Producing made-in-Canada vaccines and creating hundreds of good jobs
Hello, everyone. I am pleased to be here today with ministers Champagne and Duclos, and with members of Parliament from Montréal, Scarpaleggia and Zuberi, among others.
Thank you to Premier Legault, François, for being here for this extremely important joint announcement, and to ministers Dubé and Fitzgibbon for also being here. And a very special thank you to Stéphane and Patricia from Moderna; thank you very much for your leadership and your partnership.
Whether they are against COVID-19 or other diseases, vaccines save lives. It is important to have state-of-the-art facilities and production capacity here in Canada. Our government has promised to rebuild our biomanufacturing capacity, and we have already completed the construction of a new biologics manufacturing centre here in Montréal at National Research Council Canada, and we have made investments with companies like AbCellera, BioVectra, Résilience and Sanofi.
And now, today, Moderna’s announcement that it is building a factory in Quebec is another step in the right direction. This new Moderna factory will be able to produce up to 100 million doses of mRNA vaccines a year.
The team has worked very hard on this. I obviously want to thank François-Philippe Champagne, who, from… we call him the “Energizer Bunny.” He is everywhere calling, attracting investments in Quebec and everywhere in Canada, he is really a very proud Quebecer, but he also delivers elsewhere in Canada, every time he calls me, it is, “OK, boss, I have a deal for you, we need to…” You know, it’s constant, but it is exactly that energy to go out there to try, to sell Canada as an investment destination, that we are so lucky to have you on the team, François-Philippe. Thank you for everything you do.
But I also need to acknowledge our Health minister, Jean-Yves Duclos, for his leadership in this.
Hello, sir, nice to see you. We are all excited for Moderna, yes.
(Loud drumming noise)
I also, of course, want to recognize Minister Duclos, who has done remarkable work, and ministers Tassi and Anand in terms of the vaccines, which have been extremely important in recent years, and other colleagues for their work.
During the pandemic, I myself had several calls with Stéphane to talk about Moderna. I had virtual meetings with Noubar Afeyan, the co-founder in Boston, during which we spoke a lot about the opportunities that we had to work together. We have always worked well together, but it is really proof that has led to this wonderful announcement today.
As we continue our economic recovery after the pandemic, we often talk about the importance of creating well-paying jobs. Moderna’s arrival in Canada will create hundreds of good jobs and will help us to continue developing talent here in the science sector. We were able to walk upstairs and see the range of extraordinary young and not-as-young researchers here at McGill—my alma mater, of course—but also in other universities across Quebec and Canada. Many brilliant scientists, international too, who come to live here because there are so many things being done and we will continue to support them in the science sector.
Moderna will also invest in research and development here in Canada, which will help us continue to expand our life sciences sector. Being able to produce made-in-Canada mRNA vaccines is not just important for COVID-19 or for future pandemics; it also will have a significant impact in the research that they’re doing on a range of illnesses. We talked about Alzheimer’s, we talk about cancers, we talk about the range of things that messenger RNA is able to deliver to keep Canadians and people around the world healthy.
And Canada, that has long been leaders in research around mRNA, will now be also leaders in delivering mRNA to Canadians and to the world with this investment. And that, of course, is key to both keeping communities safe and growing our economy. So, today’s announcement is perfectly aligned with our plan to build a more resilient future for Canadians and shows that Canada is truly an attractive place for world-class companies to come invest, build, and grow.
With today’s announcement, we are continuing to create well-paying jobs, we are making our biotech sector even more dynamic, and we are protecting our communities’ health for the future.
Stéphane, Patricia, and Noubar—who is not here with us today, but who studied here at McGill himself—thank you again for your leadership. Canada has one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the world, and you have certainly been a part of that success. And now Canadians are very happy to continue this effective collaboration by building a factory with you, here at home.