Apr 27, 2020
Justin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Press Conference April 27
Full transcript of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s April 27 coronavirus press conference for Canada.
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Justin Trudeau: (00:00)
[French 00:00:00]. People are facing different challenges right now and no single program can reach everyone. So we’re coming at this from every angle. If your employer can’t hire you back, if you’re a seasonal worker, if you can’t find a job right now, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit is there for you. You’ve probably already received your first check. And if you need the help again for the coming month, go online and reconfirm that you’re still eligible. And I want to remind everyone, you won’t be able to keep both the wage subsidy and the CERB. It’s one or the other, not both. If you’re a student, there’s support for you too. Right now we’re working with the other parties on legislation to get this help flowing. Parliament will have its first virtual sitting tomorrow and an in-person sitting on Wednesday. And if you’re an essential worker, you deserve to be paid properly for your incredible work. Our government is doing its part to make that happen.
Justin Trudeau: (03:09)
Ontario came out with their plan over the weekend and we’re working with them to provide the support they need to deliver results. And we’re currently in discussion with all the other provinces and territories to get their plans for essential workers in place. I’ll have more updates for across the country in the coming days. As I said Saturday, we’re also collaborating on shared guidelines for reopening the economy once the time comes. Different provinces and territories will be able to move at a different pace, but we need clear coordinated efforts from coast to coast to coast. And no matter where you live, you need to continue following the recommendations from public health officials that will keep everyone safe.
Justin Trudeau: (03:59)
[French 00: 03:59].
Speaker 1: (04:01)
Speaker 2: (04:04)
Thank you. [French 00:05:04].
Speaker 3: (04:04)
Justin Trudeau: (06:13)
Justin Trudeau: (06:19)
I think as I’ve said from the beginning, I’m loathe to use the Emergency Measures Act and up until this point it has not been necessary. I think people have been following the guidelines, instructions of public health officials, of provincial and federal instructions. People have been doing the things necessary to keep themselves safe and to keep their neighbors safe, to keep health workers safe, to limit their movements. We have measures in place that people are following as we reopen gradually. I’m certain people will want to follow these measures because if we get this wrong, everything we have done, everything we have sacrificed over the past many weeks could have been in vain. We need to make sure we do this very carefully based on absolutely the best scientific advice.
Speaker 1: (07:12)
Speaker 4: (07:12)
Justin Trudeau: (08:44)
[French 00:07:36]. The provinces have the authority to determine what is in their best interest. It’s not up to the federal government to check or oversee the provinces and their areas of jurisdiction, and much of this falls within their areas of jurisdiction. They have the responsibility to do what is right for their citizens. Every province is in different situations. Regions within the provinces are in different situations. And I have full confidence in the premieres of the provinces and the territories to move forward in a way that is right for them. What we’ve been working on with the provinces is a set of guidelines and principles that can inform the decision makers in each region.
Justin Trudeau: (09:28)
Things like make sure that you have enough medical capacity to handle a potential surge. Make sure you’re doing enough testing for your situation and have a plan to do more. Make sure that there are specific guidelines in place for specific sectors or industries that are appropriate to keep people safe. It’s not up to the federal government to determine what those are. We have tremendous confidence in the provinces who very much want to make sure that this happens the right way and that we don’t fall back into another phase like we’re in this time.
Justin Trudeau: (10:03)
Fall back into another phase like we’re in this time as we gradually open up.
Speaker 5: (10:06)
Thank you. Next question, operator.
Speaker 6: (10:09)
Thank you, merci. Next question, Mia Radson, the Canadian Press, line open.
Mia Radson: (10:15)
Good morning. You already mentioned that the CERB and the wage subsidy can both be received by people. How do you see them sort of complimenting each other or working together and are you not worried that workers are sort of going to be caught in the middle and many of them are going to end up having to pay one or the other of them back?
Justin Trudeau: (10:36)
The wage subsidy and the CERB are designed to support workers, to support people who’ve lost their paychecks. For someone who’s lost their job, whose employers can’t hire them back with the wage subsidy, the CERB is there to give them $500 a week, $2,000 a month so that they can pay for their groceries and make through this tough time while they’re not receiving any sort of paycheck. But we also realized that it is really important for restoring our economic activity to full potential as quickly as possible. That ideally people stay connected to their jobs, that they stay connected with their employers and that’s why we’re facilitating a wage subsidy up to 75% that is up to $847 a week. That will go through the employers so that people can stay on the payroll and stay connected to their jobs, so they have confidence that they’ll have that job when we’re at the time to come back as an economy.
Justin Trudeau: (11:44)
These are two different measures that aim to do the same sorts of things. Make sure families and workers are able to make it through this time while doing the right things to keep themselves safe and to make sure our economy comes back strong. But it is one or the other. Because of the uncertainty, because of the application process, it is possible that people will have received both the CERB and the wage subsidy. In that case, they will have to, over the course of the coming months, pay one of them back. So people should keep that in mind, that if you’re getting both, you should probably put one of them aside so that you can pay that back and you don’t get overly challenged with that down the road. But we recognize that getting money out to people quickly and strongly, reliably, was the most important thing and that’s what we did. We’ll figure out the next steps as we go and make sure that it’s fair for everyone. [French language 00:02: 50].
Speaker 5: (14:27)
Following up, Mia.
Mia Radson: (14:29)
Yeah. Do you envision then that many of the people who’ve already started applying for and receiving the CERB will suddenly be transferred over to the wage subsidy? And is that not very complicated, and are there sort of things within the program to try and prevent double payments, so that there isn’t confusion about who has to pay what back?
Justin Trudeau: (14:48)
The government agencies have a clear record of who gets what that will obviously help in sorting this out in the coming months. The wage subsidy is retroactive to March 15th, but as of the date that the CERB came in, a number of people didn’t know if or whether they were going to get an eventual wage subsidy and so applied for it. The CERB is coming up on a re-application moment and if people are receiving that wage subsidy they shouldn’t reapply for the CERB, the emergency response benefit. It is a situation that is complex but it is administered by different processes within government that are clear to keep separate.
Justin Trudeau: (15:38)
If you apply through your employer … if the employer applies for the wage subsidy, that money will flow for you and you no longer need to apply for the CERB. You no longer qualify for the CERB. [French language 00: 05:50].
Speaker 5: (16:00)
[French language 00:16:52].
Speaker 6: (16:00)
Thank you, merci. [French language 00:16:56].
Speaker 7: (16:00)
[French language 00:17:00].
Justin Trudeau: (18:29)
[French language 00: 07:23]
Justin Trudeau: (18:36)
We know that there is still a lot of uncertainty around the science of immunity. Whether or not someone who has contracted COVID-19 is protected from contracting it again a few months later. That is still uncertain. There’s a lot of research and science going on on that topic across the country, around the world. We launched the Pan-Canadian task force on immunity from COVID-19 just last week. So we have top scientists that are going to be working extremely hard to figure out what is the reality around immunity in Canada and how we can use it to keep people safer. But this is a work that’ll go on, have immediate results in some levels, but it’ll be a medium and long term work that needs to be done. That’s why we have to be very, very careful and cautious every step of the way in reopening an economy, because we don’t want to come back to where we are. And I have confidence that every province is taking very seriously this responsibility to be careful because nobody wants to have gone through all this for nothing.
Speaker 5: (20:00)
[French language 00:09:45].
Speaker 7: (20:03)
[French language 00:19:46]
Speaker 8: (20:36)
[foreign language 00:00:00].
Justin Trudeau: (20:41)
[foreign language 00:00:20:08].
Speaker 9: (20:43)
[foreign language 00:00:52].
Speaker 10: (20:46)
[foreign language 00:00:56]. Thank you. Next question. Cormac Mac Sweeney, CityNews. Line open.
Cormac Mac Sweeney: (21:03)
Hello Prime Minister, you’ve been talking about federal guidelines for provinces to follow in terms of reopening their economy. We’re expecting the plans from Ontario and Quebec. We’ve already heard plans from Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. When are you going to release the full list of federal guidelines? I know you gave some examples earlier, but the full list of federal guidelines because we have nearly half the provinces now releasing their plans.
Justin Trudeau: (21:30)
We have been working with the provinces over the past weeks to develop a shared set of guidelines. These will not be federal guidelines. They will be guidelines that we agree to, all of us, the 13 premiers and the prime minister, all of our different orders of government, to inform ourselves going forward. It is something that has worked together to give Canadians a frame within which they can see the actions being taken in their particular regions. It is important and it is historic, the level of collaboration between provinces and territories and the federal government, and that is going to continue. So we are continuing to work on finalizing those guidelines and hope to have them out in the coming days so Canadians can see them. But I can tell you that already the thinking that has gone into building those shared guidelines with the provinces and territories is already informing the decisions that they move forward with in announcing reopening plans.
Speaker 9: (22:33)
Following up Cormac?
Cormac Mac Sweeney: (22:36)
Just wondering as well, you’ve announced commercial rent relief for small businesses, medium sized businesses across the country, and Premier Doug Ford has also called for some sort of residential rent relief. Is that on the table for the federal government? Is it in the works right now with the provinces?
Justin Trudeau: (22:56)
We recognize that Canadians need money for awful lot of things, particularly when they no longer have a paycheck coming in, whether it’s rent, whether it’s groceries, whether it’s supporting their family members. That’s why we move forward rapidly on the Canada emergency response benefit and the 75% wage subsidy that applications have launched today for. These are meant to replace income that Canadians won’t have coming in over the course of this economic slowdown and that can be used for rent, for groceries, for a range of things.
Justin Trudeau: (23:31)
If provinces, in whom the relationship between renters and landlords is their jurisdiction want to move forward with more help for residential rent, they can of course do that. We will focus on giving the benefits to Canadians that will replace as much of their paychecks so that they can pay their essentials. Small businesses needed extra support for their commercial rents on top of the wage subsidy and that’s what we’ve done.
Bryan Mullan: (24:06)
Good morning Prime Minister, Bryan Mullan, Global News, one of the groups still feeling isolated and vulnerable are seniors, many have had to absorb an extra cost of delivery services on a fixed income, others have to pay additional dispensing fees at the pharmacy. Last week you said help was coming. How much longer will seniors have to wait?
Justin Trudeau: (24:23)
We knew that moving forward on replacing people who lost and we’re counting on their paychecks through COVID-19 was the priority, and that’s why we move forward with the CERB and the wage subsidy which launches today. We then recognize that students who often start their summer jobs in early may after finishing their term at post-secondary education needed help as well, which is why we’re moving forward on that.
Justin Trudeau: (24:51)
Seniors are also facing a tremendous level of vulnerability because of COVID-19. It is a health vulnerability, it is being isolated further, and challenges around mental health and isolation, and difficulty sometimes getting groceries, and getting the supports they need. We have moved forward on a number of things to ensure that they get supports, but we’re also looking at further supports specifically for the most vulnerable low income seniors who are truly challenged.
Bryan Mullan: (25:24)
Can you outline some of the options that you’re looking at?
Justin Trudeau: (25:26)
As I said, we’re looking at things like supports for the most vulnerable seniors who are seeing extra costs because of COVID-19, and we will keep working on that and have more to say soon.
Tom Perry: (25:40)
Well, Prime Minister, Tom Perry, CBC. Municipalities have taken a big hit during the pandemic. Have you given any more thought to helping them, and if you do, how would that work with the provinces?
Justin Trudeau: (25:49)
We continue to work with the provinces on the challenges that they’re facing. We see municipalities absorbing many extra costs because of COVID-19. They are the responsibility of the provinces, of course, and we respect the constitutional division of powers in this country, but at the same time, we are looking for ways to make sure that municipalities have the necessary flexibility and tools to keep their citizens safe and to deliver necessary services. But those are conversations that were ongoing with the provinces.
Tom Perry: (26:26)
Can I ask you as well, when the economy starts to reopen gradually, you’re going to have a lot of businesses that are going to be on the market for personal protective equipment. There’s a high demand out there already. Are you making any kind of plans to deal with that?
Justin Trudeau: (26:40)
Every single day, every week we are ramping up our supplies of personal protective equipment. We have been ensuring that as much as possible our healthcare workers, our frontline essential workers get the equipment they need to keep themselves safe, but as we look at reopening the economy in different parts of the country, we know there is going to be an increased demand for personal protective equipment. That’s one of the principles and guidelines we have to keep in mind as we look at reopening, will there be enough PPE for various sectors to open up? And that’s a piece of it.
Justin Trudeau: (27:15)
We are expecting to receive a shipment of PPE every day on flights from China this week. We are ramping up our domestic production capacities for personal protective equipment because we know that is going to be an important source for Canadian businesses and Canadian industry in the coming, coming months. These are all things we’re doing to make sure we can take the decisions that will gradually reopen the economy while keeping Canadians safe.
Speaker 11: (27:46)
[foreign language 00:27:48].
Justin Trudeau: (27:46)
[foreign language 00:28:21].
Speaker 11: (27:46)
[foreign language 00:29:08].
Justin Trudeau: (27:46)
[foreign language 00:29:26].
Justin Trudeau: (30:00)
[French 00: 00:05].
Mackenzie Gray: (30:55)
Hi, Prime Minister. Mackenzie Gray from CTV news. Over the last number of weeks you’ve said that life will not return to normal until we get a vaccine. We asked Dr. Tam about those questions on the weekend. She said, and this is a quote, “It’s very premature to comment on if we’ll get a vaccine and if we do, how effective it will be.” So considering her cautious words on our ability to get a vaccine, is it still your position that life will return to normal only if we do get one?
Justin Trudeau: (31:23)
Normal is something that is a long way off for all of us. And if we want life to get back to the way it was exactly before, it won’t. There will be differences, even a few years from now, that we will have learned from dealing with this global pandemic that I think will be important lessons.
Justin Trudeau: (31:45)
As we move forward over the coming months, we will be able to see careful reopenings in certain sectors of the economy, certain things being allowed as people try to get back to something a little more like normal, but until we have a vaccine for COVID-19 or a system of treatments that are equivalent to a vaccine where we can be sure that people will not have COVID-19 be as lethal as it is now, we are going to have to be very careful. That caution will remain because at any time, if we loosen our measures too much, we could find ourselves back in a tremendous spike. Historians remember from the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic that the spring was pretty bad, but the fall was much worse. We need to stay vigilant every step of the way. And that’s what we’re focused on so that this disruption to our economy, to our lives that is difficult to go through right now will not have been for nothing and we will continue to keep ourselves safe for the coming months. [ French 00:03: 03].
Mackenzie Gray: (34:49)
A number of business leaders and even the WHO have discussed the idea of a health passport which would allow businesses and cities, other people to determine … you would show whether or not you’ve had COVID-19. And I know you mentioned earlier that science is still out on immunity and antibody tests, but the idea of Canadians having to show personal health information in exchange for going back to work, going back to school, is that an idea that you’re comfortable with?
Justin Trudeau: (35:15)
That is even premature to speculate about. There is no conclusive evidence right now that having contracted COVID-19 once protects you from contracting it again a few months later. This is too new a virus. Scientists are working very hard on exactly that, whether the presence of antibodies in someone will protect them from catching COVID-19 again, but we don’t know that yet. That’s why we have to be very, very careful because if we make a mistake on this and allow too much loosening of our economy and of our restrictions, and we suddenly get another massive spike, it is going to be devastating, not just for our economy, but for people who will have gone through all these weeks of sacrifices and limitations for nothing. That’s something we want to avoid. [French 00: