Canadian Red Cross to get $100M in federal funding amid coronavirus, Trudeau says

Coronavirus outbreak: Canadian Red Cross to get $100M in federal funding, Trudeau says

The Canadian Red Cross will be receiving $100M in federal funding amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Saturday.

Trudeau, who addressed Canadians outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa during his daily briefing, said that money would go toward the Red Cross’s response to both COVID-19 and natural disasters like floods or wildfires.

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“They’ve been playing a key role in supporting Canadians during this crisis, helping both individuals and communities with their most pressing needs,” said Trudeau.

“But, with many organizations, the Red Cross is facing an increased demand for its services at a time when they are getting fewer volunteers and receiving less in donations.”

A press release from the Canadian Red Cross on Saturday specified that the funding would go towards public health efforts like purchasing more emergency equipment and supplies, supporting quarantine sites as well as a mobile field hospital.

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“COVID-19 has impacted Canadians in unprecedented ways, and the Red Cross is committed to assisting people as needs continue to emerge,” read a statement from Canadian Red Cross President and CEO Conrad Sauvé.

“This contribution is a key investment that will enable the Red Cross to adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19, as well as help to assist Canadians by equipping, recruiting and training people to be better prepared for events that occur during this pandemic and beyond.”

Other announcements from the prime minister also included the approval of the first Canadian clinical trials for a possible coronavirus vaccine.

The vaccine trials are being developed out of the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University in Halifax. he said.
The National Research Council of Canada would be working with manufacturers so that the vaccine, should it prove successful, would be produced and distributed within the country, he added.

Trudeau also touted more support for women entrepreneurs during the crisis on Saturday with the announcement of $15M in additional funding for the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund.

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The prime minister also highlighted the progress of several announcements that were made over the course of the pandemic, including a boost to the Canada Child Benefit and increased funding to Indigenous women and children shelters across the country.

Trudeau most recently extended the federal COVID-19 wage subsidy on Friday, asking companies that have laid off workers to rehire their staff.

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The $73-billion program, which was originally set to expire in the first week of June, will now be available to the end of August as only a small fraction of the program’s budget was spent.

Trudeau will not give any updates on either Sunday or Monday, when he’ll be expected to join his family at one of the prime minister’s cottages in Harrington Lake.

During his update on Saturday, Trudeau also said that his government would work with the struggling air line industry, including Air Canada, during the coronavirus pandemic.

The prime minister’s comments comes amid an announcement from Air Canada on Friday to lay off around 20,000 employees over the economic devastation wrought by COVID-19.

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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