Trudeau’s daily coronavirus update: ’Canada hasn’t seen this type of civic mobilization since the Second World War’

In his April 1 brief to Canadians, the PM asked Parliament to resume and stressed that everyone has to ’answer the call of duty’ in the fight against COVID-19. Here’s the full transcript.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, March 31, 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 1, 2020.

I want to start this morning by wishing everyone a happy Sikh Heritage Month. Every day Sikh-Canadians make our cities and our neighbourhoods stronger. And right now, when people need help most, you’re stepping up once again. In Regina, you’re delivering supplies to your neighbours. While in Mississauga you’re donating to the Seva Food Bank. It just goes to show that we are all stronger together, supporting each other. You are doing your part and so many others are doing the same.

[translated from French] To the people on the front line, thank you. To the farmers and truckers, to the people delivering air cargo, to nurses and doctors, you are working 24/7 so we can eat and take our medications. You’re protecting our health and the health of our families. Your government is there for you. And we all say thank you.

[speaking in English] Our government has introduced a three-point economic plan to protect jobs, help people laid off and import businesses. If you’re worried about your job, we’re helping employers keep you on the payroll with the help of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. Later today, Minister Morneau, Minister Ng and Minister Bains will provide an update on this 75 per cent wage subsidy.

But what I can say is that it’s going to be available for businesses big and small that are not publicly funded and have seen a 30 per cent or more decline in gross revenues. That includes everything from bars and restaurants to charities and nonprofits. Applications will soon open through the CRA.

Like I said on Friday, this money is for workers. Employers will need to attest they’re doing everything they can to pay the remaining 25 per cent of people’s wages.

These are unprecedented times, and will require us to pull together as a country and trust each other as Canadians. So there will be stiff and severe penalties for trying to take advantage of this system and of your fellow Canadians.

These are unprecedented times, so we’re taking unprecedented action. And while we put this measure in place, we’re continuing to move forward on the other two prongs of our economic plan. To help business owners worried about rent or other bills, we’ve brought in new loans. To help people who lost their paycheque, whether they’re freelance or been laid off, we created the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. And on that front, I have some good news to share.

Starting April 6, you will be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). A reminder, if you are getting the wage subsidy from your employer, you can’t collect the CERB. It’s one or the other. You can’t get both of these benefits. For the CERB, you can register online at By selecting direct deposit, you should receive your payment within three to five days. If you can’t apply online, don’t worry. You can call the Canada Revenue Agency for help over the phone. By mail, you’ll get your cheque within 10 days.

After applying, all you need to do to keep getting this benefit is check in every month to say that you are still out of work. And if you have already applied through EI, you’re all set up. You don’t need to do anything on April 6. We’re putting measures in place so we don’t overload the system but I can assure you that everyone will get their money.

Later today, Minister Duclos and Minister Qualtrough will have more details on this whole process, from eligibility to applying, to getting your cheque. But the bottom line is this: we’re getting you the help you need when you need it.

We have a plan to protect jobs, to help those who’ve been laid off, and to support businesses that are having cash flow problems. And we’re not done yet. We’re going to keep working hard to make sure you’re getting the support you need. This is the largest economic program in Canada’s history.

So I’ve asked the House leader and the Deputy Minister to reach out to the other parties about bringing back Parliament. This must be a Team Canada effort. Governments of all orders across the country are stepping up to fulfill their responsibilities to Canadians.

Canada hasn’t seen this type of civic mobilization since the Second World War. These are the biggest economic measures in our lifetimes to defeat a threat to our health. These historic measures will support Canadians to stay home to defeat COVID-19.

But the government alone cannot win this fight. We all have to answer the call of duty. This is service that most of us have never been called upon to do.

We, each of us, have to live up to our end of the bargain. We must fulfill our collective responsibility to each other. Listening to public health rules is your duty. Staying home is your way to serve. So be smart about what you do, about the choices you make. That is how you will serve your country and how we will all serve each other.

How well we do this right now determines where our country will be in two weeks or in two months. It’s in our hands. It’s in your hands.

[translated from French] We all have a role to play. We have a collective responsibility. Where we are in a few weeks or a few months does not depend on me but on you.

I am calling on your civic duty to protect others. If you do not follow the public health guidelines you’re putting others at risk. You all have a moral obligation to remain home. We all have a moral obligation to take care of each other.

It is by working together that we will come out of this. It is by remaining true to our values that we will stay who we are as Canadians.

Thank you.