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Goldy Hyder sm

Business lobby group calls on feds to deliver more aid to industry, post-pandemic recovery plan

Thursday, October 29, 2020 @ 3:07 PM | By John Schofield

Canada needs a comprehensive strategy to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and rebound from its devastating economic impact, says one of the country’s leading business lobby groups.

The Ottawa-based Business Council of Canada (BCC), whose members include leading entrepreneurs and CEOs of large companies, made the demand in a letter this week to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland as it released its own economic strategy in a report titled Powering a Strong Recovery: An Economic Growth Plan for Canada.

BCC president and CEO Goldy Hyder

“Canadians will be living with COVID-19 well into 2021, if not longer,” BCC president and CEO Goldy Hyder said in the letter and an accompanying Oct. 28 press release.

“They and their governments can continue to react day-by-day and in piecemeal fashion to the evolving threat, or we can step back, regroup and resolve to do better.”

The BCC is also calling for urgent action to address Canada’s long-term economic health, and its report provides a framework for how to overcome the country’s most pressing challenges.

“We need a plan that builds on the country’s strengths, squarely addresses our weaknesses and reduces the risks from future disruptions,” said Hyder. “Leading economies are acting fast to position themselves for success in the post-pandemic world. We must do the same.”

The letter urges the Trudeau government to develop a national, COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan now to avoid a “patchwork approach” and to deliver on the promise in its Sept. 23 throne speech to provide more financial support to industries hit hardest by the pandemic, including airlines, hotels, restaurants and tourism operators.

“Canada is the only member of the Group of Seven leading industrialized countries that has not provided major financial aid for the air transport sector,” reads the letter. “Countries around the world have acted to protect industries central to their economic competitiveness and Canada must do the same.”

Among other things, the BCC report lays out proposals for developing a more agile, adaptable workforce, for increasing labour force participation and helping young Canadians build their careers. It also recommends increasing investment in infrastructure, reducing interprovincial trade barriers and regulatory barriers and creating a more “competitive” taxation system.

Hyder is a former president and CEO of Hill+Knowlton Strategies (Canada), which provides strategic communications counsel to a variety of organizations.

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