Apr 22, 2020
Justin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Press Conference April 22
Full transcript of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s April 22 coronavirus press conference for Canada. Trudeau announced $9B in financial aid for Canadian students.
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Justin Trudeau: (00:00)
[foreign language 00:00:08]. Before I get started, I want to talk about the latest updates coming out of Nova Scotia. The RCMP has now confirmed that at least 22 people were killed in this weekend’s terrible attacks, and we’re learning more about those who were taken from us. We’re seeing just how much each of them was loved. Again, I want to extend my deepest condolences to all friends and families of the victims, know that Canada is standing with you. [foreign language 00:00:39] Right now in incredibly difficult times Canadians are reaching out to support each other. People are asking what they can do to help.
Justin Trudeau: (01:11)
I heard a great story of a young person here in Ottawa named Felix, who’s one of those people putting up his hand, a recent engineering grad from Carlton. He’d been working on communications satellites. A few weeks ago he talked to a local manufacturer about what they could do in the fight against COVID-19. Now they’ve started designing and creating reusable face shields for frontline workers and Felix isn’t the only one stepping up. From coast to coast to coast young people are pitching in and doing their part, so we’re going to do the same for them.
Justin Trudeau: (01:49)
Many students are eligible for new programs we’ve brought in over the last few weeks. Many students will get the Canada Emergency Response Benefit but others won’t and that leaves some young people worried about what they’re going to do. COVID-19 has meant that there aren’t as many jobs out there for students and without a job it can be hard to pay for tuition or the day to day basics. You might normally have turned to your parents for help, but right now mom and dad are stretched too. And even if monthly bills aren’t the concern, you may have been counting on the summer job for next year’s tuition or to get the right experience for your career. As young people, what you’re going through matters and we want to make sure that you’ll be okay.
Justin Trudeau: (02:37)
Today I’m announcing our plan to support students right across the country. We’re launching the Canada Emergency Student Benefit to provide immediate help. At the same time, we will create new student jobs and double student grants among other things. All of these measures will add up to approximately $9 billion for students. For today, for the summer, for next year, we’re going to be there for you.
Justin Trudeau: (03:09)
Let me start with the Canada Emergency Student Benefit. Right now you might be worried about how to make ends meet. You probably can’t work your normal job and that might be a big problem for rent or for groceries, so we’re bringing in the Canada Emergency student Benefit to help. With this benefit you’ll get $1,250 a month from May to August, and if you take care of someone else or have a disability, that amount will go up to $1,750 each month. This benefit is designed for you if you’re a post-secondary student right now, if you’re going to college in September or if you graduated in December, 2019. It’s there for you, even if you have a job, but you’re only making up to $1000 a month. The period covered by the benefit will start on May 1st and your payments will be delivered through the Canada Revenue Agency. We’ll be working with opposition parties to move forward on legislation to put this new benefit in place. [ foreign language 00: 04:13]
Justin Trudeau: (05:18)
For a lot of students, the month of May normally marks the start of a summer job, but right now it might be really tough to find something. You may have been looking for weeks without any success, so we’re going to help. Our government is creating 76,000 jobs for young people in addition to the Canada Summer Jobs Program. These placements will be in sectors that need an extra hand right now or that are on the front lines of this pandemic.
Justin Trudeau: (05:46)
We’re also going to be providing specific support for indigenous students and for student researchers and graduate students we’re going to invest over $291 million to extend scholarships, fellowships, and grants to make sure you can keep working. Depending on your funding, it’ll be extended by either three or four months. Of course, a paying job isn’t the only valuable way to spend your summer. Volunteering can be a fantastic way to build skills, make contacts, or just give back. If you’re volunteering instead of working, we’re going to make sure that you have support too. Students helping in the fight against COVID-19 this summer will soon be eligible for $1,000 to $5,000 depending on your hours through the new Canada Student Service Grant. Your energy and your skills can do a lot of good right now. [foreign language 00:06:45].
Justin Trudeau: (06:58)
Things may be hard for the next little vile, but we’re going to support you through it. We’re doubling the student grants that the government gives out for the 2020/21 school year. For students in Quebec, the Northwest territories and Nunavut, we will be providing funding to the provincial and territorial governments so that they can increase their financial aid programs. At the same time, we will provide over $75 million to increase support specifically for First Nations, Inuit and Metis Nations students. [foreign language 00:08: 21]
Justin Trudeau: (08:52)
To all the students watching today, let me say this, as you’re building your future, thinking about how to contribute, about starting a family or a career, all of a sudden you’re faced with a massive crisis. This uncertainty that you feel can be overwhelming, but in Canada we look out for each other. We value education, service, hard work. These measures will help you get through this so that you can build that career and the future that you’ve been looking forward to, that we’ve been looking forward to for you.
Justin Trudeau: (09:31)
On the other side of this, when the economy comes roaring back, you will define our path forward, a path towards a better, more equal society. That’s what we’re doing together. Today on Earth Day, we are reminded that the way forward includes a healthy environment and a strong sustainable economy. Although, our immediate focus is on the fight against COVID-19 we will always do our part to build a brighter future for tomorrow.
Justin Trudeau: (10:03)
Speaker 1: (10:05)
Speaker 2: (10:05)
Thank you. [French 00:11:06].
Speaker 3: (10:05)
Justin Trudeau: (10:05)
Speaker 1: (10:05)
Speaker 2: (10:05)
Thank you. [French 00:13:04]. Next question, Theresa Wright, The Canadian Press. Line open.
Theresa Wright: (13:15)
Good morning, prime minister. Could you please explain, why will you not make the CERB a universal benefit?
Justin Trudeau: (13:18)
We just move forward in support for students today. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is there for people who lost a paycheck. We recognize it because of COVID-19. There are many people out of work who were counting on a paycheck to be able to pay for their groceries, to be able to pay their rent. Those people are helped by the CERB. We now are moving forward with direct help for students. In many cases, postsecondary students, school year ends or term ends now at around the end of April and normally the beginning of May, they’d be looking for summer jobs.
Justin Trudeau: (13:57)
This is something that obviously is not going to happen the same way or as easily this year. That’s why we’re moving forward with a Canada Emergency Student Benefit that will help students who can’t find a job. But on top of that, we’re going to be helping students across the country by creating new jobs, by finding areas where young people can serve, can contribute, can get jobs, and if they volunteer, we’re going to be rewarding them for volunteering as well.
Justin Trudeau: (14:26)
We need to create a range of measures to support young people, and that’s what we’ve done today to the total of $9 billion. At the same time, we recognize that there are further gaps that we need to continue to work on in terms of covering. We’ve moved very fast for most people, but we continue to work with allies, and opposition parties, and partners across areas in the country to deliver more help to those who need it.
Speaker 1: (15:34)
Follow up question.
Justin Trudeau: (15:36)
Speaker 1: (15:39)
Follow up question.
Theresa Wright: (15:41)
With all due respect, I don’t believe you answered the question. We’ve heard many Canadians who are falling through the gaps. You’ve even said so yourself. There’s a growing push for universal benefits. Why is this something that you are not doing at this point?
Justin Trudeau: (15:55)
Our focus at this point and from the very beginning, it has been on getting help to people who needed it. There are millions of Canadians who need help. There are others who do not need help, and we felt, and we feel that targeting the maximum amount of help to the people who needed it quickly was the right way to begin to get through this process. That’s what we did with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit that is delivering that help to over 8 million Canadians already.
Justin Trudeau: (16:27)
We need to do more. That’s why we’re announcing the Canada Students Benefit, but our approach has been to give as much help as possible to the people who need it. That’s why we took the approach that we did. Okay. [French 00:06:42].
Speaker 1: (16:44)
[French 00:17:27]. Next question.
Speaker 2: (16:44)
Thank you. [French 00:17:31].
Speaker 4: (16:44)
Justin Trudeau: (19:22)
[French 00:08:26]. We recognize the different provinces will make different decisions about how and where to start restarting and reopening their economies. We are going to work to coordinate so that we’re basing ourselves on shared values, principles, and scientific approaches right across the country. Yes, provinces will take their decisions that we will work to try and coordinate in a cohesive story for all Canadians. In regards to reopening the border of the United States, that is a federal and national decision that we have brought in.
Justin Trudeau: (20:03)
We will continue to coordinate with the United States, but the national measures will apply right across the Canada/US border regardless of provinces or jurisdictions.
Speaker 5: (20:14)
Speaker 6: (20:25)
Justin Trudeau: (20:29)
[French 00:00: 55].
Speaker 5: (20:51)
[French 00:01: 58].
Speaker 7: (21:04)
Thank you. [French 00:02: 00]. Next question, [inaudible 00:22:01] Media Group. Line open.
Speaker 8: (22:04)
Prime Minister, good morning. This is [inaudible 00:22:08] from Toronto. Prime Minister, last week government decided to decree the [inaudible 00:22:15] to qualify for $40,000 loan. This is a welcome step, but still there are many small businesses like small restaurants, convenience stores, bakery shops, dry cleaners who won’t be able to get this benefit because of many reasons. These are businesses already struggling. Now we have got a report today that in Toronto two-third of these businesses won’t reopen after three months. What’s government considering to help these businesses?
Justin Trudeau: (22:49)
We know that businesses, particularly small businesses are facing an extremely difficult time through COVID-19. We need to support these small businesses, not just because they are main drivers of our economy and of our employment right across the country, but because we need them to be in good shape when this COVID-19 crisis is through so that they can come back. That’s why our focus has been on helping workers who lose a paycheck and people who lose their jobs with the Canada workers subsidy and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. We also recognize that small businesses, including the smallest businesses, need help with access to credit, which is why we put in place a $40,000 loan with a $10,000, non-repayable element that is going to be helping small businesses significantly.
Justin Trudeau: (23:46)
As you said, we heard from some very small businesses that weren’t qualifying when we had the threshold at 50,000 which is why we dropped it down to 20,000, which is the equivalent of one full- time worker at minimum wage for the year. That was the threshold that we determined was right for small businesses.
Justin Trudeau: (24:08)
We recognize that there are other small businesses that are not getting the support they need because of particularities in their circumstances, and we are continuing to work with finance and with business associations to make sure that we’re giving these small businesses the support they need, not just to get through this difficult time, but so to make sure that they come back strong at the end of it.
Speaker 5: (24:35)
On a follow-up?
Speaker 8: (24:35)
Prime Minister, Canadian government is doing its best to bring Canadians back home, but they are 20,000 Canadian stuck in India right now. Many of them are children, ailing seniors. Their families are worried about their well-being. They’re frustrated that Canadian high commission office in New Delhi has not been able to provide them timely help. Even our high commissioner there has apologized to them for this situation. Is prime minister’s office aware of this situation and any immediate help for them?
Justin Trudeau: (25:05)
We are very aware of the challenges faced by Canadians all around the world who want to return to Canada at a time where international flights are extremely limited. We continue to work with governments around the world, including the Indian government. We have welcomed over the past month about 20,000 Canadians home through repatriation flights. They all go into quarantine when they’re home to make sure that they’re not increasing the risk of COVID-19 to everyone else. But it is important to be able to bring home Canadians. There are particularly high demands in some parts of the world, including India, that we are working very, very hard, day and night to try and resolve. There’ve been many flights back from India, but there is a need for more.
Justin Trudeau: (25:51)
Speaker 9: (25:57)
[French 00:06: 33].
Justin Trudeau: (26:33)
Speaker 9: (26:37)
Justin Trudeau: (26:44)
Okay. As far as I’ve been apprised, there haven’t been any changes at our posture in the border, but if there have been changes, I’m sure minister Blair will be able to fill you in on those.
Glen McGregor: (28:33)
Glen McGregor, CTV News. Prime Minister, yesterday you said you would proceed with gun control legislation at the appropriate time. We’ve seen other countries, Australia and New Zealand act, very quickly after mass shootings. Why do you think this isn’t the appropriate time and do you not believe the parliament can’t deal even in the limited form with two pressing issues at the same time?
Justin Trudeau: (28:52)
We are certainly looking at reintroducing, or introducing our new gun control measures that were ready to go before parliament was suspended because of COVID-19. The rules around the unanimous consent motion that governs the return of parliament in a reduced state specifically state that we need to only introduce measures that are related to COVID-19. But we will certainly be seeing with other parties if there is an appetite to move more quickly given the measures in place given the tragedy that we just had.
Justin Trudeau: (29:28)
[French 00:09: 27]-
Speaker 10: (30:05)
Those measures before parliament are comparatively modest to things that have been done in other countries, particularly Australia after the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996. Are you willing now to revisit the measures that are before parliament and strengthen them, particularly with regard to ownership of restricted weapons like handguns and certain kinds of semi-automatic rifles?
Justin Trudeau: (30:27)
We made some very strong commitments in the last election campaign on strengthening gun control. We saw there was a significant debate in this country that continues, between parties that are in favor of strengthening gun control and other parties that want to weaken gun control. There continues to be a need for debate in this country, but we are resolute that we need to move forward on strengthening gun legislation, on strengthening gun control, in smart, common sense ways. And on banning assault style weapons from this country. They have no place in our communities, in our country, and that’s why we will be moving forward with legislation to ban them.
Tom Perry: (31:07)
Hi, Prime Minister. Tom Perry with CDC. You said in your announcement you’re making 76,000 jobs for young people and that these placements are going to be in sectors that need an extra hand right now and are on the front lines of the pandemic. Can you clarify where that’s going to be? I mean, we heard from farmers who need help. We’ve heard about contact tracing, needing people there. Where are these students going to be working?
Justin Trudeau: (31:24)
These are the kinds of things we’re looking at. We’re looking at help in contact tracing, we’re looking at sectors that need extra support, perhaps agriculture and others. There are a number of ways that we’re looking at it right now. We will have more to say in the coming days as we develop this, but we know young people want and need a good summer jobs and we’re going to try and make sure that they can get them.
Tom Perry: (31:49)
And you talked to earlier about seniors homes and the tragedy unfolding there, the government has announced support for essential workers there. I’m wondering, has there been much buy-in? Is that actually helping anyone yet? And as you look further ahead, this is a provincial responsibility. Do you see a greater role for the federal government in ensuring a uniform standard of care? And is that something you’re going to be raising with the premiers?
Justin Trudeau: (32:12)
We’ve seen a couple of provinces like BC and Quebec move forward on support for essential workers who are low paid, but in important areas like in long term care facilities. That’s why we are talking with provinces about expanding and supporting them in those programs. There have been discussions ongoing with the provinces recognizing, as was pointed out, that it’s very much a provincial area of jurisdiction, but we recognize this as a problem that we want to help with.
Justin Trudeau: (32:43)
I think the larger question that we’re all facing is an understanding that in many parts of this country, in many places across this country, the people who care for our most vulnerable are themselves quite vulnerable. And I think we need to have a reflection as we get through this crisis and certainly after it on how we ensure that the people who are taking care of our most vulnerable are not themselves vulnerable.
Justin Trudeau: (33:14)
[French 00:03: 13].
Janet Silver: (34:00)
Prime Minister, Janet Silver, Global News. Just to follow up on seniors, there’ve been a number of announcements today for students, previously for businesses, et cetera. I’m wondering specifically in terms of seniors and recently retired people who have lost all their savings or substantial amount of savings due to COVID-19, will there be help for them?
Justin Trudeau: (34:21)
Yes, there is help coming for seniors. We recognize that the first priority was getting income replacements to people who had lost their incomes, lost their jobs. That’s what we did with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and with the wage subsidy. Now as the school year comes to an end in April for university students, we’re moving forward with support for university students because they are going to need help in finding a job and getting income replacement at a time where they were going to be counting on money to help them pay rent, pay groceries. At the same time, even though many seniors continue to have the same fixed income they had from the government, from pensions, there are concerns both about their long term savings, which is why we made changes on the RRIF withdrawals, but we also recognize that the cost of living has gone up for seniors as they are facing challenges because COVID-19 targets seniors to a greater degree. So we’re working right now on measures for seniors. I want to thank the other parties who have made excellent suggestions and we will have more to announce in the coming days. Okay.
Justin Trudeau: (35:31)
Janet Silver: (36:24)
And finally, Prime Minister, in terms of those awful events that happened over the weekend in Nova Scotia, I’m wondering if your government is looking at introducing federal guidelines for how to deal with an active shooter.
Justin Trudeau: (36:36)
I think there are many families that are grieving incredible losses right now, who are asking themselves questions about how things could have been different, how they might’ve been able to have been warned earlier. Those are extremely important questions that I know will be addressed through the investigation, through the conclusions. We need to make sure we’re doing everything we can every step of the way to protect citizens in any circumstances. And I know those are things that we will be reflecting on and talking about as a country in the coming years, in the coming days and weeks. [French 00:00:37:11].
Speaker 11: (37:12)