Throne Speech an opportunity for a just, resilient, and green economic recovery

The Liberal government’s upcoming Speech from the Throne (September 23) is an opportunity to set Canada on the path of an economic recovery that addresses the inequities in our society laid bare by the pandemic.  

The pandemic has exposed the inadequacy of minimum wage and the precarity of work for many. It has exposed the dangerous conditions in our for-profit long-term care facilities. It has exposed the systemic inequality in our society as women, Black, racialized and Indigenous peoples have suffered disproportionately from the pandemic. Canadians cannot continue to tolerate these inequities.  

On behalf of our 200,000 members, PSAC has written to Prime Minister Trudeau and to Jagmeet Singh, leader of the NDP, encouraging them to work together in support of the following measures and asking the Liberal government to include them in their economic recovery plan.  

  • Boost the federal public service so that it has the human capacity and resources to advise on, develop, and deliver the policies and programs required to tackle the social and economic gaps highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of immediate concern is the need to reform the Employment Insurance program to ensure livable levels of income replacement and the provision of paid sick leave.  

  • Lead the building of a pan-Canadian system of childcare designed and funded to ensure all children 0-12 years of age are able to access high quality, affordable and inclusive childcare programs that put childrens’ development and learning at their core.  

  • Strengthen the public health care system by including universal prescription drug coverage and set national standards for long-term care to guarantee safe and quality care for residents. 

  • Address systemic racism in all federal institutions including creating a National Action Plan against Racism and Anti-Black Racism to accompany the national Anti-Racism Strategy, with the necessary resources and concrete strategies with actionable goals, measurable targets, and timetables.  

  • Accelerate the implementation of the recommendations arising from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the recommendations of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. 

  • Expand federal support for publicly-funded and owned research.   

  • Expand the capacity of the federal government to create jobs and lead the fight against climate change with aggressive targets for conversion to green infrastructure and a green economy.  

  • Remove the for-profit mandate of the Canada Infrastructure Bank and use it to invest in infrastructure projects that remain in public hands in order to address the deficits in: roads, bridges, transit systems, electricity infrastructure, internet, water treatment, and related infrastructure in Indigenous communities. 

Canada’s economic recovery must be a just one, and should build the resilience needed to withstand, and support people through, future crises. 

September 18, 2020