Remarks on Small Business Week and the Community Resilience Fund
Good morning, everyone.
I’m happy to be here with Deputy Prime Minister Freeland and Minister Ng, as well as Dr. Tam and Dr. Njoo.
Canada has now passed a total of 200,000 cases of COVID-19 since the spring, with almost 22,000 active cases across the country today.
Here, and around the world, the fight against this virus is far from over.
And in order to win it, we have to keep working together.
Canada is a big country, and the pandemic is playing out differently in different provinces and territories.
That’s why I’m asking everyone to keep following the guidelines of their local public health authorities.
This is a Team Canada effort – and when you wear a mask, limit your in-person close contacts, and use the free COVID Alert app – you’re doing your part.
As a government, we’re doing ours, too.
Since March, we’ve received almost 800 million pieces of personal protective equipment – masks, gloves, gowns, and face shields – to protect frontline workers and Canadians.
This month alone, we’ve distributed over 20 million pieces of PPE to the provinces and territories.
And we’re continuing to work around the clock to ship even more to the frontlines.
As we are doing all we can to ensure that Canadians stay healthy, we continue to step up our efforts to also keep our economy healthy.
This week is Small Business Week.
It’s a chance to recognize the enormous contribution that small businesses make to our country.
In recent weeks, I’ve talked to many entrepreneurs and business leaders, who offered some suggestions and also expressed their concerns.
Small businesses are at the heart of our communities, and our government is there for them.
We’re there for people like Charles-Ugo Boucher, owner of Café Larue, in my own riding of Papineau. The wage subsidy extension will help him keep his employees on the job.
With winter coming, many business owners are hoping that clients won’t be turned off by having to line up outside in the cold.
For small business owners:
The wage subsidy, the new Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program, which will go directly to small business tenants, and the Canada Emergency Business Account are there for you.
You have shown resilience and creativity, and our government will continue to take meaningful action to support you.
Small businesses are the heart of our communities, and the backbone of our economy.
During Small Business Week, I want to take a moment to recognize the hard work and perseverance that so many people put in every day, and especially over the last 6 months.
Whether you’ve adapted your menu to make take-out easier, or used your 3D printers to manufacture PPE, your resilience and creativity is an inspiration.
As a government, our goal is to help you and your employees, through this tough time.
From the beginning of this crisis, we took immediate and significant action to help Canadian businesses keep their door open and their workers on the job.
Recently, I spoke with many small business owners that shared their experience with me.
Dr. Hedy Fry introduced me to Lisa Arthurs, owner of Quick Nickel Clothing in Vancouver’s West End, for whom the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy could provide direct help as she continues to work hard to keep her business running.
Of course, the extended wage subsidy and the expanded Canada Emergency Business Account are also there to help.
Moving forward, we will continue to listen to the needs of small businesses, just like we listen to the needs of all Canadians.
We’ll be there for people, whatever it takes, as long as it takes.
Unfortunately, our fight against COVID-19 isn’t over, and we must continue to follow the guidelines of our local public health authorities.
Wear a mask, download the free COVID Alert App, and limit your close contacts.
And as you’re making an effort to slow the spread of the virus, why not encourage small businesses in your neighbourhood and mark Small Business Week by ordering a meal from the restaurant down the street or buying a gift card for your favourite store.
I want to end this morning by taking a moment to talk about the Community Resilience Fund, which supports partnerships and innovation in countering online radicalization to violence.
The pandemic has increased the amount of time we spend in front of our screens.
And while the digital space is powerful, it’s not without issues.
Online hate is far too common, and all too often it can spill over into real life.
Better understanding violent extremism is key to preventing radicalization to violence, so that we can stop tragedies before they happen.
So far, the Community Resilience Fund has supported 39 projects across the country with a total of over $29 million.
Today, I can announce that we will invest in the YWCA Canada’s project, Block Hate: Building Resilience against Online Hate Speech.
This is an important project, and I know it will help keep our communities safe.
To all the groups and local leaders who are part of this fund: thank you for your vital work.