Announcing production of more medical supplies and equipment in Canada
Before we get into things, I want to address recent news coming out of the UK.
My thoughts are with Prime Minister Johnson and his family during this time. I’ve worked with Boris for some time now and I know how committed he is to serving the people of the UK. He’s a fighter. And he will be fighting now to regain his health, and get back to the job he loves. Sophie and I, and all Canadians, are wishing him a speedy recovery. To our British friends – Canadians stand with you. We will get through this together.
Every time we learn of someone who has been hospitalized with COVID-19, we are worried.
But we must remember that we are not helpless in the situation we’re in right now.
Everyone can help with the solution.
You know what to do.
Stay home as much as possible, even when it’s nice outside.
I know that with the arrival of spring, it’s even harder, but we must continue to follow the instructions now if we want to enjoy summer in a few months’ time.
Go out only if you need groceries and even then, try to go as little as possible.
That applies to everyone – regardless of where you live or what you do in life.
That said, some people are able to do more because they have the skills and resources that we need at this time.
For instance, we are now offering full-time jobs to reservists with the Canadian Forces.
That way, if our communities need more support, we’re prepared.
Health Canada is also recruiting volunteers to lend a hand to our frontline workers.
And a few weeks ago, we asked businesses to produce items in high demand.
Over the past few weeks, almost 5,000 Canadian companies have stepped forward to help fight COVID-19.
On behalf of all Canadians, thank you for stepping up.
It’s really inspiring to see how many people want to help.
As countries around the world grapple with this pandemic, the demand for critical supplies like test kits, ventilators, and personal protective equipment is going up.
To keep our frontline workers safe and care for Canadians with COVID-19, we need a sustainable, stable supply of these products, and that means making them at home.
With our Plan to Mobilize Industry, we’re helping companies re-tool, repurpose, and innovate to fight COVID-19.
We’ve already signed letters of intent with a number of partners to produce the things we need, and today, we have more good news to share.
We’re working with Thornhill Medical, CAE, Ventilators for Canadians, and a group led by StarFish Medical to produce up to 30,000 made-in-Canada ventilators.
These purchases will help increase our capacity to make sure these lifesaving machines are made right here at home.
We’re also working with Nobel Prize-winning researcher Dr. Art McDonald, who is leading a team of scientists to develop ventilators that are easy to make.
And to produce medical gowns and establish new supply chains right here in Canada, we’re teaming up with over 20 companies, including Arc’teryx, Canada Goose, and Stanfield’s.
One thing that is particularly inspiring to see is just how many companies are not just producing these goods, but innovating.
For example, AutoLiv is looking to make medical gowns out of material they’d normally use to produce airbags.
At the same time, our government continues to purchase masks to protect our health care professionals who are doing extraordinary work.
We have ordered millions of surgical masks from a number of Canadian companies, and we support Medicom, which is going to increase its production capacity for N95 masks.
We are also buying hand sanitizer, and Health Canada has authorized the sale of more than 85 of these products for Canadians.
Some items will take longer to manufacture than others, but every week, we are taking important steps to increase our production capacity, and I would like to thank Minister Bains, who is doing excellent work on this.
I know that many people are concerned about material shortages.
You see what is happening in other countries, and I understand your concerns, especially if one of your loved ones works in health care.
I want to assure you that we are doing everything possible to keep this from happening.
Our government is working around the clock to ensure that our frontline workers have everything they need to save lives and stay safe.
While we’re working to secure critical equipment from Canadian sources, we’re also in touch with other suppliers around the world who want to sell to Canada.
We’re expecting 500,000 masks from 3M tomorrow, and we’re working as fast as we can to get them to our frontline workers.
From the outset, our priority has been the health and safety of all Canadians.
So, whether you’re making medical gowns, delivering ventilators, or treating a patient with COVID-19, we have your back. We’re going to be there for you.
We also 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.
Yesterday evening, our government proactively shared our proposed legislation on wage subsidy with opposition parties.
I know House Leaders will be speaking throughout the day to reach an agreement for the House of Commons to quickly pass this legislation, which will give much-needed financial support to Canadian workers, while helping employers to keep their staff on the payroll.
A lot of work has been done since we announced our plan to subsidize wages, we continue to rely on your input and feedback as we refine it, and we’ll have more details to share very soon.
Yesterday was also the first day people could apply to receive the CERB.
On that note, I want to recognize the tremendous work done by the public service who processed hundreds of thousands of claims. They are working around the clock to get Canadians the help they need as quickly as possible.
And I also want to remind everyone that if you were born in April, May, or June, today’s the day you can apply.
Finally, as some of you will know, today marks World Health Day and National Caregiver Day.
This year, I’m especially grateful for our health care professionals and caregivers who are working day and night to keep us safe and to care for our most vulnerable.
As Canada confronts this pandemic, many have pointed to our health care system as a major asset.
Ours is a country where health is a right rather than a privilege, and that is something of which we can all be proud.
But our health care system is only as strong as the people it employs.
Whether you’re a doctor or a nurse, someone who keeps our hospital clean, or a homecare worker – thank you for taking such good care of us.
Thank you for everything you’ve done over the years to help so many of us start a family, overcome an illness, and enjoy longer, healthier lives.
We do not need a pandemic or a special day to recognize your essential contributions to this country, but I hope all Canadians will join me in expressing our deepest gratitude.
I hope Canadians honk a little louder when your shift ends today and add another rainbow to their window.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank all caregivers and health care professionals.