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The Government of Canada is committed to supporting women entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 crisis and to ensuring that Canada has a feminist recovery.

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, delivered remarks at Canada’s Feminist Response and Recovery Summit, presented by the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development.

The Summit brought together politicians, experts, feminist leaders and those with lived experience to examine how COVID-19 is impacting the lives of women in Canada. It focused on the steps that governments, civil society and all Canadians can take to advance gender equality and ensure an inclusive recovery.  

Minister Ng also moderated a breakout session entitled “Women in the Economy” with economic leaders and businesswomen from across Canada to discuss the unique and systemic barriers facing women, as well as groups like Black and racialized women, Indigenous women and LGBTQ2 individuals. They discussed working together to address these barriers so all Canadians can participate in, contribute to and benefit from the economy.

It is estimated that increasing women’s participation in the economy could add up to $150 billion to Canada’s GDP. The Government of Canada continues to advance women’s economic empowerment with the first-ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a nearly $5‑billion cross-government initiative to increase women-owned businesses’ access to financing, talent, networks and expertise to succeed. During COVID-19, the government is also investing an additional $15 million in the WES Ecosystem Fund to provide timely support and advice to women entrepreneurs facing hardship due to the pandemic.

As Canada addresses the pandemic and steps forward on the road to recovery, the Government of Canada will continue to support women—especially women entrepreneurs—every step of the way.

“After a challenging year that has disproportionately impacted women, we know that their inclusion and empowerment is the way forward. Our government is promoting the success of women in a kaleidoscope of ways, from legislating pay equity and income supports for raising children, to investing in programs to ensure women-owned businesses grow in Canada and around the world. More than social policies, these important economic measures will be critical to our recovery from COVID-19.”

– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade 

“COVID has hit women hard, but we have put in place the supports needed to ensure the pandemic does not roll back advancements in gender equality. Our government has a plan to create a million jobs, which includes investments to ensure diverse women have access to the skills training they need to take advantage of new opportunities. Throughout the last year, women small business owners have kept our communities and main streets thriving, and we are continuing to support them through new investments in the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy. Our focus remains on keeping women safe and healthy and ensuring their voices are heard throughout the response and recovery.”

– The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development