2020 Ontario Budget Lacks Clear Investments for Women

November 6, 2020 -- The 2020 Ontario budget contains some important investments for families and businesses but fails to address the needs of women and racialized communities, according to YWCA Toronto, the city’s largest multi-service organization serving women, girls and gender-diverse people.

While the budget contains $30 million in new funding for congregate settings and commits to creating 30,000 new child care spots over the next five years, it falls short of a transformative commitment to affordable child care for families, an action plan against gender-based violence during a time of heightened instability, clear investments in gender-responsive employment programs, or mention of the specific challenges facing Ontario’s non-profit sector.

“Crucial investments that help women and their families during a time of unprecedented hardship are missing,” says Heather McGregor, CEO of YWCA Toronto. “You cannot talk about recovery from a pandemic that is clearly gendered and racialized without comprehensive investments in women. Women continue to be the caring fibre of families and communities.”

The YWCA has called on the government to prioritize issues that disproportionately affect women and gender-diverse people including universal child care and decent pay for educators; a wage enhancement for frontline workers in the social services sector; an increase in social assistance rates; a robust plan to reduce poverty and address gender-based violence; and investments for the non-profit sector, which is a women-majority sector. All of these investments are missing from the budget.

“It’s wonderful the budget contains $181 million for employment and training services but without a clear commitment to gender-responsive employment options, will this money actually support women’s entry or re-entry into the labour market?” asks Jasmine Ramze Rezaee, YWCA Toronto’s Director of Advocacy and Communications. “We cannot expect women to carry the burden of this pandemic and then fail to provide gender-responsive investments. There is ultimately no comprehensive equity framework or gender lens in this budget.”

YWCA Toronto is committed to working with the Province of Ontario to create a society free from poverty, violence and discrimination – where all women, girls and gender-diverse people thrive and the interests of women are well-represented in government policy and budgetary considerations.

About YWCA Toronto:
YWCA Toronto is the city’s leading women’s organization. We help women and gender-diverse people escape violence, move out of poverty, and access safe, affordable housing. www.ywcatoronto.org

Media Contact:
Marika Motiwalla, Manager of Marketing and Communications, mmotiwalla@ywcatoronto.org, 416-660-9483.