Expanded access to Canada Emergency Response Benefit and support for essential workers
Before I get started, I want to take a moment to recognize Canadians who are doing some of the toughest jobs in the country.
The women and men working in our hospitals, our senior’s homes, and our long-term care facilities are making sacrifices every day.
If you do one of these jobs – thank you. Thank you for keeping us safe and healthy, and protecting our loved ones.
You deserve our full support.
So if you need a hand getting through these tough times, we’ll be there for you.
Today, we’re announcing more help for more Canadians.
This includes topping up the pay of essential workers.
At the same time, we’ll also be expanding the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to reach people who are earning some income, as well as for seasonal workers who are facing no jobs and for those who have run out of EI recently.
And a little later, I’ll have some news about where we are with testing.
You heard me speaking in Parliament about the contributions made by the Greatest Generation, those who grew up during the Great Depression and who fought during the Second World War.
Today, all across the country, the last members of this generation live in seniors’ residences and in long-term care facilities.
The tragic and disturbing truth is that the very places where our seniors are being cared for are the places that are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
I will be addressing this issue with the premiers during our discussion tomorrow night.
We all need to do better.
We must all show leadership to support the seniors who built this country.
To start, our government will work with the provinces and territories to increase the wages of our essential workers, who earn less than $2,500 a month, and the wages of those who work in long-term care facilities.
You heard me speak in Parliament about the contributions of the Greatest Generation, who grew up during the Depression and fought through the Second World War.
Today, across the country, the last members of this generation live in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
The uncomfortable and tragic truth is that the very places that care for our elderly are the most vulnerable to COVID-19.
I will be addressing this with Premiers tomorrow night.
We all need to do better, we all need to take leadership, for the seniors who have built this country.
Our government will work with the provinces and territories to boost wages for essential workers who are making under $2,500 a month, like those in our long-term care facilities.
For many workers looking after the most vulnerable Canadians, including seniors and those with disabilities, we know conditions have gotten more difficult over the past weeks.
And you need support right now.
Tomorrow, in our weekly meeting, I will discuss with provincial and territorial leaders the importance of getting this wage boost in place as quickly as possible.
As we face an unprecedented threat to public health, you are our most important line of defence.
We will do whatever we can to help you do your job and support you through this time.
In March, our government launched the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
This measure is part of a plan we implemented to ensure that everyone has the help they need to get through this difficult time.
Millions of people have already received the benefit, but we know that a lot of people are not eligible and still need help.
So, today we will be expanding the eligibility criteria to allow even more people to benefit.
If you earn $1,000 a month or less, you can now receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, because a lot of people aren’t working as many hours as they were before, and others have to adapt to the reality of working freelance or on contract.
Workers who have recently exhausted their employment insurance benefits can also receive the benefit.
And across the country, a lot of people won’t have seasonal work this year because of the pandemic, so the emergency benefit will be there for them, too. This context is also difficult for artists and creators across the country.
Cultural spaces are closed and work is becoming scarce.
Minister Guilbeault heard the artists asking that copyrights from work done before the crisis not be included to access the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, and that is what we’re going to do.
So, in these anxious times, artists are continuing to help us think, to help us dream, and to shine a little light into our daily lives; and for this we are always grateful.
Today, I can announce that we are expanding the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to include people making up to $1,000 a month, seasonal workers, and people whose EI has recently run out.
Maybe you’re a volunteer firefighter, or a contractor who can pick up some shifts, or you have a part-time job in a grocery store.
Even if you’re still working, or if you want to start working again, you probably need help in making ends meet.
So if you earn $1,000 or less a month, you’ll now be able to apply for the CERB.
If you were expecting a seasonal job that isn’t coming because of COVID-19, you’ll now be able to apply.
And if you’ve run out of EI since January 1, you can now apply for the CERB as well.
And for others who still need help—including postsecondary students, and businesses worried about commercial rent—we’ll have more to say to you very soon.
No matter who you are or where you live, we’re in your corner.
After accepting the initial request for assistance from the Canadian Armed Forces for Nunavik, the Government of Quebec sent a second request for the lower North Shore.
I can confirm that the Canadian Rangers will be sent to provide support.
After having accepted the first demand for help from the Canadian Armed Forces for Nunavik, the Government of Québec sent us a second request for Basse-Côte-Nord.
I can confirm that the Canadian Rangers will be there to provide support.
I want to thank our women and men in uniform, and the families who serve alongside them, for all that they do.
Whenever we need you most, you’re always there for us.
At times, we may feel overwhelmed by what is going on.
We are in a situation that may seem unreal and it’s not always easy to deal with everything that’s happening around us.
This week, the government launched a portal with all of the mental health resources that are available to you.
Please visit canada.ca or use the Canada COVID-19 app to talk to someone.
There is nothing wrong with feeling this way.
The important thing is that you reach out.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, know that you aren’t alone.
And there are people who can help.
We have launched a mental health portal at canada.ca, and through the Canada COVID-19 app, where you can go to find support.
So if you need to, please reach out, we’ll be there for each other.
Finally, we have more news today to share on testing.
LuminUltra from New Brunswick, with whom we signed a contract, is now ramping up production to supply enough COVID-19 test chemicals to meet the weekly demand in all provinces.
And in the last few days, we received a new batch of swabs to make sure every province has the supplies they need to keep testing.
Whether it’s reagents or test kits, we are ensuring that Canada has the tools to fight this virus.
Tomorrow, I’ll also be speaking with the other G7 leaders about continuing to coordinate a strong and effective global response to this pandemic.
LuminUltra, a New Brunswick-based company, is increasing its production capacity to be able to supply enough chemicals to conduct the COVID-19 tests that must be done in every province weekly.
And, over the past few days, we have received more swabs for the provinces.
I know that everyone wants to know when life will be getting back to normal.
And the reality is, we can’t give you a specific date.
But this is what we do know:
For this to end, you have to stay home.
We have to limit how often we go out and stay two metres away from others.
And if everyone does their part, we will get through this together.