Remarks on the annual Canada Child Benefit increase and support for the Canadian Red Cross
Hello everyone. Happy weekend.
I want to start by noting that tomorrow is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.
Every year, this is a day where we speak out against the stigma, discrimination, and violence that target the LGBTQ2 community.
We need to show our solidary tomorrow, and every day.
Homophobia, transphobia and biphobia are never ok.
We all have a role to play in building a Canada where everyone can be proud of who they are and whom they love.
No matter where you live or what you do in life, your life has changed as a result of the pandemic.
Your needs, worries and challenges are not the same as before because the situation is no longer the same.
Our government has put in place new programs to help you get through the crisis – whether you are studying, retired, employed or not.
At the same time, there will be more support for programs and organizations whose work is even more essential these days.
I want to start with some news on the medical front.
Health Canada has now approved the first Canadian clinical trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine at the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University.
The National Research Council of Canada will be working with the manufacturer so that if these vaccine trials are successful, we can produce and distribute it here at home.
Research and development take time, and must be done right, but this is encouraging news.
A few weeks ago, we announced $40 million for women’s shelters and sexual assault centres across the country.
And for Indigenous women and children fleeing violence, we’re providing $10 million for emergency shelters.
Our goal was to help these organizations take all the necessary steps to protect people not only from violence, but from COVID-19.
To date, more than 500 women’s shelters and sexual assault organizations have received additional support, including Inasmuch House in Hamilton, the Miramichi Emergency Centre for Women, the Saskatoon Interval House, and the South Okanagan Women in Need Society.
Community organizations such as women’s shelters are an essential resource for the most vulnerable people.
And their mission has not changed during the pandemic.
In fact, they serve a growing clientele and must adapt to the realities and challenges of the pandemic.
We have therefore launched the Emergency Community Support Fund with a budget of $350 million.
Most of the funds will be distributed through United Way Centraide, the Community Foundations of Canada and the Red Cross.
Eligibility criteria and details about the application process will be posted on our partners’ websites, and the good news is that organizations in need of support will be able to apply starting on Tuesday.
I now want to turn to what we’re doing for parents.
As you’ve probably heard, we’re boosting the Canada Child Benefit for the month of May.
You can expect to receive $300 more per child when you get your benefit this Wednesday, but that’s not all.
Starting on July 20, we will increase the Canada Child Benefit once again for the upcoming year.
Every summer for the past three years, we boosted the CCB to help keep up with the cost of living – and this summer will be no different.
As the price of your groceries go up, so will the benefit.
Targeted support measures are planned for parents, as well as students and seniors, because we recognize that these groups face particular challenges as a result of the pandemic.
However, it is clear that there are other people who still need help.
I am referring, in particular, to women business owners who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
Many operate smaller businesses and have liquidity problems. Others operate in sectors that are crippled by COVID-19 such as hotels, restaurants and retail sales.
The issues related to the pandemic are in addition to the barriers that businesswomen unfortunately still face, such as gender discrimination.
To better support women during the crisis, our government will inject $15 million into the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy.
From the outset, our number one priority has always been to protect the health and safety of Canadians.
And we’ve been able to count on the Canadian Red Cross to do just that.
They’ve been playing a key role in supporting Canadians during this crisis, helping both individuals and communities with their most pressing needs.
But like many organizations, the Red Cross is facing an increased demand for its services at a time where they’re getting fewer volunteers and receiving less in donations.
So today, our government is investing up to $100 million to ensure that the Red Cross can keep responding to COVID-19, while also preparing for potential floods and wildfires.
This morning, I would like to close with a few words to the children and young people who are listening
I know that the past few weeks have not been easy.
You can’t wait to see your friends, go back to school and, yes, to have a break from your parents.
I know that it is even more difficult for youths who are members of the LGBTQ2 community.
It is often difficult at home, and you may be far from your support network.
We will continue to be there for you. And I know that, together, we will get through this.
Things will slowly get better.
So, continue to lend a hand around the house.
Continue to help your parents because, at the same time, you are helping society to face the crisis.
Hang in there, stay strong, and we’ll see you on the other side.
Thank you very much, everybody.