Trudeau thanks Sask. COVID-19 researchers 'on behalf of 38 million Canadians'

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced $32 million in funding for long term care in Saskatchewan.

He made the annoucement during a stop at St. Ann’s Senior Citizens’ Village in Saskatoon on Wednesday.

The money will fund COVID-19 measures such as safer dining practices, increased cleaning and housekeeping and enhanced screening protocols for staff, Trudeau said.

"During the past years, I've had the opportunity to talk with many long term care workers to thank them and hear their stories about their concerns," Trudeau said.

The money will come from the federal Safe Long-term Care Fund.

Trudeau was joined by Saskatchewan Seniors Minister Everett Hindley.

"We appreciate the federal government's support today for the work Saskatchewan has done to improve infection prevention and control measures and long term care for the past couple of years," Hindley said.

He said the money will go to offset costs incurred during the pandemic as the province worked to limit the spread of COVID-19 in long term care homes.

A group of roughly two dozen protesters stood outside the care home, jeering the Prime Minister as he left.

Wednesday afternoon, Trudeau met agriculture students from the University of Saskatchewan.

He then toured the university's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, which is working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

"On behalf of 38 million Canadians ... thank you for everything you do," Trudeau said outside the facility.

"When the pandemic hit and everyone had to hunker down, you sprung into action. You put aside your research projects and your long standing responsibilities and focused on COVID-19 in extraordinary ways, the first place to sequence, isolate COVID-19 here in Canada, which allowed us to spring into action," Trudeau said.

His last stop of the day is scheduled at a daycare, where he is to meet with families and discuss child care and early learning.

Trudeau was in British Columbia on Monday to attend a memorial ceremony at the former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., where 215 suspected graves were detected one year ago.

--With Canadian Press files.