Dear Ms. Freeland:
Thank you for continuing to serve Canadians as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
Since my previous mandate letter to you, our country has been confronted by the most serious public health crisis we have ever faced. The global pandemic has had devastating impacts on lives and livelihoods and exposed fundamental gaps in our society. Challenges that existed before the pandemic remain and others have been exacerbated. In light of these realities, I am issuing this supplementary letter to outline further responsibilities and considerations that I expect you to undertake on behalf of Canadians. Nothing in this letter replaces any previous commitments or expectations. It is necessary for us to continue making progress on the commitments laid out in 2019, while ensuring our actions are centred on fighting the pandemic and building back better.
Even as we continue to distribute vaccines across Canada, bold action continues to be required to fight this pandemic, save lives, support people and businesses throughout the remainder of this crisis and build back better. We need to work together to protect and create jobs, and to rebuild our country in a way that will create long-term competitiveness through clean growth. As articulated in the Speech from the Throne 2020 and Fall Economic Statement 2020, our four main priorities for making tangible progress for Canadians continue to be: protecting public health; ensuring a strong economic recovery; promoting a cleaner environment; and standing up for fairness and equality.
Ongoing struggles around the world – and here at home – remind us of how important it is to keep working toward a brighter future. We are at a crossroads and must keep moving Canada forward to become stronger, more inclusive, and more resilient. It is part of your job to look out for Canadians, with particular attention to our most vulnerable.
We need to continue delivering on our commitments by working together in a positive, open and collaborative way with Parliamentarians, with partners and with all Canadians. Where legislation is required, I expect you to continue working with the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons to make progress for Canadians within this minority Parliament.
To be ready for what lies ahead, our Government must continue to be agile and use the best available science and evidence. Canadians are counting on us to ensure that today’s policies, programs and services are calibrated and targeted to match their needs. Therefore, I expect you to uphold our ongoing commitment to delivering real results and effective government for the people we are elected to serve.
Many of our most important commitments continue to require a sustained partnership with provincial, territorial and municipal governments, and Indigenous partners, communities and governments. Always remember that our mandate comes from citizens who are served by all orders of government, and that it is in everyone’s interest that we work together to find common ground and make life better for Canadians. The President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is the Government-wide lead on all relations with the provinces and territories.
There remains no more important relationship to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. With respect and dignity, we remain committed to moving forward along the shared path of reconciliation. You, and indeed all ministers, must continue to play a role in helping to advance self-determination, close socio-economic gaps and eliminate systemic barriers facing First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples. As Minister, I expect you to work in full partnership with Indigenous Peoples and communities to advance meaningful reconciliation.
The Government has significantly increased spending during the pandemic in order to achieve our most pressing priority: to help protect Canadians’ health and financial security. Going forward, we must preserve Canada’s fiscal advantage and continue to be guided by values of sustainability and prudence. Therefore, our actions must focus on creating new jobs and supporting the middle class to preserve the strength of our economy.
While fighting the pandemic must be our top priority, climate change still threatens our health, economy, way of life and planet. Clean growth is the best way to create good jobs and power our long-term economic recovery. I expect you and all ministers to pursue complementary partnerships and initiatives that will support our work to exceed our emissions reduction target, seize new market opportunities to create good jobs and prepare our country to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate.
We remain committed to evidence-based decision-making that takes into consideration the impacts of policies on all Canadians and fully defends the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You will apply Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in the decisions that you make and consider public policies through an intersectional lens in order to address systemic inequities including: systemic racism; unconscious bias; gender-based discrimination; barriers for persons with disabilities; discrimination against LGBTQ2 communities; and inequities faced by all vulnerable populations. Whenever possible, you will work to improve the quality and availability of disaggregated data to ensure that policy decisions benefit all communities.
It is clear that this pandemic has disproportionately affected different communities throughout our country. Therefore, we must ensure our recovery includes all Canadians, with an emphasis on supporting those most affected. To this end, I expect that you will seek the advice and hear the perspectives of a diverse group of Canadians, in both official languages. Moreover, you will continue to rely on and develop meaningful relationships with civil society and stakeholders, including businesses of all sizes, organized labour, the broader public sector and the not-for-profit and charitable sectors across Canada.
Now more than ever, Canadians are relying on journalists and journalism for accurate and timely news, especially in the face of a concerning spread of misinformation. I expect you to foster a professional and respectful relationship with journalists to ensure that Canadians have the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe.
Our ability to implement our Government’s priorities depends on consideration of the professional, non-partisan advice of public servants. Government employees perform their duties in service to Canada, with a goal of improving our country and the lives of all Canadians. I expect you to maintain a collaborative working relationship with your Deputy Minister, whose role, like the role of the public servants under their direction, is to support you in the performance of your responsibilities.
Important ministerial responsibilities have been entrusted to you, notably delivering on the Government’s commitments related to your roles as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance that were set out in the 2019 mandate letters. I expect that you will keep me updated and proactively communicate with Canadians on the progress you are making toward our priorities. Always know that you can turn to me at any time for support.
In addition to the priorities set out in my mandate letters of 2019, as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, you will implement on a priority basis the following commitments, as set out in the Speech from the Throne 2020 and building off the investments in the Fall Economic Statement 2020:
- As Deputy Prime Minister, continue to work in close collaboration with me in both setting and fulfilling the Government’s agenda, including our Government’s continued response to the pandemic, the security of our country and our international agenda.
- Preserve Canada’s fiscal advantage and continue to be guided by values of sustainability and prudence by presenting a plan to regrow the economy and presenting a new fiscal anchor to guide this work. You will use whatever fiscal firepower is needed in the short term to support people and businesses during the pandemic, and will keep supporting the economy with emergency measures until the economy improves. Doing so, you will avoid creating new permanent spending. You will also lead the creation of a resiliency agenda for Canada’s longer-term post-pandemic economic recovery, including actions to transition to a greener, more inclusive and more prosperous economy. You will also review our debt management strategy.
- Lead the Government’s work to create over one million jobs, restoring employment to levels prior to the pandemic using a range of tools, including direct investments in the social sector and infrastructure, immediate training to quickly up-skill workers and incentives for employers to hire and retain workers. You will be supported in this work by the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
- Work with the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance, and in close collaboration with relevant ministers, to develop and implement an Action Plan for Women in the Economy. The Plan will be guided by a task force of experts whose diverse voices will power a whole-of-government and intersectional feminist approach.
- Continue to evaluate sector-specific pressures due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, where appropriate, work with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry to tailor support for those sectors hit hardest, such as travel and tourism, hospitality and cultural industries like the performing arts. You will be supported in this work by the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and the Minister of Canadian Heritage. The ongoing work of the Economic Strategy Tables will also inform this work.
- Help bridge vulnerable businesses to the other side of the pandemic by expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account to help businesses with fixed costs.
- Provide targeted financial support directly to businesses that have to temporarily shut down as a result of a local public health decision on COVID-19.
- Work with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, and with the support of the Minister of Health and the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs to consider options for further, targeted measures for personal support workers as they continue to provide essential services in our communities.
- Support the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development in moving forward with enhancements to the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive.
- Identify additional ways to tax extreme wealth inequality, including by finalizing amendments to the Income Tax Act to limit the stock option deduction for high-income individuals at large, established firms.
- Continue work with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with the support of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, to ensure that multinational technology giants pay appropriate corporate tax on the revenue that they generate within Canada. If no consensus can be reached among OECD members, you will ensure that a made-in-Canada approach is applied no later than 2022. You will also work to ensure that international digital corporations whose products are consumed in Canada collect and remit the same level of sales tax as Canadian digital corporations.
- Continue putting a price on pollution while putting that money back in the pockets of Canadians.
- Work with the Minister of Natural Resources and other relevant ministers to help Canadians retrofit their homes and buildings, creating thousands of jobs and cutting energy costs for Canadian families and businesses.
- As part of Canada’s climate plan, move forward with tax policies that support clean energy transition, advancing policy work on border carbon adjustments and ensuring carbon pollution pricing rebate payments move from being distributed on an annual basis to a quarterly basis, starting as early as 2022.
- As part of Canada’s climate plan and to create jobs and make Canada a world leader in clean technology, cut tax rates by 50 per cent for companies that develop and manufacture zero-emission technology. Eligible sectors should include, but not be limited to: manufacturing related to renewable energy; renewable fuels production; zero-emission vehicles; carbon sequestration and removal technology; batteries for use in zero-emission vehicles; and grid storage and electric vehicle charging systems.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada