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Canada is set to table its 2021 federal budget on Monday, April 19, in the midst of a third wave of COVID-19. While a pandemic-focused stimulus package is widely expected from this budget, green initiatives and job crisis will also play an important role in it.
For more than one reason, the upcoming federal budget is being counted as one of the most important ones ever to be tabled in Canada. And it is largely so because of the pandemic.
The Problem of ‘She-cession’
The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly shaken up global economic stability over the past year. But certain sections of the population has had it harder than the rest.
Statistics Canada has reported that young women in Canada remain furthest from pre-pandemic levels of employment. Meanwhile, an RBC Economics found that women from Gen Z, who consist of about 2.5 per cent of Canada’s labor force, represent 17 per cent of the country’s job losses.
The upcoming budget is expected to right this “she-cession”, which saw large numbers of the women population not only suffer unprecedented job losses, but also rising unpaid care work and gender-based violence across the country.
Unfortunately, young women were not the only demographic that was hit hard by the COVID-triggered economic challenges. While economic inequalities were always present for people of color, the Indigenous community, people with disabilities, etc in the Canadian society, the pandemic has aggravated the situation further.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is expected to draw attention to these sections of the community in the 2021 federal budget. She is also likely to set aside funds for increased access to mental health supports, investments in affordable housing, etc.
While the world battles COVID-19, it is not like the other big problems are taking a break. Global warming continues to be a pressing challenge, and Canada is not likely to forget about it in Monday’s budget.
Keeping in mind a post-COVID scenario and Canada’s greenhouse gas emission targets, 2021 federal budget is being considered crucial for its call on green initiatives.
Sources quoted by media reports have pointed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Freeland’s idea of "building back better" simple means that the stimulus money will be focused on building a more sustainable and eco-friendly economy.
The federal budget of 2021 comes after a break of two years, and is expected to provide a detailed accounting of all the pandemic-focused spending to date. Moreover, it is also likely to see extensions of several support programs such as the wage and rent subsidies, certain healthcare benefits, etc. And not to forget, this budget will have a substantial impact on the future of PM Trudeau’s Liberal government.