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Can the care economy ease Canada’s Covid driven ‘she-cession’?

By Paul Dennis

9 March

Armine Yalnizyan, a Canadian economist and Atkinson Fellow on the Future of Workers, shared an article on building up the care economy to recover from the recession.

According to economists, the coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately affected women’s livelihoods and pockets being dubbed as the ‘she-cession’, characterised by many more women being pushed out of the labour force due to pressures of providing caring functions to those around them.

Yalnizyan believes that the pathway to a broader economic recovery is to build up the caring economy, comprising the often invisible and unpaid workers.

The pandemic, she opines, has revealed that the economy essentially relies on the caring economy, which is currently chronically undersupplied. Consequently, governments could create better jobs keeping in mind the unpaid and unaccounted work that goes into supporting lives and people to propel economic recovery.

Abi Sriharan, an academic with the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto, stated that women have carried an increasing burden due to the Covid-19 crisis, as children have to be home-schooled and taken care of during the lockdowns.

Studies have also suggested that childcare as a complicating factor for working women even before the pandemic arrived. A 2019 Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report found that the monthly cost of childcare ranged from a median of $179 in Quebec to $1,774 in Toronto.

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