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.
(OTTAWA) – November 26 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s President and CEO, Perrin Beatty, issued the following statement today outlining what the business community is looking for in next week’s fall economic statement.
“The federal government’s long-awaited Fall Economic Statement comes at a crucial time, as the lights remain out at workplaces across the country and many businesses wonder how they will make it through winter. On November 30, the government has an opportunity to lay out a plan for our economic future. Businesses are looking for three specific components.
First, what will be an uneven recovery will require a new approach for government support programs. Instead of a one-size-fits-all strategy, governments should shift to smaller, more targeted programs to help the most vulnerable Canadians and sectors survive the pandemic’s impacts.
Businesses in the restaurant, accommodation, arts and entertainment and retail sectors have been the hardest-hit by job losses and business closures during the pandemic, and they are the ones most at risk of permanent closures during a second wave. Emergency support programs that target those sectors and businesses that rely on a physical presence for their operations must be at the centre of any economic plan. Additionally, emergency national childcare funding will be critical to helping parents, and particularly working women, return to the workforce.
Secondly, Canada must move from simply reacting to the pandemic to actively managing it. The pandemic will continue at least until a high percentage of the population has been vaccinated. For the foreseeable future, we will have to live with the disease in our midst and protracted lockdowns are unsustainable, both socially and economically. We urgently need a coherent COVID-19 management strategy, based on solid data and sound science, that will bring down infection rates and allow Canadians to safely resume their normal lives as rapidly as possible. In addition to being data-driven, the strategy should target our resources at the areas of highest risk and build resiliency so we can recover quickly when problems occur.
As the arrival of several promising vaccines raises hopes for an end to the pandemic, the government needs to prepare Canada for the challenges of a lengthy economic recovery. The third priority of the Fall Economic Statement should be to boost Canada’s declining business investment and competitiveness. This is not a time to be introducing permanent programs that were unaffordable before our debt reached $1.2 trillion. Our priority must be to restore economic growth.
Any longer-term economic recovery plan must provide clarity on the government’s fiscal outlook and strategy, including possible scenarios, and set the stage for a more comprehensive federal budget early next year.
Even as we navigate our way through this second wave of the pandemic, Canada needs its government to set the conditions for a strong, business-led recovery. Canadian families and businesses continue to pay a high price because of COVID-19, and the hard work of getting Canada’s economy ready for recovery must start now with a clear and coherent plan.”
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.
For more information, please contact: