RESILIENT has been consulting with political and non-political decision makers and advocating for fundamental changes to reduce the inequities that underlie poor health. We’ve been seeking change in four key areas: environmental protection, action on climate change, reducing economic inequities, and enhancing wellness and illness prevention.

The 2021 Budget tabled in Parliament this week includes some action on these priorities. We are pleased that in addition to the spending invested to rebound from the pandemic are actions to improve protection of biodiversity and combat climate change. The increased protection of land and water is vitally needed. Investments in the green economy will help individuals reduce their home greenhouse gas emissions, and will promote a transition to the low carbon economy that is essential for our long-term health.

Although not a budget item, the introduction of Bill C-28 last week indicates a new willingness to modernize the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). Modernization of CEPA is urgently required to protect our health and natural environment.

In our advocacy for reducing economic inequities, we have been asking for a review of, and implementation of income support measures. We had hoped for a Universal Basic Income in this budget, but it did not come to fruition. We do, however, applaud the allocation of funds to extend COVID-19 emergency financial supports and funds to offset the cost of child care.

Despite promises to implement a national pharmacare program, Budget 2021 does not include allocation of funds to deliver on this promise in the short term. Foundational elements are already in progress, and it is our hope that pharmacare remains a priority. Regrettably, this budget does not indicate urgency in the matter.

We will watch with great interest as the budget is debated in the House of Commons and continue to advocate for the equitable, healthy, and resilient Canada we envision.