Written by
Lisa Lalande
Chief Executive Officer
Century Initiative

Century Initiative Calls on Policymakers to Recognize the Need for Longer-Term Thinking and Planning

November 18, 2020

COVID-19 has increased the public’s confidence in Government, but Canadians are still divided on whether they feel politicians are capable of planning for the long-term challenges and opportunities that may come our way.

Earlier today, the Environics Institute released the fourth and final report from its 2020 Focus Canada survey. The survey was conducted in partnership with the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa, and with the Century Initiative.

Today’s report provides critical insights into the attitudes of more than 2,000 Canadians on issues ranging from the government’s response to COVID-19 and policy-making, to its planning and decision-making abilities. As the leading organization in Canada committed to advocating for greater long-term thinking in public policy-making, the Century Initiative welcomes today’s report. The only way that Canada will reach the goal of growing to 100 million people by 2100 is if we start thinking seriously about the longer term effect of the public policy decisions we make today.

Unsurprisingly, survey data revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic is the most important issue facing the country. Unlike other countries around the world, the data also shows that “most Canadians are confident in the ability of their governments to follow expert and scientific advice when making difficult policy decisions.” However, when it comes to the governments’ ability to plan for our future, the survey finds that “the public remains more divided on the question of whether their governments are adept at thinking ahead and planning for the challenges that the country might face over the longer term”.

COVID-19 has taught us that Canada’s prosperity is fragile. As we turn our focus to the country’s social and economic recovery, we cannot lose sight of the need to think long term. That means thinking about what is required to ensure the Canada we leave future generations is prosperous, diverse, resilient, and influential.

As the Federal Government prepares to deliver an economic update before year’s end, we call on them to ensure that they not lose focus on the growing importance of immigration, childcare, and employment/ entrepreneurship investments that will not only contribute to restoring economic activity in the wake of the pandemic, but put us on a path to longer term prosperity.

We believe, we have a unique opportunity to seize the moment – we must make the investments, and continue to implement bold policy changes that will position Canada as a global leader that celebrates ambition and innovation, fully leverages its talent and diversity, and offers an example to the world of inclusive prosperity.

To read the full 2020 Focus Canada report click here.