Announcing health and social support for Northern communities
Today, just like every day, nurses and doctors, lab techs and hospital staff, are hard at work to keep us safe.
They’re showing up for us, and we need to do the same for them.
Over the weekend, we received new shipments of essential personal protective equipment, including four planes worth of N95 masks.
As we speak, workers are unpacking and validating these supplies so we can start shipping them to the provinces and territories as quickly as possible.
These new N95 masks are in addition to the more than 820,000 that went to provinces last week.
All told, this means that we have 1.1 million N95s ready to be shipped to the provinces and territories, with more to come.
We have also received millions of pairs of gloves, and we’ll be getting new protective gowns delivered from domestic suppliers starting next Monday.
This weekend, we received four shipments of essential personal protective equipment, including N95 masks.
There was also an order for Quebec.
These new N95 masks are in addition to the over 820,000 masks that we received last week.
In total, we will be sending 1.1 million N95 masks to the provinces and territories in the coming days.
We also received millions of pairs of gloves and we will be receiving new hospital gowns starting next Monday.
In terms of testing, we are making great progress.
I am thinking, for example, of Spartan Bioscience, an Ottawa-based company that will be supplying tens of thousands of kits every month.
As Dr. Tam said yesterday, over 430,000 tests have been done in Canada.
We will continue to increase our capacity and to study new technologies to simplify testing across the country.
In the last few days, we’ve also made progress on testing.
Right now, we’re moving forward on a range of rapid testing kits, both from here in Canada and internationally.
This includes Ottawa-based Spartan Bioscience, who will soon be supplying tens of thousands of kits per month, and potentially more as production increases.
As Dr. Tam said yesterday, more than 430,000 Canadians have now been tested for COVID-19.
Our experts and health professionals are working hard to increase our capacity to keep ramping up tests across the country.
Demand for these supplies is going up.
And we’re going to make sure Canada can keep up.
COVID-19 has changed the daily lives of all Canadians, but those who live in the Arctic regions are clearly not having the same issues as those who live in cities.
For example, I know that a lot of people are worried about seeing empty grocery shelves.
Others are worried about whether their healthcare centres have the space and resources they need to fight the virus if it spreads in their community.
I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to prevent that from happening.
Today, I am announcing that the government is investing nearly $130 million to help northern communities fight COVID‑19.
Of this amount, $72.6 million will be allocated to Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut for their healthcare systems and to fight COVID-19.
We are also allocating funding to Nutrition North Canada so that food and essential items remain affordable and to help families stay healthy.
And to ensure that food and medical equipment can get to you, we are working with the air carriers that transport essential products to the North.
Finally, I know that several northern businesses are especially affected by this crisis.
We are therefore providing help to business owners whose expenses are not already covered by the other measures we have put in place.
Today, I am announcing that the government is investing almost $130 million to help northern communities fight COVID‑19.
If you live in the North, chances are you’re worried about whether your local health centre has the resources to fight COVID-19 and to cope with cases that might come up.
So we’re providing $72.6 million to the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut specifically for health care and community preparedness.
We’re also investing more money to Nutrition North Canada.
This will make it easier to afford the food and basics that keep you and your family healthy.
And to ensure that things like groceries and medical equipment can continue to get to you, we are providing funding for northern air carriers to transport these supplies.
These are tough times, but we’re going to help you through them. To set your community up to come back strong when things get better – because they will – we have to think about small businesses, too.
I know entrepreneurs in the North have been hit especially hard by this crisis.
If you own a business and your costs aren’t already covered by other measures we’ve put in place, we’re giving CanNor more funding to help.
No matter where you live, in a small community or a big city, we’re here for you.
This weekend, we brought Parliament back to pass the largest economic policy since the Second World War.
With the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, we will protect jobs by helping businesses keep their employees on the payroll.
We’ll be rolling this measure out as quickly as possible.
And now, as many people as we’ve already helped – and we’re talking about millions of Canadians – we know there is more to do.
You might not currently qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, but you still might need a hand.
If you’re a student or an essential worker, for example, this week we’ll be talking about how to reach you, while also supporting sectors that have been especially hard hit.
At the same time, we’re working to enhance the Canada Emergency Business Account, as well as new supports on commercial rent for businesses that are hardest hit.
I’ll have more to say about all this soon.
If you’ve come back to Canada from abroad, as of today we are strengthening measures.
Now, if asymptomatic travellers cannot explain a credible quarantine plan, they will be required to quarantine in a hotel.
This will come into effect at midnight tonight.
We’re also announcing $20 million for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to strengthen food inspections and keep our food supply safe.
This will mean we can build capacity for more over-time and extra shifts for inspectors to fill demand.
It also means we can invest in things like hiring and training, to get more people on board.
We are going through a difficult time.
And across the country, I know that a lot of people are worried, not just about their future or their own health, but about their parents’ and their grandparents’ health.
Seniors are especially vulnerable to COVID-19, which means that we should not go visit them in seniors’ residences or in long-term care facilities.
To help protect them, we have published new guidelines for these types of establishments.
We have established clear rules on restricting visits, staff controls, and the procedures to follow in case of infection.
At the same time, we are continuing to work with the provinces and territories to ensure they have everything they need to keep people healthy.
I want to take a moment to speak directly to everyone who’s lost a loved one.
If you’re grieving, know that you’re not alone.
We are here for you, even through this incredibly tough time.
And you remind us why it’s so important to do everything we can to keep one another safe.
We all need to do our part, we can’t let up now.
So to everyone – stay at home.
And no matter what, stay 2 metres apart if you do have to go out.
When it gets hard, let’s remember that we’re all in this together.
Thank you very much.