Remarks on the CERB and additional measures to fight economic impacts of COVID‑19
I want to start this morning by recognizing that today is a painful anniversary.
It has now been two years since the tragic Humboldt Broncos crash.
From coast to coast to coast, we remember the 16 lives that ended much too soon, and the many more that were changed forever.
If you lost a friend, a teammate, or a loved one, if you’re still rebuilding and recovering, I want you to know that we’re here for you, and we will always be here for you.
You – the community of Humboldt, along with all Canadians who stand with you – have shown incredible strength and resilience.
And just like the people putting out hockey sticks or wearing the jersey – you remind us that together, we can get through even the darkest of times.
Right now, as we face a challenge unlike any other, we lean on our friends and family.
And we let them know that they can lean on us, too.
The weeks and months ahead won’t be easy.
But we’re going to get through this together.
I’m sure many of you watched the Queen’s address yesterday afternoon.
And her message of unity and resolve is more important than ever.
No one should feel alone in this.
No one should wonder how they’ll weather this storm without support.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve brought in a whole range of new measures – to help families and workers, seniors and business owners get through this.
Taken together, we’ve introduced the biggest economic measures in our lifetime, which will help millions of people.
That includes the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, for if you’ve lost your paycheque.
Whether you’re taking care of someone who’s sick, have been laid off, or are living with a disability – the CERB is there for you.
This benefit is now available starting today.
If you’re born in January, February, or March, you can go to Canada.ca and apply online.
If you can’t apply online, don’t worry – you can call 1-800-959-2041.
Since it opened this morning, 240,000 people have already successfully applied.
For everyone else, you’ll be able to apply another day this week, depending on your birth month.
We know you need this support as soon as possible.
We have to make sure this system works, for everyone.
If you’re using direct deposit, you will receive money three to five days later.
The CERB is meant to help all Canadians who need it, and millions of Canadians will be getting it starting this week.
But there are some people who don’t yet qualify, who we do need to help.
If you’re working reduced hours, down to 10 hours a week or less, we will soon announce how you will be able to qualify for the CERB.
This is to help you if you’re a gig worker, a contract worker, or a volunteer firefighter.
We’ll also have more to say for those who are working, but making less than they would with the benefit.
I’m thinking in particular of homecare workers or long-term care workers looking after vulnerable seniors.
And I know there are also lots of university or college students wondering what kind of job you’ll get this summer.
You need support now, and work is underway to get it to you as soon as possible.
For people in all of these situations, we see you.
We’re going to be there for you.
And we’re working as hard as we can to get you the support you need.
At the same time, we also announced a new, 75% wage subsidy to help you keep your job and help businesses keep their employees on the payroll.
Right now, we’re drafting legislation and talking to other parties ahead of bringing Parliament back to put the wage subsidy in place as quickly as possible.
Supporting you, and your family, is our top priority.
Your Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, will have more updates soon, but here’s the bottom line.
Whatever your situation, we are working to get you the help you need.
If your birthday is in January, February, or March, and you had to stop working because of the virus, you can apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit starting today at Canada.ca.
If not, you can apply later in the week, based on your birth month.
Many of you need help quickly and we must ensure that the system works for everyone.
If you choose direct deposit, it will take three to five days for you to get your first payment.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is meant to help all Canadians who need a helping hand, but I know that some people need help but do not yet qualify.
If your work hours have been reduced, for example, to 10 hours a week or less, we will soon be announcing how you can receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
We will also have news for those who are earning less money right now than they would if they were to receive the benefit.
I am thinking, for example, of home-care professionals or those who take care of seniors.
There are also a lot of CEGEP and university students who are wondering what they’re going to do this summer.
It’s clear that you also need help and we are working hard to find solutions.
At the same time, we’re working on a bill and we’re collaborating with the opposition parties to recall Parliament and put the measures that we have announced in place as quickly as possible.
The Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, will provide more details soon, but this is what you need to remember.
Regardless of your situation, we are doing everything we can to help you.
We are working very hard to give you a break and to help you manage your financial situation. Banks have an important role to play because they have the power to help companies continue operating and to help families pay their mortgage.
So today, I applaud the decision made by the six major banks, and by certain co-operatives, to cut credit card interest rates almost in half for Canadians who are having financial difficulty because of the pandemic.
The decision of the six major banks, and of certain credit unions, to cut credit card interest rates almost in half for people in financial difficulty because of the pandemic, will give them much-needed relief on debt.
I also want to thank Minister Morneau for his outstanding leadership on this.
And we need to see even more action like this going forward.
Because this is a time to think about each other, not about the bottom line.
On that note, I want to recognize the new initiative the Canadian Chamber of Commerce launched in partnership with our government.
The Canadian Business Resilience Network will help businesses of all sizes not just get through this tough period, but drive our economic recovery afterwards.
This builds on what we’ve already done to help business owners.
We have a three-point economic plan – it supports business owners, including through new loans, while safeguarding jobs with the wage subsidy, and helping those who no longer have a paycheque with the CERB.
We’re here for you.
In order to get through this, and keep our loved ones and our frontline workers safe, all Canadians need to do their part.
Don’t forget that you are shaping our future today.
What the next weeks and months look like depends on you.
It depends on whether you stay home.
Whether you help protect the vulnerable and make sure our hospitals aren’t overwhelmed.
Every citizen has to do their part.
Because those who have to continue going to work—nurses, doctors, ambulance attendants, laboratory technicians, maintenance workers, truck drivers, and agricultural workers, to name a few—are doing more than their part.
They are making sacrifices so that the rest of the population can stay home.
The best way to thank them is to continue following the health experts’ guidelines.
This is how we can all protect our own health and theirs.
Thank you for joining us today.