Women in “precarious employment” are among those hit hardest by the job losses brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
In its survey, the CCPA found that more than 80% of the workforce currently benefiting from the federal financial assistance program – amounting to around 4.7 million Canadians – will likely receive nothing once CERB switches over to EI.
More than half of this at-risk segment is comprised of women, the CCPA said. The study also indicated that since 2017, women comprised the majority of low-wage workers in Canada.
Toronto resident Judy Li’s situation is emblematic of the crisis hounding Canada’s women workers: Ever since the coronavirus broke out, she’s lost her restaurant job, and she’s working only a few hours every week as a temp at a transportation company.
The shift from CERB to EI will cut down her monthly aid check to just $1,000, The Toronto Star reported.
“It’s not enough,” Li said. “To live in Toronto is a huge cost.”
These results followed the July release of a survey of more than 1,400 people by the Workers’ Action Centre in Toronto. The study found that around 45% were unemployed at the time, while 16% were on part-time employment.
“The incredible stress and fear of what was going to happen to people in their families from the uncertainty really seep through many of the comments,” said Mary Gellatly of Parkdale Community Legal Services, which analyzed the survey results. “Even for people who were able to get by on CERB amounts, a number of people pointed out that they have no savings left.”