Canada’s unions call for a feminist recovery plan

September 20, 2020

Canada’s unions are marking Gender Equality Week by calling on the federal government to ensure a recovery plan that is rooted in equity and leaves no one behind.

This year’s week-long commemoration is happening against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Speech from the Throne.

“This pandemic has laid bare the gender inequities in our society,” said Marie Clarke Walker, Secretary Treasurer of the Canadian Labour Congress. “Even before COVID 19 hit, the realities for women in the workplace and in our economy were already at crisis level. The pandemic has amplified existing barriers to women’s economic justice, like wage discrimination, sexual harassment and violence, and the lack of affordable child care. Now, more than ever, we are urging Canada’s federal government to prioritize a feminist recovery plan that is inclusive and equitable.”

To address the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women, Canada’s unions are calling on the federal government to take immediate action to:

Fix the Child Care Crisis: The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated just how essential child care is for working families and our economy. It is clear there can be no economic recovery without high quality, accessible, affordable, public child care.

End Wage Discrimination: Women have fought for pay equity for decades, and although a proactive pay equity act was passed in 2018, the legislation hasn’t taken effect. Advocates are calling on the federal government work with unions and employers to develop pay equity regulations and bring the law into force by 2021.

End Sexual Harassment and Violence: With the spike in domestic violence, homicide and cyberbullying since the onset of the pandemic, action on gender-based violence has never been more urgent. Canada needs a National Action Plan on Violence Against Women that is robust, long-term, cross-jurisdictional and adequately funded. Add your voice.

Make Work Fair: We know that women, newcomers and racialized workers have been disproportionately impacted by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the economy has gradually reopened, job gains have been slower for women than men. To address these gaps, the federal government should appoint a Care Economy Commission to study, design and implement a care strategy, strengthen employment laws to improve working conditions, and improve access to training for women and marginalized workers.

“Women already bore the weight of most of the unpaid care and domestic work in Canadian households, and now they make up the majority of people who have lost jobs or hours of work since the COVID-19 crisis began,” continued Walker. “We need federal leadership to ensure a just and equitable economic recovery that secures fair and decent work for all and leaves no one behind. If Canada is going to emerge as a global leader from this crisis, we need a feminist recovery plan that moves us all forward, together.”

Learn more about the CLC’s new recovery campaign here. To take action on gender inequality, visit DoneWaiting.ca.

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