Yesterday, the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance, Mona Fortier spoke with Grant Robertson, New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
Minister Fortier thanked Deputy Prime Minister Robertson for New Zealand’s effective leadership through the hosting of this year’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings, and reiterated Canada’s commitment to continue working collaboratively though this forum to advance inclusive economic growth for all.
The ministers discussed challenges brought about by the global COVID-19 pandemic and Canada and New Zealand’s responses to keep people safe and healthy through rollout of safe, effective and free vaccines. Both countries entered the pandemic in a strong fiscal position, which has allowed the government to take quick and decisive action, support people and businesses, and make historic investments in the recovery.
Minister Fortier took the opportunity to highlight Canada’s Quality of Life Framework that was used for the first time ever to integrate quality of life considerations into Budget 2021 decision-making. She thanked Deputy Prime Minister Robertson for the pioneering leadership of New Zealand in releasing and implementing well-being budgets that go beyond traditional economic metrics like GDP.
Minister Fortier reiterated Canada’s commitment to a decision-making process that strengthens gender equality, and highlighted the recent investment of $30 billion through Budget 2021 to develop an affordable and high quality early learning and child care system throughout Canada that will be a transformative program for families from coast to coast to coast.
Ministers discussed the impact the pandemic had on mental health. Both countries have invested in young mental health supports through their respective budgets. They also acknowledged that housing affordability is a key economic and social issue for both Canada and New Zealand. They also highlighted the objective of both governments to keep life affordable and ensure all citizens have a place to call home.
Minister Fortier looks forward to this year’s discussions of the APEC Finance Ministers’ Process, including the Informal Finance Ministerial Meeting with the APEC Business Advisory Council that will take place on June 24.