Montreal, April 23, 2020 - Équiterre has submitted a new version of its recommendations for the 2020 federal budget, the release of which had been delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis. The decisions made today to respond to the health, economic and climate crises affecting Canadian society will have significant impacts in the years to come.
In light of this reality, the 14 recommendations submitted by Équiterre aim to support the federal government in rebuilding a society that has resilience and social cohesion at its core.
"Our political representatives are working hard to confront the many challenges they face every day. At Équiterre, we are continuing our work and making our expertise available to help our government anticipate and respond to the crises that will continue face our society in the future," states Ryan Worms, Director of Programs at Équiterre.
Équiterre's recommendations are based on the following three criteria:
- Directly support the Canadians affected by the health crisis;
- Prioritize measures to build a resilient economy for the long term by supporting sectors and industries of the future;
- Accelerate the fight against the climate crisis by providing a springboard for an urgent and unavoidable energy transition.
Reduce the vulnerability of Canadians
The government must necessarily continue to prioritize public health. Investments in this area must not only seek to protect the population from COVID-19, but also to protect public health in the longer term, for example by reducing air pollution, responsible for thousands of premature deaths each year.
The upcoming budget represents a historic opportunity for the government to provide a common response to the challenges posed by the crises facing the country, by intervening in key sectors such as agriculture, transportation and energy.
“In the context of the global economic and climate crises, Canada has a duty to direct public funds towards a forward-looking recovery plan that creates jobs while reducing our GHG emissions," states Colleen Thorpe, Executive Director at Équiterre. “The time has also come to strengthen our food systems and consolidate sustainable and dynamic economies on a regional basis.”
Investments to reinvigorate our society should make us less vulnerable to highly globalized supply chains and highly volatile oil prices.
Putting workers first
In its budget, the government must put the interests of workers first, as they are the key to a successful recovery. It is imperative that we diversify our economy by building a workforce that can work in more resilient economic sectors of the future.
"The low price of oil is an opportunity for the government to free up fiscal space by eliminating subsidies to this sector and redirecting the funds towards a just transition," says Caroline Brouillette, Senior Climate Change Analyst at Équiterre.
"Moving forward with the electrification of transportation is a solution that will benefit the climate and air quality as well as the Canadian economy and workers," adds Jessie Pelchat, Senior Transportation Analyst.
Équiterre is also encouraging the government to invest in awareness campaigns that encourage citizens to support the recovery measures. A pan-Canadian dialogue in the different regions, provinces and territories will allow Canadians to take ownership of the recovery efforts in order to ensure their success.
For more information or to arrange an interview:
Anthony Côté-Leduc, Media Relations, Équiterre,
firstname.lastname@example.org - 514-605-2000