Remarks on COVID-19 vaccines, the lifting of drinking water advisories, and support for Canadians
Yesterday, we marked one year since the pandemic officially began.
No matter who you are, getting through the last 12 months has taken strength.
It has taken courage, but above all, it has taken hope.
There are still many days to go in this pandemic, but each one that passes, just like each person who gets a vaccine, brings us closer to the better days ahead.
To date, we have delivered over 3.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the provinces and territories.
We will be receiving millions more doses by the end of the month.
And, starting in April, we will be receiving even more, even faster.
This week, Major-General Fortin’s team at the National Operations Centre coordinated a rehearsal exercise with industry partners, as well federal, provincial, territorial and Indigenous partners.
This exercise was done to ensure that we are ready for the delivery acceleration phase.
It’s all hands on deck.
Last night, we held our 28th First Ministers’ Meeting. We released a joint statement to mark this solemn anniversary and to honour the heroes who have been working from the very beginning to keep us healthy. We recognized the families that are grieving and the people who have died of COVID-19. And we once again acknowledged how important it is for us to continue working together, to continue to be there, as a team, for all Canadians all across the country. That is something we will continue to do. We will continue to be there for you.
Based on new delivery schedules from Pfizer, I can confirm that Canada will receive at least 1 million Pfizer doses per week from March 22 to May 10.
A million doses of Pfizer alone every 7 days.
That’s going to make a big difference.
We have shared these updated delivery schedules with the provinces and territories.
This is so they can continue to plan for mass vaccination sites to get you and your family protected as soon as possible.
Every dose makes a difference.
Last week, Susan from DDO in Montréal, wrote to me to say that she and her husband—who are both seniors—had gotten their first dose.
She told me about the relief they felt after a year of worrying.
Susan, I’m glad that you and your husband are now safer. As I said, everyone who wants to be vaccinated will be by the end of September.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from the virus is to be vaccinated. And it is important that those who have now been vaccinated keep doing their part to keep others safe as we continue to increase vaccinations.
This has been a long winter. We are all looking forward to spring.
As Canadians, with our wide-open spaces, we like to spend time outdoors.
Over the past year, especially after days spent in Zoom meetings, a lot of people have rediscovered how good it is to get outside for a walk or to take the kids out for a weekend bike ride.
It’s important to be able to get out and get around.
That’s why, over the past 5 years, we have invested in projects right across the country like Kelly’s Brook Path in St. John’s and the Grouse Mountain Trail in Vancouver.
These projects are not just about creating walking trails or wheelchair-accessible paths to the bus stop; they are about ensuring everyone can get around and helping us build healthier, stronger communities.
And on that front, today we took another step forward.
As Minister McKenna announced earlier this morning, we are investing $400 million for bike lanes, trails, and pedestrian bridges across the country.
This is part of our historic public transit investment over the next 8 years and our plan to create a million jobs.
This will lead to stronger communities, clean air, and new jobs.
That’s a win-win, and that’s our blueprint to come roaring back from this pandemic.
As we rebuild from this crisis, it’s up to us to create the kind of Canada we all want to see—a country where everyone has what they need to succeed.
Right now, one of our top priorities is ensuring that no one misses out on vaccines.
This includes Indigenous communities, which are particularly vulnerable to the virus.
Vaccination is underway in over 530 Indigenous communities and communities in the territories.
And for Indigenous people living in cities, we’re working with the provinces and territories to get everyone their shots as soon as possible.
Of course, keeping people safe and ensuring communities have the resources they need, doesn’t end with vaccines.
And on that front, this morning I want to talk about where we are with long-term drinking water advisories.
Earlier this week, we marked an important milestone in our partnership with First Nations communities—the lifting of the 101st long-term drinking water advisory since we took office.
Thousands of homes now have clean water.
That’s real progress, but I know there’s more work to do.
As Minister Miller has said, we will not stop until everyone—in every community—has access to clean water.
Finally, I want to end this morning on the news that the Canadian economy gained 259,000 jobs—both part-time and full-time—in February.
For the workers who are back on the job, and for their families, this is the good news they needed.
Every step of the way, our focus has been on supporting Canadians through the storm.
But let’s not forget there are still far too many people for whom things continue to be really tough.
If that’s you, know that you’re not alone in this crisis.
We’re here to help you get through it and get back on your feet.
That’s exactly why we are extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support at their current levels until June, as I announced earlier this month.
For places like the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts, the wage subsidy has been the difference between having to shut down or keeping people on the payroll.
And it’s the same story for millions of workers, right across the country.
When we created the CERB last March, I remember saying that we would be there with the support you needed, when you needed it.
That has not changed.
And it will not change.
Together, we will get through this.