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Government announces members of new Task Force on Women in the Economy

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Today, the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, and the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance, the Honourable Mona Fortier, announced the members of a new Task Force on Women in the Economy. This group will harness the best ideas from a diverse group of experts from different sectors of the economy to advise the government on a feminist, intersectional action plan that addresses issues of gender equality in the wake of the pandemic. The Task Force on Women in the Economy will be co-chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Associate Minister of Finance.

The Task Force is comprised of women from across the country who bring with them a diverse range of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, offering perspectives from many lived experiences. Their expertise from the worlds of business, health, not-for-profit, child care, labour, academia, and advocacy will inform the government’s plan to create jobs and growth.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unequal impact on Canadians, particularly women. Mothers, women in low-income jobs, essential workers, and racialized women have experienced steeper losses in jobs, hours, and wages, been slower to return to work, and lost many of the hard won gains towards a more equal economy. The government recognizes that a robust and inclusive recovery is necessarily also a feminist recovery.

The Task Force will hold its first in a series of meetings in early March, in the lead-up to Budget 2021.


“Over the past year we have seen the alarming impact of this pandemic on women’s economic participation. We’ve seen the mothers who stepped back at work so they could take on child care responsibilities at home. We’ve seen shuttered salons and restaurants where many women in our neighbourhoods earn a living. And we’ve seen massive layoffs or hours cut back for low-wage essential jobs, where women are over-represented. Canada’s future prosperity and competitiveness depend on the ability of women to participate equally – and fully – in our workforce. I look forward to working with all of these women on the new Task Force and working to ensure our government’s plan provides every Canadian woman and girl with the opportunity to succeed.”

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

“We know that women have paid a particularly high price due to the impacts of the pandemic. The steep job losses have impacted women the most. Mothers have had to take on more responsibilities around the home to support children who are learning virtually. And women have been at the forefront of our collective fight against COVID-19, as they represent the majority of essential workers in healthcare, education and other core frontline sectors. Today, on International Women’s Day, I am proud to announce the members of the new Task Force on Women in the Economy. Their diverse perspectives will help our government make smart, targeted investments through Budget 2021 and beyond to advance gender equity and address the systemic barriers and inequities faced by women, including Black, Indigenous, and people of color – so that Canada’s economic recovery leaves no one behind.”

The Honourable Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance

Quick Facts

  • As of January, 8.4 per cent of women who were working in February 2020 have been laid off or had their usual hours cut by more than half compared to 6.2 per cent of men.
  • Since February 2020, more than 80,000 women aged 15 and older have left the labour force compared with about 25,000 men.
  • Women represented the majority or workers in industries most affected by pandemic-related restrictions, such as service, hospitality, and tourism sectors.
  • Women who earn low wages faced larger employment losses between February and April 2020 than men who earn low wages (41 per cent versus 34 per cent). For young women, employment in January 2021 was down 19 per cent relative to January 2020 levels, compared to 11 per cent for young men, 5 per cent for all women, and 3 per cent for all men.
  • The members of the Task Force on Women in the Economy are:
    • Morna Ballantyne, Executive Director of Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada
    • Sophie Brochu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hydro‑Québec
    • Geneviève Colverson, social justice lawyer and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Capital Pride
    • Frances Donald, Global Chief Economist and Global Head of Macroeconomic Strategy for Manulife Investment Management
    • Jocelyn Formsma, Executive Director of the National Association of Friendship Centres
    • Lorna Harnum, International Representative with the International Union of Operating Engineers
    • Dr. Carla Hilario, Assistant Professor with the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta
    • Carole James, Canadian politician and former public administrator
    • Nancy Karetak-Lindell, former Canadian politician and on the board of directors of Northwestel
    • Claudette McGowan, Global Executive Officer for Cyber Security at TD Bank
    • Andrée-Lise Méthot, Founder and Managing Partner of Cycle Capital Management
    • Kim Novak, President of UFCW 1518
    • Maya Roy, Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Canada
    • Kirsten Sutton, Chief Technology and Information Officer at Vancity
    • Dr. Lindsay Tedds, Associate Professor in the Department of Economics and Scientific Director, Fiscal and Economic Policy, School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary
    • Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed, Assistant Dean of Serving and Engaging Society for Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Medicine and Chair of the Board of Engage Nova Scotia
    • Raylene Whitford, Founder and Director of ‎Canative Energy
    • Armine Yalnizyan, Atkinson Foundation’s Fellow on the Future of Workers

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