The recent notice of a limited strike by the longshoremen’s union, including no work at all on weekends, is devastating not only to Canada’s economic competitiveness, but also to its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
(OTTAWA, ON) – April 28 2020 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Vice-President of Policy and Chief Economist, Trevin Stratton, issued the following statement outlining five key considerations to help re-open the economy:
“As governments and public health officials increasingly consider the gradual relaxation of shutdown orders and set the conditions, they need to work closely with business.
Businesses want to ramp up economic activity quickly and safely in a way that allows Canadians to get back to work while protecting employees, customers and the general public. As they implement public health measures, businesses will need time to procure personal protective equipment and change how they operate.
Policymakers need to develop clear, predictable measures that are coherent domestically and aligned internationally where possible, and that minimize unintended consequences. Doing so will give Canadians the confidence to return to their workplaces and patronize businesses in their communities.
The following five key considerations will help businesses prepare for whenever we begin to restart the economy:
All hands on deck: Decision-makers need sound advice from a broad set of stakeholders: The crisis has shown good policy comes from broad stakeholder input. Success will require advice from civil society, labour, and businesses of all sizes and sectors. The conversations need to start now in a structured manner. We recommend that the government create a task force to provide timely, real-world advice.
Don’t reinvent the wheel: Learn from international best practices: A number of industrialized economies around the world are ahead of Canada on their COVID-19 recovery and have already begun reopening their economies. Canada drawn upon lessons learned from successful and unsuccessful processes in comparable jurisdictions.
Together, apart: Interprovincial alignment: Both in good times and throughout the pandemic, we have seen the effects of misalignment between provinces and territories. Although provinces will reopen at different speeds according to the public health conditions in each region, it is important to align reopening policies and requirements whenever possible to minimize costs and confusion for businesses operating across provincial boundaries. Businesses also need access to personal protective equipment to meet public health requirements in all regions.
From emergency to growth: Policies that maximize recovery: Temporary financial support programs have been crucial to help companies and Canadians stay afloat through the pandemic. However, we must also ensure sustainable public finances. How and when will we transition from existing financial support programs to policies that spark growth and reduce the strain on the public sector? Canada needs a plan to move away from emergency subsidies a healthy and growing economy.
Back to trade basics: International trade: Canadian businesses rely on the international trade in goods and services. We need to re-establish global supply chains so we can get our businesses running. Although it will take much longer to fully restore international trade movement, businesses need short-term measures to permit movement of cargo and business travellers. Canada needs a trade reboot plan.”
Do you have ideas about how to best re-open the economy? In partnership with the Government of Canada, we are crowdsourcing great ideas though the Canadian Business Resiliency Network to help us develop timely and relevant policies. We’d love to hear from you at https://www.canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca/resources/reopening/.
About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.
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