Economists believe that Canadian women who are least likely to have the financial means to weather unemployment, have taken the greatest hit during months of job losses so severe that equality gains are under threat.

Armine Yalnizyan

Armine Yalnizyan, an economist, shared an article on women in Canada being disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 crisis to an extent that it threatens to roll back equality gains. According to Fay Faraday, a lawyer and professor at the Osgoode Hall Law School, this inequity is expected to continue even after the pandemic.

Her 2020 policy paper ‘Resetting Normal’, focuses on solutions designed for policymakers to build a gender-equal Canada as part of the pandemic recovery efforts. Also to grant permanent residence to migrant workers currently in Canada, and end privatisation of long-term care.

Her research exposes the systematic undervaluing of paid and unpaid care work, the inadequacy of employment for many women, and the higher concentration of racialised, black, migrant, and undocumented women on the frontline during the pandemic. These women have not just been underpaid but have also worked under precarious conditions with increased risks of exposure to the infection.

Three broad areas highlighted by the author in collaboration with Canadian Women’s Foundation, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Ontario Non-profit Network, include investments in services, policies, and infrastructure, equitable, decent working conditions, and focusing public investments on transforming care sectors such as home care, childcare, and others.

John Van Reenen

John Van Reenen, a professor of management and economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), shared an article on US President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 plan being maddeningly obvious and straightforward, when compared to Trump administrators who only looked at a vaccine to be an easy solution for the coronavirus problem and left many things undone.

The article details how rolling out vaccinations among 300 million American people and at a breakneck speed was the challenge at hand, and which only the federal government had the means to achieve.

In contrast, the Biden administration will establish a pool of 100,000 public health workers to expand vaccine outreach, enable contact tracing, and more.

In the absence of a coordinated federal effort, the process of vaccine uptake has taken longer than expected in the US, with under resourced states and local governments scrambling to bring down cases and death rates.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among the 31 million doses of the vaccine provided, only 12 million have been administered.

Andrew Sentance

Andrew Sentance, a business economist and senior advisor to the Cambridge Econometrics, shared an article on the UK economy becoming more resilient to the recent national lockdowns announced in January.

In his view, the output of the UK economy dropped by 25% during the March 2020 lockdown, before bouncing back when restrictions were eased. It further dipped during the November lockdown, but on a smaller scale.

The unexpected recovery during the November lockdown was on account of milder restrictions compared to the ones in spring and summer. Schools remained open during this time, along with measures to target the services sector mainly hospitality which encouraged social interactions. Manufacturing and construction did well, as the sectors were allowed to operate freely.

The article also detailed that the UK economy seemed to be more resilient to the lockdowns because of the ways in which consumers and households were adapting to the restrictions.

While some experts state that this may have been on account of people not complying with the restrictions, data revealed coronavirus cases to be falling by approximately 45% between November and early December 2020. This was reportedly a significant fall compared to the spring and summer lockdowns in the country.