Commentary,  COVID,  Fiscal Policy,  Public Sector Work

The Role of the Public Sector in Rebuilding After COVID-19

Canadians have understandably turned to government for protection and support during the COVOD-19 pandemic. But the public sector will also need to play a vital role in leading the reconstruction of Canada’s economy once the pandemic has subsided.  This has been emphasized in previous Centre for Future Work research, including our PowerShare report on how work must be improved after COVID, and Jim Stanford’s call for a ‘post-war’ economic rebuilding strategy led by expansive government investment.

In this feature interview with Cory Hare for ATA News (the journal of the Alberta Teachers’ Association), Jim Stanford explains why expanded public sector investment, service provision, and hiring will be vital to continued economic recovery. 

As Stanford says in the interview, knee-jerk portrayals of public service activity as wasteful or costly are exactly backwards:

“The public sector is a vital anchor of stability for the economy. The public service and the public sector are not subject to the same roller coaster ups and downs as private sector activity. This is a good thing, not a bad thing.

“Instead of seeing the public sector as a cost or a drain, we should see the public sector as an industry in its own right, and as a growth industry. Our demand as a society for education and health services is growing, and this is also a good thing, not a bad thing.

“The jobs that can be created in those sectors should be celebrated rather than trying to suppress that natural growth and suppress the income associated with it.”

Please see the full interview here.

Jim Stanford is Economist and Director of the Centre for Future Work. He divides his time between Sydney, Australia and Vancouver, Canada. Jim is one of Canada’s best-known economic commentators. He served for over 20 years as Economist and Director of Policy with Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector trade union.