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In absence of coherent COVID-19 management plan, Canada’s business groups take the lead

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Ottawa, December 16, 2020 – Canada’s leading business groups today outlined their plan to turn the tide against the country’s floundering patchwork approach of simply reacting to rising daily COVID-19 numbers.

With COVID-19 cases increasing at an alarming rate, our leaders face a difficult balancing act. The challenge for us all is to chart a path forward that protects Canadians’ health – on COVID, mental health and other aspects – as well as their economic well-being. However, it is neither socially nor economically sustainable to rely heavily on rotating lockdowns while we wait for an effective vaccine to be widely administered next year.

Between now and the time when the pandemic is brought fully under control it will be important for Canada to manage the disease by controlling its spread and severity, while allowing Canadians to regain more of their ordinary lives. Public health must be the highest priority, and a well-designed strategy to manage COVID-19 will save lives and reduce the pandemic’s social and economic damage. However, to achieve these results, we must move from simply reacting to the disease to actively controlling it. 

A coherent national strategy must include all three levels of government working together as partners, collaboratively addressing these six key components:

  • data-driven, science-based policies to limit the spread of the virus
  • significant, widespread rapid testing and contact tracing
  • open, transparent communications and consistent messaging
  • tailored support for the hardest hit economically
  • a well-designed, well-organised and well-communicated plan for vaccine administration
  • a holistic approach to evaluating the costs and benefits of actions to control the disease

Today, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and Retail Council of Canada, are together launching the Pan-Canadian Strategy to Manage COVID-19. This document provides the framework for our governments to finally begin to get ahead of the pandemic. The strategy has been sent directly to the Prime Minister, Canada’s 13 Premiers, and Canada’s Mayors (via the Federation of Canadian Municipalities). It is our hope that they will quickly move to incorporate the strategy’s principles into their daily activities.

Additionally, the four groups are asking all Canadians to show their support for this effort by signing a petition, which calls on our governments to implement the Pan-Canadian Strategy to Manage COVID-19.

The full strategic plan framework and petition for Canadians can be found at NationalStrategy.ca.

Additional quotes

“Not only have blanket lockdowns been devastating for small businesses, but the patchwork quilt of approaches by various government can harm public and business confidence in the measures we are being asked to adopt. As well, far too many businesses have slipped through the cracks of both federal and provincial support programs. Nine months into the pandemic, we should be in a much better position to respond to both the health and economic challenges COVID-19 has created.”

– Dan Kelly
President and CEO
Canadian Federation of Independent Business

“While there is optimism that a vaccine may be widely administered across Canada sometime by middle or late 2021, we cannot lose sight of the real harm that is taking place each day now. Equally, we cannot afford to continue with the daily, reactionary status quo and rotating lockdowns until vaccine administration is widespread. The business community stands ready to provide leadership and assist our governments as they urgently undertake the critical work to implement a strategy to begin to manage this ongoing crisis.”

– Hon. Perrin Beatty
President and CEO
Canadian Chamber of Commerce

“Making the shift to evidence-based policymaking is essential. Policy decisions, particularly at a provincial and municipal level, are often being issued without supporting data or a coherent rationale, the worst being the disparate “shot in the dark” approaches to lockdowns.  Retailers will support measures that properly target the spread of infection and strive to contain economic damage to the extent possible.  We cannot support policy experiments with tenuous connection to better health outcomes and devastating economic side-effects.”

– Diane J. Brisebois
President and CEO
Retail Council of Canada

“Indigenous businesses continue to face significant historical and institutional barriers to business development, growth, and expansion and the pandemic has only served to exacerbate those inequalities. The second wave of the pandemic is having devastating effects on Indigenous communities. Now is the time to come together with a strategy to ensure an equitable recovery from this difficult period.”

– Tabatha Bull
President and CEO
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

About our organizations

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation. Learn more: www.chamber.ca

Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

CCAB is committed to the full participation of Indigenous peoples in Canada’s economy. As a national, non-partisan association, its mission is to promote, strengthen and enhance a prosperous Indigenous economy through the fostering of business relationships, opportunities, and awareness.  CCAB offers knowledge, resources and programs to its members to cultivate economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples and businesses across Canada. For more information visit www.ccab.com.

CFIB

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.

Retail Council of Canada

Retail is Canada’s largest private sector employer.  Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members represent more than two thirds of retail sales in the country. RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association that represents small, medium and large retail businesses in every community across the country. As the Voice of Retail™ in Canada, we proudly represent more than 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants. www.RetailCouncil.org

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For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB
647-464-2814
[email protected]