CALGARY – Business leaders say Canadian women suffer disproportionately from the COVID-19 pandemic, many struggling to balance working from home and childcare, while many cannot continue to work full time.

Thursday also marked Women’s Entrepreneurship Day in Canada.

“We talk to women entrepreneurs and their main concern is child care,” said Leah North of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber also has a women’s advocacy group calling for swift action by the federal government to specifically deal with working women.

Nord suggested that the federal wage subsidy program should also allow for a child care provision, “so that female employers can babysit their children so that they can open their businesses and then employ (people).”

The chamber is also calling for rapid testing to be introduced in schools and daycares to help them stay open.

In addition, he says Canada needs coordinated funding for child care so women can return to work.

According to September Labor Force Survey According to Statistics Canada, men and women returned to work at similar rates, but working mothers were more likely to miss half of their working hours, with a frequency 70% higher than in February (before the pandemic).

“This is probably due to the fact that working mothers take care of children and the elderly – and have had to take time off work for periods of isolation and so on. Said the Stats Can website.

Additionally, the Canadian chamber said the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic are large employers of women, including retail, hospitality and child care.

“We need workers in the workforce and women make up 50 percent of that workforce,” Nord said. “We cannot envision an economic recovery without having women in the workforce.”

Airdrie Company wins entrepreneurship scholarship

BMO Financial Group provided a grant to 10 women-owned businesses to mark Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, including an Airdrie business called the Lathered Cleaning Company.

Its founders are a pair of friends who say they provide an affordable cleaning service to help working moms, while their staff have the flexibility to allow for a work-life balance.

All of their employees in their Alberta franchises are women.

“I feel like it’s so important for us to be able to offer affordable cleaning because it’s something we don’t have a lot of time for,” said Kristin Verbeek, co-owner.

Their biggest concern is giving their staff time to balance work and childcare, as recently some staff have canceled shifts at the last minute due to isolation guidelines amid the pandemic. . in most cases, “mom” is the one to stay home when a child has symptoms or is exposed.

“It is certainly an issue that if the address would allow many more women to be able to work as much as they need or want,” said co-founder Meghan Peters.

Alberta’s Minister of Status of Women has said that since the start of the pandemic, the province, together with the federal government, has invested $ 99 million in child care.

In a statement to CTV News, Leela Sharon Aheer said. “This funding was provided to help daycares stay open, operate safely, and help parents return to work. “

“The sector employs nearly 18,000 early childhood educators, the vast majority of whom are women.

In a press release, she added that “this last year has been particularly difficult. The pressures of the economy and the pandemic have taken their toll on everyone in our province, but especially on our business owners.

“I want to congratulate the innovative and creative women entrepreneurs of our province who have adapted to the unimaginable and found new ways to connect with their clients and the community.


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