COVID-19, Austerity and an Alternative Social and Economic Policy Path for Manitoba

March 31, 2021
1.3 MB92 pages

This report contextualizes and presents Manitoba-specific policy alternatives to austerity that could form part of such an advocacy agenda. Section 1 sets the stage by reviewing the economic and political context in the lead up to the COVID-19 crisis, highlighting how the last five years in Manitoba have been marked by government-imposed austerity, and how that approach weakened Manitoba’s preparedness for the current crisis and future recovery. Section 2 reviews the public health response by the Manitoba government to the COVID-19 pandemic and briefly recaps expert and stakeholder assessments of the response. Section 3 presents the short term economic data for Manitoba released to date since the onset of the crisis, along with projections of recovery, highlighting the magnitude of the crisis. Section 4 summarizes the response of the Province of Manitoba to date and how it compares to the response in other jurisdictions. Section 5 reviews national and international calls by economists and public policy experts for an extraordinary and comprehensive socio-economic policy response to deal with the persisting economic devastation of the COVID-19 crisis, and puts forward a set of policy alternatives both for the immediate circumstances as well as the longer term economic recovery. Section 6 makes the case for the importance of including broader civil society organizations in discussions on how to rebuild and finance the costs associated with the recession.