Prime Minister’s remarks announcing new screening measures for air passengers

I would like to begin this morning with an update on the deployment of Canadian Armed Forces members to long-term care facilities in Quebec.

Over the past few months, our government has been working with the provinces on providing care for seniors and the most vulnerable.

This includes by deploying members of the Canadian Armed Forces to certain long-term care facilities.

Our women and men in uniform are doing a remarkable job and are saving lives.

Since the end of April, the situation in several long-term care facilities has stabilized.

And many attendants are returning to work.

This means that the Canadian Armed Forces members who were deployed to a long-term care facility where things have improved can now go lend a hand in other centres where the situation is more critical.

This has allowed us to help over 35 long-term care facilities to date, and we will continue to redeploy Canadian Armed Forces members from facilities that are under control to new centres in need.

In Ontario and Quebec, we’re extending this deployment to June 26th.

I want to be clear: the 1,400 Canadian Armed Forces members involved in Operation LASER are still in Quebec and are currently being redeployed to the long-term care facilities that are most in need.

Their help is still needed, so we’re making sure that our elders continue to have this vital support.

We are continuing our discussions with Quebec to develop a medium-term plan that will allow us to support the efforts until September 15.

The plan includes the active participation of the Canadian Red Cross with well-trained, paid people who will be as effective as the Canadian Armed Forces members.

The federal government will continue to be there for Quebecers.

To restart the economy, to get Canadians back on their feet, we need a coordinated, countrywide plan.

And at the heart of this approach must be how we do this safely.

In country after country, state after state, a pattern is emerging.

People make sacrifices needed to flatten the curve, but then, when governments decide to restart the economy, cases begin to rise again.

And after months of hard work, people are finding themselves right back where they started.  

Canada must learn from these lessons.

It’s clear that we have to make safety and control of this virus a top priority in this restart.

So that’s exactly what we’re doing.

Our government is working with the provinces and territories to bring in the right measures to keep Canadians safe and healthy. 

Last week, I put forward our government’s commitment – $14 billion towards a safe restart agreement, for the things that Canadians will need in the six months ahead.

At our meeting yesterday, the premiers, the Deputy Prime Minister, and I continued our discussion on what this plan might look like.

We talked about the measures needed, whether that’s childcare and paid sick leave, contact tracing and testing, or PPE, and support for the most vulnerable.

And we talked about the fact that we must keep working together to support Canadians right across the country.

Last night, the premiers and I also discussed the reports and videos that are now circulating, showing violence against Black Canadians and Indigenous people.

All levels of government need to work together to ensure that things change as quickly as possible.

We’ve all now seen the shocking video of Chief Adam’s arrest, and we must get to the bottom of this.

Like many people, I have serious questions about what happened.

The independent investigation must be transparent and be carried out so that we get answers.

At the same time though, we also know that this is not an isolated incident.

Far too many Black Canadians and Indigenous people do not feel safe around police.

It’s unacceptable.

And as governments, we have to change that.

In my discussion with the premiers yesterday evening, I brought this up.

All leaders were united in condemning racism, and in agreeing that we must do more to combat it.

I raised with them some of the ways we can work together moving forward, including on practical things like the adoption of body cameras.

This is something I’ve already discussed with RCMP Commissioner Lucki.

But, reforms are needed at all levels of policing, and these reforms need to happen quickly.

In the days and weeks to come, our government will continue to move as fast as we can with all of our partners.  

Women and men who serve in our police forces must be part of the solution.

They are people who’ve stepped up to serve their community.  

And they will be invaluable allies as we move forward to make sure that all Canadians are well served by these institutions.

Today, I also want to speak about the progress we’re making on travel, and on our work to keep Canadians safe.

Right now, physical distancing is still the best way to protect yourself and others.

Of course, there are some places, like on flights, where it’s not always possible to keep two metres apart.

That’s exactly why we’ve made it mandatory for travellers and staff to wear masks.

Our government is also looking at the new best practices in place around the world to protect people.

We’ve also worked with airlines and airports on standards they should have in place, whether that’s enhanced cleaning, or putting distancing measures as people wait in line.

And today, I can announce that we’re taking another step forward.

Our government is mandating temperature screening for air passengers through a phased approach, first for those travelling to Canada, then for those travelling from Canada, and finally for those travelling within Canada. 

A passenger who has a fever will not be permitted to board their flight.

Employees in the secured areas of airports will also be required to have their temperature checked.

There are strong measures already in place to keep people safe and this screening will add yet another layer of protection.

I know that Minister Garneau will have more to say about this later today.

Over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to explore other ways of protecting Canadians and limiting the spread of this virus.

Right across the country, in every city and town, Canadians are stepping up to help. 

If you want a great example, look no further than the Filipino-Canadian community.

In Surrey, the community set up a blood donation drive as their way to pitch in.

In Calgary, an organization called Fiesta Filipinos is raising money for care packages for families.

In Montréal, the Filipino community set up a meals on wheels program to deliver food to seniors who live alone or are confined.

Today, on Philippine Independence Day, we recognize all the contributions that Canadians of Filipino origin have made to Canada.

It is also an opportunity to address the obstacles this community continues to face.

As we celebrate Filipino Heritage Month, we can’t ignore the ways in which our country must do better.

Too many members of this community face discrimination, something that has gotten worse because of this pandemic.

There is no place in this country for racism against Asian Canadians, or anybody else.

Now, more than ever, we need to stand up against discrimination and injustice in all its forms.

As Canadians, we are always stronger together.

About the author

Asia Metro Editor

Surjit Singh Flora
[email protected]

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