Updating Canadians on the COVID-19 situation, new travel measures, and the Leaders Summit on Climate
Happy Friday, everyone.
This morning, I want to talk about the third wave, and the steps we’re continuing to take to keep you safe.
First, let’s start with the topic of travel.
There has been a significant rise in COVID-19 cases in certain parts of the world, as well as the emergence of more variants of concern.
So yesterday, we announced new and even stronger travel measures.
Since last night, all passenger flights coming into Canada from India and Pakistan are suspended for 30 days.
Now, we know that it’s not only about direct flights to Canada.
That’s why there will also be additional measures for passengers departing from India or Pakistan who come to Canada via indirect routes.
These passengers will need to obtain a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test from the last country they travelled through before arriving in Canada.
Just like when we suspended flights from the UK last December for similar reasons, our government will continue to do whatever it takes to keep Canadians safe.
These restrictions are in addition to the extension, until May 21st, of other already enhanced measures.
The measures in place include pre- and post-arrival testing, strict quarantine, and hotel stays at travelers’ expense for those arriving by air.
They are mandatory and among the strictest in the world.
Those who do not comply face very severe consequences.
This morning, I also want to talk about the situation with the third wave here at home.
As you may have seen, Dr. Tam presented new modelling projections earlier today.
Across the country, the number of daily new cases has more than doubled in the past month.
Hospitalizations have also increased, and are still increasing.
And there are more contagious and more dangerous variants out there.
The situation is critical.
But we can – and we will – beat back this third wave.
What we have to do is clear: we need to stay home and avoid in-person contacts.
And if you absolutely need to go out – in other words, for essential reasons – continue to follow public health guidelines.
While we work around the clock to vaccinate as many Canadians as possible, as quickly as possible, we all have to keep practising physical distancing.
I understand that there’s a lot of COVID fatigue right now.
But the more we reduce our contacts, the faster we will end this third wave.
I know it’s not easy but remember, this is not forever.
We just have to hang in a little while longer.
We need to protect our loved ones and our essential workers and if we do what we know we can do, together, we will get through this.
So far, we’ve delivered almost 14 million vaccine doses across the country.
30% of eligible adults in Canada have received at least one vaccine.
Next week, we’ll get almost 2 million doses, including our first 300,000 doses from Johnson & Johnson.
Vaccine doses continue to be the good news we all need in what has been a very tough spring.
While more and more Canadians are getting vaccinated right now, it’s also important to plan ahead for the future.
We’ve reached an agreement with Pfizer for 35 million booster doses for next year, and 30 million in the year after.
This deal includes options to add 30 million doses in both 2022 and 2023, and an option for 60 million doses in 2024.
Pfizer has been a solid partner for Canada in this fight against COVID-19 and we are happy to be one of the first countries to secure an agreement with them going forward.
These boosters will be the latest version of the Pfizer vaccine based on research and testing, and they will help us keep the virus under control.
And the work doesn’t end there, either.
We are in ongoing discussions with other vaccine manufacturers about their plans for booster shots, too.
For now and for the future, it is important to continue expanding our capacity to develop and produce vaccines here in Canada.
In this regard, I would like to congratulate Medicago - based in Québec City - which is now the first Canadian company to have submitted its COVID-19 candidate vaccine to Health Canada.
This shows that we have talent and know-how here in Canada, and our government will always be there to encourage our own homegrown scientists and expertise.
Before I close on the subject of vaccines and move on to another topic, I am very happy to share that Sophie and I will be receiving our first dose of vaccine this afternoon.
Since Ontario has invited people 40 years and older to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine in pharmacies, it is now our turn.
We’re really looking forward to it.
It’s a relief to know that this simple act is helping not only to protect ourselves, but more importantly, to protect the people around us that we love.
So, if it’s your turn too, I encourage you to make an appointment as soon as possible.
If we all do our part, we’re going to beat this virus.
Sophie and I are looking forward to getting our first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine this afternoon, at the pharmacy just around the corner from here.
So if you’re eligible for your vaccine like we are, make sure you get your dose as soon as possible.
Our role as government is to keep Canadians safe.
We are ready to do whatever it takes to get this third wave under control in Ontario, in Alberta, and everywhere else in the country.
On that front, today, I have some updates to share.
Stopping the virus from spreading is key.
Since March, we’ve sent over 400,000 rapid tests to Ontario alone, and we’re in the process of sending hundreds of thousands more.
We’re working with the Ontario Government, the Red Cross, and pharmacies to distribute more rapid tests while making it easier for businesses to access them.
We’ve also delivered medical equipment like oxygen units, and ordered more therapeutics.
And while we do all this, we’re working with the Ontario Government to send support to their frontline workers as soon as possible.
We’ve identified up to 100 healthcare professionals – like ICU nurses and doctors – who can be deployed rapidly from federal departments to places they’re needed most, including the GTA.
This is the moment to all work together.
Newfoundland and Labrador has offered healthcare resources and identified teams ready to go as early as next week.
Other provinces and territories are looking at what they can deploy, too.
We’re ready to provide transport support and funding to enable them to help out where needed in Ontario.
In fact, we’ve set aside $80 million in emergency funding to support the costs of these efforts.
To frontline workers in Ontario, in Alberta, and across Canada:
You’re doing an incredibly important but hard job right now and we’re here to help.
And to everyone who’s stepped up to help their fellow Canadians: Well that’s just who Canadians are.
We’re there for each other in times of difficulty but thank you for showing the way.
The only way to beat this virus is by working together as a team so thank you all for doing your part.
This week, with Budget 2021, we laid out our plan to finish our fight against COVID-19 and to help Canadians recover from this crisis.
We want to ensure that all Canadians have access to good jobs, that mothers and families have access to affordable child care, and that our most vulnerable seniors have more support.
Above all, we want to build a healthier and safer Canada for everyone.
That is why we are raising our climate ambitions.
Yesterday and this morning, I attended the Leaders Summit on Climate organized by President Biden.
There, I shared our new 2030 climate target, which will now be 40 to 45 percent below 2005 emissions levels.
I also mentioned our investments in public transit, home energy retrofits and clean electricity.
As I said yesterday during the U.S. Climate Summit, Canada is raising our ambition once again on climate action.
The strengthened climate plan we presented last December, along with our new Budget 2021 investments, will allow us to build a cleaner future, and create good, middle class jobs.
Thank you, everyone.