Canada’s recovery should put people first, 150 civil society groups demand

Canada’s post-pandemic recovery efforts should put people first and transition to a fairer and sustainable future instead of going back to business as usual, an alliance of 150 civil society groups is demanding.

They have released a manifesto titled “Principles for a Just Recovery” which call for a transition to a more equitable, sustainable and diversified economy, and not entrench outdated economic and social systems that jeopardize the health and wellbeing of people, worsen the climate crisis, or perpetuate the exploitation or oppression of people[1]https://justrecoveryforall.ca/.

Organizations endorsing the just recovery plan span sectors and communities across the country, including the Canadian Labour Congress, Indigenous Climate Action, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec and the Canadian Health Coalition.

The groups representing colective membership of millions say that the COVID-19 crisis has revealed the primary importance of the health and safety of all people, as a human rights and collective wellbeing issue. Relief efforts so far have shown that things we’ve been told aren’t possible, actually are once we prioritize them.

They point out that relief efforts so far have shown that things we’ve been told aren’t possible, actually are once we prioritize them.

“The choices we make now about how to recover from this pandemic will shape not only our health and economic future, but also the future of human life on this planet,” Hassan Yussuff, President of Canadian Labour Congress, said. “We need public investments to help meet our commitment to limit global warming, by developing renewable energy, increasing energy efficiency, supporting struggling public transit systems and ensuring a just transition for workers and their communities. We must prioritize investing in things that create much needed good jobs.”

The Principles, in brief, ask that recovery plans:

  • Put people’s health and wellbeing first, no exceptions.
  • Strengthen the social safety net and provide relief directly to people.
  • Prioritize the needs of workers and communities.
  • Build resilience to prevent future crises.
  • Build solidarity and equity across communities, generations, and borders
  • Uphold Indigenous Rights and Work in Partnership with Indigenous Peoples.

“Indigenous rights and sovereignty must be the foundation upon which every aspect of Just Recovery is built. Throughout the recovery process, Indigenous Peoples must be at the table, as should voices from all structurally oppressed communities,” Lindsey Bacigal of Indigenous Climate Action said. “Prior to the pandemic, Indigenous communities were already in crisis due to a lack of infrastructure, health and social services and the current situation will only deepen these inequalities. To address this historical injustice, it is essential that Indigenous Peoples have access to adequate resources that revitalize the health, well-being and sovereignty of our communities.”

Endorsing groups will pursue specific policy recommendations, aligned with the Principles.

“The huge collaborative effort that brought these principles to life over many weeks of rich, challenging discussions exemplifies the kind of action we expect of political leaders as we move through this crisis,” explained Catherine Abreu of Climate Action Network Canada. “It’s going to take a massive and diverse community of voices to encourage governments to be bold in the face of corporate lobbies, and to put people and communities first,” Abreu continued. “Our goal was to capture the immense amount of care work happening throughout Canadian civil society right now and present a vision of a Just Recovery that leaves no one behind. We know this is a vision the majority of Canadians support, and millions of people are ready to take action.”

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Canadians asked by EKOS Research earlier this month supported a “broad transformation of our society” resulting from COVID-inspired reformations[2]http://www.ekospolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/20200512_slide12.png.

References   [ + ]

1. https://justrecoveryforall.ca/
2. http://www.ekospolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/20200512_slide12.png

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