Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Kitchener Centre today.
I am pleased to provide an address on the 150th Speech from the Throne today to MPs in the House of Commons, those participating virtually, the Canadian people and in particular my fantastic constituents watching in the great riding of Sault Ste. Marie. It is located in the centre of Canada at the heart of the Great Lakes, on the border of the United States, in the traditional territory of the Ojibwa people of Garden River and Batchawana, as well as of the Métis people.
I want to begin by recognizing and thanking our front-line and essential workers who are looking after our health and safety, putting food on our tables and making sure our economy's supply chains continue to operate. This includes my wife, Lisa, who is a health care worker, so thanks to my wife as well.
This is my first time to address the House virtually. I would also like to thank my staff who have been working with me around the clock, seven days a week, looking after the good people of the Soo during these unprecedented times. I also want to give a shout out to all my family, friends and supporters who have been supporting me as I work to help Canadians. They are my rock. They are my everything.
To overcome the significant challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic poses for all of us, we need all levels of government, every sector of our economy and indeed every Canadian to act in solidarity and work together. We have been in lockstep in our fight against COVID-19 in the Soo since the beginning. The people of Sault Ste. Marie have been unwavering in their commitment to each other and looking out for their families, friends and neighbours. It has been an honour working with Mayor Provenzano and his council; Chief Sayers, Chief Rickard and their councils; MPs and MPPs from all parties and the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, local labour groups, and various private and public-sector businesses and organizations. #WeAreInThisTogether
I have been told that our health unit has some of the lowest numbers of COVID cases in Ontario, a testament to that mantra. I am confident that the vigilance and sacrifice of individuals and communities across Canada, coupled with the expertise and diligence of medical professionals working hard on a vaccine and caring for patients, will see Canada through this challenging time.
Our approach to beating this pandemic and the impacts it has had on our economy is centred on four pillars that were outlined recently in the Speech from the Throne. First, we are working to protect the health of Canadians, particularly the most vulnerable. To help protect seniors, we will work with parliamentarians on Criminal Code amendments to penalize those who neglect the seniors under their care. We are going to work with provinces and territories to set new national standards for long-term care so that seniors get the best support possible.
We are going to take additional actions to help people stay in their homes longer. We are also going to increase old age security, once a senior turns age 75, and boost the Canada pension plan survivor benefits. We are going to ensure, as well, that our health care system serves Canadians even better. We are going to ensure that everyone has access to a family doctor or a primary care team, expand capacity of delivery for virtual health care, continue to address the opioid epidemic and further increase access to mental health care.
We are going to accelerate to achieve national universal pharmacare through a rare disease strategy to help Canadian families save money on high cost drugs, and establish a national formulary to keep drug prices low. Working with the provinces and territories, we will move forward without delay, bringing forward a new disability inclusion plan to help Canadians with disabilities gain access to programs and benefits. This plan is also going to be welcome. We are also building a plan to end chronic homelessness for good in Canada. As such, I was pleased to announce recently two affordable housing initiatives in the Soo, which repurpose two old schools.
Our second pillar basically says we have Canadians' backs. That expression seems to have been coined at the gates of Algoma Steel here in Sault Ste. Marie, when the Prime Minister was here speaking to steelworkers. We fought really hard against the two American tariffs on steel and aluminum, and won. That was our mantra: We have your back. Now it is a rallying cry for all workers in Canada during these unprecedented times.
I was pleased to see a commitment of creating one million jobs in the Speech from the Throne, and we will get there by using a number of tools in our economic toolbox. Extremely important tools in that box are the regional economic development agencies like FedNor, which I proudly serve as parliamentary secretary. From the get-go, our RDAs have been there for communities, businesses and organizations from coast to coast to coast.
We introduced the regional relief and recovery fund, an almost $1 billion fund, to help those who need that extra help. In Northern Ontario that fund was split between FedNor and Community Futures development corporations, and I have been proud to announce a number of supports on behalf of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedNor) that go hand in glove with the funding from the CFDCs. These are supporting communities, small businesses, tourism, agriculture, IT, indigenous, manufacturing and green initiatives all across Northern Ontario, from areas of Kenora, Thunder Bay, Elliot Lake, Sudbury, Timmins, North Bay, Parry Sound and, of course, Sault Ste. Marie.
We are going to create direct investments in the social sector and infrastructure, immediately train and skill up workers, and create incentives for employers to hire and retain workers. We are going to extend the Canada emergency wage subsidy through to next summer, so workers can remain on payrolls. We are going to create jobs for young Canadians by significantly scaling up the youth employment strategy. We are strengthening the middle class and will continue building long-term competitiveness with clean growth.
This is great news for Sault Ste. Marie, as when I was on city council I seconded a resolution declaring us the alternative energy capital of North America. That is why I was very pleased to see that we are launching a new fund to attract investments in making zero-emission products and cutting the corporate tax rate in half for those companies to create jobs and make Canada a world leader in clean technology.
We are immediately bringing forward a plan to exceed Canada's 2030 climate goals, and we are going to legislate Canada's goals of net-zero emissions by 2050. We are creating thousands of jobs retrofitting homes and buildings, which cuts energy costs for Canadians, families and businesses. We are going to invest in reducing the impact of climate-related disasters like floods and wildfires to make communities safer and more resilient. We are helping deliver more transit and active transit options, and we are going to create a new Canada water agency to keep our water safe, clean and well managed and continue to grow Canada's ocean economy.
Finally, we will accomplish this while we advance gender equality, fight systemic racism and injustices, work toward reconciliation with indigenous people, protect the environment, welcome immigrants and uphold our two official languages.
In my riding we have been doing some really amazing things as we work toward reconciliation, in a nation-to-nation way, these past years. We worked with the survivors of the residential school at Algoma University to build the Anishinaabek Discovery Centre in support of taking back Shingwauk Hall, but more work is ahead of us and we are committed to that. I want to acknowledge the work that the African Caribbean Canadian Association of Northern Ontario is doing here in the Soo, along with its allies in fighting systemic racism.
To support the social and political gains that women and gender-diverse Canadians have fought so hard to secure, our government is creating an action plan for women in the economy, to help more women get back into the workforce. To ensure this plan is guided by a feminist, intersectional response, it will be led by a team of experts whose diverse voices will ensure that we build back our economy in a more inclusive way.
The pandemic has likewise brought to light the need for affordable child care. Parents are needing to work fewer hours or are quitting their jobs entirely to take care of their kids. That is a challenge. That is why we will be making a significant, long-term, sustained investment to create a Canada-wide early learning and child care system. We will also be subsidizing before- and after-school program costs to ensure no family is left behind.
Canada and the world continue to face the ongoing threat of this global pandemic. Throughout this challenging year, Canadians have proven to be resilient. Our country's success is because of its people. We are neighbours helping neighbours, small businesses supporting communities, armed forces protecting our most vulnerable and front-line workers keeping our families healthy and safe. From the very beginning, we have worked hard to keep everyone safe and healthy and ensured Canadians had the support they needed to get through this crisis. We immediately took action with historic programs like the CERB and Canada's emergency wage subsidy to help Canadians pay their bills and help businesses keep workers on the payroll.
We are also working with the provinces and territories to help Canadians, including by providing funding for communities, public transit, secure child care spaces and personal protective equipment. In this challenging time, we are there for Canadians, and as we look toward the future, we will continue to protect the health of Canadians and do what it takes to support Canadians through this crisis.
Together, we will work to build a Canada that is more resilient, healthier and safer, a Canada that is more fair and inclusive and one that is clean and competitive. We will do what it takes to protect—