Apr 30, 2020
Justin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Press Conference April 30
Full transcript of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s April 30 coronavirus press conference for Canada. Read the full transcript here.
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Justin Trudeau: (05:30)
Good morning, everyone. I know many of you have seen reports about my mom. 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 wanted to also think 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. 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.
Justin Trudeau: (07:15)
But I know Canadians will continue to work together. Shortly, I’ll join members of parliament from across the country for a virtual meeting at the House of Commons. Despite the challenges of this pandemic, our democratic institutions are innovating and finding ways to keep serving people. Parliamentarians are working together with the same goal, supporting Canadians and keeping our country strong. As part of this sitting, at noon, Minister Hejdu will provide an update on the new COVID-19 modeling. And Dr. Tam will also do the same.
Justin Trudeau: (07:49)
Based on the best data available, this is an updated picture where we think we are right now, and where we think things will go from here. 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: (08:20)
So 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. 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: (08:58)
And your governments across the country are stepping up as well. We’re a big country. 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: (09:24)
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. Restarting our economy will be gradual and careful. And we’ll 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 test and trace COVID-19 to control any new spreads
Justin Trudeau: (10:24)
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. 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 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: (11:24)
Justin Trudeau: (12:50)
[ French 00: 00:01].
Justin Trudeau: (13:35)
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 million surgical masks to the provinces and territories. More than 100,000 face shields that we ordered from Bauer and Toronto Stamp are also ready and will be shipped out soon, with more on the way.
Justin Trudeau: (14:07)
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. 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: (15:01)
[ French 00:02:29]. 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 anti-Semitism, 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.
Speaker 4: (16:16)
Thank you, Prime Minister. We’ll now take questions on the phone. Over to you, operator.
Thank you. Merci. First question, Kate [Bongaro 00:16:26], Bloomberg. Line open.
Kate Bongaro: (16:30)
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 than to bring them back onboard with this wage subsidy. Some of them would rather leave their former employees unserved. What is your response to this?
Justin Trudeau: (16:48)
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. When the economy comes back, it will be all the quicker because Canadians will have staying 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.
Justin Trudeau: (17:19)
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. 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 4: (17:42)
Kate Bongaro: (17:44)
Now we’ve got a lot of personal protective equipment for the frontline workers. I’m wondering, do you expect businesses to change PPE as well now that the reopening of the economy is beginning to be considered? Do you think that will be enough masks and gloves available for all of the businesses that will need them to be able to operate?
Justin Trudeau: (18:01)
Our priority over the past weeks has been to ensure enough person protective equipment for our frontline workers who are doing extraordinary work to keep us all safe. But we also know that as a 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 our 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.
Speaker 4: (19:29)
[French 00: 06:51].
Speaker 4: (19:33)
Thank you. Merci. Next question, Laura Osmond, The Canadian Press. Line open.
Laura Osmond: (19:50)
Good morning, Prime Minister. I wanted to ask you again the vaccines. If and when a vaccine does become available, do you envision it to be mandatory, and have you had those discussions with provinces and territories yet?
Justin Trudeau: (20:03)
We are still, unfortunately, a long way from having a vaccine. 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.
Speaker 4: (20:44)
[French 00:08: 44].
Speaker 4: (21:01)
Laura Osmond: (21:10)
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: (21:47)
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: (22:20)
But around vaccines 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. That research will obviously inform decisions we take around the COVID-19 vaccine when it comes.
Speaker 4: (22:51)
Justin Trudeau: (22:51)
Speaker 4: (22:51)
Thank you. [French 00:23:59].
Speaker 6: (22:51)
Justin Trudeau: (22:51)
Speaker 8: (22:51)
Justin Trudeau: (25:38)
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 recovery. 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 carefully reopening the economies in gradual ways.
Speaker 8: (26:19)
Justin Trudeau: (27:33)
[French 00:02: 36].
Speaker 8: (27:33)
Thank you. Next question, operator.
Thank you. [French 00:27:39].
Justin Trudeau: (27:37)
Speaker 9: (27:37)
Justin Trudeau: (29:48)
Janet Silver: (29:54)
Prime Minister, Janet Silver, Global News. I want to start with the situation in Alberta. First, we had the COVID- 19 outbreak at the 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: (30:14)
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 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 8: (30:45)
Janet Silver: (30:59)
Sir, earlier you said to reopen 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-open?
Justin Trudeau: (31:21)
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. We’re continuing to increase the testing capacity with various things like more procurement of necessary swabs and domestic production with production of the reagent, which is the chemical necessary to analyze the test done in New Brunswick right now to a quantity in a scale that is going to allow for a larger scale testing across the country. There are many things the federal government can do to support the testing protocols and capacities in the provinces, and we all need to improve on that if we’re going to get to a place where we can open up carefully.
Speaker 8: (32:13)
Justin Trudeau: (32:14)
Speaker 10: (32:14)
Justin Trudeau: (32:14)
Speaker 10: (32:14)
Justin Trudeau: (32:14)
Speaker 11: (32:14)
Speaker 12: (32:14)
Justin Trudeau: (32:14)
Tom Parry: (37:10)
Hello, Prime Minister. Tom Parry, CBC. I’d like to ask you about Quebec’s move to reopen its elementary schools and daycares. I know it’s a probational decision, but I’d like to 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 getting called back to the classroom?
Justin Trudeau: (37:24)
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. There are plans and there are 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. 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: (38:52)
Kevin Gallagher: (38:55)
Prime Minister, Kevin Gallagher with 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: (39:06)
I would look at what the situation looked like in two weeks. We know every single week we see 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: (39:44)
[French 00:03: 43].
Kevin Gallagher: (40:43)
You talked a lot today about the framework that you discussed with the premiers, the modeling members that are coming out today. There is another brewing healthcare crisis, as well, because of all the elective surgeries. People that are perhaps waiting for important cancer surgery now are very uncertain as to when that could happen. When you’re discussing this with the provinces, you’re looking at the modeling numbers, what benchmarks are there to start to reopen those types of important medical procedures that are separate from this COVID-19 epidemic?
Justin Trudeau: (41:19)
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. 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.