Updating Canadians on COVID-19, vaccine deliveries and support to provinces and territories
Good morning everyone.
Before I get started, I want to speak very quickly about the call I had earlier this morning with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine.
The President and I discussed our shared concerns about recent Russian military activity and ongoing aggression in the Donbas and in Crimea.
On our call, I reaffirmed Canada’s unwavering support and friendship for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as our commitment to further deepening our longstanding friendship with Ukraine.
For a lot of people, this past long weekend was a chance to catch up with family over Zoom, or spend some time outside. But it wasn’t a weekend off for everyone.
Across the country, nurses, doctors, contact tracers, and public health staff, were on the job.
They’re showing up to keep us safe, and we need to do the same for them.
Because what they’re telling us, and what all of the modelling confirms, is that the situation is really serious.
Around the world, countries are facing a very serious third wave of this pandemic, and right now, so is Canada.
This isn’t the news any of us wanted, but hospitalizations are surging, ICU beds are filling up, variants are spreading, and even people who had convinced themselves they didn’t need to be concerned are getting sick.
Even if the sun is shining and the weather is getting warmer, COVID-19 isn’t done with us yet.
And that means we all have to hold tight a little longer.
Later today, I’ll speak to Premier Ford about the situation in Ontario.
I know we’ll talk about what the spike in cases means for hospitals, and the importance of vaccinating as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.
We’ll continue working together to keep Ontarians safe, and support people and businesses through this next wave.
On that note, I’ll also be speaking to all Premiers tomorrow about our continued and shared work to protect and support all Canadians, right across the country.
Until we have as many people vaccinated as possible, we have to keep protecting each other by following public health guidance.
These public heath rules may have to change as case numbers increase or decrease. Already, Ontario, B.C., and Quebec made the tough but necessary choice to take stricter measures to get skyrocketing cases under control.
It’s not easy, and we know that measures may have to become even stricter, but it’s what has to be done.
This is about saving lives.
We need to flatten the curve to save lives.
To young people:
You’ve made tremendous sacrifices over the past year to protect your parents, grandparents, and the heroes on the frontlines.
Thank you. You are saving lives.
We need you to keep doing this a while longer.
If you can stay home, please do.
And to frontline workers:
I know you’re tired, exhausted.
I know you’re really scared about what the coming weeks could bring because you’re seeing the seriousness of these new variants and the spike in cases.
You have done an unbelievable job over the past year.
Know that we will continue to be there for you, and that we will get through this together.
If you need to take time off because you’re sick or self-isolating, we’ve made sure the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit is still there for you and any worker who needs it.
In fact, we’ve added 2 more weeks to that Benefit.
Go to Canada.ca to see how you can qualify because no one should be going to work sick right now.
Of course, if you need PPE on the job, we’re continuing to get you that, and above all, we’re working around the clock to get vaccines delivered.
You probably know people who have gotten their first shot – or maybe you have had your first shot yourself. So you know that each and every dose matters.
Already, we have delivered more than 10 million vaccine doses to the provinces and territories. We didn’t just meet our target for March – we easily exceeded it.
And going forward, doses will continue to arrive faster and faster.
This month and next, we’ll get over a million doses a week from Pfizer alone, on top of deliveries from Moderna and AstraZeneca. Later this month, Janssen will start deliveries of their vaccine to Canada, too.
And as I shared last week, Pfizer has confirmed that they will be moving up 5 million doses for June.
These doses were scheduled for the end of the summer, and now we will be receiving them sooner.
Minister Anand and her team, as well as the Public Health Agency of Canada, is working around the clock to move up and coordinate deliveries.
We’re doing whatever it takes to get vaccines administered as quickly as possible.
Our government is delivering over a million doses a week to the provinces and territories.
And we’ll keep making sure these vaccines get to people as quickly as possible.
As Deputy Prime Minister Freeland announced, we’re providing additional support to the provinces and territories for their pressing needs on vaccine rollout.
The federal government has paid for the vaccines and we’re happy to continue to help with more resources as needed.
Because this is no time to go back and forth over who should pay for what.
This is the time to do everything we can together to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible.
From day one, beating COVID-19 has been a Team Canada effort.
Last summer, we delivered $19 billion through the Safe Restart Agreement to support the provinces and territories on what Canadians needed to get through this crisis.
That money has helped with everything from additional staff at seniors’ homes in Alberta, to modelling in BC to help keep communities safe, to mobile testing in Nova Scotia to reach rural areas.
Today, we’re delivering on the final installment for that Safe Restart Agreement.
Our priority is for funding to go where it’s needed most, whether it’s for patients in hospitals, PPE for essential workers, or COVID-19 testing and screening for people on the frontlines.
Just like the first installment, today’s investment of $700 million through the Safe Restart Agreement will keep people safe and help families and small businesses weather this storm.
Eight out of every 10 dollars spent in Canada to fight this pandemic has come from the federal government. We want to support people through this crisis, and ensure that our country is in a good position to build back better.
Before I end this morning, I want to take a moment to recognize that this will be an especially difficult day for a lot of people.
It’s now been three years since the terrible Humboldt Broncos crash.
Today, we remember 16 people taken from us much too soon. And as we do, we stand with the families, friends, and teammates whose lives were changed forever.
To people grieving across the country — we’re thinking of you.
I can only imagine how hard it is for you not to be able to gather on this day.
And to everyone who continues to recover and rebuild — your strength is remarkable.
Everyday, all Canadians stand with you.