June 6, 2022
On June 2, Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives gained a second consecutive majority government. The New Democratic Party (NDP) remains the Official Opposition with 31 seats. Neither the Liberal Party, who gained eight seats, nor the Green Party, who won one seat, reached official party status by winning at least 12 seats.
YWCA Ontario saw this election as an opportunity for all parties to commit to a feminist agenda. We congratulate the government on its victory. However, we are concerned over the lack of progress on gender equality and the reduction of poverty. When first elected in 2018, the government dissolved the roundtable on violence against women and more recently, the Premier did not attend the first-ever party leaders debate on women’s issues in Ontario. The 2022 provincial budget, which served as the party’s platform, mentioned women only eight times, countering our calls for an intersectional, gender-responsive budget and a plan to prioritize women, girls and gender diverse people this election.
The most jarring aspect of this election is the incredibly low voter turnout. With such a low percentage of eligible voters casting a ballot in Ontario, no matter the outcome, the lack of participation undermines the effectiveness of our democracy. It is disconcerting to see such little engagement at the polls.
YWCA Ontario is committed to advancing gender and racial equity and poverty reduction. Across the province, our Member Associations provide programs to women, girls and gender diverse people, including support for women fleeing violence; a range of safe, affordable and supportive housing options; gender-focused employment and training programs; girls’, youth and child care programs, and so much more. These community services will be more important than ever as we work to recover from more than two years of a pandemic that has deepened inequities and created new hardships for women in Ontario, particularly Indigenous, racialized, queer, trans and newcomer women.
As the cost of living mounts, and many social services remain underfunded and struggling to recover from the pandemic, Ontarians are facing sizable challenges. Now is the time for action.
Moving forward, we need the support of the newly elected government to ensure the rights, economic wellbeing, and safety of all women. Ontarians need decent work and decent pay provisions for all workers, particularly child care workers, increased social assistance rates, deeply affordable housing, and a province wide-strategy to eliminate gender-based violence. YWCA Ontario is committed to working with the Government to meaningfully advance these issues.