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November 17, 2020 – A new book from the C.D. Howe Institute provides an overview of the Institute’s critical policy recommendations made in response to the developing COVID-19 pandemic. Read by government policymakers and the public alike, these ideas – aimed at preserving the wellbeing of Canadians and sheltering the country’s economy as the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis unfolded – prefigured many of the policy responses that emerged in 2020.

As the extent and seriousness of the COVID-19 crisis became known in March 2020, the Institute rapidly mobilized some of Canada’s foremost academics, business leaders, and policymakers into working groups to tackle the biggest policy problems of the day. The Institute started with four such groups, forming a fifth in the fall:

  • The Public Health and Emergency Measures working group (chaired by Janet Davidson and Tom Closson) made recommendations ranging from addressing the acute public health and long-term care emergencies to laying out the critical path for creating a vaccine.
  • The Business Continuity and Trade working group (chaired by Dwight Duncan and Jeanette Patell) focused on policies to ensure businesses that needed to stay running had the workers, supplies, and financial support needed to survive. It also focused on how to support those sectors most affected by the pandemic.
  • The Household Income and Credit Support working group (chaired by Katie Taylor and Mike Horgan) pointed out the improvements necessary for income supports available for Canadians.
  • The Monetary and Financial Measures working group (chaired by David Dodge and Mark Zelmer) advised on ways to ensure stable financial markets and access to capital while considering the medium- to long-run impact on Canada’s inflation target.
  • Starting in the fall of 2020, the Institute launched the Fiscal and Tax working group (chaired by Janice MacKinnon and John Manley) dedicated to tackling the mounting fiscal cost of, and how to pay for, COVID-19 measures.

The Institute also ramped up its Intelligence Memo series and op-ed publishing, covering the full spectrum of policy issues governments faced. Canada’s economics and policy thought leader community responded with a flood of submissions. These became the go-to source for rapid policy advice among Canadian policymakers.

“Publishing a compilation of the work done over the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic provides ideas on a path forward for future policy decisions as Canada tackles the second wave of COVID-19,” said Benjamin Dachis, Director of Public Affairs, “The book also gives future generations of policymakers a window into the debates taking place, and see the evolution of the policy response over time. It is also a reminder that despite success in many areas, Canada could have done better in its response. Governments had to make decisions very quickly and often with little time for advice. This book can help governments gauge their reactions against the thinking from experts.”

Read the Book

For more information contact: David Blackwood, Communications Officer, the C.D. Howe Institute 416-873-6168, dblackwood@cdhowe.org

The C.D. Howe Institute is an independent not-for-profit research institute whose mission is to raise living standards by fostering economically sound public policies. Widely considered to be Canada's most influential think tank, the Institute is a trusted source of essential policy intelligence, distinguished by research that is nonpartisan, evidence-based and subject to definitive expert review.