Updating Canadians on COVID-19 vaccine deliveries and the National Day of Observance
Good morning, everyone.
I’m happy to be joined today by Minister LeBlanc, as well as by Dr. Tam and Dr. Njoo.
Our mass immunization campaign continues.
We are working tirelessly, each and every day, to obtain as many doses as possible, as quickly as possible.
Last Friday, we announced that millions of doses of the Pfizer vaccine will arrive earlier than anticipated. We will 1.5 million doses before the end of March. As a result, we will have received a total of 8 million COVID-19 vaccines before the end of March.
I know, that’s a lot of numbers and calculations.
But the important part is this: the immunization campaign is quickly gaining speed.
More and more people are getting their vaccine, including those parents and grandparents that you’re so anxious to see, as well as frontline workers.
And every day, more and more people are protected.
Right now, across the country, we’re getting vaccines to Canadians.
We now have four vaccines approved by independent regulators in Canada – more than any other country.
Again, you can count on the fact that any vaccine approved in Canada is both safe and effective.
Last week, we received almost a million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
This week, we’re getting another million, and before the end of this month, we will have received a total of eight million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
On the half a million AstraZeneca vaccine doses delivered from the Serum Institute last week; these shots are being distributed to provinces as we speak.
More and more people are getting vaccinated every day.
That means more grandparents, healthcare workers, and vulnerable people are now safe.
Our top priority is to get you your shot as soon as possible.
No one will be left behind.
Just take Myrtle, from Kahnawake, Quebec.
She’s 90 years old and was the first elderly person living at home in Kahnawake to receive a vaccine.
For Myrtle, and her family, getting her shot was a big moment because now she will be able to tell her sons who call every Sunday that she is safe.
This past year has not been easy but, despite everything, we need to remember that we have plenty of reasons to stay positive.
For example, yesterday was International Women’s Day.
It was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements made by women, in all their diversity, here in Canada and elsewhere in the world.
Unfortunately, it was also the time to acknowledge that women and girls have been disproportionately affected by the consequences of the pandemic.
We cannot allow this crisis to roll back the hard-fought social and economic gains made by women in years gone by.
To build back better, our economic recovery must benefit everyone.
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Freeland announced the creation of the Task Force on Women in the Economy.
This 18-member task force – from CEOs and childcare advocates to labour representatives, economists, and Indigenous leaders – will advise the government on continuing to advance gender equality in the wake of the pandemic.
We need to rebuild an economy that’s fair for everyone.
So that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
Of course, this is just one part of the equation.
After all, it’s almost impossible to get, let alone to keep, a good job without a roof over your head.
Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home.
Yesterday, the federal government partnered with the government of British Columbia to announce a $517 million housing benefit investment over 10 years.
This is part of our $2 billion commitment to the Canada Housing Benefit, to support families right across the country.
For more than 25,000 households in B.C., the new Canada-British Columbia Housing Benefit will provide financial assistance to marginalized people with low incomes to help with monthly rent.
On average, this could mean around $400 in support each month in rent.
This program is designed to get right to people who need it most.
That’s why the benefit will go directly to households through non-profit housing providers or through BC Housing.
Investments like this are real steps forward to make sure that everyone has a safe place to call home.
I want to thank Ministers Ahmed Hussen and Joyce Murray, Member of Parliament Terry Beech, and their counterparts in B.C. for all their important work on this issue.
Thursday of this week, March 11, will mark one year since COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic by the WHO.
Our lives changed on a dime.
What we considered normal a day earlier would become less and less so in the weeks and months to follow.
This week, we mark a year of your sacrifices.
To all Canadians who are making an effort, big or small, I want to say thank you.
I know it isn’t easy.
This kind of crisis comes once a century.
By sticking together and continuing to work together, we will make it through to the other side.
We have made progress in the past year, but there is still much to be done.
In the end, we will beat COVID-19.
We’re naming March 11th, 2021, as a National Day of Observance to honour everyone we lost to this terrible virus, and to recognize the impact this global pandemic has had on all our lives.
Around the world, more than 2.5 million people have died because of COVID-19.
22,000 of them were our fellow Canadians.
They have been taken from us, but they will not be forgotten.
Each one was special.
Each one was loved.
They were grandparents, friends, parents, brothers, sisters, and colleagues.
There are no words for the pain of losing someone you love.
As a country, we remember all those who we lost and we mourn with families and friends.
To everyone who is grieving, we’re thinking of you and we’re there for you.
On Thursday, I invite all Canadians to join together to honour the memory of those we have lost, and to thank all those who continue to make incredible sacrifices to fight this pandemic.
Together, we will beat this virus.