For Immediate Release
September 23, 2020
Opportunity for Some: Throne Speech 2020
OTTAWA, September 23, 2020 – Today’s Speech from the Throne outlined an agenda to ride out the COVID-19 storm rather than revisioning Canada to better address systemic racism and pervasive social issues to flatten the curve of inequality.
“The government has worked quickly to address the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, more must be done to support vulnerable Canadians as they struggle to maintain their health and social well-being” says CASW president Joan Davis Whelan.
Although commitments to a national childcare system, expanded eligibility for Employment Insurance and a new disability benefit are all well-intentioned targeted investments, they fall significantly short of the necessary generational social and economic change COVID exposed.
“Canada must introduce a Universal Basic Income for Canada to truly realize Opportunity for All” states Davis Whelan.
While a national formulary is a key step forward towards a Universal Pharmacare, the vague recognition of the importance of addressing mental health falls extremely short of committing to Mental Health Parity in Canada.
CASW was pleased that systemic racism was acknowledged as a lived reality for racialized people in Canada however the small changes announced do not reflect the gravity of inequality experienced. CASW urges the Government of Canada to end the ‘strong hand of justice’ approach to public health and systemic issues by committing to ending the use of mandatory minimums and decriminalizing the personal use of psychoactive substances as well as sex work.
Finally, CASW applauds the Government of Canada’s commitments to address both the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry, and the calls to address systemic oppression that must be met by bold action.
For more information:
Fred Phelps, MSW, RSW