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Summary of the Prime Minister's news conference April 7-8

9 April 2020
CEO, Elizabeth Mulholland summarizes government measures being taken in response to COVID-19 to support people living on low-incomes and those that serve them. Read the latest update from the Prime Minister's Office, April 7-8.

April 7

Spring is here - stay home!
  • When we hear someone has been hospitalized by COVID-19, we worry, but we are not powerless. 
  • Everyone can contribute and you know what to do -- stay home as much as possible, even when it’s lovely outside. 
  • Only go out if you need to buy groceries and go as little as possible. This applies to everyone!
Thank you to those who are volunteering 
  • Some people are able to do more because they have special skills or resources that we need:
    • We are offering full-time jobs to reservists in the Canadian Armed Forces to be ready if communities need more support. 
    • Health Canada is recruiting volunteers to help out our frontline workers.
    • Almost 5,000 Canadian companies have offered to help produce needed items
  • On behalf of all Canadians, thank you. 
Getting critical equipment for frontline workers
  • To keep our frontline workers safe and care for Canadians with COVID-19, we need a sustainable, stable supply of test kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment and that means making them at home. We’re working with:
  • produce up to 30,000 made-in-Canada ventilators with Thornhill Medical, CAE, Ventilators for Canadians, and a group led by StarFish Medical. 
  • develop ventilators that are easy to make with a team of scientists led by Nobel-prize-winning researcher Dr. Art McDonald. 
  • produce medical gowns and establish new supply chains in Canada, with over 20 companies including Arc’teryx, Canada Goose and Stanfield’s. 
  • Government is also purchasing masks to protect healthcare workers. They have ordered millions of surgical masks from Canadian companies and are supporting Medicom to increase its production of N95 masks. 
  • We are also purchasing hand disinfectant and Health Canada has authorized the sale of more than 85 products in Canada. 
  • Government is also in touch with international suppliers and expecting 500,000 masks from 3M tomorrow that they get to frontline workers asap.
  • People are worried about a shortage of materials. Understands this concern, particularly for those working in health care, but government is doing everything it can to ensure frontline workers have what they need to save lives and stay safe. 
Wage subsidy
  • Yesterday the government shared proposed wage subsidy legislation with opposition parties. House leaders will be working to reach an agreement for the House of Commons to quickly pass this legislation and give financial support to Canadian workers and help employers to keep staff on payroll.
  • Government has been refining wage subsidy in response to feedback and will have more details to share soon. 
Thank you to public servants, healthcare workers and caregivers
  • Yesterday was the first day people could apply to receive CERB. 
  • Would like to recognize the public service, who are working around the clock to get Canadians the help they need as quickly as possible and has already processed hundreds of thousands of claims. 
  • Also grateful to health care professionals and caregivers who are working day and night to keep us safe and to care for our most vulnerable. 
  • I hope Canadians honk a little louder when your shift ends today and add another rainbow to their window.
April 8, 2020
  • Happy International Day of Pink -- stand up to bullying and support those facing discrimination.
  • Tonight, sundown also marks beginning of Passover. To everyone celebrating Passover, Chag Pesach Sameach.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
  • Calling on the opposition to join in bringing the House back to pass legislation. Cabinet will be meeting this afternoon to discuss next steps.
  • Have received a lot of feedback and advice since they announced the wage subsidy, that have helped them to adjust it to include more businesses and help more people. 
  • Now recognize 30% revenue decline requirement is a problem for many non-profit organizations and fast-growth companies, so: 
  • Businesses will now have to show a 15% decline in revenue for the month of March, rather than 30%, and be able to choose to use January or February as a reference period to show a loss of revenue.
  • Charities and non-profits will also have a choice to include or exclude their government funding, when they calculate your loss of revenue. 
  • If your business is affected by COVID-19, the government will give you up to $847 a week for each employee and the subsidy will be retroactive to March 15.
  • The government understands not all businesses operate the same way and that’s why it’s making changes to include as many organizations as possible.
Organizations are encouraged to use this help to re-hire and pay their workers. 
  • Job numbers for March will be out tomorrow and it’s going to be a hard day for the country. But if we pull together, our economy will come roaring back after this crisis.
Addressing those who have been left out by support measures
  • Some people are not eligible for the benefits the government has put in place – e.g.  gig workers, people who provide home care, people whose work hours are 10 hours or less a week. 
  • The government is looking for solutions and will help these workers.
  • Seniors are also particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and concerned about the impact on their savings and other consequences. 
  • We will be putting in place additional measures to help the most vulnerable Canadians. 
  • This includes students and young people who are preparing to enter the job market. 
  • The Canada Summer Jobs program will now:
    • Give CSJ employers a subsidy of up to 100 per cent to cover the costs of hiring students.
    • Extend the timeframe for job placement until the winter, because some jobs will start later than usual.
    • Let businesses hire students part-time. 
  • Also asking MPs across the country to reach out to businesses and organizations providing critical services in their communities to see how students can help. 
  • In this economic climate, it’s hard for people of all ages to find work, but young people are especially vulnerable. 
  • The government will be doing more to help for those who need help but are not eligible to receive the benefits announced so far. 
Reminder to follow public health guidance 
  • We’ll get through this together if everyone keeps following the public health guidance -- stay home, only go out once a week or less for essentials (groceries and medications), and keep two metres from those around you. 
  • That’s the best way to stay healthy and protect frontline workers who are doing so much to help all of us.