A group of Canadian tech entrepreneurs and investors have signed an open letter calling on employers of United States (US) workers to offer support for those affected by the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“As women in tech, we fight for equality of opportunity every day, but this is different. This is a fight for basic rights.”
Since the Supreme Court made the ruling last week, the NPR reported that abortion is now criminalized in at least 11 states. Meanwhile, twelve other states have laws in place that allow for abotion to be quickly banned or restricted.
In response, MaRS Discovery District senior vice president of venture services Krista Jones published an open letter on LinkedIn with at least 50 signatures from Canadian women in tech.
Co-signers include prominent figures in Canada’s tech and innovation space such as Plum CEO Caitlin MacGregor, Willful CEO Erin Bury, Borrowell co-founder Eva Wong, StandUp Ventures managing director Michelle McBane, Nudge co-founder and CEO Lindsey Goodchild, and Two Small Fish Ventures founding partner Eva Lau, among others.
The open letter calls for companies to reflect on their internal policies, such as providing relocation support for employees who might want to move to an area where abortion is legal. It also noted corporate health benefits, and paid time off or volunteer days to allow employees to work with organizations that advocate for reproductive rights.
“American people’s renewed struggle is a stark reminder to our community that we need to increase our efforts here at home,” the letter reads. “As women in tech, we fight for equality of opportunity every day, but this is different. This is a fight for basic rights.”
At the same time as the letter was being published, a growing list of Canadian tech companies with US workers have expanded their benefits to cover costs for employees who need to travel out of state to access healthcare and reproductive services.
Toronto-based 1Password is one such company, which has offered to cover up to $5,000 in out-of-state travel and related expenses for US employees and dependents living in states where they are unable to obtain reproductive care otherwise covered by the company’s benefit plans. BBTV also announced that it will cover abortion travel costs for its US employees.
Other Canadian tech companies that have joined this movement include Nuvei, Lightspeed Commerce, Hopper, Shopify, Benevity, and Clearco.
Signatories are also urging the tech and innovation economy to continue to hire and fund women in tech in both the US and Canada. “Never has it been more painfully obvious that representation matters,” the letter noted.
UPDATE 06/06/22: This article previously noted that InBC CEO Jill Earthy had signed the open letter. Since publication, Earthy’s name has been removed from the letter as BetaKit has been informed that it was added in error. The article has been updated to reflect that Earthy is not a letter signatory.
Featured image from Gayatri Malhotra via Unsplash.