Public safety, health, and financial security remain paramount for all community members in Union Station and across Manitoba. Yet, the Pallister government is failing Manitoba women and 2SLGBTTQ+ folks by not using a gendered lens in reporting and recovery of COVID-19.
This did not begin with the COVID-19 pandemic. Austerity cuts over the last four years administered by the Pallister government have placed women and 2SLGBTTQ+ folks in a disadvantaged situation in the midst of this pandemic.
They cut funding to North Point Douglas Women’s Resource Centre and the North End Women’s Centre; delayed universal coverage for Mifegymiso (the abortion pill) for years; closed the Mature Women’s Health Centre and closed the obstetrics unit in Flin Flon, Man., forcing women to travel hundreds of kilometres to give birth.
For our 2SLGBTTQ+ community, the Pallister government did not support a bill for non-binary designation on birth certificates, and only complied once the Human Rights Commission ruled the province was violating people’s rights. They have also failed to support the 24-7 West End Safer Space for 2SLGBTTQ+ youth, many of which reside in Union Station.
Women make up a significant percentage of the workers in the many sectors in our society that were the first to be laid off or become unemployed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as hospitality and retail. They are also the ones that have had to take on many family responsibilities, including home-schooling and child care. Following the first wave lockdown, many women did not re-enter the workforce and the second wave will likely only make this more problematic.
The pandemic has also impacted the employment security of more than 53 per cent of 2SLGBTTQ+ households in Canada. Half of 2SLGBTTQ+ households faced layoffs and reduced work hours, and 42 per cent of 2SLGBTTQ+ households reported significant impacts to their mental health.
The Pallister government’s failure to utilize a gendered lens for societal and economic recovery will hurt Manitoba’s ability to recover. A gendered lens should inform decision-making and policy development for COVID-19 reporting and recovery. This is critical to ensuring an equitable recovery that benefits all Union Station residents and Manitobans, and does not perpetuate the systemic inequalities that so many community members face.
My colleagues and I will continue to advocate for women and 2SLGBTTQ+ community members so that no one in Manitoba is left behind.
If you would like to contact us, our constituency Office is located at Unit 1-331 Smith St. Call 204-306-8581 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Union Station constituency report
Uzoma Asagwara is the NDP MLA for Union Station.