KITCHENER -- The current COVID-19 recession saw 5.5 million jobs lost in Canada at its lowest point, but economists are calling it a “she-session” because women’s jobs aren’t bouncing back as quickly as men’s.

Since the early days in March, more men have returned to work while Ontario moms worked 30 per cent fewer hours.

“Moms with kids under 12 just aren’t making it back to work yet,” says Tammy Schirle, an economics professor at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Part of the reason for the longer unemployment is because as restaurants and entertainment establishments closed, so did schools.

This is compared to February where 1.3 million moms with school-aged kids were working, making up a big chunk of the family income.

“When you’re looking at a two-parent family, women are making up about 40 per cent of the income in those households so it’s also a big part of the household’s budget. And kudos to every single mom managing things right now because that is their sole source of income,” Schirle says.

There might be reason for optimism though, in Waterloo Region at least, as demand for child care has seen a recent surge.

“We’ve seen about a 30 per cent increase in requests for care in our program,” says Roger Gilbert, a manager at Waterloo Region Home Child Care.  

But, Schirle says Canadian mothers will need at least some government help for the economy to return to its pre-pandemic form.