Business groups across Canada call for a plan to reopen the economy

May 17, 2021

The Right Honourable Justin P. J. Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
Langevin Block 80 Wellington Street
OTTAWA, Ontario
K1A 0A3

Dear Prime Minister, 

We are writing to you at a turning point in our country’s fight against COVID-19. By mid-summer, if not sooner, some three quarters of Canadian adults will be at least partially vaccinated, and one in five will be fully vaccinated. When that scenario is reached, federal modelling suggests, it should be possible to begin relaxing restrictive measures.  
As the light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter, Canadians will be looking to their leaders for transparency, guidance and a clear plan. 
The recent report of your government’s Industry Strategy Council emphasized that a successful economic restart hinges on high levels of public confidence about the road ahead. “Measures that can increase predictability,” the Council said, “are among the most powerful policy tools to enable stable recovery with no setbacks.” 
Other jurisdictions have paved the route for us to follow. In February, the United Kingdom unveiled a four-stage “roadmap out of lockdown”, with clear guidelines to mark the journey back to a more normal life. For example, in “Step 3”, most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors are allowed to reopen while adhering to public health guidelines. 
The European Union is currently developing a travel certificate that would replace the existing patchwork of country-specific travel regulations among its 27 member nations. Incorporating simple digital technology, the certificate is intended to make it easier for people to cross borders this summer as long as they can show proof of vaccination or a negative test result. 
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has issued guidance for those who are fully vaccinated. It outlines which activities are now considered safe, including domestic travel without the need for testing or quarantine. 
Here at home, Saskatchewan recently unveiled a three-step “Re-Opening Roadmap” that clearly links the lifting of restrictions to vaccination milestones. For example, once 70 per cent of those 30 and older have received one dose, 150 people will be permitted to gather in public indoor settings, provided they adhere to physical distancing and masking guidelines.  
All of these plans are cautious and tied to clear indicators of a reduction of infection in communities. They underscore the importance of vaccination and compliance with public health measures. But they also provide much-needed assurance that there is a thoughtful plan for a return to a more normal life. 
On Friday, the Public Health Agency of Canada provided a snapshot of what life could look like after more people are vaccinated. That is an encouraging first step, but much more detail is needed.
We urge you to work closely with the premiers to develop a clear and consistent pan-Canadian approach to reopening our communities, schools and businesses.  
Canadians also want to know when it will be safe to travel again to see friends and loved ones. To avoid rising levels of confusion and frustration, your government should collaborate with officials in the United States and other countries in setting benchmarks that would enable the easing of border restrictions and travel quarantines. 
A clear and predictable plan for a gradual and safe return to a more normal life would instill public confidence while demonstrating concern for the physical, mental and economic health of Canadians. As business and community leaders we stand ready to work with you to ensure a safe and sustainable recovery. 
Dan Kelly 
President & CEO 
Canadian Federation of Independent Business 

Denise Allen
President & CEO
Food Processors of Canada

Hon. Perrin Beatty, P.C., O.C. 
President & CEO 
Canadian Chamber of Commerce 

Karl Blackburn
President & CEO
Quebec Employers Council

Marc Brazeau
President & CEO
Railway Association of Canada

Diane J. Brisebois 
President & CEO 
Retail Council of Canada 

Tabatha Bull 
President & CEO 
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business 

Paul Burns
President & CEO
Canadian Gaming Association

Bruce Burrows
President & CEO
Chamber of Marine Commerce

Luke Chapman
President & CEO
Beer Canada

Catherine Cobden
President & CEO
Canadian Steel Producers Association

Renée Comeau
Executive Director
Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce

Dennis A. Darby
President & CEO 
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters 

Chuck Davidson
President & CEO
Manitoba Chambers of Commerce

Greg D'Avignon  
President & CEO 
Business Council of BC 

Jim Facette
Executive Director & CEO
Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums

Fiona Famulak
President & CEO
British Columbia Chamber of Commerce

Don Forgeron
President & CEO
Insurance Bureau of Canada

Pamela Fralick
Innovative Medicines Canada

Robert Ghiz
President & CEO
Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association

Daniel-Robert Gooch
Canadian Airports Council

Michael Graydon 
Chief Executive Officer 
Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada 

Susie Grynol
President & CEO
Hotel Association of Canada

Eleonore Hamm
Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada

Goldy Hyder 
President & CEO 
Business Council of Canada 

Scott Knox
President & CEO
Institute of Communication Agencies

Denny Kobayashi
Acting President
Yukon Chamber of Commerce

Ken Kobly
President & CEO
Alberta Chamber of Commerce
Alex LeBlanc 
President & CEO 
New Brunswick Business Council 

Guy Legault
President & CEO
Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting

Adam Legge 
Business Council of Alberta 

Jim MacEachern
Executive Director
Kitikmeot Chamber of Commerce

Bob Masterson
President & CEO
Chemistry Industry Association of Canada

Gerard McDonald
Engineers Canada

Steve McLellan
Chief Executive Officer
Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce

Michael McNaney
President & CEO
National Airlines Council of Canada

Sherry McNeil
President & CEO
Canadian Franchise Association

Charles Milliard
President & CEO
Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec

Dan Moore
Director, Government and Industry Relations
Canadian Transportation Equipment Association

Angela Moundou
President & CEO
TechNation Canada

Anthony Norejko
President & CEO
Canadian Business Aviation Association

Dan Paszkowski
President & CEO
Winegrowers Canada

Pierre Petelle
President & CEO
CropLife Canada

Beth Potter
President & CEO
Tourism Industry Association of Canada

Susan Powell
President & CEO
Canadian Food Exporters Association

Bruce Rodgers
Executive Director
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association

Rocco Rossi
President & CEO
Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Michael Rothe
President & CEO
Canadian Finance and Leasing Association

Darrell Schuurman
Co-Founder and CEO
Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce

Tim Shearman
President & CEO
Canadian Automobile Association

Sheri Somerville
President & CEO
Atlantic Chamber of Commerce
Bram Strain 
President & CEO  
Business Council of Manitoba 
Kathleen Sullivan 
Food and Beverage Canada 

Patrick Tagoona
Kivalliq Chamber of Commerce

Peter Tzanetakis
Canadian Payroll Association

Mary Van Buren
Canadian Construction Association

Sarah Watts-Rynard
Polytechnics Canada

Chris West
Executive Director
Baffin Regional Chamber of Commerce

Jan Westcott
President & CEO
Spirits Canada

Chris White
President & CEO
Canadian Meat Council

Nancy Wilson
Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce

cc. Provincial and Territorial Premiers