Written by
Lisa Lalande
Chief Executive Officer
Century Initiative

Century Initiative statement regarding the federal government's economic update

July 8, 2020

TORONTO, July 08, 2020 – The Century Initiative issued the following statement in response to today’s federal economic update:

Today’s federal economic update provided an important reminder that we are going to have to learn to live with COVID-19 in our communities until effective vaccines or treatments are found. It was also a stark reminder that, in economic terms, the road to recovery will be a long one.

Not only are we experiencing historic debts of over $1 trillion, but the COVID-19 crisis has also reduced Government revenues dramatically, which will inevitably have an impact on an economy projected to shrink 6.8% by the end of the year.

So, with our attention shifting to re-starting the economy and getting Canadians back to work, we must think in big, bold terms. While addressing the immediate social and economic disruptions caused by the virus is a priority, we must also envision our long-term future and seize the opportunity to develop public policies, make decisions and commit to concrete actions that will contribute to building a prosperous, diverse, globally influential, and resilient Canada not just for today, but for future generations.

Century Initiative welcomes the government highlighting the crucial role that immigrants have played in tackling this crisis, representing one in four frontline healthcare workers, and acknowledging the disproportionate economic impact that COVID-19 has had on Canada’s newcomers. However, there remains an opportunity to be even more ambitious in spending plans for immigrant support services and in immigration level increases to secure our future prosperity in the face of this crisis. We must re-commit to thoughtful, purposeful and significant population growth through immigration.

Similarly, the government’s one-time top-up of the child benefit and support of provincial childcare investment through the $14 billion safe re-opening package is a step in the right direction. Childcare is a vital component of COVID-19 response and an ongoing challenge that requires large-scale, long-term solutions. We must prioritize supporting parents with a national childcare strategy, we need to invest in education and in the infrastructure that will allow our communities to grow in a sustainable manner.

The finance minister focused in his speech on the digital services and infrastructure that COVID-19 has rendered so essential to our day-to-day lives. There is clear scope to increase digital infrastructure investment to meet immediate needs and to build for the future.

These immigration, childcare and digital infrastructure investments are among the priorities that will contribute to restoring our prosperity and leave a better Canada for future generations.

Prosperity takes planning, and the decisions we make today will be felt well into the future. Let’s not lose the opportunity we have before us.

About Century Initiative

Century Initiative is a national, non-partisan charity with a mission to enhance Canada’s long-term prosperity, resiliency and global influence by responsibly growing the population of Canada to 100 million by 2100. Century Initiative delivers its mission by leading, enabling and partnering on initiatives that support long-term thinking and planning in immigration, urban development, employment and entrepreneurship, early childhood supports, and education.  

The Century Initiative is concerned about our future and believes a bigger, bolder Canada benefits us all.