Factbox: Promises by Canadian government to fight pandemic, support people and economy

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s Liberal government on Wednesday promised major new investments and policy initiatives to help the country recover from the coronavirus pandemic, saying that “this is not the time for austerity.”

FILE PHOTO: People wait in their cars at the Credit Valley Hospital Drive-Thru coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing facility in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada September 18, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

Here are some of the main policy promises in the so-called Speech from the Throne, delivered on behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by Governor General Julie Payette - the representative of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, Canada’s head of state:

To fight COVID-19, the government will:

- Be there to help the provinces increase their testing capacity

- Create a federal Testing Assistance Response Team to quickly meet surge testing needs, including in remote and isolated communities

To support people amid the pandemic, the government will:

- Work to target additional financial support directly to businesses that have to shut down temporarily as a result of a local public health decision

- Launch a campaign to create over 1 million jobs, restoring employment to previous levels by using a range of tools, including direct investments in social programs and infrastructure, immediate training to quickly upgrade workers’ skills, and incentives for employers to hire and retain workers

- Create jobs by extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program, due to expire in November, through to next summer

- Make a significant, long-term, sustained investment to create a Canada-wide early learning and childcare system

- Create an unemployment benefit system for the 21st century, including for the self-employed and those in the gig economy

- Work with the provinces and territories to set new, national standards for long-term care

- Take additional action to help older people remain in their homes longer

To support an economic recovery and fight climate change, the government will:

- Introduce further support for industries that have been the hardest hit, including travel and tourism, hospitality, and cultural industries like the performing arts

- Act to ensure Web giants’ revenue is shared more fairly with Canadian creators and media, and also require them to contribute to the creation, production and distribution of Canadian stories on screen, in lyrics, in music and in writing

- Invest over the next two years in all types of infrastructure, including public transit, energy-efficient retrofits, clean energy, rural broadband and affordable housing, particularly for indigenous peoples and northern communities

- Work with partners to support regional routes for airlines

- Move forward with enhancements to the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, including in Canada’s largest cities, so families can afford to buy their first home

- Legislate Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, and immediately bring forward a plan to exceed Canada’s 2030 climate goal

- Create jobs by retrofitting homes and buildings, cutting energy costs for Canadian families and businesses, investing in reducing the impact of climate-related disasters, like floods and wildfires, to make communities safer and more resilient

- Help deliver more transit and active transit options

- Make zero-emissions vehicles more affordable, while investing in more charging stations across the country

- Launch a fund to attract investments in making zero-emissions products and cut the corporate tax rate in half for those companies

- Support investments in renewable energy and next-generation clean energy and technology solutions

- Reaffirm commitment to immigration, continue to bring in newcomers and support family reunification

Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Peter Cooney