Speech from the throne highlights federal focus on fighting back against COVID-19

Canada’s Governor-General delivered the speech from the throne Wednesday, kicking off the 43rd session of parliament. Governor-General Julie Payette delivered the speech in Ottawa today, highlighting the federal government’s reprioritized agenda.

Payette says the government will take a four-pronged approach in the months and years to come: fighting the pandemic, supporting people and businesses through the crisis, building back better, and standing up for all Canadians.

The throne speech indicated the government will not wind down its federal wage subsidy as previously stated. In fact, Payette says Ottawa will work towards creating one million jobs, and will extend the wage subsidy through the summer of 2021. Ottawa will also expand its emergency business support program for businesses hardest hit, like the culture industry, travel, and airlines.

A national childcare and early education system was hinted at in Wednesday’s speech from the throne. It is expected Ottawa will work with all provinces and territories to make sure child care is available to all, according to Payette. “Flexible care options for primary school children are more important than ever,” she said Wednesday.

An action plan for women was announced in the speech, focusing on getting women back into the workforce. Recent Statistics Canada information shows women and visible minorities have struggled to get back into the workforce following the economic downturn brought about by the pandemic.

While the throne speech contained a variety of new initiatives, there were few specifics on plans to address them. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to address the nation during a 6:30 p.m. broadcast.