Media Releases Mar 12, 2021

Canadian Chamber comments on Labour Force Survey: Jarring juxtaposition with International Women’s Week

(OTTAWA) – March 12, 2021 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Senior Director of Workforce Strategies and Inclusive Growth, Leah Nord, issued the following statement regarding today’s Labour Force Survey numbers:

“As expected, we saw a rebound in employment as lockdown restrictions eased in many jurisdictions in mid February.

Under the headline number, however, the pandemic has seen one third of all employment losses affecting women aged 15-24. February also showed strong improvement in unemployment, though women improved less than men (see graph below). If that weren’t troubling enough, once women have exited the workforce, they are also a full ten times more likely to experience an extended period of joblessness. Recent research by our member, RBC, showed almost 100,000 women aged 20-plus have exited the labour market entirely since the pandemic began, compared with fewer than 10,000 men.

Governments can immediately address the disproportionate impact on women with pragmatic and rapid solutions like making childcare costs tax deductible and making emergency investments to keep schools and childcare providers open.  As the k-shaped crisis continues, we also need to immediately start supporting women with job transitions – training, upskilling and reskilling into high-demand sectors and jobs.

Last fall’s Speech from the Throne promised to double the number of women entrepreneurs in the next decade, but tens of thousands of female entrepreneurs are also struggling today. What they need to keep their businesses open is help with childcare now.

As vaccinations begin to roll out in earnest, many are seeing light at the end of tunnel. In that tunnel, however, is a quickly approaching summer break for students that could lead to even more working women and entrepreneurs throwing in the towel.

There can be no doubt that COVID-19 has affected all Canadians, and there have been many families impacted in many different ways by this pandemic. For Canada’s working women and entrepreneurs, however, decades of gains are being lost and it feels increasingly as though this reversal is becoming acceptable collateral damage. As a result, International Women’s Week is particularly bittersweet this year.”

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.


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Phil Taylor