[speaking in French] The last month has been really difficult for many people, I understand that, and our government is doing everything we can to help you. Just this week, we announced new measures for families, workers and businesses. Even with that help, I know things remain difficult, and for those who were already experiencing hardship, I know it’s even more difficult. And remaining at home, for example, isn’t an easy thing to do.
Physical distancing means juggling taking care of the kids while trying to get some work done at the kitchen table. But frankly, that’s not everyone’s reality. For far too many people, home isn’t a safe place to be. For others, it is somewhere they are isolated and alone. And for too many more, they have no place to go at all. Tough times fall first and hardest on the most vulnerable in our communities. But we can change that, we can make sure that no one is left without help.
Let me take a moment to speak directly to kids. I know these past weeks have been tough. You haven’t seen your friends, you’re not able to go to school, you’ve been hunkered down with your parents and you’re watching the world you know change radically. It’s a source of anxiety, it’s a source of tension, maybe there’s extra tension in your family. But there are people who can help. Reach out to Kids Help Phone. You can call them or text them, text at 686868 or call 1-800-668-6868 or go online to kidshelphone.ca. They are there to listen, they are there to support you, they are there to make sure that you know that you are not alone, and help you and all of us through this, no matter where you live, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in French and in English. Indeed, to make sure that you have the help you need, we’re investing $7.5 million for more counsellors and trained volunteers with Kids Help Phone. There are people in your corner, making sure you’re okay. And kids, I want to speak with your grandparents now.
Our seniors are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, we all know that and it’s for them that so many of us are staying home, are self-isolating, are following the rules. But even if they’re safe and isolated, this is not easy on them. Maybe they are having trouble getting out to get groceries, maybe they are feeling particularly alone, maybe they’ve already been isolated and this is just an extra degree of stress on them. Well, we’ve got help for them as well. The Minister of Seniors, Deb Schulte, is announcing $9 million through the New Horizons for Seniors Program to the United Way for everything from health check-ins to grocery delivery. In fact, the United Way is already stepping up. Here in Ottawa, they are helping people like you with things like meal delivery.
We promise to help get through this tough time. If you can’t go home because it isn’t safe, or because you don’t have a home, we’re not going to forget you. We’ll work with the organizations you rely on, and we’ll have your back. Earlier this month we committed $200 million for shelters. If you need to get away from domestic violence or violence because of your gender, if you need somewhere to stay, there are places you can go and be safe. This new funding is already having a huge impact on support for you. Just take the shelter in Toronto that can now rent additional space to isolate residents with COVID-19 and keep everyone safe. Now we’re going to keep working with charities and non-profits on this. On that note, I want to recognize the incredible people who work and volunteer in their communities through these groups. I know it’s been hard lately — not just because more and more people need your help, but because you are struggling to keep doing this work for marginalized and vulnerable people during a public health crisis on a scale that Canada has never before seen.
Soon, I’ll have more to say about how we can make sure you’re supported, and can help keep helping Canadians who need it most. But the bottom line is this: whomever you are, whatever you need, we’re here for you. And if you’re fortunate enough to have a little extra to spare right now, I’m asking you to join in and be part of the solution. Please, donate to your favourite organization, or find out how you can volunteer in your community. Even working from home, you can make a real difference in the impact an organization can have. As an individual, a family, a company, think of how you can lend a hand to help others through this tough time.
[speaking in French] We all have our role to play to ensure our health and safety. As we’re repeating very often, it’s very important that people keep the distance of two metres between themselves and others, that they avoid crowded places in order to flatten the curve as quickly as possible. I know that it’s even more difficult to stay home during the weekend. Sometimes, people can feel quite alone. Don’t forget that we’re all going through this hardship together. If you look around, you will see many signs of solidarity. Throughout the country and throughout the world, people are putting up rainbows to remind neighbours that better days are yet to come. If you’re in Montreal this evening, look at the Samuel de Champlain bridge. It will be lit up with the colours of the rainbow.
I know these are hard times, but I also know that we are going to get through them together.
Merci beaucoup tout le monde.
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