Budget 2021 will invest in women’s economic recovery

News release

April 27, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Finance Canada

While COVID-19 has affected all Canadians, women have been disproportionately affected. In the labour market, women were hit earlier and harder, and their jobs continue to recover more slowly. Long-standing gender inequities have only been amplified over the course of the pandemic—and it has put decades of hard-fought gains for women in the workplace at risk. Today, more than 16,000 women have dropped out of the labour force completely, while the number of men in the labour force has grown by 91,000.

Budget 2021 lays out an expansive jobs and growth plan that seeks to address the unequal impact of the COVID-19 recession on women and build a recovery that gives all women in Canada the opportunity to fully participate in our economy.

The government is making a transformational investment of almost $30 billion to build a Canada-wide early learning and child care system that will make high quality child care affordable for all parents. This will help increase parents’ participation in the workforce, particularly for mothers; create jobs for child care workers, over 95 per cent of whom are women; and give every child in Canada the best start in life.

An inclusive recovery is a feminist recovery. Budget 2021 includes support for women across the economy, including women entrepreneurs, women who work in low-wage jobs, women in skilled trades, and women in the financial sector. Budget 2021 is a plan to build a recovery that is inclusive and addresses systemic issues so that Canada’s future economy is stronger and more resilient.


“COVID-19 has brutally exposed something women have long known: without child care, parents—usually mothers—can’t work. The closing of our schools and daycares drove women’s participation in the labour force down to its lowest level in more than two decades. Early learning and child care has long been a feminist issue; COVID has shown us that it is an urgent economic issue, too.”

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Quick facts

  • Budget 2021’s proposed investments will help to build a recovery that gives all women in Canada the ability to fully participate in the workforce and addresses longstanding issues women in Canada face. Key measures include: 

    • Investing almost $30 billion over the next five years in a Canada-wide early learning and child care plan and providing permanent ongoing funding. This plan will aim to reduce fees for parents with children in regulated child care by 50 per cent on average, by 2022, with a goal of reaching $10 per day on average by 2026, everywhere outside of Quebec;
    • Strengthening the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy with up to $146.9 million to provide greater access to financing, mentorship, and training for women entrepreneurs. This funding will also support the Women Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Fund and the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub;
    • Supporting the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association’s Indigenous Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative through an investment of $22 million to help provide tools, services, and resources to increase the number of Indigenous women entrepreneurs;
    • Strengthening diversity in corporate governance through the launch of a public consultation on measures that would adapt and apply the Canada Business Corporations Act diversity requirements to federally regulated financial institutions, in order to ensure more women and other underrepresented Canadians have access to these opportunities;
    • Doubling the incentive to $10,000 for employers who hire those underrepresented in certain Red Seal trades, including women, through the new Apprenticeship Service that will be supported with an investment of $470 million;
    • Enriching the Canada Workers Benefit, which will support about 1 million more Canadians and lift nearly 100,000 people out of poverty, including making the benefit more accessible to secondary earners in a family who are often women;
    • Providing more affordable housing as part of the $2.5 billion in additional funding and $1.3 billion in reallocated funding to support, including:
      • $1.5 billion for the Rapid Housing Initiative to address the urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians. At least 25 per cent of this funding would go towards women-focused housing projects;
      • $315.4 million through the Canada Housing Benefit, to increase direct financial assistance for low-income women and children fleeing violence to help with their rent payments;
      • $250 million in reallocated funding to support the construction, repair, and operating costs of an estimated 560 units of transitional housing and shelter spaces for women and children fleeing violence;
    • Supporting better data for better outcomes by providing $172 million over five years, with $36.3 million ongoing, to implement a Disaggregated Data Action Plan that will fill data and knowledge gaps—including the power gaps between men and women—and bring fairness and inclusion considerations into decision making.

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Katherine Cuplinskas
Press Secretary
Deputy Prime Minister's Office

Media Relations
Department of Finance Canada

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