Just Recovery - Help Us Build Back Better After COVID-19

Over the past few months, we have been working closely with groups from across Canada to craft principles for a just recovery from COVID-19.  Together with over  200 civil society and advocacy groups, we are happy to share these principles with you now.  Click the link to see what we’ve been working on. 

I feel very differently about my advocacy and my community than I did even 12 weeks ago. My every encounter with signs of new life in the forest, rivers, or the seashore is imbued with hope and gratitude - and my feeling of responsibility not to take this moment in time for granted.  

It is clear that, alongside our collective power to care for each other, COVID-19 has also exposed the vast inequities and vulnerabilities of our previous version of normal. It has exposed vulnerabilities in our supply chains, called into question our values, called attention to unequal access to green spaces in our cities, and posed challenges to the ways we are accustomed to organizing for structural change. The collective trauma imposed by COVID-19 has had a profound impact on our daily lives.

As our governments turn to building COVID-19 recovery plans, it is clear that the decisions we make now will shape not only our future relationships with work, the structures of our cities, and the shapes of our societies, but also the future of human life on this planet. In a recent survey conducted by EKOS Research, nearly three quarters of respondents (73%) supported a “broad transformation of our society” post COVID-19. We must lift each other out of the compounding crises of climate change and build resilience together. Now is the time to build the transition we want to see.

To this end, Sierra Club Canada Foundation has joined an informal alliance of 200 Canadian civil society and environmental organizations to draft and launch Six Principles for a Just Recovery in Canada. In brief, the Principles, launched on May 25, 2020, ask that recovery efforts: 

1. Put people’s health and wellbeing first, no exceptions.

2. Strengthen the social safety net and provide relief directly to people.

3. Prioritize the needs of workers and communities.

4. Build resilience to prevent future crises.

5. Build solidarity and equity across communities, generations, and borders.

6. Uphold Indigenous Rights and Work in Partnership with Indigenous Peoples.

Going forward, we will propose specific policy initiatives that put the environment and people first. As a supporting member, we ask that you explore and think about the Principles for a Just Recovery, talk about them with your friends, family, and communities, share them on social media, apply them to your advocacy, and let us know how we can represent your vision of a Just Recovery for All and build back better.

For now, let’s put the pressure on by sharing this message as far and wide as possible.

All the best,

Gretchen Fitzgerald
National Programs Director