Trudeau’s daily coronavirus briefing: Canada and the U.S. agree to extend border measures another 30 days

In his April 18 briefing to Canadians about the COVID-19 crisis, the PM also announced a new funding initiative for Indigenous businesses
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Friday, April 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Friday, April 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

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 18, 2020.

Good morning everyone.

I want to start today by confirming that Canada and the United States have agreed to extend by another 30 days the border measures that are currently in place. This is an important decision and one that will keep people on both sides of the border safe. It’s another example of the excellent collaboration between our two countries, and I want to thank Minister Bill Blair for leading the discussions with the United States.

We’re all here today, but it is the weekend and usually a Saturday morning in April means getting outside to enjoy the sunshine, having a friend over for coffee or just taking the kids to the park. But these aren’t normal times. We’re living through an unprecedented public health emergency and we need to keep responding accordingly.

So even as the weather gets nicer and even in the weeks to come, as we start seeing hopeful news, we can’t let up because if we do, we could lose the progress that we’ve made. Later today, you may see some new ads with people you know, like Hayley Wickenheiser, Chris Hadfield and Dr. Tam. And they’ll remind you to stay home and save lives. That’s how we keep each other safe.

So stay at home. Limit your trips to the grocery store to less than once a week. If you do go out, keep two meters distance from each other. And as you do your part, know that we’re here to support you.

This morning I am very happy to announce that the government will allocate more than $306 million to give Indigenous businesses the support they need. This funding will be provided through Aboriginal financial institutions and administered by the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association. It will allow Indigenous businesses to access short term interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions so they are better positioned to make it through and rebound after this crisis. Today’s investment will help thousands of businesses bridge to better times, including many that are owned and run by Indigenous women. These businesses employ people right across the country, in small communities and big cities alike. They create good jobs in a whole range of sectors, so when we support them, we’re supporting families and workers, too. And this is just a first step. We’ll have more to say soon on what else we’ll do to help Indigenous businesses and the people who rely on them.

Small business owners are at the heart of so many communities, and this is a tough time. Whether you own a store, a restaurant or are part of the hospitality sector. So we’re going to be there for you. With this new investment and with measures like the Canada Emergency Business Account, the wage subsidy and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, we’re focused on helping you. It will get easier, but until it does, we need to be prepared to persevere. And that includes ensuring that our front-line workers have the equipment and tools they need to do their jobs and stay safe. Yesterday, two planes full of N-95 masks and coveralls arrived in Canada. More shipments will be coming in this weekend and into next week with additional medical supplies. I can also announce that we will begin receiving deliveries of face shields from Toronto Stamp very soon. They’ve shifted from their usual production of rubber stamps and I.D. badges and will be providing millions of face shields over the next two months.

We are all very anxious to see when this will be over. We are all anxious to see a Saturday when we can meet with friends or take our children to a birthday party. That time will come, but only if everyone continues doing their part. So this weekend, stay home. Continue following the advice of experts and together we will persevere. Thank you.