The World Forum - June 22nd, 2024

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Canada's "she-cession" goes unacknowledged as we struggle with labour shortages


It drives me bonkers to hear some people blame the labour shortage on CERB, the emergency response benefit that offered up to $2,000 a month to folks who qualified during the pandemic. If $2,000 a month is better than a job, the problem is the job, not the emergency relief payment.

And we haven’t talked about the awfulness of dealing with anti-vaxxers yet.

Restaurants Canada had used the election campaign to call for a national food-service labour development strategy that would tap potential restaurant labour from abroad. Something we’ve done for years to try to fill low-paying jobs in the health system, including PSWs.

No, no and nope. The solution to the labour shortage, or talent crisis, isn’t to find people from poorer countries who’ll come here to take jobs that don’t pay a living wage. It’s to raise the conditions of work to such a level that it becomes something that can sustain a family, however modestly.

In interview after interview we hear “solutions” proposed by business owners. Instead we should ask the women most affected by the she-cession what it would take for them to feel safe and valued enough to go back to work. And then listen carefully to their answers.