From Stabilization to Stimulus and Beyond: A Roadmap to Social and Economic Recovery
First Policy Response, April 15, 2020
16 Pages Posted: 15 May 2020
Date Written: April 6, 2020
The COVID-19 crisis is unlike any Canada has faced in the last century. It has forced all but the most essential in-person shared services and supports to cease and many workplaces have ceased work altogether. The immediate social and economic consequences of the health crisis is requiring governments around the world and at all levels in Canada to improvise and formulate policy responses in real time. It has also jettisoned many Canadian political, jurisdictional and constitutional entrenchments about policy delivery.
The COVID-19 pandemic reveals four elements that should inform policy action in the short, medium, and long term. First, the immediate policy responses to it call for and depend upon exceptional levels of social solidarity, which require social and economic support and recognition to sustain Canadians through the crisis and beyond. Second, care is at the core of sustaining Canadians through crisis, and is key to recovering from it. Third, collaborative federalism and federal leadership has been central to the initial stabilization period to shore up the conditions for care and for social solidarity. Federal, provincial, municipal and Indigenous collaboration under federal leadership is required now to lay the foundations for economic and social recovery; a key driver of this will be girding and building a childcare system. Fourth, the road to recovery also requires social infrastructure stimulus spending that invests in building a national system of childcare, stimulating male and female employment.
Two steps should be immediately taken to build collective capacity for recovery. First, using existing bilateral agreements, funds should be transferred to permit licensed childcare services to meet their operating costs while closed in order to have capacity to reopen and reanimate the economy when the crisis lifts. Second, and crucially, the planned Childcare Secretariat should be immediately established, its terms of reference amended to reflect the necessities of the current crisis, and it should be embedded at the centre of stimulus and recovery planning.
Keywords: COVID-19, social policy, economic policy, federalism, care, social reproduction, childcare, recovery, stabilization, stimulus
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