Remarks updating Canadians on additional support for Ontario to fight the COVID-19 outbreak
Today, I want to speak directly to everyone in communities facing a severe third wave of this pandemic.
Canadians are watching surging cases driven by more contagious variants in places across the country, including in our largest province and Canada’s largest city.
If you live in Ontario, I want you to know that Canadians are with you.
The best public health advice tells us the way to roll back this surge right away is to starve the virus by strictly following public health guidelines and restricting your interactions with others.
As you do that, we are standing up the kind of help you need.
First, we are mobilizing federal healthcare workers from across government departments to deploy to the frontlines in Ontario, and specifically the GTA where the situation is most critical.
From National Defence to Immigration, departments across the federal government are standing up support.
Second, Canadians across the country aren’t just watching the situation closely, they’re springing into action to help.
There are provinces that have managed their healthcare capacity for their own local situation, and have the ability to lend a hand to others.
Yesterday, I spoke with Premier Furey from Newfoundland and Labrador, Premier King from PEI, and Premier Rankin from Nova Scotia. They are working hard to determine what human resources and equipment they could free up over the coming days.
The federal government will cover all costs and coordinate getting any extra staff from other provinces to the frontlines in Ontario, including providing air transportation.
Minister LeBlanc has also been in touch with Premier Silver of Yukon, Premier Cochrane of the Northwest Territories, and Premier Higgs of New Brunswick on how they can pitch in as well.
To the healthcare workers who are relentlessly fighting this virus – thank you.
I know you are exhausted and that hasn’t stopped you from working harder than ever before. We all need to get you more support in critical areas.
Know that we’re doing whatever we can to help.
Third, we’ll be boosting rapid testing to help stop the spread of the virus and keep people safe.
We are working with municipalities to directly deploy rapid tests to hotspots in Ontario, especially for essential workers and workplaces. This will make sure the tests we deliver get used in the places they’re needed most.
And as I said Friday, we continue to stand ready to deploy the Canadian Red Cross to help with their mobile vaccination teams.
Further, Minister Blair also announced yesterday that we’ve approved a request from the Ontario government to extend the deployment of the Mobile Health Units in Toronto and Hamilton, which will set up even more hospital beds.
To essential workers and their families – I hear you when you say that you’re scared for your health, or the health of someone you love.
We see you. We’re there for you. You’re not in this alone.
We will do everything we can to lift the burdens you’re carrying and make sure you’re not at any further risk at work or anywhere else.
It’s government’s job to protect you.
And so employers – you need to help, too, whether that’s with testing or by making sure people can take sick days if they need to.
No matter who you are – know that we’re putting everything on the table to keep you safe, beat this third wave, and help the province get the situation under control.
That includes support we’ve already provided like hospital equipment, COVID-19 treatments and drugs, contact tracers, funding for schools, and Canadian Red Cross help for long-term care homes.
And to everyone in Ontario, and across the country, I want to remind you that if you need financial support through this crisis, that help is there for you, too. From strengthened EI to the federal sickness benefit to the wage subsidy, there are programs available. So, if you haven’t already, go to Canada.ca to learn more.
I know this is a lot to take in.
To kids who are home from school again, and not able to see friends or go to soccer or dance – it’s normal to be pretty frustrated about all this. Hang in there.
And to parents who are trying to juggle work with family with uncertainty once more – this third wave is the last thing you need on your plate.
So here’s the bottom line.
We’ll do whatever it takes to keep you and your family safe.
Again, the best way to beat back COVID is to do what we’ve done before and stop the spread.
Now is not the time to give up.
Vaccine shipments surpassed initial delivery schedules by over 50% for the first part of the year.
8 million Canadians have received their first shot.
We’ll have 48 million doses by the end of June, and more than 100 million by September.
Things will get better. And until they do, Ontario, Canadians – we have your back.
Together, we will get through this.