Remarks updating Canadians on the COVID-19 situation and vaccines
Happy Friday, everyone.
It’s been a difficult year.
There’s no other way to put it.
But when times get tough, Canadians step up.
I want to start today by thanking all Canadians for all their efforts in the fight against this global pandemic.
You’ve made a lot of sacrifices over the past many months.
You helped keep people safe.
You helped save lives.
Everything we did, small and big, by following public health orders, and making sure that ourselves, our loved ones, and frontline workers were safe, made a difference. So thank you.
On this 8th and final day of Hanukkah, and with only one week to go until Christmas, there’re more than 75,000 active COVID-19 cases across the country.
Deaths per capita are continuing to rise in many G7 countries, including Canada.
Countries around the world continue to feel the pain of the second wave.
We need to take this very seriously as numbers continue to head in the wrong direction.
Our fight against this virus is not over, even as we’re preparing to say goodbye – and good riddance – to 2020.
It may be the holiday season, but we have to be more careful than ever.
On Monday, vaccinations started for the most vulnerable and our frontline workers.
Canada has secured agreements for up to 417,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines ahead of schedule.
This includes over 200,000 early doses of the Pfizer vaccine scheduled for next week, and 168,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine before the end of December, pending Health Canada approval.
I want to assure you again that any vaccine approved in Canada will be both safe and effective, and that health experts are making those decisions independently.
In January, we’ll be getting 125,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine per week, for a total of 500,000 doses for the month.
With the guaranteed millions of doses coming in 2021, every Canadian who wants a vaccine will get one, no matter where they live.
This is the largest immunization campaign in our country’s history, and I know that we have the right plan and the expertise that we need.
But getting a vaccine in a week or in a month won’t do you any good if you catch COVID-19 today.
That’s why we need to keep working to halt the spread of COVID-19.
So please, continue to follow public health guidelines.
Practice social distancing.
Use the COVID Alert app.
Do the right thing for the most vulnerable.
And think of being careful as a gift you can directly give to fellow Canadians, especially frontline workers who continue to step up every single day to keep us safe.
To keep Canadians safe.
We’re working hard to make sure that Canadians across the country have access to safe and effective vaccines.
At the same time, we’re also working to procure and to develop treatments for COVID-19 and other viral infections.
On that note, today I’m announcing an investment of nearly $9 million through the National Research Council of Canada to support the development of these treatments.
This investment will go to four companies, two in Montréal and two in Vancouver, for their COVID‑19 treatment candidates.
It’s important to continue to develop solutions here in Canada to fight COVID-19 and to prepare for other possible pandemics.
It’s by working with researchers, scientists and companies that we’ll get there.
For many Canadians, the holidays are a time to cook good food and have a few extra pieces of dessert because well why not.
But for far too many others, the reality is very different, especially during this pandemic.
More than a third of Canadians who rely on food banks are children.
In a country like Canada, no child should go hungry.
In October, our government announced another $100 million under the Emergency Food Security Fund, doubling our investment from the spring.
This morning, Minister Bibeau outlined the details of where that additional funding will go, including $30 million for food security in First Nation, Metis, and Inuit communities.
With these funds, food banks, local food organizations, and Indigenous groups will be able to purchase and safely distribute food to help vulnerable people and communities.
I want to say a special thank you to all the volunteers and workers at food organizations who’ve stepped up to help their fellow Canadians.
I met many of you virtually in October, and I remember you sharing how you had to adapt really quickly when the pandemic hit.
Thank you for your work, your time, your generosity, and for your commitment to answering the call for others in need.
I know we had all hoped that the situation would be different for the holidays.
This year has already been a difficult one, and you are being asked to do more.
But now is not the time to give up.
There is hope.
We know vaccines are coming. We weren’t sure there were going to be vaccines against COVID‑19 when we were talking about it six months ago.
But our researchers, our scientists have done incredible work, here in Canada and around the world, and we now know there is an end to this pandemic and that end is in sight.
But it’s not here yet.
We have millions of doses reserved for Canadians.
Everyone will be able to be vaccinated in 2021 in Canada.
But before that happens, we’re going to have to get through a difficult winter together.
So continue to do what we’ve been doing for months. Be careful.
Follow public health guidelines.
Download and use the COVID Alert app.
Christmas will not be the same this year.
But it will still be a time for us to be there, virtually or in person, for our loved ones.
To reflect on this difficult year, but especially, to reflect on how we were able to get through it together as a community, as a society.
Being there for each other to grieve the tens of thousands of Canadians we have lost.
But to double down on our commitment to have a Christmas in 2021 that is better, far better, than the one this year.
We can do it. We have to continue to hold strong.
We can give the gift of being careful to our health workers.
Those on the frontlines who are there to protect us.
Who continue to work, even through the holidays, to save lives.
We all have a duty to protect them and we have the ability to do so.
Keep doing what needs to be done and we will get through this.
Since the beginning of this crisis, our government has done everything we can to protect you and your family.
We’ve sent millions of pieces of PPE to the provinces and territories.
We’ve created special programs for families and workers who needed it.
We’ve supported small businesses so that they could stay open and hold on.
We’ve presented historic measures to rebuild a more resilient economy that works for everyone.
Now I know that this won’t be the kind of holiday season we might have hoped for.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t feel hopeful about what comes next.
This past year has had its challenges, but we faced them together.
When this new virus started spreading, few people thought we’d have an approved and safe vaccine so quickly.
So thank you to our scientists, to researchers and to experts around the world who stepped up and worked incredibly hard.
You’ve all done incredible things this year.
And it’s important that we keep supporting you and the work you do. And that we keep listening and trusting you in your expertise and your work to keep us all safe.
The vaccination campaign has started.
Millions of doses are already secured, and will be coming in, in the next months.
We planned thoroughly.
We’re relying on advice from the best experts, and we’re working with the provinces and territories to roll them out.
Canada has the most vaccines secured per capita, and the most diverse portfolio of vaccine options in the world.
We’re also doing our part to help developing countries get access to more tests, treatments, and vaccines so we can fight this pandemic everywhere.
There are reasons to be hopeful for 2021.
Just like through this spring, summer, and fall, we will continue to be there for you.
We will have your back, every step of the way.
We will do, as a government whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to keep you safe and supported.
We’re coming into the final miles of this crisis, and we can’t give up now.
So stay home.
And we will get through this together.
Merry Christmas, everyone. Happy Holidays. And mostly, happy New Year.