Queen's International Institute on Social Policy

Queen's International Institute on Social Policy
Queen's International Institute on Social Policy

2020 Queen's International Institute - Building back better: Forging a post pandemic social contract that works for all[Image] 

A weekly series of online moderated discussions
between August 25 and September 11, 2020.


View the agenda    view the slide decks     view the videos

Queen’s International Institute on Social Policy is thrilled to celebrate 25 years of leading social policy discussions of national importance.  Under the overarching theme - Building Back Better: forging a post-pandemic social contract that works for all - the 2020 Queen’s social policy conference explored how Canada and other OECD countries can rethink and reset critical building blocks of social policy in light of the fault lines exposed by the current crisis.

As Canada’s premiere social policy conference, for two and a half decades we have probed the most pressing social policy issues facing Canada and other OECD countries. At no time has social policy been so prominent in national and international debates and so critical to the future of our country as it is NOW!

This year’s conference took place as a series of on-line moderated discussions between August 25 and September 11, 2020.


Slide Decks and Videos

Expand to view a list of the available slide decks from the 2020 Queen's International Institute on Social Policy.  Videos for each session can be found using the YouTube links that appear below the list of slide decks.  

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5

Session 6

Session 7

Session 8 - No slides were used in this session.  Please see the video located in the playlist linked below.

Session 9

YouTube Logo [image]
Videos of the each presentation are available on YouTube.  View the full playlist here.  
NOTE: Videos will be added within 24 - 36 hours after the presentation date.  


By late summer 2020, although the pandemic will not be extinguished, attention will be shifting from response to recovery and renewal. To this end, the 2020 Queens’ International Institute on Social Policy will host a series of evidence-based online discussions starting in August 2020 on how Canada and other OECD countries can “build back better” and rethink critical building blocks of social policy. It will draw together leading researchers and thinkers from Canada and across the OECD to take stock of early lessons, harvest ideas from the many policy research efforts springing up in Canada and elsewhere in response to the crisis, and advance innovative policy ideas for how Western economies can lay the foundations for a sustainable and inclusive recovery and future.

Expand for more...

The Covid 19 pandemic has brought death, suffering and dislocation on a scale not seen in Western societies since WW2. It has exposed stark inequalities, the precarious nature of work and social security for many, and the consequences of allowing economic growth to become decoupled from broad-based social benefit. In the words of the Financial Times, the pandemic has “laid bare the frailty of the social contract. Radical reforms are required to forge a society that will work for all”.

Earlier shocks to Western economies of this magnitude spawned fundamental rethinking of the social order and waves of policy innovation.  One only needs to think of the response to historical pandemics or the many wartime initiatives such as Roosevelt’s New Deal, the UK’s Beveridge Report or the Marsh Report in Canada. The current crisis will create the opportunity, if not the imperative, for an equally ambitious reimagining and rebuilding of the social and economic order.

Now, in early summer 2020, policy makers in Canada and other OECD countries must focus relentlessly on the urgent and unprecedented task of keeping millions of citizens safe and of safeguarding as many livelihoods and businesses as possible. Imminently, however, the focus will shift to recovery and renewal. Soon the question will be “what have we learned” and “how do we build back better”?

  • Which countries, and which population groups, have best weathered the pandemic, in terms of health and economic impacts? Why, and what can we learn?
  • How do we better protect citizens and society as a whole from extreme shocks and setbacks?
    • How do we build greater social and economic resilience? How do we ensure no one is left behind?
  • How do we remedy clear inadequacies in the current social safety net while anticipating new and emerging challenges, whether they are technological change, new post-pandemic ways of working and producing, or events yet unforeseen?
    • Do the emergency response measures invoked by Canada and other countries point the way to systemic reform?
  • What lasting changes are likely to emerge from the pandemic’s impact on peoples’ lives and livelihoods?
    • Will there be significant shifts in what citizens’ value and what they expect from government, employers, and fellow citizens? 

Building Back Better”, the Queen’s 2020 International Institute on Social Policy, will take the form of a series of virtual discussions that draw in experts from across Canada and the OECD and ensures maximum participation from all sectors and levels of government. The program will include keynote speakers, panels, and armchair discussions with opportunities for interaction with the audience. It will be organized in three clusters:

  • Analysis of economic and social impacts, trends and policy responses across the OECD; Historical precedents and future pathways;
  • Deep dives into public policy domains most ripe for rethinking; and
  • Assessment of public attitudes and political trends that will condition societal responses.