Apr 1, 2020
Justin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript April 1
Justin Trudeau: (00:00)
[foreign language 00:00:02]. I want to start this morning by wishing everyone a happy Sikh Heritage Month. Every day, Sikh Canadians make our cities and our neighborhoods stronger. And right now when people need help, most you’re stepping up once again. In Regina, you’re delivering supplies to your neighbors, while in Mississauga, you’re donating to the Seva Food Bank. It just goes to show that we are all stronger together, supporting each other. You are doing your part and so many others are doing the same. [foreign language 00:00:36]. Our government has introduced a three-point economic plan to protect jobs, help people laid off, and support businesses. If you’re worried about your job, we’re helping your employer keep you on the payroll with the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. Later today, Minister Morneau, Minister Ng, and Minister Bains will provide an update about this 75% wage subsidy. But what I can say now is that it’s going to be available for businesses big and small that are not publicly funded and have seen a 30% or more decline in gross revenues. That includes everything from bars and restaurants to charities and nonprofits. Applications will soon open through the CRA. Like I said on Friday, this money is for workers. Employers will need to attest that they’re doing everything they can to pay the remaining 25% of people’s wages. These are unprecedented times and will require us to pull together as a country and trust each other as Canadians. So there will be stiff and severe penalties for trying to take advantage of this system and of your fellow Canadians. [foreign language 00: 02:22]. These are unprecedented times. So we’re taking unprecedented action. And while we put this measure in place, we’re continuing to move forward on the other two prongs of our economic plan. To help business owners worried about rent or other bills, we’ve brought in new loans. To help people who lose their paycheck, whether they’re freelance or have been laid off, we created the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. And on that front, I have some good news to share. [foreign language 00:03:53]. Starting April 6th, you’ll be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. A reminder, if you’re getting the wage subsidy from your employer, you can’t collect the CREB. It’s one or the other. You can’t get both of these benefits. For the CERB, you can register online at canada.ca. By selecting direct deposit, you should receive your payment within three to five days. If you can’t apply online, don’t worry. You can call the [inaudible 00:05:30] Revenue Agency for help over the phone. By mail, you’ll get your check within 10 days. After applying, all you need to do to keep getting this benefit is check in every month to say that you’re still out of work. And if you’ve already applied through EI, you’re all set up. You don’t need to do anything on April 6th. We’re putting measures in place so we don’t overload the system, but I can assure you that everyone will get their money.
Justin Trudeau: (05:58)
Later today, Minister Duclos and Minister Qualtrough will have more details on this whole process from eligibility to applying to getting your check. But the bottom line is this: we’re getting you the help you need when you need it. We have a plan to protect jobs, to help those who’ve been laid off, and to support businesses that are having cashflow problems. And we’re not done yet. We’re going to keep working hard to make sure you’re getting the support you need. This is the largest economic program in Canada’s history, so I’ve asked the House Leader and the Deputy Minister to reach out to the other parties about bringing back Parliament. This must be a team Canada effort. Governments of all orders across the country are stepping up to fulfill their responsibilities to Canadians.
Justin Trudeau: (06:52)
Canada hasn’t seen this type of civic mobilization since the Second World War. These are the biggest economic measures in our lifetimes to defeat a threat to our health. These historic measures will support Canadians to stay home to defeat COVID-19. But the government alone cannot win this fight. We all have to answer the call of duty. This is service that most of us have never been called upon to do. We each of us have to live up to our end of the bargain. We must fulfill our collective responsibility to each other. Listening to public health rules is your duty. Staying home is your way to serve. So be smart about what you do, about the choices you make. That is how you will serve your country and how we will all serve each other. How well we do this right now determines where our country will be in two weeks or in two months. It’s in our hands. It’s in your hands. [ foreign language 00:08:24].
Speaker 1: (09:16)
Thank you. We’ll now go to the phone line for one question and one follow up. Operator?
Thank you. [French 00:09:28]
Speaker 1: (09:28)
Yeah. [French 00:10:56]
Speaker 1: (09:34)
Thank you, next question operator.
Thank you, merci. Next question, Mia Robson, The Canadian Press, your line is open.
Mia Robson: (12:10)
Good morning. I’m wondering if you could explain why the national emergency stockpile didn’t seem to help keep the equipment in the hands of health workers that we needed, and whether or not we’re going to use the defense production act in order to fill the need?
Justin Trudeau: (12:25)
The defense production act that we’ve seen in the United States is about forcing and ordering companies, who might not otherwise do it, to step up and produce the necessary equipment for a wartime or crisis situation. Here in Canada, what we’ve seen is companies across this country putting up their hands and asking to do it, offering any help they can right across the country, to switch their manufacturing over to necessary goods, necessary equipment. We so far have seen such an overwhelming response from businesses, that we have no need of bringing in at this point a similar act, but of course we’ll always keep an eye on what we need to do in future situations, or how we can adjust. And the federal stockpile has been ensuring over the past weeks that there is enough equipment across the country to respond to the needs that the provinces have asked us for.
Speaker 1: (14:19)
Mia Robson: (14:21)
Yeah. I’m wondering if you could let us know what assurances you have from the Americans that they’ve dropped the idea of moving troops towards the US Canada border?
Justin Trudeau: (14:30)
The ongoing conversations we have with the American administration continue on a broad range of subjects, and we have heard that that is not something they’re continuing to pursue, but we will of course continue to engage with the American administration as new situations come up and as new things develop.
Speaker 1: (14:51)
Thank you. Operator, next question.
Thank you, merci. [French 00:15:38]
Speaker 1: (17:58)
Thank you, and one more question on the phone please, operator.
Thank you, merci.
Speaker 2: (18:03)
Speaker 3: (18:03)
Thank you. Merci. Next question, Eric Atkins, The Globe and Mail. Your line is open.
Eric Atkins: (18:08)
Hi, there. Thank you. Given that Canadians returning from abroad are bringing confirmed cases of COVID-19 into Canada as [inaudible 00:18:18] days ago, why are airlines and the government still bringing Canadians home?
Justin Trudeau: (18:26)
That is a good but a difficult question. In Canada, we understand how important it is to keep Canadians safe and we hope and are demanding that those Canadians who do return home self-isolate for two weeks. I know there are countries that have decided that people overseas or people elsewhere are not allowed to come home to Canada, that is not a choice we’ve made. We want Canadians to come home, but we also very much expect and demand that they keep themselves and their neighbors safe by self-isolating in rigorous conditions for two weeks, as soon as they get home. We would much rather be able to have people home than have them stranded elsewhere around the world where things are getting worse. Okay.
Speaker 2: (20:22)
Eric Atkins: (20:23)
I’m just wondering what the public health case is for allowing any Canadians to return?
Justin Trudeau: (20:30)
The public health cases that if people who return properly and rigorously self-isolate, then we are not significantly increasing the risk to everyone else. It requires ensuring that they do indeed self-isolate, but in Canada we try to look out for each other, that’s been the characteristic of what we’ve seen over these past weeks. As people are there to help each other, people are making choices to make sure that they don’t put themselves or their families or their neighbors at risk. We see neighbors ensuring that food is dropped off to people who can’t go out or are too vulnerable. We’ve seen volunteerism up extraordinarily. People calling up to volunteer as a crisis counselors, to go through the rigorous training to volunteer at Kids Help Phone. Canadians help each other when we’re in tough times and part of helping each other in tough times is making sure that Canadians who are stuck overseas can come home, but part of that responsibility that they have then is to make sure that they’re not putting others at risk and make sure that they self-isolate.
Kevin Gallagher: (21:45)
Prime Minister, Kevin Gallagher with CTV National News, Toronto’s chief public health officer indicated today that these public health measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 could be in place for 12 weeks. There are, according to the National Post, internal federal government documents that also indicate these measures will be in place until July. You yourself have not shared these types of projections. Don’t Canadians have a right to know how long these important yet disruptive public health measures will be in place for so that businesses can plan and families can plan?
Justin Trudeau: (22:20)
We have been open and transparent with Canadians on the facts. I’ve said from the very beginning that there are a wide-range of scenarios that we have been looking for, that we are planning for, that we are trying to work towards as a government, as a country. We know that we are going to be in place for a number of more weeks, perhaps more months. But everything depends on how Canadians behave. The choices you make to stay at home, to self-isolate, to not go to six different stores when you go grocery shopping, to try to go grocery shopping only once a week, to be very careful to keep those two meters apart when you go for a walk, if you’re allowed to go for a walk. These sorts of things are what will arrest the spread and the increase of this virus. We need all of us to do the best we can to make it through this unprecedented situation, and that’s exactly what Canadians are doing.
Kevin Gallagher: (23:23)
Prime Minister, yesterday, there was a rather startling death projection released in the United States. Is there a similar projection in Canada? If so, why have we not heard about these sorts of details?
Justin Trudeau: (24:59)
As we’ve said, there are a range of projections depending on how Canadians are behaving, how isolation is working. I can say right now that the fact that so many Canadians are behaving in the right ways, are choosing to stay home, are choosing to self-isolate, are choosing to stay in their bubble, as Dr. Tam says, as are choosing to not endanger themselves or their loved ones or their neighbors or our healthcare workers, is an extremely good sign. We are of course watching very, very carefully as the numbers creep up, as they arise more rapidly in different areas. We will take the measures necessary to do everything we can to keep Canadians safe.
Justin Trudeau: (25:47)
Speaker 6: (25:47)
Justin Trudeau: (28:13)
Tom Parry: (28:17)
Prime Minister, Tom Parry with CBC News. You’ve been talking about the efforts our government is making to procure medical equipment, protective gear and yet frontline health workers are still talking about shortages. So why is there this disconnect between the assurances you’re offering and what frontline health care workers are experiencing?
Justin Trudeau: (28:34)
We recognize the challenges that frontline health workers are facing in different parts of the country. We are working very closely with the provincial authorities in charge of those healthcare systems to try and meet the needs that they are faced.
Justin Trudeau: (28:49)
We are facing, looking at a global demand for these supplies that is unprecedented. Countries around the world are trying to get more of these supplies. We are expecting to see some shipments coming in very shortly that will help in Canada or continuing to work on more shipments in the coming weeks, and we are also working on tooling up our own production so that we can have made in Canada solutions for the coming weeks and perhaps months if that’s how long this lasts.
Justin Trudeau: (29:22)
We are doing everything we can to meet the very real and pressing needs that we have in our healthcare system right across the country, particularly in some areas. And all I can say is that we will continue to work extremely hard to try and solve this problem because we need our healthcare systems and our healthcare workers specifically to have the protection they need as they keep the rest of us safe.
Tom Parry: (29:48)
The Premier of Quebec was talking yesterday about supplies running out in three to seven days. We’ve seen shortages in Ontario as well, so have you spoken specifically to those two provinces and offered them aid at this time?
Justin Trudeau: (29:59)
We are offering all the help that we possibly can to all provinces, particularly Ontario and Quebec that are facing difficult situations in terms of supplies. I can tell you that we are going to be receiving a shipment very soon of necessary equipment, and there are more to come in the coming days and weeks as well.
Justin Trudeau: (30:23)
We will continue to do everything we can to make sure that our healthcare workers get the support they need to be able to keep us safe and we also, as I spoke about yesterday, have manufacturers stepping up so that we can have made in Canada solutions and we’re not relying on other countries as the world is looking for more PPE.
Janet Silver: (30:45)
Prime Minister, Janet Silver, Global News. The scientific literature is fairly clear on how mask use by the public can help cut the spread of influenza during a pandemic, and some countries are now making mask use mandatory across the board yet in Canada, the suggestion is that mask use won’t really make a difference if you’re asymptomatic. I’m wondering how much of a decision is based on the government wanting to make sure the public doesn’t take mask away from healthcare workers at a time when there is a shortage?
Justin Trudeau: (31:15)
Yeah. I think every decision we take needs to be based on the recommendations of our best science officials who are looking at everything from protection of Canadians to making sure we’re protecting our healthcare workers. And on this issue that I know is an ongoing conversation amongst professionals and health professionals around the world, we are going to defer to our chief medical officer, Dr. Tam.
Janet Silver: (31:43)
But with all due respect, Prime Minister, if there are dissenting opinions in the international scientific and medical community on wearing mask in public, if they are asymptomatic, do we not then owe it to the public to put whatever protective measures in place to protect them?
Justin Trudeau: (32:00)
I’m going to continue to defer to Dr. Tam on this issue. I know there’s much discussion going on on that and we certainly want to take the right decisions to make sure that Canadians are protected and that our healthcare workers are protected. [French 00:05:16].