Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland held a press conference on Monday to discuss Canada's plans for the post-pandemic economy.
"Today I am so pleased to announce the launch of consultations that will help inform and guide our growth plan, and feed into the measures and investments that will make up budget 2021, and that will help Canada build back better," Freeland said.
Freeland thanked Canadians for supporting each other during the pandemic, noting that many Canadians are still locked in their homes for the most part.
She said that the government "wished" the vaccine was being distributed more quickly, and that the government is doing "everything in [their] power to speed the rollout of vaccines." The Canadian government has been heavily criticized for the slow rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, especially since it was announced that Pfizer, one of the main suppliers, is having production problems.
During the press conference, Freeland promised to make Canada "more innovative and more competitive than ever."
Freeland announced that the Canadian government would be investing another $100 billion into the economy to help create one million jobs, although she did not offer any specifics.
She lamented that some groups have been hit harder by the pandemic than others, which she identified as the elderly, women, young people, people of colour, Indigenous people, and small businesses. She also noted that the pandemic has exposed gaps in Canada's social safety net.
Tackling climate change and creating a greener economy was also mentioned as a priority.
Freeland did not offer many specifics regarding the government's plan, telling Canadians that the government plans to consult them on their priorities before presenting a budget.
"Please, share your views about how we can best grow Canada's economy and create those one million jobs," Freeland asked.
Freeland additionally expressed concern over newly-inaugurated President Joe Biden's plans for a "buy America" program, which he is expected to introduce via executive order. The Canadian and American economies are heavily intertwined with each other, and the Canadian economy suffered hits during the Trump administration, which imposed a series of tariffs on Canadian products in an effort to ensure national security and to renegotiate a trade agreement between the two countries plus Mexico.
While Trump is no longer in office, his America first rhetoric has shifted the national conversation in the United States on free trade, with the new Biden administration seeking to implement more provisions to support American producers rather than purchase products from abroad.