Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

March 06, 2009 13:13 ET

International Women's Day March 8, 2009

What Ontario Women Need in this Budget

Attention: Assignment Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, OFL STATEMENT--(Marketwire - March 6, 2009) - "Women can't be left behind in this recession," said Irene Harris, Ontario Federation of Labour officer responsible for women's issues. "Women and families need help in these troubled times, they need the support of our public services and jobs with equal pay for work of equal value."

"Infrastructure spending must be part of stimulating the economy but we need 'software' to go with the 'hardware'. This includes a child care system and more jobs in female-dominated sectors like health care, social services and education. Now is the time to hire staff in all of these areas. In exchange we get more jobs and more services," Harris said.

The OFL has joined with anti-poverty groups calling for real government actions to end poverty. We know that the face of poverty in Ontario is female. Over half of all low income children are in lone mother-led families; in Ontario 1.2 million workers earn less than $10 per hour - they are predominately women, youth and New Canadians. Raising the minimum wage to a living wage would give women, families and the economy a huge stimulus and help so many struggling families to finally get over the poverty line.

The 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction's Blueprint for Economic Stimulus and Poverty Reduction in Ontario would be a good place to start implementing measures that would help women immediately, such as: $100 Healthy food supplement for adults on social assistance; an increase to the child benefit, building new affordable child care spaces and building affordable housing.

Recessions affect everyone, but many - especially those at the bottom end of the income spectrum - experience greater hardship. During the last recession in the early 1990s, low-income and poor Ontarians were the first to fall and the last to rise.

"This government owes working women thousands of dollars in pay equity money," said Harris. "Over 100,000 women, doing society's most valuable work, - child care workers, children's services, women's shelters - have been under-valued and underpaid for decades. A very real stimulus for our economy is to pay these women immediately. They will spend it in their local community buying food and shelter.

"When we come out of this recession women and families must be stronger and on a more equal footing if our society is going to prosper."

/For further information: Irene Harris
OFL Secretary-Treasurer
416.347.0454 (cellular)/ IN: LABOUR, MEDIA, POLITICS, OTHER

Contact Information

  • Dana Boettger
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    Secondary Phone: 416-443-7665
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