To say the COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on Manitoba’s economy is an understatement. According to a survey MCC commissioned during the third month of the pandemic, and conducted by Leger Marketing, more than 80% of Manitoba businesses indicated that COVID-19 had a significant impact on their organizational finances. In Manitoba, we need to rally every possible human and financial resource, and direct all of our attention on this struggle.

In today’s Winnipeg Free Press, Ottawa reporter Joan Bryden says: “Bold plans to rebuild Canada’s shattered economy will take a back seat during a two-day cabinet retreat as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ministers confront the more immediate challenge of how to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from doing even more damage to Canadians’ lives and incomes.”

The Canadian government is operating on the assumption that the global fight against this novel coronavirus will continue for at least two more years. Businesses and governments must be focused 100 per cent on the crisis, leaving other priorities aside until the crisis abates. Federal and provincial governments have taken steps to address business liquidity, but more needs to be done to help businesses and workers through this crisis and to maintain the connection between employers and employees.

In an effort to provide greater stability for businesses, MCC is calling on governments at all levels to postpone any increases in taxes, non-essential new regulations, and unnecessary consultations that take us away from this mission. MCC urges our provincial government to consider the following longer-term recovery measures:

  • Continue with red tape and interprovincial trade barriers reduction
  • Leverage existing and new trade opportunities (market gaps and associated infrastructure)
  • Accelerate participation in existing and pursue emerging federal trilateral and bilateral economic stimulus programs with greater federal investments
  • Design and implement innovative taxation policies
  • Stimulate economic activity through strategic investments providing the highest public sector ROI to GDP to position Manitoba’s economic growth for the long-term

According to insiders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s September 23 Throne Speech will include three main priorities:

  1. the measures needed to protect Canadians’ health and avoid another national lockdown
  2. the economic supports needed to help keep Canadians financially afloat while the pandemic continues;
  3. longer-term measures to eventually rebuild an economy that is healthier, safer, cleaner, more competitive, fairer, and more inclusive.

Watch MCCs eWeekly newsletter next week (Sept. 21) for a statement on what we hope to hear from the Throne Speech.