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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Provides Remarks on Support for Seniors and New Modeling on COVID-19
Thank you for joining us.
Earlier today, Canada took part in a replenishment conference for GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, which was hosted by the United Kingdom.
GAVI does incredibly important work around the globe, delivering vaccines to some of the world’s most vulnerable. They’ve also been helping developing countries to respond to outbreaks like COVID-19.
GAVI saves lives, and Canada is doing its part.
Now, I want to turn to what is happening later today.
This afternoon, we’ll be releasing new modelling on COVID-19 in Canada.
We’ll have more details then, but for now I want to talk about the main takeaways for these projections.
The data shows that we are continuing to make progress in the fight against this virus.
In many communities, the number of new cases is low, and we can trace where they came from. That’s an encouraging sign that the virus is slowing, and in some places, even stopping.
But I want to be very clear: We are not out of the woods.
The pandemic is still threatening the health and safety of Canadians.
Across the country, and especially in areas where we continue to see large numbers of new cases, as well as in places like long-term care facilities and seniors’ homes, the situation remains serious.
So, while we start loosening some restrictions, we also have to strengthen other measures like testing and contact tracing.
And as people head back to work, it’s even more important that we keep a two-metre distance from others, wash our hands, and wear a mask where physical distancing is not always possible.
This is key to keeping us safe and keeping the situation under control.
Otherwise, we risk losing the progress we have made, and above all, we must continue to protect our seniors.
Even as we start to reopen parts of the economy, our parents and grandparents will have to stay home as much as possible.
The confinement is having an impact on their mental health, their personal finances, and their quality of life.
When this crisis first started, our seniors could count on a strong public pension system for steady income.
The Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, and the Guaranteed Income Supplement were our first line of defence.
But over time, this pandemic has made life more expensive.
Seniors haven’t been able to take public transit. They haven’t been able to go to a store or shop the sales because of the virus.
Instead, they’ve had to rely on deliveries to get the things they need – and it adds up.
And what makes things even harder is the fact that this is the new normal for many of them, at least for a little while.
Even as we start to reopen parts of the economy, many seniors will have to stay home for longer to protect their health.
And that’s really weighing on them.
So, our government stepped up to help them weather this storm and help seniors with their daily expenses.
In April, more than four million low-income seniors received a GST Credit top-up—worth an average of $375 for people who are single and $510 for couples—automatically in their bank accounts.
This was a first step.
We also announced that people receiving Old Age Security would get an extra $300 to offset some of the extra costs they’ve had to cover because of the virus.
And to give even more support to low-income seniors, we said that seniors on the Guaranteed Income Supplement would get an additional $200.
That means if you are one of the 2.2 million elders receiving both OAS and GIS, you will get an additional $500 to help you with everyday expenses.
And today, I can confirm that you will be getting that money the week of July 6.
This COVID crisis is tough on seniors and that’s why these additional funds will make a difference, with up to $900 for single seniors and up to $1500 for couples.
At the same time, we are supporting programs and organizations that are helping improve seniors’ quality of life.
For example, we are investing in the New Horizons program to allow affiliated organizations to adapt their services to the realities of the pandemic and help people stay in contact with their families.
We are also providing funding to partners like the United Way, Community Foundations Canada, and the Red Cross, to combat food insecurity and provide more services to vulnerable seniors.
So while we look toward recovery, we must remember that we are not all in the same situation.
Many people, including seniors, will need to remain vigilant and follow specific instructions to protect their health.
And our government will be there to support them.
Later this evening, I will be speaking with the premiers and territorial leaders during our weekly teleconference.
We will continue the conversation we started last week on safely reopening the economy, including on the funding announced for municipalities earlier this week.
Again, thank you for being with us.
While the coronavirus continues to spread quickly, it is important to remember that only a small percentage of patients need special treatment to recover. Trusted health experts continue to emphasize that the general population shouldn’t panic and should instead focus on practicing proper hygiene, such as hand-washing and refraining from touching the facial area.
- World Health Organization: Q&A on coronavirus (article)
- World Health Organization: How to protect yourself against COVID-19 (video)
- World Health Organization: Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19 (pdf document)
- McKinsey & Company: COVID-19: Implications for Business (article)
- Government of Canada: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) (updates, resources on travel, updates, Canada’s response, etc.)
- World Health Organization: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public (in-depth resources)
- Government of Canada Economic Response Plan
- BDC’s Relief for Canadian Business Owners
- Coronavirus: Leading Through the Crisis
- Government of Canada Announces new Domestic Transportation Measures
- BDC Capital Bridge Financing Program