The federal government’s plan to establish a national $10-a-day childcare plan is laudable and an “extremely important” initiative that will benefit Canada overall, says Scotiabank’s Chief Financial Officer Raj Viswanathan.

He was pleasantly surprised to see the initiative within the recently tabled budget — which earmarks $30 billion over the next five years to create a national childcare system.  

“More often than not, women are the ones who set aside their career ambitions to ensure that their children receive quality care and education. I know we did, in our own family,” he said. “So, providing greater flexibility to families to find childcare arrangements that are best suited for them, it’s good for women, it's good for families and it's good for the country as a whole.”

In the latest episode of our podcast series looking at the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, Viswanathan also talks about how lessons from the global financial crisis helped Canada navigate the pandemic’s economic impact and the key role immigration plays in Canada’s growth story, which he benefitted from himself coming to the country more than 20 years ago.

Immigration to Canada has slowed since the onset of the pandemic, but Ottawa has increased its targets for the next three years as part of its efforts to the economic recovery. These new targets of 401,000 permanent residents in 2021, 411,000 in 2022 and 421,000 in 2023 are forecast to boost real GDP in Ontario and Quebec alone by up to $3.8 billion collectively during that time, a recent Scotiabank Economics report said.

“In my view, immigration is a big part of the growth story in in Canada, has been for many, many years,” said Viswanathan. “It will continue to be. And in the short-term as a recovery happens, the borders open up, travel starts once again, immigrants start coming in, you’ll see a lot of positive momentum in the Canadian economy.”

  • Listen to other episodes of Pandenomics here.