Updating Canadians on the modelling of the COVID-19 situation
I want to start off today by talking about the job report we just received for March.
As stark as those numbers are, they aren’t a surprise for a lot of Canadians.
Each one represents a different story.
A worker who’s been laid off.
A family that’s having to hunker down,
A community that’s anxious about today and tomorrow.
We’ve all seen the impact of COVID-19.
We’ve all known this was going to be a tough time, and that countries around the world are in a similar situation.
That’s no comfort if you’re out of a job, if you’re having difficulty making ends meet.
You need real support.
So we’re doing our best to help you bridge to better times.
On Monday, we launched the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
More than 4.5 million claims have been processed, which means people are already receiving their $2,000 for this month.
We’re also working on legislation to bring in a wage subsidy to help employers keep people on the payroll, while working on new loans for business owners.
We will keep expanding our three-point economic plan to protect jobs, support business owners, and get everyone the help they need.
Things will get better.
And once they do, you can be sure that our country will come roaring back.
As a country, we’ve gotten through tough times before.
We’ve stood together, united and strong.
On Vimy Ridge, more than 100 years ago today, thousands of Canadians gave their lives so that our country would know peace.
Today, we remember those who fell on Vimy Ridge.
We remember the sacrifices they made for our country.
They fought to defend the values that we hold dear—like democracy, freedom, and equality—values that still define our country.
As historians have noted reflecting on Vimy, it was a moment ordinary people did extraordinary things.
Fathers and sons, brothers and friends – their sacrifice and courage defined what it is and what it meant to be a Canadian.
And their legacy lives on.
In the women and men who continue to step up and serve us in uniform.
In our nurses and doctors who put themselves in harm’s way for us all to stay healthy.
And in everyone who steps up, and asks what they can do for their fellow Canadians.
That’s what makes Canada strong.
And that will be our path forward, no matter what tomorrow may bring.
Right now, the future can seem even more uncertain than normal.
If you’ve lost your job, if you’re worried about an elderly parent, you probably want to know what to expect.
Earlier today, we released our modelling on how we think this pandemic might unfold.
The modelling shows that COVID-19 arrived in Canada later than in other countries.
So we’re in an earlier stage of the outbreak.
That means we have the chance to determine what our country looks like in the weeks and months to come.
Our health care systems across the country are coping for the time being.
But we’re at a fork in the road, between the best and the worst possible outcomes.
The best possible outcome is no easy path for any of us.
The initial peak – the top of the curve – may be in late spring, with the end of the first wave in the summer.
As Dr. Tam explained, there will likely be smaller outbreaks for a number of months after that.
This will be the new normal, until a vaccine is developed.
But, as we saw, that is so much better than what we could face, all of us, if we do not rise to the challenge of this generation.
The path we take is up to us.
It depends on what each of us does right now.
It will take months of continued, determined effort.
We’ll need to keep practising physical distancing, staying home, and washing our hands.
It will help.
It will help get the numbers that Dr. Tam was talking about – between 4,000 and 44,000 deaths – as low as possible.
I know that Dr. Tam and the entire team at the Public Health Agency of Canada have worked very hard to prepare these forecasts.
And to ensure that all of the information is up to date, we have been in ongoing communication with the provinces and territories to get their latest data.
I know it’s tough to stay home, especially as the weather gets nicer.
If you have kids, it’s even tougher.
But to get them back outside and running around the playground and park as soon as possible, you need to keep them inside for a little longer.
This will work.
And we’ll be with you, every step of the way.
Just this week, we received millions more masks to keep our frontline workers safe, and we have contracts to get more ventilators.
We’re helping industry mobilize – like the entrepreneur from Vars, Ontario, who’s creating reusable visors for hospitals across the province.
And we’ve continued to support Canadian researchers working on a vaccine.
We’re pulling out all the stops to beat this virus, and help you get through this time.
We must all do our part—governments, businesses, and citizens.
So, continue to stay at home.
Go to the grocery store only once a week, or even less often.
And if you have to go out, stay two metres away from others.
That is how we will protect those who are vulnerable.
That is how we will protect our seniors.
That is how we will save lives.
And that is how we will help our nurses and doctors, who are doing an extraordinary job every day.
I know it’s not easy.
But it’s not forever.
Eventually, we will be able to go back to movie theatres and restaurants and parks.
But for this to happen, everyone has to do their part, now, and in the weeks to come.
Over 100 years ago today, Canadians showed what mettle we are made of.
I know each of us will rise to be worthy of the legacy of the heroes that built this country.
We can do this together.
Thank you, everyone.