Established by the President of the Royal Society of Canada in April 2020, the RSC Task Force on COVID-19 was mandated to provide evidence-informed perspectives on major societal challenges in response to and recovery from COVID-19. 

The Task Force established a series of Working Groups to rapidly develop Policy Briefings, with the objective of supporting policy makers with evidence to inform their decisions. 

Full Report

Executive Summary

Overview of Renewing the Social Contract: Economic Recovery in Canada from COVID-19

COVID-19 has exposed the inadequacy of Canada’s crisis response infrastructure and policies. But it has exposed much broader and deeper systemic problems that flow from how we have chosen to organize our society. We have discovered the scale and depth of the Canadian precariat-those individuals and households who live with combinations of insecure income with little or no savings to rely on, employment, housing and residency which make for a profoundly and relentlessly insecure life. COVID-19 has shown us how the unintended creation of the precariat, through decades-long pursuit of lower labour costs, has created a large pool of individuals who simply cannot afford to follow policies that are essential for the good of society. COVID-19 has exposed the reality that our society and economy are two sides of the same coin. 

Authors of the Report

Vic Adamowicz, Professor, Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Alberta

Robin Boadway, David Chadwick Smith Emeritus Professor of Economics, Queen’s University

Christopher S. Cotton, Professor, Jarislowsky-Deutsch Chair in Economic & Financial Policy, Director, John Deutsch Institute for the Study of Economic Policy, Queen’s University

Evelyn Forget, Professor, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba

Richard Gold, James McGill Professor, McGill Faculty of Law and McGill Faculty of Medicine, Director, Centre for Intellectual Property Policy, and Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation

Esyllt Jones, Professor, Departments of History and Community Health Sciences, Dean of Studies, St John’s College, University of Manitoba

Fabian Lange, Professor, McGill University, Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Research Fellow of IZA, Member of CIRANO, Research Affiliate of the University of Oslo, Norway, Canada Research Chair of Labour and Personnel Economics

Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin, Professor, Polytechnique Montreal, CEO of CIRANO, Visiting scientistat Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health

Christopher McCabe (Chair), Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Health Economics, Alberta, Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta

Stuart Peacock, Professor and Leslie Diamond Chair in Cancer Survivorship, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Head, Cancer Control Research, BC Cancer, Co-Director, Canadian Centre for Applied Research in Cancer Control (ARCC)

Lindsay Tedds, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, and Scientific Director, Fiscal and Economic Policy, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

Dan Breznitz, Professor, the Munk Chair of Innovation Studies and the Co-Director of the Innovation-Policy Lab at the University of Toronto and a Co-Director and Fellow of Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Program on Innovation, Equity & the Future of Prosperity
*Dan Breznitz is an author on chapter 4 of the report but not a member of the Working Group An RSC Policy Briefing 4

Stewart Elgie, Professor, Law and Economics, University of Ottawa, Chair, Smart Prosperity Institute
**Stewart Elgie is a co-author on chapters 3 and 4 only

For further information or for media requests, contact Russel MacDonald at

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