Marketing perspectives on the 2020 throne speech
The throne speech delivered by the federal government on September 23, 2020, was notable for what it included, and what it did not include.
There was much speculation that the speech would address the government’s commitment to its Digital Charter, most notably PIPEDA reform and to a lesser degree, competition law reform. It is surprising that the Speech did not refer to either of these topics.
We fully expect the government to proceed with these files, and we will be looking for confirmation of this in the upcoming mandate letters (which are sent to each cabinet minister by the prime minister at the beginning of each new parliamentary session, outlining in detail the government’s intentions and priorities).
As expected, the primary issue addressed in the speech was the government’s strategy to overcome the pandemic and its economic effects, especially to support women. It included extensive commentary on environmental issues, and sections on a wide range of other topics, including creating standards for long-term care, safe communities, reconciliation with Indigenous communities, addressing systemic racism, and protecting the two official languages.
Two measures in the speech align with priorities outlined in the CMA’s submission to the Prime Minister dated September 11:
- The speech commits to: “a stronger workforce by supporting Canadians as they build new skills in growing sectors, helping workers receive education and accreditation, and strengthening workers’ futures, by connecting them to employers and good jobs, in order to grow and strengthen the middle class.”
Our letter stresses the importance of having the government support the reskilling and upskilling of Canada’s workforce – especially young people – to respond to economic change, and to support those displaced by the pandemic to return to meaningful employment. These priorities align with CMA NXT, which reflects our commitment to help youth navigate the path to meaningful work, and with the Chartered Marketer designation.
- The speech notes that Canadians must work together – including by eliminating remaining barriers between provinces to full, free internal trade – to get the economy back up and running and Canadians back to work.
This ties in well with our view that it is imperative for privacy regulation across Canada to be aligned to avoid costly barriers to doing business, and to enable organizations to serve consumers well across the country. We have made submissions to this effect to Cabinet Ministers, ISED and various provincial governments.
The speech indicates that: “The Government will also identify additional ways to tax extreme wealth inequality, including by…addressing corporate tax avoidance by digital giants. Web giants are taking Canadians’ money while imposing their own priorities. Things must change, and will change. The Government will act to ensure their revenue is shared more fairly with our creators and media, and will also require them to contribute to the creation, production, and distribution of our stories, on screen, in lyrics, in music, and in writing.”
It clarified that the wage subsidy (CEWS) that many Canadian organizations rely on is being extended to next summer.
The four broad foundations of the speech are stated as follows:
- To fight the pandemic and save lives.
- To support people and businesses through this crisis as long as it lasts, whatever it takes. Effectively dealing with the health crisis is the best thing we can do for the economy. Government action has already helped Canadians stay safe, and buffered the worst economic impacts.
- To build back better to create a stronger, more resilient Canada. To do this, we must keep strengthening the middle class and helping people working hard to join it, and continue creating jobs and building long-term competitiveness with clean growth. We must also keep building safer communities for everyone.
- To stand up for who we are as Canadians. We cannot forget what has made us a country that is welcoming. A country that celebrates two official languages. That achieves progress on gender equality, walks the road of reconciliation, and fights discrimination of every kind.
Author: Sara Clodman | Vice-President, Public Affairs and Thought Leadership | CMA