Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, Ministers, for joining us this morning to help the committee study the impacts of COVID-19 on women. We greatly appreciate you being here virtually.
We know that it has been 131 days since this committee last met, and I think all committee members recognize the importance of this opportunity for parliamentarians to study the unique impacts on women of this pandemic and, critically, the government's response to it.
Committee members are also well aware that women make up the overwhelming majority of students in this country—over 60%. However, like in many other sectors, they do not occupy many of the senior positions, such as Ph.D. programs and faculty positions, and all of this despite making up the majority of undergraduate students for the last 30 years. I think this is quite a concern.
As a result, the summer months are critical in helping women students work to afford tuition and continue their academic careers. I know this because I was a student who was a waitress and worked for many years to help pay for my education.
I will make reference to some of the Manitoba statistics that I believe are relevant to this.
The restaurant, hotel and retail sector, which is dominated by young people, particularly student women, represented 43.5% of job losses. Younger Manitobans aged 15 to 24 accounted for 35.3% of job losses. Fifty-six per cent of Manitoba job losses were women's.
The Canada student service grant is in fact a response to these alarming statistics, as I'm sure you would agree, and I have to say that I do applaud the government for thinking in innovative ways to support students who have been unable to find summer work. Frankly, this grant would have been a great help to me a decade ago.
With that in mind, Minister Qualtrough, would you permit me to ask a few quick questions about the grant, given that it's on the minds of Canadians and students?