Remarks on measures taken to help Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic
Before I get started, I want to address the troubling news coming out of Hong Kong.
Canada joins the international community in expressing its grave concern with the passage of national security legislation for Hong Kong by mainland China.
After studying the legislation and its impact, Canada will treat exports of sensitive goods to Hong Kong in the same way as those destined for mainland China.
Effective immediately, Canada will not permit the export of sensitive military items to Hong Kong.
We are also suspending the Canada-Hong Kong Extradition Treaty, and updating our travel advisory for Hong Kong.
Canada is a firm believer in the One Country, Two System Framework.
We will continue to support the many connections between Canada and Hong Kong, while also standing up for its people.
In the days and weeks to come, we’re also looking at additional measures, including around immigration.
I’m very pleased today to join Steve MacKinnon, Member of Parliament for Gatineau, at Moisson Outaouais.
I just met some exceptional volunteers who work here at the food bank. Thank you all for the work you do.
I also spoke with Diane and Armand, the President and Executive Director of Moisson Outaouais. They told me about the difficulties they’ve been dealing with during the crisis.
The pandemic has led more people to seek assistance from the food bank.
Like many organizations across the country, Moisson Outaouais needed some help to deal with this new reality.
So our government invested 100 million dollars to support food banks like Moisson Outaouais, to help them continue their essential work.
With this funding, Moisson Outaouais was able to hire more delivery drivers and purchase more food.
Over the last four months, Canadians have come together to help each other and keep each other safe.
It’s taken a lot of hard work and many sacrifices, but it’s starting to pay off.
We are controlling the spread of this virus.
And because the situation continues to improve, we can now pick up where we left off on many of the things we had to put on hold over the spring.
As a first step, we’re moving forward on 92 infrastructure projects in British Columbia under the Investing in Canada Plan.
All told, these investments amount to $150 million, and will create good, well-paying jobs right across B.C.
I’d like to thank Premier Horgan for his support and partnership throughout this process.
It just goes to show that by working together, we can continue to create jobs.
As we work to reopen the economy, our government’s priority is to help build stronger, more prosperous communities.
This work includes helping people return to their jobs.
Many businesses across the country are using the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to rehire their employees.
In total, the program has helped retain 2.8 million employees.
And with other initiatives like the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program and the Canada Emergency Business Account, we are supporting businesses that are vital to our economy.
But we know there’s still much work to be done.
This morning, I can announce that our government is taking yet another step to help Canadians get the training and support they need to find good, well-paying jobs.
As part of our annual funding, we’re investing $40 million over three years in the Union Training and Innovation Program.
Skilled tradespeople are a vital part of our workforce.
They build our towns, our cities, our communities, and they will play an important role as we restart the economy.
This pandemic has been an unprecedented challenge for our country.
And as I’ve said right from the start, our response to COVID-19 will evolve as the situation changes.
Next week, I’ll be hosting a two-day virtual Cabinet retreat.
This will be an opportunity to map out our approach going forward to keep Canadians healthy and safe, and keep our economy strong.
We will also discuss how we can make our country more resilient to potential future waves of the virus.
Of course, COVID-19 is not the only challenge that Canada faces.
So this retreat will be a chance to move forward on addressing systemic discrimination and systemic racism.
Next week, our government will also be releasing an economic and fiscal snapshot.
This report, which Minister Morneau will present to Parliament on Wednesday, will give Canadians a picture of where the economy is right now, how our response compares to that of other countries, and what we can expect in the months to come.
Speaking of next week, let me also remind people who receive Old Age Security benefits and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, that you will see an increase in your benefits this coming week.
In May, we announced this one-time boost of $300 for OAS, and $200 to the GIS.
Together, this means that if you get both benefits, you’ll receive an additional $500.
I also want to remind Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement recipients that your benefits will increase next week.
In May, we announced that individuals would receive an additional $300 through Old Age Security and an additional $200 through the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
This is only one example of the ways we are supporting seniors when they need it the most.
Before concluding, I want to take a moment to recognize that Monday will be the seventh anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster.
It will be a difficult day for many.
Over the last few years, the community of Lac-Mégantic has demonstrated incredible strength and resilience.
As we remember all those we lost, our thoughts are with the families who have been affected by this tragedy.