The COVID-19 pandemic has forced borders to close and raised protectionist measures around the globe. At the same time, in Canada, we see an unprecedented level of collaboration at all levels of governments. Partisan differences have been set aside and replaced with a shared goal to keep our country safe. Governments have become more responsive and adaptive to feedback from people and employers as they race to provide support. As communities around the world explore steps to reopen their economies, The Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s new policy brief Collaboration in a Crisis explores the need for continued cooperation, both within and across countries.
“The unprecedented nature of the pandemic is provoking a similarly unprecedented level of collaboration in Canada,” says Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Throughout the crisis, we have seen countless examples of collaboration. Businesses and governments have worked hand-in-hand to share information, craft urgent policy responses, and supply critical products and services.”
Collaboration in a Crisis notes that as economies begin to reopen, the collaboration witnessed during the early stages of the pandemic will be tested, both at home and abroad. For years prior to the crisis, globalization had been in retreat, with trade declining as a proportion of global economic output, the rise of populist governments, and a gradual tightening of national borders. 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 domestic manufacturing relies on well-functioning international supply chains.
Continued collaboration will also be required, the brief highlights, as provinces begin to ease public health measures at different rates. Managing the interprovincial and intra-provincial movement of goods and people will require a renewed focus on collaboration to avoid jeopardizing the progress already made.
The brief points out that when the next crisis arrives – whether it is a pandemic, financial crisis, or war – Ontario will again rely on the same structures of collaboration prominent today.
Collaboration in a Crisis is the second in a series of COVID-19 policy briefs to be released over the coming months providing insights on the impacts of the pandemic on the business community.