Feds promise recovery will focus on people hurt most by COVID-19 economic crisis

Feds promise recovery will focus on people hurt most by COVID-19 economic crisis

OTTAWA — Fixing the social and economic gaps that left women, young people and racialized Canadians to suffer the biggest economic blows from the COVID-19 pandemic is a top priority in the recovery effort, Finance Minister Bill Morneau says.

Morneau delivered a “snapshot” of the federal finances Wednesday, for the first time since the pandemic brought much of Canada’s economy to its knees.

In the update, he said the government is well aware some segments of the population are hurting more than others.

“This crisis has exposed and amplified many inequalities in Canada,” Morneau said.

The same people have in many cases also been affected more by the virus itself.

Women, youth, low-wage workers, racialized Canadians, Indigenous people and new immigrants all saw higher rates of job loss or reduced working hours and are also seeing slow, and in some cases no, benefits as the economy begins to recover.

Jobs in sectors dominated by men, such as construction and manufacturing, were faster to come back than those in service industries, tourism, and accommodation, where women and immigrants tend to be employed in bigger proportion.

New Canadians in particular have seen very little job recovery thus far, the report says.

Businesses owned by women and racialized Canadians were more likely to report drops in orders and clients, and a higher need for rent relief.

Women were also hit harder by the closing of schools and daycares, with women who have kids under the age of six reporting a significantly larger decline in hours worked than women with no children or older ones.

“Going forward, anything we do must be about growth, resilience, and creating opportunity for those who were most impacted by this crisis,” said Morneau.

“This pandemic has identified clear gaps and it’s giving us a chance to reset.”

Exactly how he plans to do that is not clear. The government has said some of the $14-billion aid package offered to provinces to help them safely reopen their economies needs to include child care investments.

“We’ve been very clear that having access to child care is going to be critically important for us to get back to work,” Morneau said in a news conference with reporters. ”Women have been harder hit through the course of this pandemic and our measures therefore need to consider that challenge.”

But a month after Ottawa put the $14 billion on the table, the provinces have not yet accepted Ottawa’s requirements for getting access to that money.

There is also little information about how the government intends to try to level the economic playing field so the gaps that led to inequalities going into the pandemic are closed.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2020.

—With files from Jordan Press

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Photo Submitted by the Gord Bamford Foundation)
Lacombe’s Gord Bamford to perform a virtual concert for a good cause

The concert aims to raise awareness for Operation Santa Clause

Alberta Health Services' central zone jumped from 162 active COVID-19 cases to 178 on Friday. Five additional deaths were reported provincewide, bringing the toll to 323. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
622 new COVID-19 cases set another daily high Friday

Province confirmed 622 additional cases Friday

The Under $100 Art Market is asking artists interested in selling their art to fill out and submit the online form. Photo courtesy Maureen MacKenzie.
Lacombe’s Under $100 Art Market returns for the second year

The market will be held during this year’s Light Up the Night festival

Alberta children whose only symptom of COVID-19 is a runny nose or a sore throat will no longer require mandatory isolation, starting Monday.
477 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta on Thursday

Changes being made to the COVID-19 symptom list for school-age children

Alisha Bryan holds a handful of poppy sticks at the poppy laying ceremony on Oct. 28. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)
Remembrance Day will look a little different this year for Lacombe

The Lacombe Legion is taking COVID-19 precautions for people who want to pay their respects.

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release that he was pleased with the labour board’s decision

(Photo Submitted by the Gord Bamford Foundation)
Lacombe’s Gord Bamford to perform a virtual concert for a good cause

The concert aims to raise awareness for Operation Santa Clause

City of Wetaskiwin Mayor presenting the AUMA Above & Beyond Award to John Maude and Susan Quinn. Ren Goode/ City of Wetaskiwin.
Wetaskiwin County residents win the AUMA Above & Beyond Award

John Maude and Susan Quinn are being recognized for their role in Wetaskiwin’s sustainability.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Pilots Ilona Carter and Jim Gray of iRecover Treatment Centres, in front of his company’s aircraft, based at Ponoka’s airport. (Perry Wilson/Submitted)
95-year-old Ilona Carter flies again

Takes to the skies over Ponoka

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a daycare in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. Alberta Children’s Services Minister Rebecca Schulz says the province plans to bring in a new way of licensing and monitoring child-care facilities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Alberta proposes legislation to change rules on child-care spaces

Record-keeping, traditionally done on paper, would be allowed digitally

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Most Read