A woman in a green skirt charges an electric vehicle
Blog

Canada’s Long-Term Plan Sets a Course for a Strong, Resilient Recovery

In its Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada charted an important path forward, setting the course for clean economic growth.
By Richard Florizone, Bruce Lourie on September 25, 2020

This week, in a Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada outlined its broad plan to respond to COVID-19. The first priorities in that plan are to fight the pandemic and deal with its immediate health and economic impactswhich is exactly where all governments must focus amid this crisis.

The plan also lays out a long-term recovery strategy to "build back better" by fighting climate change and keeping Canada competitive in the fast-growing global clean economy. Canada is not alone in trying to address the twin challenges of economic growth and climate change. Tackling them is a top concern for governments around the world, driving intense study and historic new investment.

With a focus on building retrofits, clean energy, and investments in nature, Canada’s plan aligns well with international efforts and leading academic research.

In July, the European Union committed at least 30% of its extraordinary EUR 1.8 trillion multi-year budget and COVID-19 recovery fund to climate objectives. That is in addition to billions more in green stimulus in member countries. As the UK’s Conservative Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said: "The green recovery is going to be essential to this country’s success in the next few years."

With a focus on building retrofits, clean energy, and investments in nature, Canada’s plan aligns well with international efforts and leading academic research.

How should this investment be best spent to meet job creation and climate goals? Earlier this year, a group of academics and economists, including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Lord Nicolas Stern, tackled the question head-on, identifying five measures with the highest potential on economic and environmental metrics. Those recommended measures include building efficiency retrofits, clean energy infrastructure, and investments in natureall of which feature prominently in Canada’s plan.

For Canada, we addressed the question through the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery, an independent group of Canadian finance, policy, and sustainability experts that gathered and assessed recovery ideas from across Canada and around the world. Over months of analysis and debate, we landed on similar priorities: building retrofits, clean energy, and investment in naturealong with production and adoption of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) and efforts to grow clean tech across the Canadian economy. 

Of course, much more remains to be done, with a long road to implementing the lofty goals of the Speech from the Throne. A planned economic update this fall is the next major milestone, when the government will put money against its commitments.

Aligned with global efforts and leading expertise, the Government of Canada has charted an important path forward, setting the course for a strong, resilient recovery.  For that, it should be congratulated.
 

Dr. Richard Florizone is the President and CEO of IISD. Bruce Lourie is President of the Ivey Foundation. Both were members of the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery, which just concluded its work.