing your part and I promise you we will get through this.