Investments open the door to gender-responsive recovery
Toronto, ON — April 19, 2021. The Canadian Women’s Foundation welcomes the investments in women and gender equality announced in today’s federal budget, presented by Canada’s first woman Minister of Finance, which proposes significant funding for child care, investments toward women’s economic well-being, a national action plan on gender-based violence, and increased supports for gender-based violence services.
“The pandemic impacts diverse women in profound ways, threatening gender equality gains Canada has made,” says Paulette Senior, President and CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation. “Many community leaders called for an equitable feminist recovery plan to address it. This budget makes major moves in the right direction with crucial investments that will make women and gender-diverse peoples’ lives better. And we know that when gender equity is a national priority, everybody benefits.”
The announced federal investments are particularly important for communities hardest hit due to long-standing income disparities and discrimination. This includes Black, Indigenous, and racialized women, newcomer women, and single mothers.
Affordable child care, long the missing support for millions of families, has been placed front and centre in the announced budget with $30 billion committed over 5 years, reaching $8.3 billion on a permanent basis. Combined with other strategic economic investments, it represents a major economic stimulus to remedy the workplace losses, unpaid care responsibilities, and potentially, the chronic gendered pay gap that has seen women pushed out of the labour market at historic rates since the start of the pandemic.
Listen to our breakdown of the 2021 Federal Budget on our podcast, Alright, Now What?
Progress on a comprehensive ten-year framework for the National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence will continue with this budget, with an overall investment of $600 million. The plan responds to populations with highest risk of this violence and least access to supports, such as survivors in rural and remote areas, Indigenous women, and women with disabilities. We are encouraged by the $200 million investment to support gender-based violence organizations over the next 2 years.
The Foundation particularly welcomes to the investment in women’s and gender equality organizations, which have been struggling to provide essential supports and programs to women, girls, gender-diverse people, and communities. The Foundation also notes the investments made in improving women-majority care sectors, such as the investments in long-term care, along with the introduction of a $15.00 per hour federal minimum wage. Most minimum wage-earners are women.
Additionally, renewed investment in the Social Finance Fund will promote entrepreneurship and innovation, and help women develop greater economic prosperity in this challenging time. And the Community Services Recovery Fund will provide crucial support to equity-seeking organizations, so they can increase capacity to meet community needs.
We are also pleased to see $2.5 billion invested over 7 years towards the development of affordable housing. Women in Canada face significant barriers to accessing safe, cost-effective housing. In particular, the $315.4 million in rent-support allocated to women and children fleeing violence, and the $250 million reallocated to transitional housing and shelter spaces.
“With this budget, the federal government has made strides toward an economic recovery that focusses on what everyone needs,” says Paulette Senior. “It centres the concerns of marginalized women and women-majority care workers. They are the ones who have been taking care of Canada in the pandemic. Their safety, well-being, and economic opportunities represents the best return on investment for all families and communities.”
- 10 times more women than men have fallen out of the labour force since last year (RBC Economics, 2021).
- The COVID-19 pandemic has been linked to spikes in gender-based violence reports and crisis calls around the world, including Canada. New research shows that 160 women and girls were killed by violence in 2020. More data on cause is needed, but this rise from 2019 is a red flag (Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability, 2021).
- Women-focused nonprofit organizations in Canada get the lesser share of funding, donations and tax benefits, and 80 per cent of Canada’s non-profit sector is populated by underpaid women workers (Resetting Normal, Imagine Canada).
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ABOUT THE CANADIAN WOMEN’S FOUNDATION
The Canadian Women’s Foundation is a national leader in the movement for gender equality in Canada. Through funding, research, advocacy, and knowledge sharing, the Foundation works to achieve systemic change that includes all women. By supporting community programs, the Foundation empowers women and girls to move themselves out of violence, out of poverty, and into confidence and leadership.
Launched in 1991 to address a critical need for philanthropy focused on women, the Canadian Women’s Foundation is one of the largest women’s foundations in the world. With the support of donors, the Foundation has raised more than $100 million and funded over 1,900 programs across the country. These programs focus on addressing the root causes of the most critical issues, and helping women and girls who face the greatest barriers.
The Canadian Women’s Foundation aims to be inclusive of diverse people across gender and sexuality spectrums. We focus our efforts on supporting those who face the most barriers and have least access to relevant services. This includes people who identify as women, girls, trans, genderqueer, non-binary, and 2SLGBTQI+.
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