Pamela Palmater: Do federal platforms address needs of women in Canada’s economic recovery?


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TORONTO, ONT – There is less than a week to go before election day and federal leaders continue to campaign across the country on issues they think are most important to Canadians, including the pandemic. Remedy, housing, long-term care home, health. Care, climate change, jobs and the economy.

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While there has been some attention on both the debate and campaign trail on child care, the issue has not featured as prominently as the issues of long-term care homes or job creation, for example. This represents a real failure on the part of party leaders to show Canadians that women’s issues are integral to the country’s overall economic, social and climate health and, most importantly, to support or exclude women. To how social supports work together.

The three main parties – the Liberals, the Conservatives and the NDP – have all made the same promise of creating one million jobs. What we didn’t hear is how each party is planning to specifically target jobs for women who were disproportionately affected during the pandemic.


The number of women who have left jobs since the start of the pandemic is ten times the number of men. Women work heavily in industries that were declared essential services during the pandemic, yet these heroes are disproportionately represented among those earning minimum wage or less.

We also know that 90% of the staff working in long-term care homes are women and 91% of the nurses who care for our family members in hospitals are women. Across all industries, women still earn much less than men – 23% less. For Indigenous women, the number is 35% lower.

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Therefore, the post-pandemic path should be more than just creating jobs – it should also be about providing the social services and wages needed to support women in order to be able to access these jobs – many of which are important. The health and well-being of our families.

If we know that women are working in long-term care homes and nursing critical care in our hospitals, we must not only ensure that federal parties have better pay plans, But many will never find work – no matter what the salary – if they do not have access to affordable child care. To this end, Liberals promises to work towards a $10/day daycare and has already signed agreements with most provinces and territories to help increase spaces and reduce costs.

The NDP has made the same promise for $10/day daycare, but conservatives will end agreements with provinces after the first year and focus on tax credits. according to independent financial analysis, women and families would be far better off with the Liberals and the Conservatives with the NDP plan, better than $10,000 per family.

In order to support women to work and access these one million promised jobs, they not only need access to affordable daycare, but also affordable housing. NS statistics show More than 25% of all Canadian households with children are single parent families and about 88% of those families are headed by single women. This is especially so for indigenous families where 34% live single parent home And more than 80% are led by single Indigenous mothers. To that end, liberals are pledging to build or repair 1.4 million homes over four years, and banning foreign ownership is driving up home prices.

The NDP promises to build half a million affordable homes over ten years and preserve 1.7 million homes over the next four years, and to impose a 20% tax on foreign buyers. The Conservatives promise to build 1 million new homes over three years, incentivize developers with deferred capital gains taxes and also impose restrictions on foreign ownership. What these promises lack, are plans to address how women, especially single-parent women, will benefit.

We also know from national investigations into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls that Indigenous women suffer from high rates of domestic violence, state violence, and social violence. Thus, a concrete housing plan in an Indigenous context must also include safe access to temporary, transitional and permanent housing, which has been the cause of the historic and ongoing genocide, systemic racism and violations many faced by Indigenous women and children over generations. responsible for overlapping crises. of their basic human rights.

Women in general, but Indigenous women in particular, are disproportionately affected by climate change and thus require special measures to meet housing needs that Canadian women may not face – such as Arctic ice melt, floods and other climate issues. Additionally, many First Nations women and households lack access to clean drinking water and sanitation on the reserve, which means that federal commitments to address both climate change and access to clean water are an effort to support Indigenous women. Should be part of the comprehensive package.

To this end, the Liberals are promising a National Indigenous Habitat Strategy, $2 billion for housing on the reserve, additional shelter and an end to all water advisories. The NDP also promises to end all water advisories, create a National Indigenous Habitat Strategy, contribute money to shelters, and fix mold in existing homes on the reserve. Conservatives also promise a National Indigenous Housing Strategy, but no specific funding commitments for new homes. Instead, his platform indicates that indigenous communities should be supported to meet their housing needs. With respect to clean water on the reserve, Conservatives will only target high-risk water systems and have no specific commitment to addressing the special situation of indigenous women.

Promises to increase jobs, address aging, create affordable child care and increase access to affordable housing are all important initiatives by federal party leaders. However, it is important to evaluate these platforms to see which party has plans that will target women in these initiatives to ensure that they are not unequally excluded. This is especially true of Indigenous women, who face additional barriers from systemic racism, violence and discrimination on a daily basis.

Canada’s economic, social and climate health going forward depends on federal party leaders who combine social support to target women and the centuries-old discrimination against women and Indigenous women in Canada. Eliminate genocide.

Pamela Palmeter is a Mikamaw lawyer specializing in indigenous and human rights law. She is the Chair of Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University.


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