Remarks on new measures to support Canadians during COVID-19
Good morning everyone. Hello, everyone.
Over the last two weeks, we’ve seen our women and men in uniform step up to the plate again and again.
In seniors’ homes, in Northern communities, they are there for where we need them most.
And because they respond to the call of duty without hesitation, whenever they’re called upon, it can be easy to forget the toll this work can take.
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces have always been there to do tough, dangerous jobs.
So, after a lifetime of service, far too many veterans live with chronic pain.
Today, we are launching the Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Canadian Veterans at McMaster University.
This Centre will focus on national research, training, and education to provide veterans with the support they deserve.
No one, least of all those who have worn the maple leaf, should be without the care they need.
Later today, I’ll also be meeting with nurses here in Ottawa to thank them for their outstanding work.
I know I speak for all Canadians when I say that we are incredibly grateful to the women and men who are keeping us safe right now.
Our men and women in uniform have always been there for us.
So we need to be there for them, too.
Today, we are opening the Chronic Pain Centre of Excellence for Canadian Veterans at McMaster University.
This centre will focus on research, training, and education across the country to provide veterans the services they need.
To all those who have served Canada—thank you.
The entire country is grateful to you and we are here to support you.
Over the last two months, a lot of Canadians have faced very challenging situations and very difficult choices.
Just take workers in the fisheries industry.
You can’t harvest lobster from inside your house.
So that leaves you trying to figure out how to either space people out on a fishing boat, or cancel your operations.
It’s not an easy call to make.
On top of that, prices and demand have gone down, putting financial pressure on fishers and their families.
Taken together, this adds up to a really tough time.
So I want you to know that we’re listening.
That your local MPs are making sure your concerns are heard.
And above all, that help is on the way.
Today, I can announce that we are investing almost $470 million to support fish harvesters.
First of all, we are creating the Fish Harvesters Benefit.
If you’re expecting a 25% drop in income this season, you’ll get support to cover 75% of your losses, up to about $10,000.
And as a reminder, if you qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy instead, remember that we’ll be extending it beyond June.
We’re also introducing additional non-repayable grants of up to $10,000 for fish harvesters who own their own business, and need support to bridge to better times.
And for workers who are worried about next year, we will change Employment Insurance rules so that fish harvesters can apply for EI benefits based on the earnings of previous years.
This all builds on the investments we’ve made for fish and seafood processers.
And for farmers and aquaculture fisheries, we’re also launching a $100 million Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund through Farm Credit Canada.
This is yet another option to help agri-food companies facing unexpected financial strain.
Whether you’re a fisher, a food processer, or a farmer – we’ve got your back.
And I know all Canadians do, too.
And everyone who wants to show their support, buy Canadian.
Pick up some Canadian cheese to help a local dairy farmer.
Have a “fish fry” or buy Canadian lobster.
Not only will it taste great, but it will help the people who keep putting food on our plates
Several industries are having a hard time right now, and the fisheries industry is no exception.
Not only are people having to slow down or even stop their operations to protect their workers, but seafood prices and demand have also dropped.
That is why we are launching the Fish Harvesters Benefit.
If you are a fish harvester who is expecting a 25% drop in revenues this season, this measure will be there for you.
It could cover up to 75% of your losses, up to about $10,000.
And for those who are eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, we will be extending the program beyond June, as we announced last week.
We will also be providing other non-repayable grants of up to $10,000 for fish harvesters who have their own business and need some help getting through this difficult time.
And for workers who are worried about next year, we will also be changing the Employment Insurance rules so that fish harvesters can apply for Employment Insurance benefits based on their earnings in previous years.
You feed our families.
We are listening to you to find out what you need to get through this crisis.
We are here for you.
I now want to talk about what we’re doing to support Indigenous peoples who are facing specific difficulties during the pandemic.
We have allocated over $306 million for interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions for Indigenous businesses.
We are providing over $75 million in targeted support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students and are helping young people find jobs in their communities this summer.
And we have invested $10 million in emergency shelters for Indigenous women and children who are fleeing violence.
We have made significant progress, but we know there is still work to be done.
Since day one, our government has been engaging with First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Nation leaders in the fight against this virus.
In places like Northern Saskatchewan that are dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks, it’s become very clear that communities need this work to continue.
That’s why yesterday, we announced support for the Meadow Lake Tribal Council and Metis Nation-Saskatchewan, for their Pandemic Response Plan.
Through this plan, we’re partnering with communities to provide over $2.3 million for everything from food to supplies.
We all want the same thing – to keep people safe.
And we will continue coordinating to make sure that happens.
I want to end today by recognizing that the May long weekend is coming up.
It will be different than normal because lots of places, including our National Parks, are still closed.
But this isn’t forever.
Canadians have been doing the right things these past many weeks.
And that’s why we can announce today some good news for the weeks ahead.
As of the beginning of June, some National Parks will be partially re-opening so that people in the area can use trails and green spaces where physical distancing is possible.
Getting fresh air is important, but we all have to be responsible about it.
And we have to be prepared to make adjustments as needed.
That’s why, with the weather getting better, we’re bringing in new regulations on boating as of June 1, to protect vulnerable communities in the North.
No pleasure craft will be permitted to operate in Canada’s Arctic coastal waters, or in the coastal areas of northern Quebec and Labrador.
Of course, this ban does not include boats used for essential fishing and hunting, or for local community use.
National parks will remain closed this weekend, but some will be re-opening on June 1.
You will be able to use trails and green spaces while following physical distancing guidelines.
But we still have to be careful.
And we must be ready to adapt to new circumstances.
That is why, as of June 1, no pleasure craft will be able to operate in Canada’s Arctic coastal water or in the coastal areas of Northern Quebec and Labrador.
This is what we need to do to protect one another.
But, we have to remember that this will not be forever.
And if everyone does their part, we will get through this.