Toronto / January 26, 2022
OCASI made a verbal presentation on January 19, 2022 to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs for its Ontario 2022 Pre-Budget consultations, and made a written submission.
Almost two years into the health pandemic we have ample evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly increased long-standing structural and societal inequalities. Indigenous, Black and racialized communities – including immigrants and refugees - were put at higher risk of exposure to the virus and were at higher risk of contracting the infection.
The health pandemic has shed light on a second pandemic of racism-especially anti-Black racism and the racialization and feminization of poverty. In fact, Black and other racialized immigrant and refugee women are bearing the economic brunt of these dual pandemics. They will take longer to recover and rebuild, and some may never regain lost ground.
Data collected in Canada and Ontario reveal a growing disparity in all life outcomes for racialized and Indigenous communities. As Ontario prepares the 2022-2023 budget, budgetary decisions must prioritize racialized and Indigenous communities in light of the growing racialization of poverty, their higher rates of unemployment, their worse health outcomes (including the devastating impact of COVID-19 on these communities), the need to enhance access to justice for over-represented racialized and Indigenous communities in the justice system, and the impact of COVID-19 on racial and Indigenous people facing increased gender-based violence.
Economic, social and health recovery is the priority. But as a society we cannot simply re-invest in, and sustain systemic inequalities based on race, ethnicity, gender, disability, immigration status, religion and faith.
The Ontario budget must be developed using a gender equity framework that includes these factors, as well as paying attention to rural-urban equity.
OCASI also makes specific recommendations in ten thematic areas to support an equitable approach.