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View Deb Schulte Profile
Lib. (ON)
There were two thoughts there, which I'll address.
You're absolutely right. There are many seniors who are isolating in their homes, doing exactly what they need to do to stay safe, especially if they have more complicated health challenges.
With the money for the new horizons for seniors program, the $9 million that we gave to United Way Centraide specifically to support seniors and the $50 million that we have generally provided to local organizations, I have seen a significant number of organizations pivot.... Well, maybe “pivot” is not the right word. They have modified their programs so they can get volunteers. You're right; seniors volunteer. They have time and enthusiasm, and they want to get involved. They want to share their wisdom and their knowledge, so they're usually the ones who are out volunteering to support seniors, and if they're staying home, then we don't have them.
We have been encouraging organizations to potentially hire students. You can see through the Canada summer jobs program that we've also put that into play, so that groups can hire students to help seniors, support them in their homes and keep them connected, train them on video equipment and get them iPads. These are things that we are allowing the new horizons for seniors money to be available for, and it's making a big difference in the lives of seniors today. It will also be helping some of our students get jobs and keeping people employed during this difficult time.
The other issue you raised was protective equipment. This is part of the push that the government has done to acquire as much protective equipment as we can so that we will have some stockpiles available for essential services. We're also engaging and ramping up the opportunity for businesses in Canada, putting orders in with them, getting them going, giving them their certifications and what's required so they can provide this equipment and start getting a national amount of PPE so that we can open up and get back to work safely.
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