Apr 28, 2020
Justin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Press Conference April 28
Full transcript of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s April 28 coronavirus press conference for Canada. He urged caution as Quebec plans to ease their lockdown restrictions.
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Justin Trudeau: (00:08)
Justin Trudeau: (00:08)
Printer problems. Good morning everyone. I know many of you have seen reports about my mum. I want to let you know that I’ve spoken with her and she’s doing just fine. I’m thankful to everyone who’s reached out and want to also thank the first responders who were there doing an extraordinary job. This morning our thoughts go out to those of you who live in Fort McMurray, as you deal with spring flooding. Minister Blair has spoken with Mayor Scott about the situation and we stand ready to help. To all the first responders and volunteers out there placing sandbags, including around the hospital, thank you.
Justin Trudeau: (00:50)
Across the country there are other communities dealing with flooding right now too, so to everyone, continue listening to officials as they work to keep you and your family safe. This comes during what’s already a tough time, but I know Canadians will continue to work together.
Justin Trudeau: (01:07)
Shortly, I’ll join members of parliament from across the country for a virtual meeting of the House of Commons. Despite the challenges of this pandemic, our democratic institutions are innovating and finding ways to keep serving people.
Justin Trudeau: (01:20)
Parliamentarians are working together with the same goal, supporting Canadians and keeping our country strong. As part of this sitting, at noon, Minister Hajdu will provide an update on the new COVID 19 modeling, and Dr. Tam will also do the same. Based on the best data available, this is an updated picture of where we think we are right now and where we think things will go from here.
Justin Trudeau: (01:45)
They’ll provide more details, but here’s the bottom line. The measures we’ve taken so far are working. In fact, in many parts of the country, the curve has flattened, but we’re not out of the woods yet. We’re in the middle of the most serious public health emergency Canada has ever seen, and if we lift measures too quickly, we might lose the progress we’ve made.
Justin Trudeau: (02:08)
We all need to be very careful for ourselves and especially for the most vulnerable, like our parents, grandparents and elders in longterm care facilities.
Justin Trudeau: (02:19)
Earlier this month when we released the first modeling, I said that the path ahead was up to us and the same holds true today. How many new cases there are, how many losses we have to mourn, whether our hospitals can continue to cope. It’s all up to all of us. You’ve already stepped up to help your family, friends, neighbors and frontline care workers stay safe.
Justin Trudeau: (02:45)
And your governments across the country are stepping up as well. We’re a big country and we don’t always agree on everything, but right now the Premiers and the federal government are working together to fight this crisis. We need common guidelines to make sure that the decisions being taken across the country are grounded in a shared understanding and appreciation of what science and experts are telling us.
Justin Trudeau: (03:12)
Shortly we’ll be releasing the shared principles on restarting the economy agreed to by the federal, provincial, and territorial governments. Let me be clear. These are not the specific measures, when you can go back to work or school or when you can see your neighbors or extended family or friends. This framework will lay out the things that need to happen before we take any next steps.
Justin Trudeau: (03:37)
Restarting our economy will be gradual and careful and will be guided by science. Here’s what the guidelines mean for you. Controlling transmission is key. You already know that if your neighborhood doesn’t have new cases, if your province is flattening the curve, this is a good sign for being able to slowly look at lifting some restrictions. So we need to know where things stand. To reopen the economy, there must be enough capacity to test and trace COVID 19 to control any new spread.
Justin Trudeau: (04:11)
For you, that means knowing that you’ll be safe at work when you go back. You’ll see lots more testing and if someone around you does test positive, you’ll be notified quickly so you can isolate. At work. There will also need to be specific measures and more equipment to keep you safe. And for hospitals we need to make sure they can continue to cope not just for COVID 19 patients, but for everyone who needs care.
Justin Trudeau: (04:38)
And for certain groups who are very vulnerable like seniors and those in longterm care facilities, strong measures will have to be in place for longer. This virus is taking a different toll on different people. We must be mindful of that. Whether you’re facing domestic violence or living in a remote community or a longterm care facility, or working on the front lines, we’re here for you. Our priority is keeping all Canadians safe while getting back to normal as much as we can.
Justin Trudeau: (05:12)
[foreign language 00:05:15]. [foreign language 00:06:00]. [foreign language 00:07:00].
Justin Trudeau: (07:23)
Today I also want to provide an update on personal protective equipment, which along with physical distancing is key to keeping people safe. Every few days we receive new deliveries of vital supplies for our frontline workers. This week we’ll be shipping over six millions surgical masks to the Provinces and territories. More than a hundred thousand face shields that we ordered from Bower and Toronto Stamp are also ready and will be shipped out soon with more on the way.
Justin Trudeau: (07:54)
Everyone deserves to be safe on the job. Indeed, on this national day of mourning, we remember those who died were injured or fell ill because of their work. And this year we pay tribute to the thousands of frontline workers across the country who deserve not just our thanks, but our support.
Justin Trudeau: (08:16)
[foreign language 00:08:16]. [foreign language 00:09:00].
Justin Trudeau: (09:26)
To get through this, we must work together and we must stay United. Now more than ever, we have to stand up against discrimination and division. There is no place for racism against Asian-Canadians in our neighborhoods. There is no place for antisemitism, which B’nai B’rith Canada’s report found to be on the rise in our communities because hatred of any sort has no place in Canada. Today, and every day we are stronger together. Merci.
Justin Trudeau: (10:01)
Speaker 3: (10:03)
Thank you. Prime minister will now take questions on the phone. Over to you, operator.
Thank you. Merci. First question, Kate [Von Gareau 00:10:14], [inaudible 00:00:14]. Line open.
Hello, prime minister. I have a question regarding the wage subsidy. We’ve heard from some businesses that it will cost them more money to rehire employees they’ve already laid off, and had to pay out holidays and severance pay to them to bring them back on board with this wage subsidy. So some of them would rather leave their former employees un-served. What is your response to this?
Justin Trudeau: (10:35)
Ideally, people will keep their connections with their workplaces, so that they can know that they have a job to return to when this is over. And when the economy comes back it will be all the quicker, because Canadians will have stayed connected to their jobs. We were pleased that over 44,000 businesses have applied for the wage subsidy, but we know that there are a range of different situations across the country, and employers have had to take some very difficult decisions because of COVID-19. We’ve put in place measures to support the people who need support most urgently, with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the wage subsidy. And we certainly hope that all these measures together will ensure that Canadians can continue to do what we need to do, while caring for their families, and come back as strongly as possible at the end.
Speaker 3: (11:29)
And now we’ve got a lot of personal protective equipment for the frontline workers. I’m wondering, do you expect businesses to chase PPE as well, now that the reopening of the economy is beginning to be considered? And do you think there will be enough masks and gloves available for all of the businesses that will need them to be able to operate?
Justin Trudeau: (11:48)
Our priority over the past weeks has been to ensure enough personal protective equipment for our frontline workers, who are doing extraordinary work to keep us all safe. But we also know that as different provinces look at starting to reopen certain sectors, certain industries, certain parts of the economy, there is going to be an increased need for personal protective equipment. That’s why we continue to procure massive amounts of PPE from overseas, while at the same time watching the Canadian production come online, so that we can have our domestic capacity to rely on as well. We know that having the right amounts of PPE for industries that want to reopen will be essential before they reopen, and that’s why we’re accelerating the rate at which we are taking in personal protective equipment. Okay, [foreign language 00:02:42].
Speaker 3: (13:18)
Merci [foreign language 00:03:25].
Thank you, merci. Next question, Laura [Osmond 00:00:13:33], the Canadian Press. Line open.
Laura Osmond: (13:37)
Good morning, prime minister. I wanted to ask you again about vaccines. If and when a vaccine does become available, do you envision it being mandatory, and have you had those discussions with the provinces and territories yet?
Justin Trudeau: (13:50)
We are still, unfortunately, a long way from having a vaccine, and just finding the vaccine is the first step. The next step will be producing the vaccines in a sufficient number to inoculate to everyone, or almost everyone. That is something that we are preparing already, in terms of manufacturing and production capacity here in Canada. Because we know that countries around the world will be producing for their own citizens first, and we need to be part of that as well. As to what sort of vaccination protocols will be in place, we still have a fair bit of time to reflect on that in order to get it right. Okay [foreign language 00:04:33].
Speaker 3: (14:48)
Follow up, Laura?
Laura Osmond: (15:17)
Thank you. We’ve heard over and over how vital a vaccine will be, because you don’t fully understand the immunology of this virus. So, how vital will it be to make sure that as close to everyone as possible ends up getting it in the end, if one does become available?
Justin Trudeau: (15:35)
We know vaccines will be extremely important. A vaccine will be extremely important to getting back to normal. There are situations and there are diseases for which vaccines have been searched for a long time. I think of HIV AIDS, where there is still no vaccine, even after decades of research into a vaccine. There are treatments to manage the spread of HIV, and there could be treatments that aren’t a vaccine that could help us manage and get back to normal without a vaccine.
Justin Trudeau: (16:08)
But around vaccines, there are obviously going to be extremely important decisions around how to best get to that level of vaccination that will prevent further spread of COVID-19. There’s a lot of studies done on that over the past years, in terms of what threshold of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to prevent any spread of a disease. And that research will obviously inform decisions we take around the COVID-19 vaccine, when it comes. [foreign language 00:06:42].
Speaker 3: (18:41)
Merci. [inaudible 00:07:42].
Thank you, merci. [foreign language 00:07:48].
Speaker 4: (18:44)
Merci, [foreign language 00:07:51].
Justin Trudeau: (18:47)
[foreign language 00:08: 21]. This framework is one where the federal government, and the provincial and territorial governments all came together to agree on principles that will underlie plans for economic recoveries. Those plans will be different from one province to the next. The specific measures put in will depend very much on the situation on the ground. But we need to be informed by a common set of criteria and measures to be in place, before we look at reopening different parts of the economy. This is something that really, really matters and all of us will be informed by these principles as we move forward on …
Justin Trudeau: (20:03)
Thus, we’ll be informed by these principles as we move forward on carefully re-opening the economies in gradual ways.
Speaker 6: (21:09)
Speaker 5: (21:21)
Thank you. Next question. Operator?
Thank you. [French 00:21:26]
Speaker 7: (21:26)
Speaker 5: (21:26)
Speaker 7: (21:26)
Justin Trudeau: (21:26)
Janet Silver: (23:41)
Prime Minister, Janet Silver, Global News. I want to start with the situation in Alberta, first we had the COVID-19 outbreak at the meat-packing facility there and now the flooding in Fort Mac. You said in your opening remarks that your government is ready to help. I’m just wondering, will the military be brought in to help in that situation?
Justin Trudeau: (24:02)
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has already been in direct contact with Mayor Scott in Fort McMurray and spoken with his counterparts in the Alberta government on the agriculture side. We’ve been engaged with the CFIB and with the relevant ministers in Alberta. We stand ready to help in any ways we can. As in regards to military support, we’re there for military support. If we receive a request from the province.
Speaker 5: (24:32)
Justin Trudeau: (24:37)
Janet Silver: (24:47)
Sir, earlier you said to re-open the economy, there must be enough capacity to test and trace COVID-19 to control any new spread. Dr. David Naylor of the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force says he’s really concerned about testing and tracing capacity. I’m wondering how is your government planning to address those concerns as provinces re-opened?
Justin Trudeau: (25:09)
We know we need to do much more testing. We know that testing is an important part of a careful re-opening of the economy and that’s why we are increasing our capacity. Yesterday, there were 26,000 tests, which is a new high, and we’re continuing to increase the testing capacity with various things like more procurement of necessary swabs and domestic production, with a production of the reagent, which is the chemical necessary to analyze the test done in New Brunswick right now to a quantity and a scale that is going to allow for larger-scale testing across the country. There are many things that the federal government can do to support the testing protocols and capacities in the provinces. We all need to improve that on that if we’re going to get to a place where we can up carefully.
Speaker 5: (25:58)
Justin Trudeau: (25:58)
Justin Trudeau: (30:48)
[foreign language 00:00:00].
Tom Parry: (30:51)
Hello Prime Minister, Tom Parry with CBC. I’d like to ask you about Quebec move to reopen its elementary schools and daycares. I know it’s a provincial decision, but I’ll ask you as a parent, if you’d be concerned about sending your kids back to school so early, and as a former teacher, do you have any concerns about the teachers who are going to be called back to the classroom?
Justin Trudeau: (31:11)
I think many people want to see the economy reopening and getting back to a semblance of normality in the coming weeks. It is natural that after a long time in isolation we would want to see things move back towards normal. At the same time, we know we have to be very, very careful, and there are plans and there are our hopes that we’re going to be able to see certain parts of the country take steps including Quebec, around elementary schools, but we’re not there yet. Those projections are for a few weeks off, and one hopes that the trend lines will bring us to a place where we’ll be able to see that happen, and at that moment, as the premier said, parents will be able to make their own decisions about what is best for their students and for their kids.
Justin Trudeau: (32:36)
[ foreign language 00:02:02].
Kevin Gallagher: (32:42)
Prime Minister, Kevin Gallagher, CTV National News. I just want to follow up there because there was a question about what you would do if you were a parent. Have you given that some thought, in two weeks would you send your kids back to school if you were in Quebec?
Justin Trudeau: (32:53)
I would look at what the situation looked like in two weeks. We know every single week we changes in how we’re doing on where there are outbreaks, on equipment and supports available. I’d want to know what the school was planning on doing, whether the desks were going to be properly spaced, whether there would be plans at recess in terms of keeping people separated. These are all details that need to be worked out to the satisfaction, not just of governments but of the school boards, of teachers, of everyone who works in the schools and especially of kids and their parents and grandparents.
Justin Trudeau: (33:31)
[ foreign language 00:03:32].
Kevin Gallagher: (34:30)
You’ve talked a lot today about the framework that you’ve discussed with the premiers, and the modeling numbers that are coming out today. There is another brewing healthcare crisis, as well, because of all the non… The elective surgeries, so people that are perhaps waiting for important cancer surgery, now are very uncertain as to when that could happen. So when you’re discussing this with the provinces, you’re looking at the modeling numbers, what benchmarks are there to start to reopen those type of important medical procedures that are separate from this COVID-19 epidemic?
Justin Trudeau: (35:06)
That is an extremely important element of any reopening and of our healthcare capacity. Of course, while we are dealing with a massive COVID-19 crisis, there are still people who need surgeries who are facing difficult treatments, who need to access our healthcare system for other reasons. And that is why part of the frameworks agreed to by the provinces and the federal government includes healthcare system capacity, not just to handle a potential resurgence of COVID-19 but how to handle the regular needs of patients who are dealing with health issues that are not COVID related.
Justin Trudeau: (35:46)
[foreign language 00:05:47].