Announcing agreements to boost wages for essential workers
I want to begin with a few words about the terrible helicopter crash that claimed the lives of six Armed Forces members last week.
Yesterday, I attended a ceremony in their honour.
I was grateful to have an opportunity to pay my respects.
I got to speak with mothers, fathers and stepfathers, grandparents, friends, sons and daughters, fiancés, partners, and loved ones. All of them were heartbroken, but all of them were also immensely proud of the life of service chosen by their loved one, as are we all.
We will never forget their service. They will live on in our hearts and I know the thoughts of all Canadians are with the families and loved ones who are going through an incredibly difficult time. We stand with them and we will continue to stand with them.
This time and again, members of the Canadian Armed Forces step up to help those in need.
Whether it be as part of a NATO mission in Europe or in the wake of a natural disaster here in Canada – they’re always there for us.
Eager to help. Ready to serve.
And this pandemic is no exception.
When our government received requests for assistance from Ontario and Quebec, our men and women in uniform once again answered the call.
In Ontario, 265 CAF members have now been deployed to five long-term care facilities.
They are supporting our frontline workers, caring for our parents and grandparents, and bringing some comfort to their families.
If you’ve lost a loved one in one of those facilities, or if you have a loved that you haven’t been able to visit for weeks, you’re worried sick about what tomorrow will bring and you hope that they’re getting the care they deserve.
Seeing our CAF members offer their help and talents during these uncertain times is a reassuring sight for many of these families.
So, I want to thank all of those who have been deployed and all the frontline workers who continue to work harder than ever to keep our seniors safe.
Across the country, some 1,200 Canadian Rangers were deployed to help stem the spread of the virus in a number of regions, including 200 Rangers in Nunavik and the Lower North Shore.
Throughout Quebec, we now have more than 670 Canadian Armed Forces members at 20 provincial long-term care facilities, with another 350 members as back-up.
Next week, we expect a total of 1,350 military members who will have been assigned to this operation to assist at up to 25 facilities.
The provincial long-term care facilities and seniors’ residences have been the hardest hit by COVID‑19.
And our armed forces are there to lend a hand.
They are now taking care of our parents and grandparents.
They are assisting care attendants, nurses and all frontline workers who have been putting in very long hours for weeks in conditions that are increasingly difficult.
I would therefore like to take a moment to thank all our military members who are giving a hand at this time.
I would also like to recognize the incredible work that our frontline workers have done since the beginning of this crisis.
You are an inspiration to all of us.
You take care of our parents. You care for of the sick. You take care of us.
You have led the offensive against COVID-19 since the start of this crisis and you deserve more than just our appreciation.
You deserve the proper pay for the essential work you perform.
Today, I am able to announce that we have entered into an agreement with all the provinces and territories in order to top up the pay of essential workers.
We are finalizing the details with the remaining provinces, but I want to emphasize that this is a joint effort.
All the premiers concur. We must support our essential workers.
I would like to thank them for taking on this issue as a team. We count on these workers more than ever – and we will be there for them.
The provincial and territorial governments will determine exactly which workers will receive a salary increase, but here is the takeaway.
If you risk your health so that we can get through this crisis and you are paid minimum wage, you deserve better pay.
Today I can announce that we have an agreement with all the provinces and territories to provide a wage top-up for essential workers.
For Canadians who are being called to go to work every day.
For Canadians who are providing us with essential services, so we can continue to keep our families safe and healthy.
Right now, we’re finalizing the details with the last provinces, and I want to underscore that this has been a truly collaborative effort.
Premiers from across the country all agree that we need to support our essential workers. And I thank the premiers for the continued Team Canada approach.
We’re relying on these workers now more than ever — and we will be there to support them.
It will be up to each province and territory to determine who exactly qualifies for this wage increase, but the bottom line is this.
If you’re risking your health to keep this country moving and you’re making minimum wage – you deserve a raise.
I want to close by noting that today, Buddhists in Canada and around the world will mark Vesak, their most important festival.
While this year’s celebrations will be a bit different, the Buddha’s message of peace, selfless service, and compassion to those in need is more important than ever.
I want to wish a happy and peaceful Vesak to all those celebrating.