Last week marked another milestone for CanWCC’s COVID-19 advocacy work. On Friday, we submitted our Pre-Budget Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.
In it are three recommendations to improve the economic outcomes for women-identified and non-binary entrepreneurs in Canada.
CanWCC published an advocacy agenda to make sure the government is hearing the needs and priorities of women and underrepresented entrepreneurs. Your CanWCC membership helps support us to keep calling for change so your life and business outcomes are improved.
What is a Pre-Budget Submission?
Canadians can influence the government’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year. All recommendations are presented in December 2020 for consideration in the 2021 federal budget. The budget usually comes out in March or late spring. This year, the government specifically asked for recommendations to re-start the Canadian economy in the midst of COVID-19.
Here’s what we asked the government to consider.
Recommendation 1: Fund a Women Entrepreneurs Recovery Strategy
Many women entrepreneurs were financially devastated by COVID-19 and physical distancing protocols. Recovery is impossible without funding.
The Canadian government should enable community organizations to provide programming and support to those that need it the most. The Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce can carry out national programming and coordinate the efforts of community organizations across the country.
Recommendation 2: Create an individual refundable tax credit for mental health expenses
There is a high and increasing need for mental health therapy, especially due to COVID-19 impacts and the uncertain economic period. In a survey conducted by CanWCC in partnership with the Dream Legacy Foundation, 52% of women-identified entrepreneurs report negative mental health impacts or consequences as a result of COVID-19.
Provincial coverage for mental health treatment is inconsistent across the country. No provinces provide reimbursement for private mental
health therapy or counselling. Mental health therapy is not an eligible medical expense for the non-refundable federal tax deduction. This creates a two-tiered system where only those who are wealthy enough to afford ongoing counselling services to receive preventative care.
The Canadian government must amend the Income Tax Act to include an individual refundable tax credit equal to 100% of the total out-of pocket mental health treatment costs incurred in a 12-month period ending in the current tax year.
Recommendation 3: Create and fund a universal child care plan
Access to affordable child care is a primary driver of women’s participation in the workforce. Having access to universal, affordable childcare will decrease the number and length of career disruptions for women. Universal child care will benefit women business owners who can spend more time building strong, sustainable businesses. It will stimulate economic growth by
adding secure, well-paid jobs (particularly for women, who are concentrated in the care economy and increasing the amount of disposable income in the hands of parents.
The Canadian government should create and fund a universal child care program in next year’s budget. This policy recommendation has been put forward by countless organizations over the years and is a necessary step towards a gender equal Canadian society and prosperous economy.
About the Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce
The Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce is a national not-for-profit organization that represents and advocates for the economic priorities of women-identified and non-binary business owners, entrepreneurs and founders. We work to address systemic barriers and challenges to gender equity and support our members to build strong, sustainable businesses.
Learn more about membership here.