Speech from the Throne: Governor General Julie Payette

On September 22, 2020, Governor General Julie Payette delivered the Speech from the Throne, “this is not the time for austerity … Canadians should not have to choose between health and their job, just like Canadians should not have to take on debt that their government can better shoulder”.

Governor General Julia Payette
Governor General Julia Payette delivers the Speech from the Throne

The Federal government says its appraoch to meeting the current challenges will have four foundations:

  • Fighting COVID-19 pandemic
  • Economic support for people and businesses
  • Build back better to create a more resilient Canada
  • Move forward on equality and reconciliation

Key Highlights:

In a campaign to “create over one million jobs,” the Federal government will extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) through next summer.

The Federal government will continue expansion of the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to “help businesses with fixed costs”.

The Federal government pledges “further support” for hard-hit sectors such as travel and tourism, hospitality and arts and culture.

More Important Highlights from the Throne:

On COVID-19 and the economy:

  • a federal “Testing Assistance Response Team to quickly meet surge testing needs, including in remote and isolated communities”
  • targeted financial support to businesses that must close because of local public health directives
  • significant scaling up” of the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy
  • an “Action Plan for Women in the Economy”
  • a “significant, long-term, sustained investment to create a Canada-wide early learning and childcare system”
  • a “resiliency agenda for the middle class and people working hard to join it. This will include addressing the gaps in our social systems, investing in health care, and creating jobs. It will also include fighting climate change, and maintaining a commitment to fiscal sustainability and economic growth as the foundation of a strong and vibrant society.”
  • Criminal Code amendments to target “those who neglect seniors under their care, putting them in danger”
  • with more Canadians working at home, faster timelines to ensure universal broadband access
  • help to protect regional airline routes cancelled because of the COVID-19 shutdown

On climate change and the environment

  • an “immediate” plan to exceed Canada’s 2030 targets for reducing emissions, and legislation to bind the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050
  • support for “manufacturing, natural resource, and energy sectors as they work to transform to meet a net zero future” and “recognize farmers, foresters, and ranchers as key partners in the fight against climate change, supporting their efforts to reduce emissions and build resilience”
  • creation of a new “Canada Water Agency”
  • a new fund to “attract investments in making zero-emissions products and cut the corporate tax rate in half for these companies”

Also in the Speech From the Throne

  • “Things must change, and will change” for web giants “taking Canadians’ money while imposing their own priorities … “The Government will act to ensure their revenue is shared more fairly with our creators and media, and will also require them to contribute to the creation, production, and distribution of our stories, on screen, in lyrics, in music, and in writing”
  • more money for “rapid housing in the short term, and partnering with not-for-profits and co-ops in the mid- to long-term”
  • “enhancements” to the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive
  • a “Disability Inclusion Plan” that includes a new benefit, employment strategy, and improved eligibility process
  • free and automatic filing for simple tax returns
  • major investments in federal IT systems to modernize the provision of services
  • legislation by the end of 2020 to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • a number of pledges on police reform and systemic racism, including a “whole-of-federal-government approach around better collection of disaggregated data”
  • to protect the French language, strengthening the Official Languages Act, “among other things”
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