Mar 28, 2020
Justin Trudeau Canada COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript March 28
Justin Trudeau held a press briefing on coronavirus in Canada today, March 28, 2020. He enacted restriction on domestic travel by plane or train for those showing coronavirus symptoms in Canada. Read the full transcript here.
Justin Trudeau: (00:00)
Lots of questions and comments around COVID-19, and vulnerable populations from the North, to internet access and broadband access for rural communities. Questions about what young people can do, questions around what they can tell their friends who are doing well or not doing well. Conversations about mental health, as well, because obviously this is a moment of anxiety and stress for so many people. This was a great conversation, like so many of the great conversations being had amongst Canadians across the country.
Justin Trudeau: (00:35)
Our young people, specifically, we’ve been counting on them over the past years to continue to step up in the fight against climate change, in the fight against poverty, in supporting a better world, internationally, and at home. And we continue to need young people to be that vehicle for building a better future and sharing messages. Obviously, young people, like every generation, are chafing at the bit, in terms of having to be self-isolated. Particularly at a time when we tell our young people, at an age where we say, “Now is the time to go out and discover the world, whether it’s with a backpack or in a laboratory, make new discoveries, challenge yourselves, challenge the world.”
Justin Trudeau: (01:21)
And they’re looking at their plans for the spring, and their summer jobs, and they’re realizing that there is a massive anxiety and a massive uncertainty out there. But that doesn’t mean we’re powerless. It doesn’t mean they’re powerless. On the contrary, this generation of young people are so committed, and engaged, to creating a better world that we need you to keep leading the way you are. And we need you to share your messages with friends. We need you to lead by example. We need you to be challenging and discovering the world in virtual ways. There are ways that you can continue to shape the future we all live in, every single day, not just with your choices, but with your leadership. And that’s what we need.
Justin Trudeau: (02:57)
[ French 00:02:05]. We have taken significant measures to help people. Yes, young people who will, many of them, qualify for the CERB and be helped through the payroll subsidy, the wage subsidy, we’re creating for businesses, and bringing up to 75%. But there’s always going to be more to do, and we’re going to keep listening and looking how we can make sure that Canadians get through this in the best possible way by supporting them now and ensuring that we can roar back stronger once this is all done. That’s why we put forward big measures to help businesses over the past few days. Increasing the wage subsidy to 75% means businesses across the country are now realizing they’re going to be able to keep people on their payroll, keep that relationship going between them and their workers, and even rehire people who they didn’t think they’d be able to support over the past two weeks.
Justin Trudeau: (03:58)
We know that what we do now to hold things together, to give people the ability to stay home, to isolate, to hold through this difficult time, is key to how we will come back stronger afterwards. But we need to stick together, and we need to do it.
Justin Trudeau: (05:57)
[French 00:04: 18].
Justin Trudeau: (05:59)
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will give people $2,000 every month for the next four months to help get us through this time. I know an awful lot of people have showed interest in it already. My recommendation to you is to go on the Canada Revenue Agency site, and sign up in advance through the My Account links. Once you do that, in the coming days when we’re able to start actually opening applications, you’ll have a headstart. And if you can, please opt for the direct deposit option, which will let you get this money into your bank accounts sooner and is simpler for everyone, as well.
Justin Trudeau: (06:42)
There are lots of things that we’re doing to make sure that we get through this together, but everything we do, we need to do together. Every single individual, every single household has its role to play in making sure that Canada and Canadians do well through this. We also have a role to play in making sure that the world gets through this, both by modeling solutions and demonstrating what can be done when we all work together. This is going to be key, particularly as parts of the world that are much more vulnerable are beginning to get harder hit. We need to be able to get through this, so we can help rebuild a world in which people can prosper and everyone has a real and fair chance to succeed. I know Canadians are up to this challenge. I know we’re going to do this together.
Justin Trudeau: (08:39)
[ French 00:07:30].
Speaker 1: (08:41)
Speaker 2: (09:01)
[French 00:07:55], thank you. [French 00:07:55].
Speaker 1: (09:03)
Justin Trudeau: (09:03)
Speaker 3: (09:08)
Justin Trudeau: (09:08)
Obviously the people across the country have been doing an excellent job of staying home, of not traveling for anything that’s not absolutely necessary. We encourage people to continue to do that. However, there is essential transport and travel that is happening, as merchandise, as food gets delivered across the country. We need to continue to ensure that that’s happening. Every step of the way, we’re going to look at whether we need to take further measures to keep Canadians safe and to keep our economy rolling on essential goods.
Justin Trudeau: (09:44)
We will make those decisions as they are needed to be made, but right now we’re not looking at closing provincial borders.
Speaker 3: (09:52)
Justin Trudeau: (11:56)
We recognize and we’ve told people who have symptoms that they need to self isolate. They need to stay home. They should not travel. Now there will be Transport Canada rules coming into place that will prevent anyone indicating symptoms to travel by airline or by train.
Speaker 5: (13:16)
Thank you. The next question is from Rod Nichol from Reuters. Your line is open. Please go ahead.
Rod Nichol: (13:22)
Premier Kenny said yesterday that he’d like to see a coordinated North America response to OPEC’s action to flood the world with oil. He suggested ideas like tariffs on Saudi oil and an anti-dumping case. Do you support these ideas? And do you support the more aggressive approach to OPEC’s actions recently?
Justin Trudeau: (13:45)
Obviously we are very concerned with OPEC’s decisions that are putting at risk the livelihoods of people around the world, particularly Canadians who work in the oil and gas sector. We are focused on helping those Canadians, helping people who are hardest hit economically by COVID-19. The measures we’ve put in place will support Canadians right across the country, including in our oil and gas sector, but we also know that it has been a sector that has been particularly hard hit and we will look for further help to be able to support people as they get through.
Justin Trudeau: (14:19)
In terms of international collaboration, coordination, we continue to be pat of conversations on this issue around the world.
Rod Nichol: (14:28)
Would you look at a more aggressive approach to Saudi Arabia?
Justin Trudeau: (14:31)
I think this is a moment that we need to focus on getting through COVID-19 as best we possibly can. I think there will be a lot of reflections on how various countries behaved in this particular moment. Our focus right now is on making sure we can support our citizens and stabilize the global economy the best way we can, which we are doing through our membership in the G7, in the G20, in various international fora, and approaches that we have, while at the same time focusing on making sure we’re supporting Canadians and keeping them safe.
Speaker 5: (15:09)
[French 00:15:09] Thank you. The next question is from Teresa Rice from the Canadian Press. Your line is open. Please go ahead.
Teresa Rice: (15:17)
Good morning, Prime Minister. On the cruise ship anchored off the coast of Panama, what actions are being considered or will be taken to help the 248 Canadians aboard?
Justin Trudeau: (15:28)
We have worked directly and contacted directly the Panamanian government to try and get an ability to bring those Canadians home. We know this is a very difficult situation for them, for their families. A lot of people around the world are worried about being able to get home. A lot of their family members here are feeling anxious and really want to see them brought home.
Justin Trudeau: (15:54)
I can tell you that the entirety of Global Affairs Canada employees are single- mindedly focused on this Herculean task of bringing Canadians home any way we can, and much of it involves negotiating with other countries to get permissions to cruise trips to dock, permissions for airplanes to lift off from their country where they’ve closed air spaces.
Justin Trudeau: (16:19)
We’re going to continue to work diligently to do everything we can to get all Canadians home and provide significant consular support, both in the meantime, and to those people who are unable to get home.
Justin Trudeau: (17:21)
We know that it’s extremely important that people be following the rules. It will be important for operators of airlines and trains to ensure that people who are exhibiting systems do not board those trains. It’ll be a Transport Canada rule that will be enforced. At the same time, we’re telling people stay home if it’s not absolutely essential for you to travel. Stay home, absolutely, if you’re exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19, of a flu-like virus. We need you to keep yourselves safe. We need you to keep your loved ones and your neighbors safe. We need you to keep…
Justin Trudeau: (18:03)
… your loved ones and your neighbors safe. And we need you to keep from overburdening and endangering the safety of our healthcare workers and others who are doing so much to keep us safe as a country.
Speaker 7: (18:16)
[foreign language 00:00:13].
Justin Trudeau: (18:19)
[foreign language 00:00:32]
Speaker 8: (18:21)
In English, please?
Justin Trudeau: (19:07)
We recognize this is a situation without precedent, a situation that is beyond our collective and individual experience. And that’s why we’ve made the commitment to help people who need help getting through this time, whether it’s an individual, a family, a business, or indeed a province, and we continue to work every day to look at ways that we can help, look at how we can help, look at what we can do to help. Those conversations will continue to be ongoing for individuals, sectors, or indeed provinces that are facing particular difficulties.
Marieke Walsh: (19:42)
Marieke Walsh with The Globe and Mail. I want to revisit the energy sector question. Earlier this week, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said it was hours or days until the energy sector would find out what specifically the government would do. So when are they going to get the answers that they need?
Justin Trudeau: (19:56)
We’re continuing to work to try and provide workers in the energy sectors with the support that they need. We recognize that the collapse of oil prices around the world is hitting hard people who’ve been extremely hard hit over the past years already. That is why we need to get this right. And we’re working with provinces, we’re working with industry, we’re working with various sectors including unions and others to try and make sure that, on top of the help we’re already giving of $2,000 a month to people who are laid off, 75% wage subsidy so companies can keep people on the payroll, we’re going to continue to make sure that once we are through this difficult time, people in industries and places right across the country are going to be able to pick themselves up and get back to work and have our economy continue to work strongly like it was before. It’s going to take a lot of effort in the meantime, and it’s going to take us doing different things and trying different things, but we are going to keep working until we may manage to help everyone.
Ashley Burke: (21:03)
Hi, Ashley Burke, CBC News. As you mentioned at the top of your, your speech, you said that there’ve been encouraging signs out of British Columbia. Are you worried at all that Canadians will hear about those encouraging signs and become complacent?
Justin Trudeau: (21:15)
I think encouraging signs is absolutely something we want to see. We want to see a decline in the rate of transmission, but people need to know that the decline in the rate of transmission happened because two weeks ago people started heeding these instructions, and started self isolating, and started engaging in social distancing. And over the intervening weeks, people have increased their following of advice. And that is an excellent sign. But if we’re seeing a reduction in the spikes, that means what we are doing is working, and we therefore need to continue doing what we are doing. We are not out of the woods yet. Obviously if the measures we’re doing are working, we need to continue doing them. And that’s why as a government, we’re making sure that people are able to continue doing what they’re doing by flowing money to households, by supporting businesses with a 75% wage subsidy, by making access to credit that much easier. We’re going to continue to do more things as we look at ways to help Canadians get through this so we can come out of this strong without a reappearance or resurgence of the virus afterwards. Okay.
Justin Trudeau: (22:33)
[foreign language 00:22:34].
Speaker 9: (23:46)
How exactly are you going to be screening domestic travelers getting on planes and getting on trains? And is it going to be based on the honor system? And if so, there have been cases of Canadians lying so they can continue to travel. How do you prevent that?
Justin Trudeau: (23:57)
We are asking Canadians and telling Canadians that they need to remain home. They must as much as possible avoid non-essential travel. This is something that is essential if we are going to get through this together. Obviously, if anyone is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, they should not go out. They should stay home, they should not travel. And we are giving further tools to airlines and rail companies to ensure that anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms does not travel.
Justin Trudeau: (25:07)
[ foreign language 00:06:37].
Ian Wood: (25:22)
Ian Woods, CTV News. The government has shut its Service Canada offices, because it deemed frontline workers they’re doing face to face work with the public was too risky. But we’re still asking many Canadians, grocery store workers, bus drivers, nurses to do this very same risky work. Are we going to do anything more to mitigate the risk these frontline workers face and anything to personally assist them further?
Justin Trudeau: (25:48)
We recognize that, as much as possible, services need to be shifted online or onto the telephone. That is why we’ve moved to close Service Canada offices so that people can access these greater resources online, because they are to work and respond to them virtually online while at the same time creating opportunities to actually support people who do need that extra help. But of course there are people who have to continue to go out and work. We think of grocery store workers, we think of emergency responders. There are people who are putting themselves at greater risk every day to provide essential services to Canadians.
Justin Trudeau: (26:31)
And yes, we need to do everything we can to protect them. But each and every one of us can do things that will protect them as well. Ensuring that we’re only going out for groceries maybe once a week, ensuring that we’re cutting down on our movements, that we’re not in situations where we’re going to have to call on emergency services or essential personnel for any reasons other than absolutely essential reasons. And that means staying safe and staying at home. Yes, there’s things that businesses and governments are doing in order to keep frontline-
Justin Trudeau: (27:03)
… businesses and governments are doing to in order to keep frontline workers as safe as possible, but every single Canadian has things that we can do that will reduce the risk for grocery store cashiers or delivery people who are continuing to get food to our doors. These are the things that we all need to be responsible for because people out there doing essential services for us need to be protected.
Justin Trudeau: (27:29)
[foreign language 00:00:28].
Speaker 10: (28:49)
Prime Minister, the first of the month is coming up and many Canadians are going to have to pay their rent. Well, the $2,000 a month is a good start. It doesn’t roll out until after that, and then thereafter, it might not be enough to cover the rent of many people across this country. So what are you hoping will happen or what are you hoping can happen for those who can’t make rent considering that you have worked with the banks to help people defer mortgages? What about renters?
Justin Trudeau: (29:17)
We were very much looking at different things we can do. At the federal level, we are limited in our tools. Much of protections for renters and relationship between renters and landlords are provincial areas of jurisdiction, but we are of course continuing to work with the provinces on ways we can do that. Access to credit through banks will be helpful as well as we recognize people are using their credit cards for more and more things, and those balances are piling up and they are really concerned about things.
Justin Trudeau: (29:46)
At the same time, we can point not just to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit but things like the Canada Housing Benefit, which will be coming out in Ontario in the month of April, will help vulnerable people be able to pay their rents. There are many different methods that we’re trying and looking at in order to support Canadians through this difficult time. I recognize the anxiety with the beginning of the month coming, and we are looking at ways that we can help people get through that.
Bryan Mullan: (30:17)
Bryan Mullan, Global News. Prime Minister, I wanted to ask you for an update on your wife, Sophie. Has she been cleared by doctors and how is she doing?
Justin Trudeau: (30:25)
Sophie is feeling great. My family is doing well. My kids and myself, we’re all doing well. We continue to follow the direct advice of health professionals on what next steps are. Like I said, we’ve asked people to stay at home and work from home as much as possible, not go out if they don’t have to. That certainly is something that we’re doing and encouraging everyone to do.
Justin Trudeau: (30:53)
[foreign language 00:30:54].
Speaker 11: (30:53)
[foreign language 00:31:29].