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Prime Minister’s remarks on keeping Canadians safe and working with other countries to fight COVID-19

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Hello, everyone.  

Over the last few weeks, our women and men in uniform have been working to help the most vulnerable Canadians as we deal with this pandemic.

And as the need for their help continues, we have received new requests to extend this period of deployment in both Ontario and Quebec, and we will be following up.

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are doing an incredible job, just like always.

They are serving with distinction for our grandparents, our parents, our elders.

In Ontario, they’ve made some extremely troubling observations about several long-term care facilities in which they’ve been serving, and we’ve shared this information with the provincial government.

As I’ve said many times, we need to do a better job of caring for the people who built this country.

The Greatest Generation saw us through the Second World War

We need to be there to support them properly through this global crisis.

I spoke with Premier Ford on this earlier this morning, to let him know that, of course, we would be there to help as he takes action on improving care for seniors in long-term care centres.

Our government will continue to support Ontarians through this.

And I know this is something the Premier will be addressing in greater detail at his press conference later today.

This morning, I also want to provide an update on personal protective equipment.

In the last 10 weeks alone, over 40 flights have arrived in Canada carrying much-needed PPE.

This represents hundreds of thousands of items – everything from masks to hospital gowns – that we’ve shipped to our front-line workers.

At the same time, we’re also investing in production here at home.

And on that front, today, we’re taking yet another critical step forward.

I can announce that we have signed a contract with General Motors to produce 10 million face masks.

As we speak, GM employees are already making these masks, and the first shipments of masks will be ready soon.

They will keep people safe and help slow the spread of COVID-19.

And for the autoworkers in Oshawa, this contract will support good, well-paying jobs in an industry that’s faced tough times.

On testing, we’re also making progress.

We’re supporting companies and research centres across the country as they develop new, improved COVID-19 test kits and products.

And for life-saving health care equipment, we’ve signed a new contract for 10,000 ventilators that are being produced through a partnership between Canadian Nobel Laureate Dr. Art McDonald, his team, and Vexos.

Deliveries will begin this summer, bringing our total of made-in-Canada ventilators to 40,000.

On this, and on other supplies for front-line workers, I know that Minister Bains and Minister Anand will have more details to share a little later today.

Over the past two months, we’ve rolled out targeted support for sectors that have been hit hard by COVID-19.

And we know that more needs to be done.

Just look at the food industry.

With the growing season underway, farmers are working harder than ever to keep Canadians fed.

But because of COVID-19, many are having trouble finding workers.  

So today, I can announce that our government is funding up to 700 youth jobs in that industry.

This will support the people who put food on our plates, while creating new opportunities for young people.

This builds on what we’ve already done, from connecting more Canadians of every age with work in the sector, to supporting seasonal workers.

In the last weeks, Canadians have been focused on our families and on our neighbours, on our communities and our country.

But we’ve also been closely engaged with how the world is managing COVID-19.

Not only because the only way to truly end this virus in Canada is to end it everywhere, but because as a trading nation, with Canadians who trace their origins to every corner of the planet, we understand better than most how connected the world has become.

Canadian jobs and businesses depend on stable and productive economies in other countries – so it matters to us how everyone weathers this storm.

We cannot forget those who are most vulnerable, whether they are living in remote regions or in the Caribbean.

For so many, this pandemic is devastating.

More than 300 million people around the world will be out of work.

And more than 30 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty.

We can’t wait for others to act.

It’s not in our self-interest, and it’s just not who we are. 

We can – and we must – seize the opportunity to do what we can to make people safer and more prosperous.

To create an international system that recognizes who is left behind and strives to lift them up. 

This is no small task.

But I know we’re up to it.

Canada is ready to do our part, as we help bring the world together in the fight against COVID-19. 

On Thursday, I will be convening a high-level meeting with the Secretary-General of the UN and the Prime Minister of Jamaica, to consider global economic challenges and how to better support developing countries.

We’re bringing together leaders from every region of the world, as well as the heads of international institutions, to work on shared strategies to protect the global economy, support our citizens, and help the most vulnerable.

I have been speaking to many leaders about these issues, about the importance of global cooperation.

This includes Chancellor Merkel of Germany and President Macron of France just yesterday, and leaders from the Caribbean and from across Africa, Latin America, and the Pacific.

And key international financial experts – like Canada’s own Mark Carney – are getting involved, too.

To address this pandemic, to keep people safe, to help our economies weather the storm, we need to collaborate.

And with this forum, Canada will be there to help lead the way forward.

Thank you.