SURREY BOARD OF TRADE PRESIDENT’S STATEMENT ON THRONE SPEECH 2021 – Economic priorities related to the skills crisis, supply chain crisis and pharmacare needed focus

Today’s Speech from the Throne in Ottawa had many elements that will support Surrey and its economic growth over the next four years. The purpose of the Speech from the Throne is to highlight the legislative priorities of government for the next four years.

“We were disappointed that economic priorities related to the skills crisis, supply chain crisis and pharmacare were not mentioned in today’s Throne Speech,” said Anita Huberman, President & CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “Many of the priorities though did reflect the priorities that the Surrey Board of Trade has championed at the federal level. We look forward to hearing details in the Federal Budget and reviewing proposed legislation.”

COVID-19 still poses a persistent threat to the economic viability of many industries in BC. These industries include the tourism, food services, and cultural sectors. Now, BC has been hit with record breaking floods and storms, which have devastated transportation networks, supply chains, and businesses.

What we wanted to hear in the Throne Speech:

·      Universal pharmacare

·      Creating businesses and jobs within the blue economy

·      Support of the resource industries

·      A long-term post pandemic strategy for the air transportation industry

·      Infrastructure investments for Western Canada

·      Review of the Canadian tax code

·      Mapping Canada’s skills programs with available jobs and linking students to these jobs

Highlights of the Throne Speech

·      10 day paid sick leave

·      Increased access to vaccines for children and boosters for the general population

·      Securing next generation COVID-19 vaccines

·      Strengthening public health supports for all people, especially seniors, veterans, vulnerable populations, and those with disabilities

·      Promoting accessibility

·      Mental health and addictions treatment

·      Working with provinces and territories to enhance health care

·      Support will be extended or added for industries that continue to struggle as a result of supply chain issues and the pandemic

·      Housing accelerator fund to help municipalities build more and faster

·      Help families buy homes with first time home buyer incentive, rent to own program, and by reducing closing costs for first time buyers

·      $10/day childcare deals with the provinces and territories to continue

·      Average fees for regulated childcare to be cut in half by 2022

·      Implementation of a Canada-wide early learning and childcare system

·      Increasing immigration levels and reducing wait times while supporting family reunification and delivering refugee resettlement programs

·      Climate change – investing in green jobs and working with other countries

·      Producing clean steel, aluminum, building products, cars, and planes by utilizing raw material and skilled Canadians

·      Bringing together provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous communities, the labour and private sector to tap into global investment and attract investors

·      Accelerating a net-zero, electric future

·      Investing in public transit

·      A gradually declining cap on oil and gas sector GHG emissions

·      Clean Electricity Standard and Zero-Emission vehicle mandate

·      Increasing the cost of pollution

·      Protecting land, oceans and biodiversity by partnering with Indigenous, Inuit, and Metis Peoples

·      Creation of a Canada Water agency to safeguard our waters

·      Combating wildfires, floods, droughts, and coastline erosion through investments and the development of Canada’s first ever National Adaptation Strategy

·      Indigenous reconciliation by appointing a ‘Special Interlocutor’ to advance justice on residential schools

·      Investing in a distinction-based mental health and addictions support system guided by Indigenous partners and their family

·      Increased engagement with international partners, coalitions, and organizations to fight against authoritarianism

·      Expanding rules-based trade and ensuring supply chains are resilient

·      Deepening partnerships with the Indo-pacific and across the Arctic

·      Strengthening gun control through lifetime background checks, and mandatory buyback of banned assault style weapons. Working with provinces and territories that want to ban handguns

·      Criminal sanctions for threatening health care workers or medical facilities

·      Violence against women and girls – government will move forward with a 10-year action plan on gender-based violence and support organizations providing critical services

·      Anti-racism strategy

·      Fighting systemic racism, sexism, racism, misconduct, and abuse in core institutions

·      Reform criminal justice system and policing

·      Invest in the empowerment of Black, racialized, and Indigenous Peoples

·      Government will reintroduce the act of substantive equality of French and English, and strengthen the Official Languages Act

·      Reforming the broadcasting act, and ensuring web giants pay for fair share for the creation and promotion of Canadian content


Anita Huberman, 604-634-0342,