COVID-19 Policy Brief Series
With COVID-19, Canada’s food supply chain experienced numerous pressures – ranging from panic buying to temporary shortages at some grocery stores to the shift to e-commerce. This policy brief examines issues that emerged for the food supply chain during the last 12 months as well as longstanding ones that were exacerbated by the pandemic. While the COVID-19 crisis caused the food supply chain to bend, this policy brief explains that the chain did not break. Canada’s food system stabilized relatively quickly and continued to provide consumers with uninterrupted access to food. Since a future public health emergency may emerge, this brief encourages policymakers to prioritize six issues to ensure the agri-food sector is better positioned to withstand future disruptions, as well as support local producers and ensure an equitable recovery.
This policy brief was made possible by support from Beef Farmers of Ontario, Durham College, and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
While telemedicine sites have been in place for decades, virtual care has risen in prominence thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and implementation of temporary billing codes in Ontario. As in-person medical appointments became less feasible, virtual visits have enabled Ontarians to continue accessing quality care while not exposing themselves to the virus. Given the demand for timely care, the many benefits associated with virtual care, and continued government investment in digital health, virtual care is here to stay.
Recognizing the timeliness of this issue, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s (OCC) Health Policy Council has developed recommendations to help the Province realize the full potential of virtual care and ensure it is more accessible, equitable, and widely adopted throughout Ontario’s health care system.
The COVID-19 crisis is having a disproportionate economic impact on women, with women’s labour participation rate falling to its lowest in 30 years. Existing systemic inequalities have been further exacerbated by recent shut-down measures, resulting in what some economists are calling a “she-cession,” as more women have lost their jobs and fewer women than men are re-gaining employment. As schools begin to reopen, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce releases its latest report, The She-Covery Project: Confronting the Gendered Economic Impacts of COVID-19 in Ontario. This brief lays out a path to Ontario’s “she-covery” by offering practical recommendations to confront both immediate and longer-term challenges.
Collaboration has been a dominant theme throughout the COVID-19 crisis, both within and across countries. In Ontario, unprecedented alignment between businesses and all levels of government has been instrumental to crafting policy responses and supplying critical products and services.
However, this cooperation will be put to the test as communities around the world take steps to reopen their economies and turn towards recovery. While globalization had been in retreat for years prior to the crisis, the brief warns against pulling integration back further and underscores the importance of global ties, particularly for Ontario, where economic growth depends on harmonious global trading relationships and well-functioning international supply chains. Continued collaboration will also be required as provinces begin to ease public health measures at different rates. Managing the interprovincial movement of goods and people will require a renewed commitment to collaboration to avoid jeopardizing the progress already made.
Read our report.
Read Uncharted Territory: Assessing the Landscape of Ontario’s Economic Recovery Post COVID-19 | April 2020