Canada needs a transformational plan for a sustainable and just future as we recover from the pandemic, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative’s (CCPA) newly released Alternative Federal Budget for 2022 (AFB2022).
Budgets are about choices. Every year, the Alternative Federal Budget demonstrates what is possible within the current economic reality if the government made choices that truly benefited the vast majority of Canadians. The budget is developed with the involvement and input of a broad range of civil society groups and unions, including PSAC. Here are some of the highlights from this year’s AFB2022:
[Read the full 2022 Alternative Federal Budget]
A planned approach to public services
The alternative budget provides for investment in high-quality social infrastructure, a vibrant care economy, and the services and facilities that are important for communities to thrive. It proposes a planned, systematic approach so that services are available and accessible to all, targeted at those who need them the most, and free from the threats of privatization for profit. This includes ensuring the work of the federal government centres on the public interest and growing Canada’s federal public service so that it has the people and resources needed to make the necessary changes proposed by AFB2022.
An action plan to right injustices
Illness and death due to COVID-19 have overwhelmingly impacted racialized communities in Canada and seniors in for-profit long-term care homes. It is also no coincidence that the impacts of extreme heat, such as the fatal heat wave in B.C. this past year, were predominantly felt in Indigenous and low-income communities. The federal government must prioritize marginalized communities in all efforts to reduce income disparity, improve employment and well-being. AFB2022 proposes funding to create and implement a national action plan against racism to begin to right these injustices.
A progressive approach to post-secondary education
Underfunding of Canada’s post-secondary institutions has made getting an education increasingly difficult for students, while also creating more hostile and precarious working environments for education workers, including tens of thousands of PSAC members. AFB2022’s progressive proposals would revitalize the post-secondary education system across the country to ensure universality, accessibility, affordability, and public administration, including properly funding investigator-led research and fully implementing the recommendations of the 2017 Naylor report.
Decent jobs and a just pandemic recovery
The rapid rise in precarious work in the years leading up the pandemic, combined with the unprecedented jobs lost since, especially among women and racialized workers, has clearly shown that the federal government needs to create decent jobs and universal supports that protect us all from unemployment and income disparity. AFB2022 proposes the creation of 700,000 jobs through the provision of services and programs. It would establish a low-income wage commission and restore the federal fair wages policy. It would ensure that all federal programming and procurement is underpinned by high quality, federal investments, prioritizing procurement from business owned by Indigenous, Black, and racialized communities and other equity seeking groups while also strengthening the Employment Equity Act, so that members of these groups have access to better public sector jobs. To support those who are un- or underemployed, AFB2022 will improve accessibility and eligibility for Employment Insurance, while also increasing the rate of pay.
A better taxation system
Canada’s tax system has allowed the ultra-rich to get by without paying their fair share while taking from those who have the least to spare. AFB2022 has a clear plan to bring in a wealth tax, close loopholes that favour the wealthy, and eliminate tax avoidance while providing the resources necessary to ensure a sustainable future.
We encourage PSAC members to read the full AFB2022.