“If we look at the impact from a health and economic point of view, it is disproportionate, on those with crossed identities. You couldn’t have an economic recovery without paying attention to who is affected and why, ”said Sarah Kaplan, executive director of the report and professor of strategic management at Rotman.
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“In fact, we won’t have an economic recovery if we don’t get to things that hold women back.
In the midst of the pandemic, the employment rate fell twice as much for Canadian women aged 25 to 54 as for men. The report also states that black, racialized, and immigrant women are much more likely to be personal support workers, housekeepers, and work in other “essential but poorly paid occupations” without paid or sick days. family leave policies.
While more data on race and gender identity is needed due to lack of availability, the report also notes that many essential workers are not protected from the effects of COVID-19, as they are migrant workers. or work in the odd-job economy.
“COVID-19 has not been the great equalizer, it has been the great revealer of existing inequalities,” Kaplan says, noting statistics showing that women are the primary caregivers for seniors and children who are not. educated.
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The report calls on governments at all levels, as well as businesses and charities, to consider eight policy goals that tackle systemic racism, focus on good jobs, protect victims of domestic violence , improve the financing of small businesses and promote diversity in decision-making. .
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Some of the specific policy recommendations focus on the childcare sector, such as increasing the wages of childcare workers and creating a fast-track path to permanent residence for migrant childcare workers. care to create “greater incentives for workers in economy-based sectors of child care such as child care.” and elder care.
Other suggestions call for updates to legislation, such as adding at least 14 paid sick days and paid family leave for all workers, lowering EI eligibility to 360 hours and increasing the benefit rate to 75 percent of earnings.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the significant gap between people who have ‘good jobs’ – those who have been able to maintain a secure income and stay healthy – and those who do not,” the report says. .
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Some of the recommendations also touch on long-term issues, such as anti-Black and anti-Indigenous homelessness and racism, that existed before the pandemic.
“A lot of people aspire to ‘get back to normal’, but the pandemic has made it clear that the old ‘normal’ is not good for everyone,” the report said.
Kaplan says it’s important to include these questions in the report because it uses a definition of “feminism” that focuses on eliminating inequalities for all.
“You can’t talk about issues that impact women without (talking about) race or disability… a lot of the people who were most at risk of losing their jobs were women or women of color,” Kaplan said, setting the example of staff for a long time. long-term care homes, many of which have had to take multiple jobs due to low wages, increasing the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.
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“With the economic plans, we are thinking of investing in infrastructure. We now need to invest in social infrastructure to improve the lives of the women who work in these services. ”
The report calls on lawmakers to step up the pace of the national housing strategy to build 125,000 affordable housing units, with a 33% exclusion for gender-focused investments. Kaplan points out that the lack of access to clean drinking water and a reliable internet in many parts of Canada – two policy issues addressed in the report – has hampered plans for caregivers of schoolchildren at home or for businesses. who hope to keep various workforce employees at bay.
The authors of the report suggest that the reconstruction plan could focus on “building a strong safety net” that “protects us all”, comparing the pandemic to the Great Depression and the world wars.
“A paradigm shift is underway. More people across Canada are now seeing the importance of feminized and racialized work to our health and well-being – where women, especially women of color and recent immigrants, lead the response to a crisis major health and prevent social fallout, ”the report said.
© 2020 The Canadian Press