In an open letter signed by 47 Canadian corporate leaders to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, executives called for a bold green recovery coming out of the COVID 19 crisis. The letter was released by media company Corporate Knights, with signatories across multiple sectors of the Canadian economy, representing annual revenues of $140 billion, and employing over 200,000 people in Canada.

The letter outlines recommendations for investment in the green economy, arguing that is where Canada’s most valuable assets line up best with global growth trends including for green buildings, sustainably produced food, zero emissions vehicles and clean natural resources, including zero-carbon energy. According to the letter:

“We have the opportunity to emerge from this moment with a resilient economy that creates prosperity for more Canadians. We will get there by working together with all the industries that have led us to where we are as a nation today — from natural resources to telecommunications, manufacturing and financial services. We must build on and reinforce that foundation to set us up to thrive in the future.”

The letter goes on to challenge the notion of austerity and the idea of a mild recovery plan, instead calling for action that is even bolder than has been the case for the COVID crisis response:

 “It will require a significant burst of investment in the first couple of years buttressed with complimentary policies over the next five. Some will raise concerns about the costs, but if we learned anything from the last economic crisis, it’s that austerity is not a growth strategy, rather it leads to lost opportunities for people and businesses alike.”

Echoing calls by leaders and investors worldwide to “build back better,” the letter highlights that the opportunity provided by a green recovery is one that will help address equity and fairness in Canada’s society and economy, with central roles for Indigenous communities to play, and means to ensure people of colour benefit from green growth.

Toby Heaps, CEO of Corporate Knights, said, “These leaders know our future as a nation, and whether we will be leaders or followers in the world economy, depends on the decisions we make today, and they know those decisions need to be bold and green.”

The letter concludes:

“Now is the time to be courageous and bold. We encourage governments to lead a collaborative and bold economic recovery building on the strengths of our existing economy and talent to capture the growth markets of the future.

“As corporate leaders, we are committed to doing our part to build back better towards a more resilient — and inclusive — economy.”

Click here to see the letter and the full list of signatories.