Remarks on the passing of The Duke of Edinburgh and the COVID-19 situation in Canada
Good morning. Happy Friday, everyone.
I’m happy to be joined today by Ministers LeBlanc, Hajdu, and Anand, as well as by Dr. Tam and Dr. Njoo.
First, let me begin by saying that it is with deep sadness this morning that we all learned of the passing of His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh.
Prince Philip was a man of service, motivated by a sense of duty to others.
I know that through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, he helped empower millions of young people from all backgrounds, including here in Canada, to realize their greatest potential.
And that’s just one example of his many contributions.
Prince Philip will be remembered as a champion for young people, a decorated naval officer, a dedicated philanthropist, and a constant in the life of Queen Elizabeth II.
Prince Philip was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
My thoughts, and the thoughts of all Canadians, are with Queen Elizabeth II and all members of the Royal Family.
The increase in COVID-19 cases continues to be a cause for concern.
In many parts of the country, stronger measures are needed to stop the spread of the virus.
On Wednesday, at our 29th First Ministers' Meeting, I reiterated to the premiers that they can count on the continued support of the federal government.
We are there for all Canadians.
If you need it, there are many programs in place to help you.
If, for example, you have to miss work because one of your young children is ill, or their school is closed, you may be eligible for the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit.
If you are unable to work because you are ill or have to isolate yourself because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.
These programs can provide you with financial assistance, whether you are employed or self-employed.
So to all the hard-working mothers and fathers out there, and others who need support, please go to Canada.ca/coronavirus for all the information on our different programs.
We must do everything we can to fight this third wave.
Every effort counts and every effort can save lives.
Right now, we’re seeing more and more young people being admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
So to young people – there are more contagious and more serious variants out there.
Even if you’re younger, you can get very sick – very, very quickly – or you can give the virus to someone you love who can get very sick.
I know you’ve already done so much and sacrificed so much, but we just need you to hang in there a little bit longer.
And to people of every age, we still need your help. Together, we’re going to get through this.
Our path out of this pandemic is vaccines.
So that’s my number one focus.
Vaccine delivery and rollout is something I talked about with the premiers on Wednesday.
So far, we’ve delivered more than 10.5 million doses to the provinces and territories.
And I know that they’re working to get these shots into the arms of Canadians as fast as possible.
This is a true team effort, especially now that we’re in the ramp-up phase of the vaccine rollout.
Every day, more grandparents and parents are sharing their vaccine selfies on family group chats.
Every day, more Canadians are safer.
Vaccines are saving lives and that’s why we’re doing everything we can to get more and more doses to the front lines.
Until the end of May, we’re scheduled to receive a million doses a week of the Pfizer vaccine.
In June, we’ll have almost 2 million doses a week delivered from Pfizer alone.
For Moderna, we’ll be receiving 2 million doses in April, and almost 3 million in May.
And we’re anticipating to receive over 7 million in June.
What this all means is that by the end of June, we can expect to have received at least 44 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca.
Our government is in close contact with all companies that have approved COVID-19 vaccines in Canada to get the latest information on shipment schedules and amounts.
Everyone is working around the clock to make sure Canadians are safe.
This is true on vaccines, and it’s true on a whole range of other things people need to stay healthy.
On that front, I can confirm that we’re extending the support of the Canadian Red Cross until the end of September for up to 27 long-term care and retirement homes in Ontario, as necessary.
The Red Cross will continue to help each home with their individual needs, while supporting better infection prevention and control measures.
Every senior deserves to be safe and to live in dignity, and we’ll always be there for the residents of long-term care homes and their hard-working staff.
To all of the Canadian Red Cross employees and volunteers, and to everyone at the Government Operations Centre who helps coordinate these deployments – thank you.
You’re doing incredible work.
We all hope that the pandemic will soon be behind us.
This morning it was announced that 303,000 jobs were added to the Canadian economy during the month of March, which includes both full-time and part-time employment.
The unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since February of last year.
This is encouraging news, but there is still a lot of work to do.
We know that many people are still unemployed or have had their hours reduced, especially as new restrictions are being introduced across the country.
We will continue to be there for families, workers, and small businesses.
For those who need support, we’ve created the Canada Recovery Benefit and we’ve strengthened Employment Insurance.
For hard-hit businesses, we have measures in place that you can count on like the wage subsidy and the Canada Emergency Business Account.
Of course, there’s also the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy that can help your business or organization directly, including with additional supports if you’re affected by lockdowns.
As I’ve said from the start, we’ll be here with the support you need.
On that note, on April 19, we will present our 2021 Budget.
We’ll continue to focus on our plan to keep Canadians safe and healthy.
We’ll also share more about our plan to create good, middle-class jobs so we can rebuild an economy that works for everyone.
The pandemic has highlighted – and worsened – far too many gaps in our society.
That’s something we’ll keep working on to address.
And as we do, we’ll continue to stand up for what matters to Canadians, whether that’s finding a good, well-paying job, staying healthy, or having our kids breathe clean air.
These are your priorities, so they’re our priorities too and they’re priorities on which we will continue to deliver.
As we’ve seen over the past year, it’s vital that we all work together to get through this crisis.
So that’s why I’ll be inviting all party leaders to meet individually with me to discuss the upcoming budget early next week.
Before I finish, I want to thank everyone who is making an effort to help fight the pandemic.
Whether it’s health care workers who are tired and worried about their patients, or essential workers who are still on the job despite the risk of catching the virus, or all the people at home who are being careful and following the public health guidance.
Thank you and don’t give up!
More and more people are getting vaccinated, and together we will get through this.