May 26, 2022

Achēv is excited to introduce the new project, Advancing Equity for Women and Girls, funded by Women and Gender Equality (WAGE). This new project supports a feminist response and recovery from the impact COVID-19 has had on the employment of immigrant and racialized women in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) by contributing to systemic change to promote women’s economic prosperity and equality.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, immigrant and racialized women were disproportionately affected in their employment

In March 2020, during the onset of the pandemic, women accounted for 62.5% of employment losses. This is due to the overrepresentation of women in sectors that were the most affected by the pandemic, such as accommodations, food service, retail, and wholesale trade. Jobs in these sectors are often low-paying and require face-to-face interaction between customers and workers, making it difficult to transition to remote work. This resulted in many women working in frontline occupations with inadequate access to personal protective equipment (PPE).

The disproportionate gendered division of housework and care work that is present in many Canadian households resulted in women taking over more family responsibilities and childcare during the pandemic. When the impacts of the pandemic became long-term, many women left their jobs to care for their families. For women that continued to work in a remote capacity, it is likely that their productivity declined due to the demand of completing housework and caring for their children.

The pandemic pushed immigrant and racialized women to unemployment, low-skill jobs or even unstable employment. Studies show that women experienced an interruption in their career trajectory due to layoffs, increased housework and care responsibilities, as well as decreased job opportunities.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, immigrant and racialized women faced barriers to employment

Many immigrant and racialized women face barriers to employment. When immigrating, barriers to finding job opportunities in the Canadian labour market pushed women towards underemployment and deskilling. Women are likely to find themselves securing low-wage occupations with low job security that often do not equivalate to their education and work experience in their country of origin.

Women are impacted by several barriers to joining the Canadian labour market, from having difficulties transferring their foreign credentials, discrimination based on the lack of local work experience, lack of access to networks, and discrimination based on gender, race and immigrant status.

Advancing Equity for Women and Girls aims to address these barriers

Our project aims to address these systemic barriers to employment and, in turn, support women’s equality through:

  • Advancing inclusive policies and practices in the labour market
  • Supporting positive distribution of authority, voices and decision-making power
  • Increasing networks and collaboration to accelerate systematic change to advance women’s equity

During the first phase of our project, we will conduct broad consultation with GTA stakeholders, including women, business leaders and employers, to gain perspectives on existing practices and barriers faced by immigrant and racialized women in employment. The information gathered from the consultation will directly inform the resources we will create for employers, such as workshops and a toolkit to implement inclusive practices.

Join us in addressing systemic barriers to employment for immigrant and racialized women in the GTA

Share your story with us! We want to hear your experience in the Canadian labour market, the impact COVID-19 has had on your career path and your suggestions on how to address systemic barriers to employment.

Complete our survey:

Register for our focus groups:

Contact us

For any questions regarding the project, contact us:

Hodan Mohamed, Coordinator:

Mayela Lozano, Community Liaison:

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