The following open letter was written by YWCA Ontario, a coalition of the 11 YWCAs in Ontario, and signed by more than 30 activists and community organizations. This letter kicks off YWCA Ontario’s #SheCessionON campaign. Add your voice to the campaign by clicking HERE
[PDF version of this letter HERE]
October 13, 2021
Dear Premier Ford and Ontario political parties,
We made it through the most trying days of the pandemic thanks to the work of women, both paid and unpaid.
We continue to rely on women to keep it together for our kids, for our workplaces, for our isolated neighbours and aging parents as this pandemic wears on. Many have buckled under the weight of it all.
We have heard from all levels of government that this pandemic has brought on a she-cession. It is the first time a global economic crisis has disproportionately impacted women, particularly those who are Black, Indigenous, racialized, LGBTQ2S+, newcomers and those living with disabilities.
We saw employment figures for men quickly rebound, while women’s workforce participation is only slowly recovering after dropping to levels not seen in 30 years.
We have been waiting to hear tangible solutions for tackling the she-cession. The Ontario speech from the throne earlier this month made no mention of it and there has been no targeted strategy to address this large part of the labour force.
This economic crisis requires transformative intervention. Task forces and tax credits are not enough. Ontario needs a plan to end this she-cession once and for all.
In June 2022 — only eight months away — Ontarians will go to the polls to elect a new government. We want to start this conversation now to ensure that each and every candidate in this upcoming election is focused on creating a feminist recovery.
As community organizations and advocates from across the province, we are speaking up to demand a concrete plan. This plan must include:
• Investment in long-term, sustainable, gender-focused upskilling and training to help women access well-paying jobs;
• Signing on to the federal child care plan to create a public and non-profit-led, universal, high-quality, affordable child care system; and,
• Enactment of standards for decent work conditions to improve labour and employment standards in feminized industries.
We will be watching each party’s platform and reporting back to our communities in the run-up to the 2022 provincial election. We will not let these pressing issues fade into the background.
Now is the time to make a difference. This pandemic is not over – and neither is the she-cession. We need a plan to end it and we need it now.
Community YWCA of Muskoka
YWCA Kitchener Waterloo
YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin
YWCA Niagara Region
YWCA Peterborough Haliburton
Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care
Inner City Health Associates
Women’s Health in Women’s Hands CHC
North York Women’s Centre (NYWC)
Embrave Agency to End Violence (Formerly Interim Place)
Ontario Nonprofit Network
Jay Pitter Placemaking Inc.
Workers’ Action Centre
Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario
Woman Abuse Council of Toronto (WomanACT)
The Neighbourhood Group Community Services
Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
Toronto Rape Crisis Centre Multicultural Women Against Rape
FCJ Refugee Centre
Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam
Daily Bread Food Bank
Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC)
Rexdale Women’s Centre
Black Health Alliance
City for All Women Initiative (CAWI)
Social Planning Toronto