Posted on Sep 10, 2020


EDMONTON – Safety concerns with the UCP’s school reopening are forcing some women to remove themselves from the workforce in order to stay home with their children.

“It isn’t much of a choice when you’re faced with the decision to quit your job, or protect your family,” said Janis Irwin, NDP Critic for Women’s and LGBTQ2S+ Issues. “Ignoring the reality of thousands of women across Alberta threatens our economic recovery and Jason Kenney needs to take this more seriously.”

As students return to class amid rising cases of COVID-19, parents say they had no choice but to leave the workforce because of Jason Kenney’s refusal to cap class sizes and ensure safer schools. 

“Even with the ‘choice’ to do online school, I still feel like I’m risking my daughters education and my financial stability.” said Selina Renfrow, a Calgary mother who opted to enroll her daughter into online classes this year.

Studies show that in two-parent, heterosexual households, women do more domestic labour than men. Recent studies of the economic effects of the pandemic also indicate that at the height of the pandemic, women’s labour force participation was harder hit than it was for men.

“As children head back to school, with some classes reaching up to 40 students, there are already an alarming number of COVID cases in schools in just the first week. Some families weren’t able to risk the health of those in their household by sending their children back to school, and took a financial risk instead,” said Sarah Hoffman, NDP Critic for Education. “But it’s not too late, the UCP can still step up and commit to capping class sizes and prevent these cases from turning into outbreaks.”

The UCP’s refusal to invest in a safer school re-entry means women are being left out of Alberta’s economic recovery.