Legislation & policy
Budget 2019: Investing in the Middle Class
With Budget 2019, the Government is continuing to deliver on its economic plan, investing in Canadians with a clear focus on fiscal responsibility. By choosing to invest in people, and in communities, the Government is creating conditions needed to ensure more Canadians are working, we are growing the middle class, and our economy remains one of the fastest growing in the G7.
Budget 2019 also made exciting, historic investments to support gender equality, including these top five proposals:
- Investment of $160M over 5 years to expand the Women’s Program, to further enable community action to tackle systemic barriers impeding women’s progress, while recognizing and addressing the diverse experiences of gender and inequality across the country.
- The full implementation of gender budgeting, including a complete Gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) of the budget with expected impacts on women and other diversities.
- A Gender Results Framework (GRF) portal with up-to date data and benchmarks, as well as funding towards additional support for implementation of GBA+ (funding for TBS, ESDC and PCH).
- $20M over 2 years in capacity building and community-level work of Canadian LGBTQ2 service organizations, to address the unique needs and persisting disparities among LGBTQ2 Canadians.
- Continued commitment to addressing gender based violence through
- Intention to develop a Human Trafficking Strategy
- Additional funding to protect children from on-line sexual exploitation
- Amendments to the Federal Financial Institutions Statutes to introduce new requirements for federally regulated institutions to disclose polices aimed at promoting gender diversity on boards and in senior management.
Why a Feminist International Assistance Policy?
When we invest in women and girls, everybody benefits. When women and girls have access to quality education, good nutrition and the resources and opportunities to make decisions, they not only improve their own lives, but those of their families and entire communities.
In fact, the McKinsey Global Institute tells us that, with positive intervention and sound public policy, women could add $12 trillion to the global economy by 2025.
And if that is not enough to convince you of the need for a feminist approach, then how about these statistics: More than 150 countries have laws that discriminate against women. 750 million women and girls alive today were married before they turned 18, and shockingly, one in three women has experienced physical or sexual violence. Everywhere in the world, women and girls bear the brunt of poverty.
A feminist approach to international assistance challenges the discrimination faced by women and girls around the world and recognizes that inequalities exist along intersectional lines. It just makes sense.
That’s why Canada consulted 15,000 people in more than 65 countries to build an evidence-based feminist policy that refocuses Canada’s efforts on helping the poorest and most vulnerable—often women and girls in all of their diversity. The policy is grounded in evidence that empowering women and girls is the single most effective way to address the root causes of poverty and inequality.
And Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy is dramatically changing how we do things. We are supporting the right of women and girls to control their bodies and make informed decisions about their own lives. We are investing in women’s rights organizations and giving women and girls opportunities to raise their voices and take on leadership roles. We are making our humanitarian assistance more gender responsive and therefore more effective. And we are focusing on innovation.
The world’s women and girls are powerful agents of change who will build the more peaceful, inclusive, and prosperous world that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development envisions. Canada is proud to host the Women Deliver 2019 conference in Vancouver this June and to be part of the global movement for change that inspires everyone everywhere to take action on gender equality.
Evolution from an Agency to a Department
In 1976, Status of Women Canada was established as an agency to advance the rights of women and girls. We have made tremendous progress since then, culminating in December 2018 with our biggest milestone yet: evolving from that small but mighty agency to full departmental status as the Department for Women and Gender Equality.
As a department, our place as a hub of gender expertise is preserved, and our work as a driver of economic growth is recognized. Most important, this elevation makes us less vulnerable to change without public debate. No longer are we an agency of another Department, but a full and equal department under the law with powers, authorities and responsibilities.
The Department for Women and Gender Equality has an expanded mandate for gender equality that includes sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. We will maintain and forge new connections to women’s organizations and other grassroots organizations advancing gender equality in Canada, while acting as a coordinating body for gender equality issues within the Government of Canada.
Our expanded mandate establishes the Department as a centre of expertise to support the application of Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+), the whole-of-government implementation of the Gender Results Framework, and an evidence-based policy approach to advancing gender equality.
The Department for Women and Gender Equality cannot achieve gender equality alone. We rely on organizations across Canada to help end violence against women and girls, improve their economic security and prosperity, increase the representation of women in leadership roles and encourage them to reach their full potential. That’s why, in Budget 2018, the Government of Canada announced the single largest investment in the women’s movement in Canadian history, funding more than 250 women’s organizations from coast to coast to coast.
As Minister Monsef said: “Together, we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. We are stepping up our efforts to achieve gender equality, not just because it’s time, but because gender equality benefits everyone. It is both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do: for our people, for our country, and for humanity as a whole.”
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