P.E.I. optimistic federal pandemic program will help women find jobs
Unemployment rate for women almost double that of men
Two aspects of the recently announced federal program that aims to safely reopen the economy have the potential to help P.E.I. women — who are much more likely to be unemployed in the pandemic than men — to get back to work, says the provincial government.
In an email to CBC News, a provincial spokesperson said the province has worked closely with Ottawa to ensure the program meets the needs of Islanders.
"The recently announced federal safe restart program negotiated with the provinces and territories includes funding for a national sick leave plan and the child care, which have the potential to have a huge differential — and positive — impact on women," the spokesperson said.
In the months leading up to the pandemic the unemployment rate for women had been running about four percentage points lower than the rate for men.
That changed dramatically when the province implemented an economic shutdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The rate for men bumped up in April and May, and then fell in June back close to where it had been the previous year.
For women, the rate has taken a straight line up. In June, the unemployment rate was 19.4 per cent for women and 11.2 per cent for men.
"When it comes to the labour market impact, we appreciate that Island women have been affected more than men," the government email said.
"As a government, we want to see all Islanders have equal opportunity for employment and success."
The government said it understands there is much more work to be done to achieve gender balance and equity within P.E.I.'s workforce. It said it is committed to working with the private sector and community partners to support and empower Island women.