(photo by Andrés Ignacio Carli/ World Bank)
From protecting the health of citizens to grappling with short-term and long-term damage to the economy, governments around the world face unprecedented challenges in coping with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s according to Michael Sabia, director of the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, who, in an op-ed for the Globe and Mail, identified three distinct tests that governments face amid the prevailing crisis.
The most fundamental test has to do with protecting citizens from the virus, Sabia writes, noting that the response has varied from country to country. “Here in Canada, we are seeing good co-operation among public-health authorities. Experts are advising political leaders who appear to be listening,” he says.
The second test concerns economic assistance for citizens and small businesses, with Sabia calling on the government to dig deep into its pockets to help Canadians.
“Canada’s ratio of debt to GDP is the best in the Group of Seven,” he says. “We have the firepower. Use it.”
Finally, governments will need to grapple with how to eventually re-start their economies and re-shape them to “secure our future prosperity in what will likely be a changed world.”