September 23, 2020: Federal Throne Speech – No Time for Austerity

September 23, 2020

Federal Throne Speech – No Time for Austerity

Today, Governor General Julie Payette launched the second session of the 43rd Parliament of Canada. by delivering the Speech from the Throne.  Noting that this is our generation’s crossroads, the government’s approach to helping Canadians in the short-term and to ‘building back better’ for future generations is based on four main foundations:

  1. Fight the pandemic and save lives
  2. Support people and businesses through the crisis
  3. Build back better to create a stronger, more resilient Canada
  4. Stand up for who we are as Canadians.

According to the remarks, the economic impact of COVID-19 on Canadians has already been worse than the 2008 financial crisis. These consequences will not be short-lived. The government notes that this is not a time for austerity.

Major commitments in the speech included:

  • National childcare system
  • Extending Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) until next summer
  • Development of a national long-term care standards
  • Accelerate the creation of national pharmacare
  • Accelerate the connectivity timelines and goals of the Universal Broadband Fund
  • Add to the 2017 National Housing Strategy by increasing investments to rapid housing in the short term, and partnering with not-for-profits and co-ops in the mid- to long-term
  • Investment in all types of infrastructure, including public transit, energy efficient retrofits, clean energy, rural broadband, and affordable housing (particularly for Indigenous Peoples and northern communities)
  • Significant investments in training for workers including supporting Canadians as they build new skills in growing sectors; helping workers receive education and accreditation; and strengthening workers’ futures, by connecting them to employers and good jobs.
  • Bring forward a plan to exceed Canada’s 2030 climate goal. As part of its plan, the Government will: create thousands of jobs retrofitting homes and buildings; help deliver more transit and active transit options; support investments in renewable energy and next-generation clean energy and technology solutions.

In addition the extending the wage subsidy, the Government will help business adapt for the future by:

  • Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account to help businesses with fixed costs;
  • Improving the Business Credit Availability Program;
  • And introducing further support for industries that have been the hardest hit

With respect to the final foundation, the Government is committed to defending Canadian values. This includes: moving forward on reconciliation; and addressing systemic racism. In this element of the Speech, the government alluded to community benefits programs by noting they will go further on economic empowerment for specific communities, and increase diversity on procurement.”

Although the Throne Speech was light on specifics, the Government announced it will release an update to Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan this Fall. This update will outline the Government’s economic and fiscal position, provide fiscal projections, and set out new measures to implement the Throne Speech.

The full Throne Speech can be found here.