Trudeau’s daily coronavirus update: Help coming for those working reduced hours (Full transcript)

In his April 6 daily briefing to Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic, the PM explained how to receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and hinted at more help to come for those who don’t qualify yet

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during his daily press conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, outside his residence at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, on Saturday, April 4, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Justin Trudeau speaks during his daily press conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, outside his residence at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, on April 4. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a daily update on the coronavirus crisis each day in front of his home in Ottawa. Here are his remarks for April 6, 2020.

Bonjour à tous.

I want to start this morning by recognizing that today is a painful anniversary. It has now been two years since the tragic Humboldt Broncos crash. From coast to coast to coast, we remember the 16 lives that ended much too soon and the many more that were changed forever. If you lost a friend, a teammate or a loved one, if you’re still rebuilding and recovering, I want you to know that we’re here for you and we will always be here for you. You, the community of Humboldt, along with all Canadians who stand with you, have shown incredible strength and resilience. And just like the people putting out hockey sticks or wearing the jersey, you remind us that together, we can get through even the darkest of times.

Right now, as we face a challenge unlike any other, we lean on our friends and family. And we let them know that they can lean on us, too. The weeks and months ahead won’t be easy, but we’re going to get through this, together. I’m sure many of you watched the Queen’s address yesterday afternoon and her message of unity and resolve is more important than ever.

Watch a replay of the PM’s address

No one should feel alone in this. No one should wonder how they’ll weather this storm without support. Over the past few weeks, we’ve brought in a whole range of new measures to help families and workers, seniors and business owners get through this. Taken together, we’ve introduced the biggest economic measures in our lifetime, which will help millions of people. That includes the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for if you’ve lost your paycheque. Whether you’re taking care of someone who’s sick, have been laid off or are living with a disability, the CERB is there for you.

This benefit is now available, starting today. If you’re born in January, February or March, you can go to and apply online. If you can’t apply online, don’t worry. You can call 1-800-959-2041. Since it opened this morning, 240,000 people have already successfully applied. For everyone else, you’ll be able to apply another day this week, depending on your birth month. We know you need this support as soon as possible. We have to make sure the system works for everyone. If you’re using direct deposit, you’ll receive money three to five days later.

The CERB is meant to help all Canadians who need it, and millions of Canadians will be getting it, starting this week. But there are some people who don’t yet qualify who we do need to help. If you’re working reduced hours, down to 10 hours a week or less, we will soon announce how you will be able to qualify for the CERB. This is to help you if you’re a gig worker, a contract worker or a volunteer firefighter. We’ll also have more to say for those who are working but making less than they would with the benefit. I’m thinking in particular of home-care workers or long-term care workers looking after vulnerable seniors.

And I know there’s also a lot of university or college students wondering what kind of job you’ll get this summer. You need support now. And work is underway to get it to you as soon as possible.

For people in all of these situations, we see you. We’re going to be there for you. And we’re working as hard as we can to get you the support you need.

At the same time, we also announced a new 75 per cent wage subsidy to help you keep your job and help businesses keep their employees on the payroll. Right now we’re drafting legislation and talking to other parties ahead of bringing Parliament back to put the wage subsidy in place as quickly as possible. Supporting you and your family is our top priority.

Your minister of finance Bill Morneau will have more updates soon, but here’s the bottom line. Whatever your situation, we are working to get you the help you need.

The decision of the six major banks and of certain credit unions to cut credit card interest rates almost in half for people in financial difficulty because of the pandemic, will give them much needed relief on debt. I also want to thank Minister Morneau for his outstanding leadership on this. And we need to see even more action like this going forward, because this is a time to think about each other, not about the bottom line.

On that note, I want to recognize the new initiative the Canadian Chamber of Commerce launched in partnership with our government. The Canadian Business Resilience Network will help businesses of all sizes not just get through this tough period, but drive our economic recovery afterwards. This builds on what we’ve already done to help business owners. We have a three-point economic plan that supports business owners, including through new loans while safeguarding jobs with a wage subsidy and helping those who no longer have a paycheque with the CERB. We’re here for you.

In order to get through this and keep our loved ones and our frontline workers safe, all Canadians need to do their part. Don’t forget that you are shaping our future today. What the next weeks and months look like depends on you. It depends on whether you stay home, whether you protect the vulnerable and make sure our hospitals aren’t overwhelmed.

(translation from French) Every citizen has to do his part, because people who may have to go to work—such as lab technicians, health-care workers, truckers and farm workers—are doing more than their share. They’re making sacrifices to allow the rest of the population to stay home.

The best way to thank them is to continue to follow the public-health guidelines. That is all how we can all protect our own health and their health, as well.

Thank you for being here today.