Mar 19, 2020
Justin Trudeau Coronavirus Update Briefing Transcript: March 19
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave another daily COVID-19 update to Canada today on March 19. Read the full transcript right here on Rev.
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Justin Trudeau: (17:00)
(silence) Good morning everyone. [foreign language 00:04:03] Over the last week we’ve seen significant changes in what COVID-19 means for the country. Every day we’ve had new updates for Canadians. [foreign language 00:04:12].
Speaker 1: (17:16)
…new travel restrictions to halt the propagation of the virus. For example we’re temporarily restricting non-essential crossings of the-
Justin Trudeau: (17:28)
[foreign language 00: 04:27].
Justin Trudeau: (17:32)
We’re moving fast because that’s how we will protect Canadians and the economy. I know it’s also a lot to take in. People are having to figure out how they can work from home or close up shop temporarily. Parents are trying to explain to their kids what’s going on and why school is canceled.
Justin Trudeau: (17:51)
Right now, the last thing anyone needs is to be worrying about how to make ends meet. People need to know they have support for their jobs, their businesses, their industries, and that’s what our government has been focused on since day one.
Justin Trudeau: (18:07)
Yesterday, we announced an $82 billion plan that will support all Canadians. This includes a whole range of measures and people should be checking canada.ca for the latest information. Our team is hard at work with the public service and making sure these new supports get to Canadians as quickly as possible. They’re doing a fantastic job already and I’ll have a long discussion with the clerk of the privy council later today to talk about how we can support our public servants and ensure that Canadians can access these new programs.
Justin Trudeau: (18:41)
But the bottom line is this, we’re giving you more help when you need it. If you’re a parent, we’re here for you just like for the single mom of two who will get nearly $1,500 by the end of May because of the increase in the Canada Child Benefit and the GST credit. If you’re worried about making ends meet, we’ve got your back. Just like for the family that was concerned about their mortgage and now doesn’t have to make payments for the next six months. And if you’re helping others, we’re standing with you like with the Samaritan House in Brandon, Manitoba that on Wednesday was able to open and deal with COVID-19 thanks to new funding.
Justin Trudeau: (19:22)
They were worried because their clients had nowhere to go since everything else closed. But now with the new support, they can stagger entry to 10 people at a time, extend hours and stock up the food bank.
Justin Trudeau: (19:35)
[foreign language 00:06:56].
Justin Trudeau: (19:55)
On health, we’re continuing to pull out all the stops to keep you safe. We’re moving forward on vital research for everything from better understanding how this virus spreads to developing vaccines and treatments. As part of the $1 billion fund I announced earlier this month, $25 million will directly support 49 researchers and their teams across the country. Their work is focused on developing and implementing measures to detect, manage, and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Justin Trudeau: (20:29)
Across the country, scientists and researchers are working extremely hard. I want to take a moment to specifically thank them for all the essential work they’re doing. At the same time, we will expedite access to COVID-19 lab test kits and other medical devices. The reality is that the need for these test kits is growing. Yesterday, Dr. Tam said that officials have now tested more than 50,000 Canadians since the beginning of the outbreak. 25, 000 of those were done just in the last week alone. So while we ramp up, we’re making sure Canada is ready to keep up.
Justin Trudeau: (21:10)
Minister Hajdu and Minister Freeland will continue working with the provinces and territories so that everyone has the resources they need. In times of crisis, Canadians come together. We’ve heard from businesses from coast to coast to coast who are telling us they want to help. Soon, I’ll have more to say about procurement and how industry can help with this effort, but until then, I want to let people know that we are working tirelessly to keep our hospitals, healthcare system and Canadians supported.
Justin Trudeau: (21:43)
On that note, let me take a moment to recognize again, the incredible work of our nurses, doctors, technicians, and other healthcare professionals. They are on the front lines of this and they’re doing a remarkable job. We need to support them and keep them healthy as well.
Justin Trudeau: (22:03)
But even if you don’t work in a hospital, you can still keep people healthy. For example, we still need blood donors, so if you’re able consider going in and donating. Book an appointment online through blood.ca or by calling +1 888-236-6283.
Justin Trudeau: (23:53)
[foreign language 00: 09:26].
Justin Trudeau: (23:56)
I know people are worried about what the days and weeks ahead hold, but there’s no doubt these are uncertain times, but no matter what happens next, we can count on each other. So keep supporting your neighbors by picking up some groceries for them if you’re already at the store, check in with people on the front lines like cashiers and truckers, pharmacists and hospital staff. Take the right steps, like staying home and working remotely to help flatten the curve. And as you do know that your government is right there with you. We’re working to slow the spread of this virus. We’re taking steps to support you through tough times. There is nothing we won’t do to keep you safe and to protect your health.
Justin Trudeau: (24:44)
Thank you. [foreign language 00:24:45] Now happy to take your questions.
McKenzie Greg: (24:48)
Hi, Prime Minister. McKenzie Greg with CTV News. Yesterday, Premier Kenney of Alberta estimated it won’t be till May or June that social distancing measures will be lifted. How long do you think social distancing and having people work from home will be in place for?
Justin Trudeau: (25:01)
We are going to continue to follow the best recommendations with experts. We’ve heard anything from weeks to months. We know this is a difficult and extraordinary time in which Canadians are taking difficult and extraordinary measures and we will continue to do that until Canadians are safe.
Speaker 2: (25:17)
[foreign language 00:12:19].
Justin Trudeau: (25:24)
[foreign language 00:12:43].
Justin Trudeau: (25:25)
[foreign language 00:26:10].
Speaker 3: (26:00)
In English, please.
Justin Trudeau: (26:24)
Okay. We are continuing to work on the fine tuning of the agreement between Canada and the United States. I think it’s almost there. My understanding is that the measures will probably come into place in the night between Friday and Saturday. So in about a day and a half.
Speaker 4: (26:43)
Thank you. CBC News. Prime minister President Donald Trump’s, yesterday, signed the Defense Production Act, which would allow the US military to help in the production of personal protective equipment such as masks. And the Italian military is also helping to produce ventilators. Canada has its own Defense Production Act with similar powers. So are you considering using them and under what kind of circumstances?
Justin Trudeau: (27:04)
Yes. We are considering using any measures necessary to ensure that Canadians and our healthcare systems have the supports they need. We’ve already been engaged with industry on production and ramping up capacity to build and create more equipment. We will, of course, look at military procurement as a solution as well. There’s a range of things that we can do. We will do what is necessary.
Speaker 3: (27:31)
Justin Trudeau: (28:06)
Okay. [foreign language 00:01:32].
Speaker 5: (28:07)
Mr. Trudeau [Foreign language 00:27:58]
Justin Trudeau: (28:07)
[foreign language 00:28:14].
Speaker 3: (28:08)
Justin Trudeau: (28:48)
Okay. As we said, we’re going to work very, very hard to bring Canadians home. It’s time for Canadians to come home from around the world. We recognize that that will be a challenge. That’s why we sent out a text message to all Canadians overseas with information on how to share their situation and get in touch with consular services. I spoke yesterday with the heads of our two large airlines, WestJet and Air Canada, to talk about how we can work with them to ensure that there are flights to bring Canadians home. We will continue to respond to the overwhelming demand by Canadians for support. We will be there to help them and get home as many people as we possibly can in the coming days and week. On the cruise ship in question, I don’t have any specific information on that, but I’m sure there’ll be a further updates at noon on the regular press conference.
Speaker 6: (29:45)
[foreign language 00:03:44]
Justin Trudeau: (29:54)
[foreign language 00:04: 04]
Prime Minister, [James Paschgums 00:30:51], ATPN National News. Yesterday, you mentioned 305 million would go to indigenous communities to help with this pandemic. You mentioned that its distinctions-based approach. Could you explain what that means for First Nations status, non-status, Inuit, and Metis Nation communities?
Justin Trudeau: (31:11)
We are going to be sending money to indigenous communities for them to use the way they need to keep their communities safe through COVID-19 and support to access to supplies they need and get through this difficult situation. We recognize that Indigenous Canadians are faced with greater health vulnerabilities and greater economic challenges than most Canadians at the best of times. There is a need for special support and special care for indigenous communities and Indigenous Canadians right across the country. Minister Miller of Indigenous Services will be part of the press conference today at noon to answer more questions and to talk about specifically what we’re doing with Indigenous Canadians.
Nick Taylor-Vaisey: (31:59)
Thanks, Prime Minister. Nick Taylor- Vaisey from Maclean’s. On small businesses who’ve had to shut their doors already and have zero revenue coming in say that the help that was promised yesterday won’t help them if it doesn’t get there in time before they go bankrupt. What about immediate payroll support?
Justin Trudeau: (32:18)
We have made a credit a lot easier to access for businesses of all sizes right now. Those were moves we made last week to ensure that there are loans, there is bridging financing available for businesses large and small. We’ve also taken specific measures on payroll support for small businesses that will be available in the near future.
Justin Trudeau: (32:41)
The help for Canadians will be flowing in the coming weeks. We recognize that this is a difficult time, both in terms of getting these new programs in place quickly enough to help Canadians. And that is why I’m going to be working with the public service to ensure that all our efforts are focused on supporting Canadians through this difficult time.
Speaker 3: (33:21)
Justin Trudeau: (33:21)
Okay. [ Foreign language 00:07:21]
Speaker 7: (33:48)
Thank you. We’ll now go to the phone for a few questions.
Speaker 8: (33:52)
Thank you. Merci. The first question is from Marieke Walsh from the Globe and Mail. Please go ahead. [foreign language 00:07:59]
Marieke Walsh : (34:01)
Hi, Prime Minister. I’m wondering what your message is to retirees who are seeing their savings dramatically hit by changes in the market. Is the government looking at, for example, supplementing OAS or GIS or is there anything that you will be doing for them?
Justin Trudeau: (34:20)
We recognize that the market disruptions are massive and many, many Canadians have seen their retirement savings and pensions reduced significantly. We will be taking measures to ease the impact of that. We know that our seniors have worked hard all their lives to be able to retire in comfort and there is a lot of anxiety there. That’s why we will be there for our seniors as well.
Speaker 8: (34:50)
Thank you. Merci. [foreign language 00:08:53] Please go ahead.
Speaker 9: (34:57)
Bonjour, Mr. Trudeau. [Foreign language 00:08: 59]
Justin Trudeau: (35:02)
[foreign language 00:09:21]
Speaker 8: (35:05)
Thank you. Merci. The question is from, [foreign language 00:10:20].
Speaker 10: (35:15)
Oui. Bonjour, Mr. Trudeau. [foreign language 00:36:19]
Justin Trudeau: (35:16)
[foreign language 00:36:44].
Speaker 10: (35:16)
Justin Trudeau: (37:06)
Okay. We’re focused on bringing Canadians home. We’re focused on trying to get our air operators to facilitate to more flights to get Canadians home. We recognize that this is a very difficult and exceptional situation and we’re just going to be here for each other.
Justin Trudeau: (37:28)
Merci tout le monde.
Peter Van Dusen: (37:33)
All right. Peter Van Dusen. Watching along with you. The latest update from the prime minister. Some key points-