Federal government pledges to create one million jobs in Throne Speech

Sep 23 2020, 12:54 pm

The Government of Canada will launch a campaign to create over one million jobs and restore employment to pre-pandemic levels, it was announced today.

The news came as part of the Throne Speech delivered by Governor General Julie Payette in Ottawa.

In her speech, Payette laid out “four foundations” of the federal government’s plan to weather the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“To overcome the pandemic requires the work and resolve of every order of government, of every community, and every one of us,” said Payette. “We don’t decide when hardship comes, but here in Canada, we have decided how we want to address it.”

And perhaps the “clearest consequence of the global economic shock” as a result of the global pandemic she said is the numerous job losses faced by Canadians across the country.

Even with the CERB, and CEWS, Payette said “unemployment is in the double digits, and underemployment is high.”

As such, “there is still more to be done.”

To help make that happen, “the Government will launch a campaign to create over one million jobs, restoring employment to previous levels,” said Payette.

This will be done “by using a range of tools, including direct investments in the social sector and infrastructure, immediate training to quickly skill up workers, and incentives for employers to hire and retain workers”.

One way the government will create these jobs, she added, “is by extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy right through to next summer.”

The government will also “significantly” scale up the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, to provide more paid work experiences next year for young Canadians.

“Now, more than ever, Canadians must work together – including by eliminating remaining barriers between provinces to full, free internal trade – to get the economy back up and running and Canadians back to work,” she said.

And beyond just job creation, Payette said the federal government will work to support “job-creating businesses.”

Small businesses “are the lifeblood of communities and the backbone of the economy,” she said.

And this fall, in addition to extending the wage subsidy, Payette said the government will take further steps to bridge vulnerable businesses to the other side of the pandemic 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, including travel and tourism, hospitality, and cultural industries like the performing arts.

Four foundations of plan

The jobs creation and support plan is part of what the Payette said is the federal government’s “four foundations” of its overall restart strategy.

“The first foundation of this plan is to fight the pandemic and save lives,” she said. “It is the job of the federal government to look out for all Canadians and especially our most vulnerable. Beating this virus is a Team Canada effort.”

Payette said through the first wave, contact tracing and testing ramped up across the country.

“The surge this fall further reinforces what we already know – that we must do even more,: she said.

As such, “the federal government will be there to help the provinces increase their testing capacity. Canadians should not be waiting in line for hours to get a test.”

At the same time, “the government is pursuing every technology and every option for faster tests for Canadians from coast to coast to coast,” she said. “As soon as tests are approved for safe use in Canada, the Government will do everything it can to see them deployed. The Government will also create a federal Testing Assistance Response Team to quickly meet surge testing needs, including in remote and isolated communities.”

Still, to prevent small clusters from becoming major outbreaks, communities may need to enact short-term closure orders, she said.

“To make that decision easier for the public health authorities, and to help ease the impact that science- and evidence-based decisions can have on local businesses in the short term, the Government will work to target additional financial support directly to businesses which have to temporarily shut down as a result of a local public health decision,” said Payette. “This will ensure that decisions are made with the health of Canadians as the first priority.”

The second foundation “is supporting people and businesses through this crisis as long as it lasts, whatever it takes,” she continued. “Effectively dealing with the health crisis is the best thing we can do for the economy. Government action has already helped Canadians stay safe, and buffered the worst economic impacts.”

The third foundation is “to build back better to create a stronger, more resilient Canada,”

And to do this, said Payette, “we must keep strengthening the middle class and helping people working hard to join it, and continue creating jobs and building long-term competitiveness with clean growth. We must also keep building safer communities for everyone.”

The fourth and final foundation of this plan “is to stand up for who we are as Canadians,” she said. “We cannot forget what has made us a country that is welcoming. A country that celebrates two official languages. That achieves progress on gender equality, walks the road of reconciliation, and fights discrimination of every kind.”

Today’s Throne Speech came after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prorogued parliament last month, citing the need to “reset the approach of this government for a recovery to build back better.”

The Throne Speech delivered eight months ago, he added, “had no mention of COVID-19, had no conception of the reality we find ourselves in right now.”

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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