The Alternative Federal Budget Recovery Plan, released by the Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives (CCPA,) calls on the federal government to take an investment-based approach to a just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. PSAC contributed throughout the process to develop this plan.
Critical to the recovery is a recognition that the crisis created by the pandemic has predominantly impacted women and Black, Indigenous and racialized families and workers. The plan warns against austerity measures, focusing on areas that need action to ensure that in the next months and years we correct the deepening crisis that Canadians are facing.
Affordable Child Care
The key to this plan is a two-stage Affordable Child Care for All Plan which includes $4.5 billion for early learning and child care.
“Federal leadership is required to accelerate the construction of an accessible, affordable, quality, inclusive system of early learning and child care, with fairly compensated early childhood educators at its heart.”
Modernized Employment Insurance
Modernizing the employment insurance system was already necessary prior to the pandemic and has become critical. The plan would improve access by reducing qualifying hours, raise benefit rates and weeks and ensure that those with responsibilities to care for others have access to specific benefits.
Security for Post-Secondary Students and Workers
Post-secondary students and workers were hit hard by the pandemic. The plan lays out short-term solutions to ensure that students and workers will be safe, able to complete their coursework without penalty and without poverty. In the long-term, post-secondary institutions are necessary to the recovery. The plan calls for investments in free tuition for traditional students and for funding for retraining and research. The plan also identifies a critical legislative gap, and describes a proposal for The Canada Post-secondary Education Act
“Much like the Canada Health Act does for health care, the new education legislation will outline core principles of public post-secondary education in Canada, including universality, accessibility, affordability, and public administration.”
Progressive Tax Reform
As in previous alternative federal budgets, the CCPA calls for progressive tax reform and the closing of tax loopholes. The wealthy have benefited from this pandemic while others struggle. Now is the time to reverse that injustice, and ensure that those who can, pay their fair share.
Keeping Public Services Public
Finally, there is already rhetoric about governments turning to the private sector. Whether through the Canada Infrastructure Bank, or Social Infrastructure Bonds, privatization is not the way forward. The plan will reverse the current default to privatization, will ensure that workers are paid a decent wage, and have access to equipment and protections (such as paid sick leave), will expand public services such as seniors’ care, childcare, affordable housing. Infrastructure projects will remain in public hands. Public services will be given the resources and personnel to correct the gaps in policy and service delivery that have been highlighted by the pandemic.
“The Alternative Federal Budget Recovery Plan makes investments that will yield health, social, ecological, and economic equity and benefits for generations to come.”