Bonjour tout le monde. I want to start by recognizing that today marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic. As we remember the sailors, soldiers and pilots who helped turn the tide of the Second World War, we honour all our veterans who stepped forward so we may live in peace. We think of the brave men and women who serve today, and we mourn the six heroes we lost just last week. To their loved ones, to those serving on HMCS Fredericton, and to all CAF members, I want to once again offer my deepest condolences to Canadians.
Over the last four months, Canada has faced challenge and heartbreak on a scale we could never have expected. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, that’s understandable. If you need support, that’s okay. In April, we launched Wellness Together Canada, a website where you can find people to talk to if you’re in crisis, and today, we’re taking another step forward. Our government is investing over $240 million to bring health care online. We’re expanding existing online tools, creating new virtual platforms for mental health and for primary care. Let me start with the new platform for mental health. Whether you’re looking for strategies to manage stress, or support from a professional, this will be a resource for you. And if you’re part of a marginalized community and you need specialized tools, well, they’ll be specific help for you as well. If we can provide mental health support online, there’s no reason we can’t leverage technology in other areas of health care, too. This $240 million investment will also include funding for virtual care for times when you don’t need to see a doctor in person. Just take video conferencing — by helping doctors run appointments online, you can stay safe at home while getting care, and our hospitals can stay focused on those who need it most. If we can use apps to order dinner, and video chats to stay in touch with family, we can use new technology to keep each other healthy.
To beat COVID-19, we have to think outside the box. When Canadian researchers have a solid lead, we need to make sure they can follow it up. That’s exactly what we’ve been doing over the last two months, and we’re starting to see real results. Today, I can announce that we’re investing over $175 million to support the Canadian company AbCellera for their very promising COVID-19 research. They’ve identified antibodies that could be used in drugs to treat this virus. This new funding will help them continue their vital work and will support human trials, beginning as early as July. But until we have effective treatments — or better yet, a vaccine — we still need a reliable supply of everything from masks to ventilators. So later today, Minister Anand will announce the details of a new COVID-19 supply council. This council will be tasked with finding innovative solutions to ensure our country continues to have the vital supplies necessary to keep Canadians safe.
I want to end today, as I do most Sundays, talking to families. To parents — I know this is tough time right now to be raising kids. Right now, you should be able to focus on keeping your family safe, not about worrying about the bills. So this May, you’ll get more help through the Canada Child Benefit. When you receive this month’s payment, you’ll see an extra $300 per child. For families with two kids, that means an extra $600, for three kids, an extra $900, and so on. This is money for whatever you need, whether it’s online tutoring or groceries. And to all the kids out there, I know things are hard for you, too. I know you miss your friends, and it’s not always easy to do your school work online. But this isn’t going to last forever. So keep planning fun things to do with your friends once this over, keep up on your homework and remember — we’re going to get through this together.
So thanks for all your help around the house, with your parents, and for sticking together through this difficult time.
MORE ABOUT CORONAVIRUS:
- Rising to the occasion: Lessons from the Sourdough Quarantine
- Coronavirus in Canada: These charts show how our fight to ‘flatten the curve’ is going
- A heat map of coronavirus cases in Canada
- Steven Page’s pandemic playlist