WINDSOR, ONT. -- Associate Minister of Finance Mona Fortier met with local leaders Wednesday to discuss, in part, the impact of the pandemic on women and their re-entry into the workforce.

A key component of recovery includes getting out of what has been dubbed the “she-session.”

“We've lined up some investments to support women such as childcare but also making sure they can get back to work,” Fortier says.

The reduction of childcare cost was a key highlight of Monday's budget, released by the Liberal government.     

Fortier says the Liberals plan to cut childcare fees by 50 per cent in the next year while the goal of dropping fees down to as low as $10 a day wouldn't come until 2026.

“Following conversations I've had with families in the Windsor community that is something that is going to be very helpful,” she says.

According to the Windsor-Essex Chamber of Commerce, child care costs local families an average of $868 per month.

“So many moms and dads, especially moms, have stayed home, have exited the workforce in order to be able to take care of children,” said Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczuk. “Many more women haven't even entered the workforce.”

He says by lowering daycare fees and investing in skills training families will have more opportunities.  

“This going to unlock a tremendous potential, untapped potential, in terms of there's a lot of mom's and dad's who'll be able to share their talents and skills with the broader economy,” Kusmierczuk says. 

WECC President and CEO Rakesh Naidu agrees eliminating barriers for women in the workforce is an important step.

“The benefit of really supporting women entrepreneurs and employees it is going to really be a significant move and step forward for the economy,” he says.

Automate Canada Chair Shelley Fellows was pleased to see childcare including in Monday’s budget announcement.

“When I saw that it resonated with me in terms of finally...someone is listening and offering a solution to bring down something that's been a pretty substantial barrier to women in the manufacturing sectors,” she says.

As restrictions are loosened, Shelley says manufacturing will likely ramp up.

“So we're going to be hiring,” she says. “Isn't it amazing to think that now your hiring pool just doubled in size.”