The Lindsay Advocate is one of 3,600 organizations or individuals across Canada to sign a statement of support just released today to ask for basic income to be made a federal policy. The statement is directed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, and other cabinet ministers.
Released today by the Basic Income Canada Network and other organizations, a “Statement on Basic Income: A Case for Women,” makes the case that women, especially, have been impacted harder than men during the pandemic and a basic income would not have left so many people out.
“COVID-19 has intensified many harmful, systemic issues affecting women. Rates of domestic violence have risen across the country. Unpaid caring work has skyrocketed. Among these systemic issues, income insecurity is one of the most severe—and this too is not new. In December 2019, 68 per cent of women who were unemployed did not receive EI benefits. While CERB has helped many of these women who shoulder both employment and care-giving responsibilities, it is coming to an end far too soon,” the statement reads.
The statement also notes that CERB “continues to leave too many women out, including those who had far too little income before the pandemic hit.”
“A basic income, a regular payment made through the tax system to an individual, would not leave people out. It provides enough money so that everyone can meet their needs, participate meaningfully in society, and live with confidence and dignity, regardless of employment, disability, race, Indigenous identity, sex, gender identity, or parental or marital status.”
Also signed by four sitting senators, university professors, and organizations from across Canada, the statement also notes that basic income should work “in synergy with child care, housing, pharmacare, dental care, and other public services. It must be pursued along with living wages, pay equity, and closing the gender wage gap.”
Women, particularly racialized women, are over-represented in high-risk essential positions, and bear the brunt of jobs lost. More than 50 per cent of their hours have been reduced. Women also make up 92 per cent of nursing jobs, 80 per cent of medical lab technicians, 75 per cent of respiratory therapists, 90 per cent of personal support workers, 99 per cent of child care providers, 75-80 per cent of community and social service jobs, 84 per cent of cashiers, 72 per cent of food prep, and 71 per cent of cleaners.
“Our lives and our economy depend on women. Their income security must be a priority.”
The statement urges the federal government to extend CERB benefits so that women with insufficient income who are currently ineligible will not face destitution, and to “transition as quickly as possible from temporary benefits to a permanent basic income to ensure all adults in Canada are able to meet needs and be part of rebuilding a healthier society and economy.”
To read the full statement and see all the signatories, click here.