“Recovery efforts must support the transition to a more equitable, sustainable and diversified economy, and not entrench outdated economic and social systems that jeopardize the health and wellbeing of people, worsen the climate crisis or perpetuate the exploitation or oppression of people.”

‘Just Recovery’ looking past the pandemic

By 
  • May 29, 2020

OTTAWA -- More than 150 organizations, including Catholic and other religious groups, have united to support six “Principles for a Just Recovery” which they hope will influence what Canada will look like after COVID-19.

“Recovery efforts must support the transition to a more equitable, sustainable and diversified economy, and not entrench outdated economic and social systems that jeopardize the health and wellbeing of people, worsen the climate crisis or perpetuate the exploitation or oppression of people,” said a press release announcing the “Just Recovery” campaign.

“The COVID crisis has revealed the primary importance of the health and safety of all people, as a human rights and collective wellbeing issue.”

The statement, supported by various environmental, social justice and labour groups, said that ongoing government COVID-19 relief programs indicate that poverty reduction and other programs formerly declared unrealistic are actually doable “once we prioritize them.”

The six principles are: put people’s health and wellbeing first, no exceptions; strengthen the social safety net and provide relief directly to people; prioritize the needs of workers and communities; build resilience to prevent future crises; build solidarity and equity across communities, generations and borders; and uphold Indigenous rights and work in partnership with Indigenous peoples.

“COVID-19 has laid bare what we already knew about the precarity and inequity of our existing systems: millions were already living in poverty; climate change was already affecting northern communities’ access to food; a lack of affordable housing stock was already barring newcomers to Canada from successful economic integration; and inadequate funding and disputes between levels of government left many Indigenous communities without the health care they need,” said a statement from Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ).

“This moment is showing what is possible when governments act with resolve to prioritize people’s health and well-being,” said the faith-based social justice advocacy group.

“As we move from crisis to recovery, CPJ’s long-standing call for the development of a resilient, diversified green economy built on the principles of equity and justice is more relevant than ever,” said CPJ’s senior policy analyst Karri Munn-Venn.

“The impact of the (COVID-19) virus, though devastating, has created a space for all members of society to contemplate how to build back better, recognizing the interconnectedness of all of creation, honouring Indigenous wisdom and respecting the limits of the atmosphere.”

The release of the six “Just Recovery” principles came on the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’: On the Care for our Common Home.

Louise Royer, director of the Social Action Ministry Office of the Archdiocese of Montreal, said endorsing the “Just Recovery” principles is a continuation of what the Church has been preaching.

“These are all things that we have been working for,” Royer told Canadian Catholic News. “These are all things that are similar to Catholic principles.”

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