OTTAWA—With a new minority Parliament taking shape in Ottawa, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ (CCPA) Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) advances urgent policy priorities that would ensure a publicly led, inclusive pandemic recovery.
“Now is not the time for penny pinching. It’s time to stay the course on turning what has been an extraordinary public policy intervention during the pandemic into a strong, public-led recovery that leaves no one behind,” says CCPA Senior Economist David Macdonald.
The AFB, created in collaboration with dozens of leading civil society organizations and experts, would create or maintain almost 650,000 jobs over three years, outside of the ongoing pandemic economic recovery, and would increase annual federal investments in critically needed public services and programs by $90 billion by 2024-25.
The plan proposes new revenue measures—including a wealth tax, a corporate super-profits tax, and implementing a minimum tax on multinationals—to pay for these investments while keeping the debt service-to-GDP ratio at or near historic lows.
“If the pre-pandemic agenda was about prosperity for the few, the post-pandemic agenda must be about well-being for the many,” says Katherine Scott, CCPA Senior Researcher. “This year’s AFB lays out exactly what policies are needed to support those who have shouldered the worst of COVID-19’s impact.”
This AFB also introduces a different approach to health care in Canada—one that strengthens and expands the existing health care system, but importantly goes beyond that to address social and ecological determinants of health including through the priorities listed below, with the goal of health equity for all.
Among the AFB’s priorities for immediate policy action are:
Investing in the care economy by getting to the finish line on $10-a-day child care and taking the profit motive out of both child care and long-term care (LTC). The AFB also increases provincial health transfers and expands public health care to include pharmacare, a national mental health program, a national dental care plan, and 10 paid sick days. The plan allocates $6 billion over three years for national LTC standards.
Stewarding a just transition away from the oil and gas economy by placing a moratorium on new fossil fuel extraction, creating a Just Transition Benefit to support workers transitioning into a new green economy, committing an additional $1.6 billion annually to Canada’s international climate finance commitments, and creating more livable communities.
Moving forward on reconciliation by investing $6.9 billion over three years in green infrastructure in Indigenous communities, as well as investing in support for First Nations governments and food sovereignty.
Supporting workers and creating a predictable income floor through a new Canadian Disability Benefit and a Canada Livable Income, in addition to lowering the age for seniors benefits and implementing a permanent $500-a-week floor on employment insurance.
Addressing the housing crisis by refocusing existing programs toward individuals in the greatest need and filling in the gaps for renters and Indigenous communities, including through expansion of non-market affordable housing units—for an overall $13 billion investment over three years.
Ensuring Canada lives up to its rhetoric on the international stage by fully endorsing plans at the World Trade Organization to waive patents and other intellectual property rights on COVID vaccines and treatments, increasing Canada’s international assistance, and withdrawing from international investment treaties that undermine human rights and environmental protections.
Investing in sustainable, livable cities by transferring a portion of GST revenue, worth $27 billion over three years, to municipalities.
“Despite major new investments in Canada, our plan keeps interest costs on our debt at or near historic lows. The AFB will not shift the federal deficit into another sector, such as households or businesses,” adds Macdonald. “The AFB is a blueprint for transformational, urgently needed policy change that is fiscally within reach.”
About the Alternative Federal Budget: Now in its 26th year, the AFB is a collaborative effort bringing together a hundred Canadian economists and sectoral experts to present progressive policy solutions to society's most pressing challenges, with the means to pay for them.
The CCPA is an independent, non-profit charitable research institute founded in 1980.
Mission Critical: A just and equitable recovery is available for download at www.policyalternatives.ca. For more information and interviews, contact: Alyssa O’Dell at 343-998-7575 or [email protected].