Women are in the 2021 Federal Budget

mother and child
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is Canada’s first woman Minister of Finance and she has just presented a landmark budget that, for the first time, could be described as an “equitable feminist recovery plan”.  In her budget Minister Freeland includes a fiscal plan for affordable child care, additional dedicated funds to support Canada’s National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence, as well as investments in gender equality organizations, and relief for sectors for which women make up the majority.

Paulette Senior, President and CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation described it best when she said. “Many community leaders called for an equitable feminist recovery plan…This budget makes major moves in the right direction with crucial investments that will make women and gender-diverse peoples’ lives better. And we know that when gender equity is a national priority, everybody benefits.”

We couldn’t have said it better.

Investing $30 billion into child-care puts the well-being of children front and centre, and acknowledges what stay at home parents have known for generations- child-rearing has incredible value.  This investment in the care of young Canadian children and families was framed as a“productivity measure”. What that means is that by 2025-2026 parents who want to return to the school or the workforce could pay as little a $10/day child care service. The average monthly cost of childcare (outside Quebec) is $1,258.  With this investment all Canadians could have daycare at $10 per day which would be well under $250 per month.

If this budget is rolled out as intended it could provide relief for women in a number of ways:

  • relief on interest payments, and who can access students loans.
  • $15 federal minimum wage for some sectors
  • Canadians who will be 75 years or older will receive a one-time $500 payment and a10 per cent as of July, 2022
  • extends coverage for the underemployed in the pandemic Canada Recovery Benefit by 12 weeks, to a total of 50 weeks
  • approximately $18-billion plus in new funds over the next five years for Indigenous communities across Canada

While there will be endless discussion and criticism on the budget, we at Connect want to take a moment and applaud its intent. This budget recognizes both the impact the pandemic has had on women, but also provides measures that can change the options available to us in the future.  For that we are thankful.