Minister Ng participates in Canada’s Feminist Response and Recovery Summit

News release

March 9, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting women entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 crisis and to ensuring that Canada has a feminist recovery.

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, delivered remarks at Canada’s Feminist Response and Recovery Summit, presented by the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development.

The Summit brought together politicians, experts, feminist leaders and those with lived experience to examine how COVID-19 is impacting the lives of women in Canada. It focused on the steps that governments, civil society and all Canadians can take to advance gender equality and ensure an inclusive recovery.  

Minister Ng also moderated a breakout session entitled “Women in the Economy” with economic leaders and businesswomen from across Canada to discuss the unique and systemic barriers facing women, as well as groups like Black and racialized women, Indigenous women and LGBTQ2 individuals. They discussed working together to address these barriers so all Canadians can participate in, contribute to and benefit from the economy.

It is estimated that increasing women’s participation in the economy could add up to $150 billion to Canada’s GDP. The Government of Canada continues to advance women’s economic empowerment with the first-ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a nearly $5‑billion cross-government initiative to increase women-owned businesses’ access to financing, talent, networks and expertise to succeed. During COVID-19, the government is also investing an additional $15 million in the WES Ecosystem Fund to provide timely support and advice to women entrepreneurs facing hardship due to the pandemic.

As Canada addresses the pandemic and steps forward on the road to recovery, the Government of Canada will continue to support women—especially women entrepreneurs—every step of the way.


“After a challenging year that has disproportionately impacted women, we know that their inclusion and empowerment is the way forward. Our government is promoting the success of women in a kaleidoscope of ways, from legislating pay equity and income supports for raising children, to investing in programs to ensure women-owned businesses grow in Canada and around the world. More than social policies, these important economic measures will be critical to our recovery from COVID-19.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade 

“COVID has hit women hard, but we have put in place the supports needed to ensure the pandemic does not roll back advancements in gender equality. Our government has a plan to create a million jobs, which includes investments to ensure diverse women have access to the skills training they need to take advantage of new opportunities. Throughout the last year, women small business owners have kept our communities and main streets thriving, and we are continuing to support them through new investments in the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy. Our focus remains on keeping women safe and healthy and ensuring their voices are heard throughout the response and recovery.”
– The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

Quick facts

  • The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) is a nearly $5-billion investment to help increase women-owned businesses’ access to the financing, talent, networks and expertise they need to start up, scale up and access new markets. The government’s fall 2020 Speech from the Throne committed to accelerating the work of the WES, which has already helped women across Canada grow their businesses.

  • In spring 2020, the Government of Canada also provided an additional $15 million for the WES Ecosystem Fund, enabling existing recipient organizations to provide thousands of women entrepreneurs with access to urgent business support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • To support Canadians during COVID-19, the Government of Canada introduced the largest relief package in our country’s history, which includes the following major programs for business owners and their employees:

    • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is helping businesses by covering up to 75% of payroll. The current structure is being extended to June 5, 2021.
    • The expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) provides an interest-free loan of up to $60,000 with 33% forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022. 
    • The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), available directly to business owners, covers up to 65% of rent. Businesses will receive the new lockdown support of an additional 25% where a shutdown is required by a public health order. This means they can have up to 90% of their rent covered. The current structure is being extended to June 5, 2021.
    • The Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) will offer loans at a fixed interest rate of 4% across all financial institutions for terms of up to 10 years, and 100% guaranteed by the Government of Canada. Businesses will be able to apply up to June 30, 2021.
    • The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is providing more than $2 billion to support small businesses across Canada that have been unable to access existing relief measures. It is delivered through Canada’s regional development agencies


Youmy Han
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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