Remarks on support for Canadians and businesses
We have lots to talk about today, so let’s get right to it.
We’re at a tipping point in this pandemic.
Not only is the second wave underway, yesterday we hit the highest daily recorded cases, well above what we saw this spring.
I know this is discouraging, especially going into Thanksgiving weekend.
But remember this: when things were at their bleakest during the first wave, Canadians pulled together and flattened the curve.
Every time you wear a mask, every time you stay home when going out is unnecessary, every time you help a friend download the COVID Alert app, you are part of the solution.
We’ve flattened the curve before.
We can do it again.
And now, we have even more tools to help us.
On Tuesday, Minister Anand and Minister Hajdu announced that the government has signed an agreement with Abbott Rapid Diagnostics for up to 20.5 million rapid tests.
The COVID Alert app is up and running in 8 out of 10 provinces, now including PEI, and has been downloaded more than 4 million times.
The more people use the app, the more powerful this tool will become.
It’s another way for each of us to do our part to protect our loved ones, our neighbours, and our fellow Canadians.
Increases in the number of new cases put enormous pressure on hospitals and health-care workers, who are becoming increasingly overwhelmed.
Together, we were able to flatten the curve in the spring, and we can do it again.
Especially because we now have more tools available.
On Tuesday, Minister Anand and Minister Hajdu announced an agreement that will give us access to up to 20.5 million rapid tests.
And, 8 of the 10 provinces, including Quebec and Prince Edward Island, are now using the free COVID Alert app, which has been downloaded over 4 million times across the country.
The more people who use the app, the more effective it will be.
This is one way for us to protect our loved ones, our neighbours, and our front-line workers.
I encourage you all to download the free app today.
Our top priority is keeping Canadians safe as we support people through this storm.
This morning, we received the news that 378,000 jobs were added to the economy in September, as the unemployment rate continues to go down.
This is good news for a lot of people, but we also know that there’s still lots more work to be done.
Earlier this week, Canadians could begin accessing the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit—for people who are not covered at work if they get COVID-19 or if a family member gets sick.
Next week, applications will also open for the Canada Recovery Benefit, which is replacing the CERB for those who can’t access EI.
At the same time, we’re also looking at how else we can support businesses, as we outlined in the Throne Speech.
Today we are announcing new support for Canadian businesses so that they can keep workers on the job and get through the coming months.
Deputy Prime Minister Freeland will provide more details, but here’s the bottom line: even if many businesses have now reopened, most are not back to full capacity, while many others are facing the uncertainty of a second wave.
Our goal is to support Canadian employers and help businesses bridge to better times.
That’s why we are updating support for commercial rent and mortgage payments with the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy.
This will provide support to businesses directly, not through landlords.
For businesses who have seen a revenue drop, the new rent subsidy can support up to 65% of eligible expenses, and up to 90% for businesses temporarily shut down by a mandatory second wave public health order.
At the same time, we are extending the wage subsidy—at a rate of up to 65% of eligible wages—to December and expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account for those small businesses that need it, including with an additional $10,000 forgivable loan.
We’ll also work to target financial support directly to businesses that have temporarily shut down as a result of local public health directions.
We know this second wave will be even harder for those who get hit.
That’s why our response needs to be targeted and effective.
Small and large businesses create jobs, drive our economy, and make our communities stronger.
Our government will continue to do whatever it takes to support them.
As we said in the Speech from the Throne, our government will continue to support businesses that are struggling during this crisis.
This morning, we learned that 378,000 jobs were added to the economy in September and that the employment rate is continuing to go down.
This is good news, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
Although a lot of businesses have reopened, most are still not yet operating at full capacity and others are concerned about the uncertainty of a second wave.
That’s why we are updating support for commercial rent by creating the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy.
This support will go directly to businesses that have lost revenue because of the crisis.
The subsidy could support up to 65% of eligible expenses, and up to 90% for businesses that must be closed temporarily as a result of local public health directions.
We are also extending the wage subsidy—up to 65% of eligible wages until December—and the Canada Emergency Business Account, by adding a $10,000 forgivable loan for small businesses that need it, among other things.
We will provide targeted financial support to help businesses that must temporarily shut down because of outbreaks.
We know that the second wave will be even harder for those that it affects. Our response must be targeted and effective.
For many of us, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to share a wonderful meal with friends and family.
Although this tradition has been shaken up this year, we must not forget that there are also Canadians facing serious food insecurity.
This sad reality has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
In April, we announced a $100-million investment to improve access to food for Canadians who are most in need.
Today, I am announcing an additional $100 million in funding for national, regional, and local organizations that help those who do not have enough to eat.
This funding will be provided through the Government of Canada’s Emergency Food Security Fund, and Minister Bibeau will have more details on this in just a moment.
This morning, I went to the grocery store to buy some food to donate to the food bank, and I was reminded of a few things that those wanting to make donations should keep in mind, as I know many of you are thinking of others this Thanksgiving weekend: focus on non-perishable items, like canned goods; microwavable foods are easier for those who do not have an oven; and don’t forget to make healthy choices.
Our government will continue to support Canadians during this crisis, especially those who are most vulnerable, who have been the hardest hit, but I encourage everyone to do their part.
In April, we invested $100 million in emergency funding to help food banks and community organizations with their vital work.
Today, I can announce that we’re putting another $100 million towards supporting food banks, local food security organizations, Indigenous groups serving vulnerable people and communities, and partners for Northern communities.
Last night I had a video call with Food Banks Canada, and got to hear from incredible volunteers and staff from right across the country.
They do remarkable work supporting vulnerable Canadians every day, and that includes this Thanksgiving weekend.
No one should be left behind, regardless of where they live.
In July, when we finalized the Safe Restart Agreement, the federal government and the First Ministers recognized that smaller jurisdictions face distinct challenges and circumstances.
Today, I can announce that additional top-up funds of over $37 million will be included in the first payments to the territories under this agreement.
A supplemental $41.4 million will also go towards air carriers to ensure essential air services to remote communities in the North.
Minister LeBlanc will have more details in a few minutes.
But I want to especially thank MPs Larry Bagnell and Michael McLeod, and our Minister of Northern Affairs Dan Vandal, for their leadership and their important work on supporting our Northern communities.
I know that it’s the long weekend and many of you are disappointed that you won’t be able to be together.
Thanksgiving as we know might look a little different, but we are working—together—to do everything we can to stop the virus from spreading over the next few weeks so that we can get together again, in person, with the people we love at Christmas.
Every time you wear a mask, every time you stay at home when you don’t need to go out, every time you tell a friend to download the COVID Alert all, you are part of the solution.
Our Thanksgiving traditions may be temporarily changed by this pandemic, but our resilience and our determination remain strong.
What we do now will shape the numbers we see in two weeks and set us, hopefully, on the right track for family gatherings at Christmas.
So let’s work together, and let’s flatten the curve.