Throne Speech Delivered on Wednesday Starting the Fall Session of Parliament

While acknowledging that existing income support systems were not designed to provide support support at this unprecedented level, the Speech from the Throne also promised to launch a program to create a million jobs. That from Governor General Julie Payette as she delivered Throne Speech Wednesday.

The Governor General says from this point on CERB recipients should instead be supported by the Employment Insurance system. For those who would not traditionally qualify for EI the government will create the Transitional Canada Recovery Benefit. Payette went on to explain that over the coming months the EI system would become the sole delivery mechanism for employment benefits which includes benefits for Canadians who did not qualify for EI before the pandemic.

She described Canada as needing an employment insurance system for the 21st century which would include the self employed and those in the “gig” economy.

The prediction from a University of Saskatchewan professor is the Liberal government shouldn’t have to face an election for at least another 6 months. Greg Poelzer says there were initiatives that would interest the NDP, like supporting Pharmacare, which he expects will bring that party onside, meaning a majority vote, for now.

The biggest announcement in the speech is around extending the wage subsidy from the economic effects of COVID-19 into next year and easing requirements on access to the program. Poelzer understands there is concern about the realities of how much this costs, but says all governments dealing with the pandemic are between a rock and a hard place juggling helping people with trying to keep the deficit in check.

Poelzer highlighted a few items which he things are good news for Saskatchewan, including mentioning the energy sector, which many thought wouldn’t be included in the speech, and investment in irrigation, which is a big priority for this province with a large project in the works.

The Liberal government has also promised investment for infrastructure for Indigenous communities. Poelzer says just making retrofits and upgrades will be hundreds of millions of dollars, and because Saskatchewan has a larger percentage of Indigenous population at around 15 per cent, it will be a benefit to the whole province’s economy.


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