Focus On

Employment sector Trudeau forgot

Friday, May 01, 2020 @ 10:44 AM | By Rachel Goldenberg

Rachel Goldenberg %>
Rachel Goldenberg
The federal and provincial governments have introduced various new assistance programs aimed at helping employers and employees sustain their businesses and at improving our economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. These programs are critical to surviving the pandemic. Some of the most popular and valuable programs include:

  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which provides a benefit of $2,000 for qualifying individuals for four-week periods, to add address the overwhelming number of Employment Insurance (EI) applications during this pandemic;
  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), which provides a 75 per cent wage subsidy of up to $847 per employee per week to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks;
  • An additional $300 per child for Canada Child Benefits will be paid in May 2020;
  • Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA), which provides assistance to businesses, charities and non-profits who pay monthly a rent of $50,000 or less, and who have temporarily ceased operations, or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in their pre-COVID-19 revenues;
  • Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), which supports students and new graduates not eligible for the CERB by providing up to $1,250 per month from May to August (or $1,750 per month for those who have dependents or disabilities);
  • A six-month interest-free moratorium on repayment of Canada Student Loans; and
  • Various new unpaid leaves of absence for employees who are either sick with COVID-19, at home caring for family members who have COVID-19, or who are unable to attend their workplace as a result of the pandemic.

I am very grateful for all of these programs. I appreciate how hard our government is working to keep the country afloat. But these programs ignore a large portion of our population who are in desperate need for assistance: the working parents.

That’s right. Working parents. Those co-workers that you call but can’t seem to hear what they are saying over the children’s screams in the background. The people who have children creep in during Zoom meetings, either wanting to participate in the meeting or crying for attention. The mothers that let their children sit there all day long on their computer participating in school programs on Zoom, (im)patiently waiting for their turn to use the computer to get a little bit of work done. The fathers that are simultaneously working on complicated spreadsheet formulae while wearing a tiara and having a tea party.

The people who are trying to write interesting articles for The Lawyer’s Daily while also trying to teach their 5-year-old child to write a proper sentence, overcome with frustration for the lack of understanding of the Oxford comma.

We working parents are extremely appreciative of the above noted programs. But they do not all apply to everyone. I am very fortunate that I still have my job, but at the end of the day, I need to actually do the work that my job entails in order to keep it. And with this combination of working, parenting and homeschooling, I am very quickly losing steam and losing patience.

It is not sustainable. And there is no end in sight.

One of the biggest struggles, as a working parent, is that I am simultaneously doing multiple different tasks at any given time but I am not properly focusing or succeeding at any one of them. The sense of failure overcomes me.

I feel that I am not being a good mother to my children because I cannot focus on their needs and wants all day. I cannot do arts and crafts all day: I have work assignments I need to do. And when I do turn my attention to the children, I lose my patience with them very quickly.

I feel that I am not being a good employee. I am not as productive as I could be, as I balance my workload with helping my daughter learn to read and taking my son for a ride on his scooter.

I am confident that I am not being a good teacher. I am not certified and do not have the skills to teach. (As a side note, I have decided that teachers deserve to earn at least $1 million a year, now that I know what they go through on a daily basis. I will circulate a petition shortly).

And I am certain that I am not being a very good spouse. My husband and I used to go out and have date nights. We used to stay in and watch movies on Netflix. Now, by the time we have finished cleaning up dinner and putting the kids to bed, it is after 9 p.m. and we log back on to our work e-mail systems to finish up the work we could not finish during the day because we got called away to play Zingo! (Again!) There are no interesting conversations that start with, “How was your day?” because I know — I  was there for it.

My house is a disaster. The routine that my family once thrived on has gone out the window. Lucky Charms for dinner? Sure! Bathing suits as the day’s attire? Why not! While lowering my standards and embracing the absurdity of this situation has definitely helped, I can’t help but feel that I am almost at my breaking point.

How much longer can we working parents continue like this? I know I am getting to the point where I want to remove myself as mother of record. How do we balance the needs of our work, our children and ourselves? Can working parents join forces and request governmental assistance (the form of which is unclear)?

Unfortunately, this article does not end with a brilliant solution. That is not my intention. I write this so that maybe it resonates with another working parent out there. Someone will read this and think, “I am not alone.” We are all in this together.

Also, if anyone knows how to teach a 5-year-old to read without pulling out their hair, please send in tips!

Rachel Goldenberg is a content lawyer at LexisNexis Canada.

Photo credit /  ImageegamI ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

Interested in writing for us? To learn more about how you can add your voice to The Lawyer’s Dailycontact Analysis Editor Peter Carter at or call 647-776-6740