The following was submitted to the Tri-City News from Bonita Zarrillo, MP for Port Moody—Coquitlam.
Canada's theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) 2023 is "Every Woman Counts."
But the reality is that this is still only a hope for too many women in Canada today.
Too many women continue to be sidelined by poor pay, multiple jobs, and a lack of choices — in childcare, in education, and even in employment.
Canada's care economy — which includes the healthcare system — is in crisis. But the care economy is the backbone of Canada’s economy and employs one in five Canadians.
The physical, psychological, and emotional care of people is encompassed by the care economy.
Without it, society simply cannot function.
Care workers — especially nurses — are disproportionately women, especially immigrant and racialized women, who have been underpaid and undervalued for decades because of gender discrimination.
Now is the time for the federal government to step up and end that discrimination.
It is time for them to do the work required to improve the working conditions of nurses across this country.
We trust our care safety net in Canada, but it has not received the recognition, support, or respect it deserves for a very long time.
Whether a Canadian is seeking healthcare, long-term care, childcare, education, dental care, or needs a personal support worker, they expect that quality care will be available, along with the workers, institutions, and systems that enable the delivery of that care.
On this International Women’s Day, I urge the people of Port Moody, Coquitlam, Anmore and Belcarra, as well as Canadians from coast to coast to coast, to champion the valuable work of nurses and other women in the care economy by calling for better pay and working conditions.
When we achieve that, Canadians will know that Every Woman Counts.