Media Releases Apr 16, 2021

The Last Lockdown: Canadian Chamber makes urgent case for change in approach to COVID-19


(OTTAWA) – April 16, 2021 – With Canada in the midst of the third wave of COVID-19 and variants of concern accelerating, Canadian businesses want to see a plan to get us all back on track and make this lockdown our country’s last.

“As vaccines begin to roll out, more and more Canadians are asking what is the bridge between now and completion of mass vaccination to avoid yet another preventable lockdown? Canada needs a new plan, and businesses, no longer able to wait, are taking the lead and building the roadmap themselves,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

In order to be ready for the eventual reopening, the Canadian Chamber has mapped out what a return to the physical workplace looks like. According to new Abacus Data polling done for the Canadian Chamber, Canadians have indicated the measures that would make them feel comfortable going into the workplace. Among those surveyed, 79% indicated vaccination would be a critical factor, 77% said everyone must wear masks, and 69% identified rapid screening.

Helping employers address the concerns of employees and plan more carefully will help make the transition, whenever it comes, smoother for everyone. With that goal in mind, the Canadian Chamber today released the first wave of its business-led recovery plan, including new tools for small businesses and outlining the conditions needed to protect employees and customers.

To enable this to be our last lockdown, the Canadian Chamber released today two critical items for businesses.

  • A Vaccine Resource Hub to provide businesses with a one-stop shop to help them play their role in building vaccine confidence amongst their workforce.
  • A workplace recovery toolkit provides the latest information and best practice for businesses to operate safely.

Since re-opening success also relies on a partnerships with governments at all levels, the Canadian Chamber has also set out a number of areas where we need governments to act quickly to accelerate the business-led recovery, including:

  • Governments need to improve public health frameworks, including outlining what variants of concern mean for business operations, providing a clear approach on business transparency for reporting positive cases to level the playing field, and stepping up our game on contact tracing.
  • Businesses also need governments to step up to the plate on rapid testing, including standardizing training and enabling more lay people to increase accessibility. Businesses also need to be able to stay open if they are executing a rapid screening surveillance program as part of a multi-layered approach that includes masks and physical distancing.
  • Governments also need to up their game on vaccine deployment. This includes a focus on essential workers in line with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s recommendations, publishing guidance on what vaccinated Canadians can and cannot do, and leveraging the private sector’s expertise for vaccine clinic logistics.

“We’ve learned some very hard lessons from the past two lockdowns, and the cost has been measured in tens of thousands of closed businesses on Main Streets across the country. We simply cannot repeat the mistakes of the past, and in the absence of a plan from our governments, businesses are outlining, in crystal clear terms, what they need to make sure this is the last lockdown. Will governments heed their call and help us lead Canada back to economic health?” added Beatty.

For more information about this:

Abacus Date poll, click here.  

Vaccine Resource Hub, click here.

Workplace Recovery toolkit, click here.

What businesses need from government, click here.

COVID-19 Recovery Leadership Council, click here.

Methodology

The survey was conducted with 2,000 Canadian adults of which 1,056 were currently employed either full-time or part-time from March 25 to 30, 2021. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of 2,000 Canadians is +/- 2.19%, 19 times out of 20.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of 1,056 employed Canadians is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

The base sample were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

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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For more information, please contact:
Phil Taylor
ptaylor@chamber.ca (preferred and fastest response time)