Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced measures to support vulnerable Canadians to help cope with the health, social and economic impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic affects all Canadians, some people and communities are more at risk to its impacts," Trudeau said. "That is why it is important to keep connected and make sure that everyone feels safe and supported in this uncertain time. Today’s announcement is about helping our most vulnerable Canadians and ensuring our community organizations have what they need to deliver critical services to those most at risk.”
These measures will help provide young people with mental health supports and Canadian seniors with practical services. They will also help ensure some of the most vulnerable Canadians have a safe place to turn and a roof over their heads. The Government of Canada will:
Increase support for Canadians experiencing homelessness, and provide help for women and children fleeing violence. As announced on March 18, 2020, the Government of Canada will provide an additional $157.5 million to address the needs of Canadians experiencing homelessness. The government will also provide up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres, including facilities in Indigenous communities, to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak.
Provide support for counselling services to children and youth. As a result of school closures and reduced access to community resources, Kids Help Phone is experiencing increased demand for its 24/7 confidential online, telephone, and text counselling services across Canada. The Government of Canada will give $7.5 million in funding to Kids Help Phone to provide young people with the mental health support they need during this difficult time.
Provide immediate essential services to Canadian seniors impacted by COVID-19. The Government of Canada will contribute $9 million through United Way Canada for local organizations to support practical services to Canadian seniors. These services could include the delivery of groceries, medications, or other needed items, or personal outreach to assess individuals’ needs and connect them to community supports.
If infected by COVID-19, Canadians aged 65 and over and those with compromised immune systems or underlying medical conditions, are at an increased risk of more severe complications.
Canadians who experience symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and call their local public health authority to get advice on what they should do.
Without additional support, COVID-19 will have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable populations who may be less able to deal with the health, social, and economic impacts of the pandemic.
Risks of stress, hardship, and abuse are expected to rise as people become unable to access the social and community supports on which they rely in their everyday lives.