CFUW Response to 2021 Budget

CFUW applauds federal budget’s historic investments into national child care program, gender-based violence

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Ottawa, ON – April 21, 2020

The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) welcomes the historic federal budget tabled by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland in the House of Commons on April 19, 2021.

CFUW applauds the feminist and intersectional investments targeted at those who have been hardest hit by this pandemic – women, Indigenous People, racialized Canadians, and youth. CFUW is particularly pleased to see significant investments into early learning and child care, the National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence, the implementation of the Calls for Justice and Calls to Action of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, helping seniors age at home, and climate action.

Over 50 years since the Royal Commission on the Status of Women urged Canada to establish a universal system of early learning and child care, feminists and child care advocates agree that this five-year C$30 billion investment is a pivotal moment for women’s social and economic equality. A nation-wide, affordable, accessible, well-regulated, high-quality system of early learning and child care will markedly increase women’s labour market participation and help all parents be effective contributors to the national economy. After decades of tireless activism and commitment, CFUW celebrates with other child care advocates on this historic announcement that will transform families and communities for years to come.

CFUW is additionally pleased at the $600 million investment to advance the development and implementation of a new National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence. The implementation of this plan is especially urgent given the upticks of Gender-Based Violence throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds earmarked for eliminating human trafficking, healthy relationship interventions, and programs that engage men and boys in eliminating Gender-Based Violence are particularly encouraging.

Despite these developments, there is still work to be done. While CFUW is heartened to see support for helping seniors stay in their homes longer, we anxiously await the establishment of national standards for quality-controlled care in Canada’s long-term care facilities. As almost 70% of Canada’s COVID deaths were in long-term care homes, substantive investment and action must be taken to prevent these horrific, yet avoidable, outcomes from ever happening again. CFUW recommends extending the joint federal/provincial jurisdiction already in place under the Canada Health Act to cover long-term care as a way to address the immediate and growing needs of elderly and vulnerable people in Canada.

CFUW is disappointed in the budget’s failure to establish a timeline for the establishment of a Universal Pharmacare program. A publicly funded and financially sustainable drug plan that covers necessary prescription drugs for all Canadians, regardless of their ability to pay, is long-overdue. CFUW is additionally disappointed in the budget’s failure to address a basic income program to ensure that all adult residents of Canada receive an income adequate for the necessities of life as a means of moving people out of poverty.

Nevertheless, the feminist significance of this budget cannot be understated. Over the course of the 725-page document, “women” were mentioned 669 times. Substantial and sustained investment in an early learning and child care program, a National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence, the implementation of the Calls for Justice and Calls to Action of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and helping seniors age at home will drastically improve the lives of many people living in Canada. CFUW is committed to continue our work toward social justice and gender equality to achieve a world where women and girls are educated and empowered to make transformative change in the world.