About the Just Recovery Principles

These principles were developed by organizations working together from communities across the country. Collectively, we are committed to a just future that puts the health and wellbeing of ALL peoples and ecosystems first, and builds a more equitable, resilient, and sustainable society.


Building on the foundation of these shared Principles of a Just Recovery, we invite organizations across the country to share their specific policy recommendations informed by the lived experiences and voices of the communities they work with and represent. We offer these principles as a shared platform by which we can amplify one another’s voices and work together towards a more resilient and just world that puts people and ecosystems first.

These Principles were adapted from the International Principles for a Just Recovery to address the specific Canadian context, as well as demonstrating alignment with the international community.

Why is a Just Recovery necessary?

The COVID-19 crisis exposed our economy as unable to meet the needs of people and the planet. The pandemic impacted historically marginalized communities the most and it is clearer now more than ever that there is an urgent need to overhaul the systems that are failing us. A Just Recovery would put people first and offer relief directly to those who need it most. We must recognize that many of us were in crisis long before COVID-19. We have a once-in-a-generation chance to make our world stronger and our economy more just, but only if we don’t repeat the same mistakes of the past. The recovery must put people first, prioritize climate action and leave no one behind.

How can my organization get involved?

We are inviting organizations and groups to sign on to the Just Recovery principles outlined here, and share them with your email lists, on social media and partnering with other groups organizing around these principles. Find out more here. With your help, we will show political leaders that there’s mass support for a Just Recovery and the movement to put people first.

What does it mean to endorse the Just Recovery principles?

We intend the Just Recovery principles to be a helpful framework for bringing together different groups dedicated to a fair and just recovery. Working together will amplify our individual efforts and demonstrate our collective power. We invite you to use the Just Recovery principles for organizing as you see fit, either as individual organizations or as a group of organizations planning something big together.

What does life ideally look like after COVID-19, from a Just Recovery perspective?

A Just Recovery future means we don’t ‘return to normal’ when normal caused masses of people and our planet to suffer. It means raising our expectations of what a post-COVID-19 ‘normal’ could look like.

COVID-19 is a wake-up call to our political leaders that people need to be put before profit, and that our flawed systems must be rebuilt.

With a Just Recovery, people will get the support they need to recover from the immediate impacts of COVID-19 along with the long-term damage caused by our systems. Life after COVID-19 would look like workers’ and communities’ safety and well-being prioritized over profits, Indigenous sovereignty, and investments in sustainable and equitable systems to build resilience against future crises.

Can any organization sign on as an endorser?

While we welcome a diverse range of organizations to get involved in the work for a Just Recovery, we will not accept endorsements from organizations promoting hate, disinformation or discrimination in any form.

How do we win a Just Recovery?

Our governments are looking for ways to rebuild the economy and right now they’re listening more than ever before — we’ve seen unprecedented measures to help people during this crisis. But at the same time, lobbyists and some political leaders will use this moment to push through drastic cuts and privatization, which would make an already bad situation much worse. We need to be louder, more visible and more organized to build and demonstrate mass public support for a Just Recovery, to provide the political space for a big, ambitious COVID-19 recovery.

I’m an individual who wants to support a Just Recovery, how can I get involved?

Right now, we are only accepting endorsements from organizations, but check our list of endorsers here to find out how you can get involved with groups organizing for a Just Recovery!

You can also help build a Just Recovery by spreading the word on social media.

Who would benefit most from a Just Recovery?

A Just Recovery would directly benefit vulnerable groups and communities in Canada, and around the world, who are most heavily impacted by COVID-19, as well as those who suffer at the hands of our current systems. While this pandemic has been hard on many Canadians, people from historically marginalized groups, including those who experience racial discrimination, housing insecurity, and low wages, have been most impacted.

A Just Recovery demands that the government invests in people’s well-being rather than corporations. It calls for our current systems, which have clearly failed so many of us during the pandemic, to be rebuilt. The government must rebuild these systems, while also taking action to prevent future crises. While a Just Recovery aims to support those who are most impacted, a move towards a more sustainable economy, better public services, and workers’ rights is good for all of us.

How will a Just Recovery affect Canada’s economy?

By investing in sustainable and equitable systems and making the transition towards a low-carbon economy, Canada will be much more prepared for any future crises that may arise.

Ensuring workers have safe and just work environments and wages will improve health outcomes. It will ensure people have the means to remain safe and healthy, reducing costs in other areas of public spending.

The climate emergency will inevitably cause further destruction to the economy in the future, so investing in a sustainable economy now will help mitigate the worst of climate catastrophe. At the same time, creating more sustainable jobs will provide opportunities for millions of Canadians, while improving the health and well-being of workers across the country. Centering Indigenous sovereignty in government decision and policy-making is key to reconciliation — and we can learn from Indigenous leaders as we tackle the climate crisis.

How will we pay for a Just Recovery?

The government currently gives billions of dollars in handouts to industries that harm our environment and communities, including the oil and gas industry. Canada also loses billions of dollars to offshore tax havens every year.

Right now, the government is working on a plan to rebuild our economy. It is likely that they will unveil a stimulus package, but it’s on all of us to ensure that money goes directly to workers and communities, not corporations. By bailing out people, not big businesses, and closing tax loopholes, we can start to build a sustainable and just future for all.

Why are the principles SO general? Why did you not specifically mention X demand?

We tried to keep the principles as broad as possible so that they would be relevant to as broad a coalition as possible. We totally support groups calling for specific demands and referencing the principles as they make these demands.

Why did you call it a “Just Recovery” and not a “healthy”, “resilient”, or “green” recovery?

We were inspired by principles and organizers in the US and internationally who started the idea of principles for a “Just Recovery” we wanted to align ourselves with global allies. We also wanted to lead with the idea that justice – fairness and equity – needed to be part of the focus of the work coming out of COVID.

What other Just Recovery Work is being done in Canada?

We’ve put together a crowdsourced guide to COVID-19 action and activism in so-called Canada. You can access this evergreen directory, which we’ve nicknamed the COVID Yellowpages, through this link here. If you’d like to make a submission to the directory, editing is open subject to approval from our moderators – we’re hoping that with your help, it will become a comprehensive guide to all community-lead COVID-19 efforts, and will act as a valuable resource for those looking to access or plug-in to these initiatives.