Canadian Women’s Foundation calls on government for a gender-based recovery plan 

TORONTO, ON — August 19, 2020. The Canadian Women’s Foundation has released the results of a national opinion poll highlighting public concern over the social and economic fallout of COVID-19 on women.  

Based on these findings, the Foundation is calling for federal pandemic recovery plan that employs a gender lens, in order to centre the needof diverse women and girls.  

The poll, conducted last month, found that 71 per cent of respondents are concerned that women are at higher risk of experiencing violence due to home isolation.   

The COVID-19 pandemic has already been linked to spikes in domestic violence reports and crisis calls in China, France, and the U.K. The UN has declared violence against women a growing shadow pandemic, and  20 per cent of the shelters represented by Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses have had increased crisis calls during the pandemic. 

Sixty-three per cent of respondents also are concerned over women facing more exposure to COVID-19 given their representation in high-risk service and care industries (e.g.  grocery store clerks, nursesand personal support workers).  

According to Statistics Canada, over half of all female workers (56 per cent) are employed in occupations involving the “5 Cs”: caring, clerical, catering, cashiering, and cleaning.  

And 59 per cent are concerned that women in Canada are at higher risk of losing their jobs due to COVID-19. 

The pandemic has pushed women’s participation in the labour force to its lowest level in three decades: 1.5 million women lost their jobs in the first two months of the recessionThe June Labour Force Survey showed that while women recouped one-third of employment losses, the recovery among men was more advanced: women continue to account for more than half of all job losses (53 per cent). 

Given these escalating challenges, 60 per cent of respondents say they would like to see government recovery plans specifically address the unique impacts of the pandemic on women 

“It’s clear that people in Canada are concerned about the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls,” says Paulette Senior, President and CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation.  

“They view it as a central issue that we need to do something about as a nation. Gender equity is indeed core to the well-being of all individuals and communities, and it has been proven time and time again. When women thrive and gender equity is the norm, everyone thrives.” 

These staggering results highlight the need and public demand for a genderresponsive pandemic recovery plan that addresses the experiences of diverse communities of women and Two Spirit, trans, and non-binary people. 

Thought leaders in gender equity have published frameworks and recommendations to guide Canada’s decision-makers in this effort, including the Resetting Normal report series 


An online survey was conducted by MARU/Matchbox between July 3 and 6, 2020. The research was conducted among 1,509 people from different backgrounds and identities living all over Canada. The survey was extended to people 18 years of age and over. Data is weighted to be representative of Canada on age, gender and region. 


Kate Hawkins, Manager of PR and Online Engagement, Canadian Women’s Foundation, 416-365-1444 ext. 258 


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+. 

In response to the pandemic, the Canadian Women’s Foundation launched the Tireless Together Fund: a national emergency fund to provide critical support to women and girls through the COVID-19 crisis. It will help vital services to reach women and girls now and continue to support them in the coming months.   

Those who wish to contribute can do so online at Funds raised are flexible, designed to be used by service providers in every province and territory to meet greatest needs, and ensure programs at risk of closure and interruption can continue. 

To learn more, visit, sign up for the e-newsletter, and read the blog. Follow the Foundation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn. 

Editor’s Note: When referring to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, please use the full name. Please do not abbreviate or use acronyms.