As governments prepare recovery plans amidst the COVID-19 crisis, an informal alliance of over 150 civil society groups, representing collective memberships of millions in Canada, are demanding these plans move us toward a more equitable and sustainable future, with the release, today, of six Principles for a Just Recovery. United in support of the Principles, endorsing organizations 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.Their message for governments: recovery efforts must support the transition to a more equitable, sustainable and diversified economy, and not entrench outdated economic and social systems that jeopardize the health and wellbeing of people, worsen the climate crisis, or perpetuate the exploitation or oppression of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.
The COVID 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.
“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. 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,” said Canadian Labour Congress President, Hassan Yussuff.The Principles, in brief, ask that recovery plans:
1. Put people’s health and wellbeing first, no exceptions.
2. Strengthen the social safety net and provide relief directly to people.
3. Prioritize the needs of workers and communities.
4. Build resilience to prevent future crises.
5. Build solidarity and equity across communities, generations, and borders.
6. 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,” said Lindsey Bacigal of Indigenous Climate Action. “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.”
“We recognize the enormous challenge and responsibility facing governments. We also see a critical opportunity for leaders to seize the courage required to lead us through this moment to a better world. We’ll be doing our part to ensure the people are behind them,” said Claire Gallagher, from the independent citizens’ advocacy group, Leadnow.
Today’s launch marks the beginning of independent and collaborative efforts by participating organizations to urge all levels of government to deliver a transformational Just Recovery for all people. For a growing list of endorsers, please visit justrecoveryforall.ca.
Max Mosher (based in Toronto)
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Sonia Theroux (based in Victoria)
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Additional spokespeople available for media:
Lindsey Bacigal, Indigenous Climate Action
Anjali Appadurai, Sierra Club B.C.
Natalie Appleyard, Citizens for Public Justice
Dr. Courtney Howard, CAPE
Dylan Penner, Council of Canadians
Amara Possian, 350 Canada
Caroline Brouillette, Équiterre
Jamie Kneen, MiningWatch Canada
Kim Perrotta, CHASE