“Gender equality is not only an issue for women and girls. All of us benefit when women and girls have the same opportunities as men and boys—and it’s on all of us to make that a reality.”
Budget 2018’s Gender Results Framework
Gender equality benefits us all. Women in the workforce have been one of the most powerful sources of economic growth in recent decades, helping strengthen the economy. In fact, over the last 40 years, more women in the workforce has accounted for about a third of Canada’s real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita growth.
[Chart 5.1 - Text version]
Having more women in the workforce has driven economic growth, boosted family incomes, and helped families join the middle class.
Yet there are still too many missed opportunities caused by gender gaps in a number of areas, including education and career options, full participation in the economy, and leadership. While these gaps are the result of many factors, taking action to address them is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do to strengthen the middle-class and grow Canada’s economy.
RBC Economics estimates that if men and women participated equally in the workforce, Canada’s GDP could be boosted by as much as 4 per cent, and could partially offset the expected effects of an aging population.
The Government recognizes the critical role that gender equality has in building a strong economy that works for everyone. Budgets are about making choices with limited resources. Gender budgeting is a conscious effort to understand how decisions affect different people differently, with a view to allocating government resources more equitably and efficiently. This is why gender budgeting matters. Through the deliberate and more consistent use of Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+), the Government is able to make evidence-based policy decisions that benefit all Canadians.
Building on Canada’s first ever Gender Statement in Budget 2017, the Government is introducing a new Gender Results Framework—a whole-of-government tool to track how Canada is currently performing, to help define what is needed to achieve greater equality and to determine how progress will be measured going forward. The framework reflects this government’s priorities for gender equality, highlighting the key issues that matter most. This chapter presents the details of this results framework and outlines how the Government’s plan is helping ensure that everyone has a real and fair chance at success. It also presents additional measures to strengthen the Government’s ability to conduct further GBA+ and gender budgeting in the future.
The Government also recognizes that identities are complex. Not all women experience inequality, and not all men experience privilege. Binary notions of gender do not work for all Canadians, and race, class, sexuality, and ability—among other facets—all intersect to profoundly impact how gender is experienced in daily life. The Government acknowledges that this budget—though ambitious—does not solve all complex inequalities, but it is an important step forward in data, analysis and resources.
Canada’s Commitment to Gender Budgeting
From the time the Government took office, it has been working to ensure GBA+ is applied comprehensively to all aspects of policy development and decision-making, and strengthening the quality of GBA+ with better data and the full consideration of impacts across a range of intersectional lenses.
With Budget 2018, Canada sets a new standard of gender budgeting as a core pillar of budget-making—legislating higher standards and making meaningful investments toward greater gender equality underpinned by clear objectives and strong evidence. This builds on Budget 2017’s first ever Gender Statement by better integrating gender in the budget priority-setting process, and strengthening the use of GBA+ in decision-making.
Going forward, the Government is committed to adopting a comprehensive and permanent approach to gender budgeting:
- The Government will ask the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to examine making it a requirement that when any Minister of Finance tables a Budget in the House of Commons, a GBA+ analysis of the budget documents must be tabled concurrently.
- Budget 2018 and future budgets under this Government will be guided by the new Gender Results Framework with its six pillars of i) Education and Skills Development, ii) Economic Participation and Prosperity, iii) Leadership and Democratic Participation, iv) Gender-Based Violence and Access to Justice, v) Poverty Reduction, Health and Well-Being, and vi) Gender Equality Around the World. The framework will outline meaningful indicators under each pillar to track success or failure.
- Robust analysis will be supported by new investments to strengthen gender and diversity data.
- The Government will introduce new GBA+ legislation to enshrine gender budgeting in the federal government’s budgetary and financial management processes, extending the reach of GBA+ to examine tax expenditures, federal transfers and the existing spending base, including the Estimates.
To conduct robust GBA+, access to gender-disaggregated data and intersecting factors is essential. This means not only data on men and women, but also data on gender-diverse people. The Government recognizes that this is a key challenge and will be investing in the collection and tracking of gender and diversity data.
To strengthen Canada’s ongoing capacity to apply the gender and diversity lens, the Government will make Status of Women Canada an official Department of the Government of Canada by introducing departmental legislation that solidifies and formalizes the important roles of Status of Women and its Minister.
Canada’s Gender Results Framework
Canada’s economic future depends on people having equal opportunity to reach their full potential, regardless of gender.
Gender Equality Goals for Canada
Education and Skills Development
Equal opportunities and diversified paths in education and skills development
- More diversified educational paths and career choices
- Reduced gender gaps in reading and numeracy skills among youth, including Indigenous youth
- Equal lifelong learning opportunities for adults
Economic Participation and Prosperity
Equal and full participation in the economy
- Increased labour market opportunities for women, especially women in underrepresented groups
- Reduced gender wage gap
- Increased full-time employment of women
- Equal sharing of parenting roles and family responsibilities
- Better gender balance across occupations
- More women in higher-quality jobs, such as permanent and well-paid jobs
Leadership and Democratic Participation
Gender equality in leadership roles and at all levels of decision-making
- More women in senior management positions, and more diversity in senior leadership positions
- Increased opportunities for women to start and grow their businesses, and succeed on a global scale
- More company board seats held by women, and more diversity on company boards
- Greater representation of women and underrepresented groups in elected office and ministerial positions in national and sub-national governments
- Increased representation of women and underrepresented groups in the judicial system
Gender Based Violence and Access to Justice
Eliminating gender-based violence and harassment, and promoting security of the person and access to justice
- Workplaces are harassment free
- Fewer women are victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault
- Fewer victims of childhood maltreatment
- Fewer women killed by an intimate partner
- Increased police reporting of violent crimes
- Fewer Indigenous women and girls are victims of violence
- Increased accountability and responsiveness of the Canadian justice system
Poverty Reduction, Health and Well Being
- Reduced poverty and improved health outcomes
- Fewer vulnerable individuals living in poverty
- Fewer women and children living in food-insecure households
- Fewer vulnerable individuals lacking stable, safe and permanent housing
- Child and spousal support orders enforced
- More years in good health
- Improved mental health
- Improved access to contraception for young people and reduced adolescent birth rate
Gender Equality Around the World
Promoting gender equality to build a more peaceful, inclusive, rules-based and prosperous world
- Feminist international approach to all policies and programs, including diplomacy, trade, security and development
The Gender Results Framework is aligned with the Government of Canada’s policy of GBA+, ensuring that gender is considered in relation to other intersecting identity factors. Wherever possible, and with a view to collecting better data, intersecting identity factors will be considered in the above indicators.
Education and Skills Development
More diversified educational paths and career choices
- Proportion of post-secondary qualification holders who are women, by field of study and qualification type
- Proportion of post-secondary students who are women, by field of study and credential type
- High school completion rate, by gender and for underrepresented groups (including Indigenous Peoples)
Reduced gender gaps in reading and numeracy skills among youth, including Indigenous youth
- High school reading and mathematics test scores, by gender, including those for Indigenous Peoples (based on Programme for International Student Assessment)
Equal lifelong learning opportunities for adults
- Adults’ literacy and numeracy test scores, by gender (based on Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies)
Why This Matters
- The knowledge-based economy demands a skilled, adaptable and diversified workforce to support Canada’s competitiveness and prosperity.
- All Canadians should have the opportunity to make choices about their education based on their interests, aptitudes and economic goals without being constrained by gender-related expectations or prejudices.
Progress and Challenges
Canadian women and men are among the most educated in the world—ranking first among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in Post-Secondary Education by population. Women have made important headway, with about three-quarters of those aged 25 to 34 having completed college or university, compared to two-thirds of men of the same age. Higher levels of education among women have translated into higher wages. However, important gaps remain in both workforce participation and earnings. This partly reflects the different fields of study that women and men have pursued, and these choices are often skewed by established norms and institutional barriers formed around gender roles and identities.
[Figure 5.1 - Text version]
Young men account for two-thirds of post-secondary graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The difference is even greater in engineering and computer science, as well as the large majority of the skilled trades. In contrast, young women continue to make up three-quarters of enrolments and graduates in health care (such as nursing and pharmacy programs) and education.
Gender segregation in education has led to less gender diversity across occupations and has limited career opportunities for women.
Lifelong skills training and development is essential to prepare Canadians for the jobs of tomorrow and to address challenges such as the changing nature of work and disruptive technologies. A high school diploma has become essential. Canada does well in terms of high school completion rates, but certain groups of young people are in danger of being left behind, including Indigenous men, and men with disabilities. In general, boys are less likely than girls to graduate high school.
[Figure 5.2 - Text version]
Results to Date
- Approximately one million students—half of whom are expected to be girls and young women—will learn digital skills through CanCode.
- About one million youth per year—with an increasing focus on girls and Indigenous youth—are encouraged to pursue interests and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through PromoScience-funded organizations.
- Approximately 40,000 women with children receive Canada Student Loan Program support each year and are able to afford post-secondary education due to enhancements to Canada Student Loans and Grants.
Budget 2018 Actions
- Improving diversity in the research community through investments in the granting councils, data collection initiatives, early career researchers and new gender equity planning.
- Increasing women’s representation in male-dominated trades through the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women and the Pre-Apprenticeship Program.
- Promoting equal access to training and jobs for Indigenous women through the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program.
- Helping women and underrepresented groups make informed career decisions by improving the quality of career information and program results.
Economic Participation and Prosperity
Increased labour market opportunities for women, especially women in underrepresented groups
- Labour force participation rate, by gender (including recent immigrants)
- Employment rate, by gender (including recent immigrants)
Reduced gender wage gap
- Gender gap in median hourly wages
- Gender gap in median annual employment income
Increased full-time employment of women
- Proportion of workers in full-time jobs, by gender
Equal sharing of parenting roles and family responsibilities
- Proportion of time spent on informal domestic and care work, by gender
- Number of children in regulated child care spaces and/or early learning programs and/or benefitting from subsidies
- Proportion of annual household income spent on child care, by economic family type
Better gender balance across occupations
- Proportion of occupational group who are women, including recent immigrants
More women in higher-quality jobs, such as permanent and well-paid jobs
- Proportion of persons employed in temporary, involuntary part-time, or low-wage jobs, by gender
Why This Matters
- Every Canadian should have the opportunity to reach their full potential, contributing to, and benefitting from a strong growing economy.
- Advancing women’s economic participation will drive economic growth, while boosting the income of Canadian families.
- Economic independence means greater financial security of individuals and their families, helping people exercise control over their lives.
Progress and Challenges
The increasing number of women in the economy has been an important source of economic growth in Canada. Today, almost two-thirds of women aged 15 and over are in the labour force—more than ever before—compared with less than half in the late 1970s.
However, the overall labour force participation of women continues to lag that of men by about 10 percentage points. Beginning in 2000, progress toward gender equality in labour force participation stalled. Women continue to face unique barriers to entering and staying in the workforce. The impact of parenthood on work is still very different for women and men, reflecting an uneven sharing of care responsibilities, as well as gaps in child care and work-life balance opportunities.
Particular groups of women often face additional barriers. Immigrant women tend to have lower employment rates than Canadian-born women and this is the case even for immigrant women with higher educational attainment. It takes longer for immigrant women than immigrant men to integrate into the workforce, and immigrant women are less likely to be employed in positions that match their education. Recognition of education and skills is a frequent challenge faced by newcomers to Canada.
[Chart 5.2 - Text version]
Reaching higher overall labour force participation rates for women requires an understanding of the different needs of these more vulnerable groups, such as single parents, older women, women with disabilities, immigrant women, women members of visible minorities, LGBTQ2, and Indigenous women.
Women in Canada earn on average 31 per cent less than men on an annual basis. Some of the complex causes of the persistent gender wage gap include a gender-segregated labour market, persistent social norms that place additional care and family responsibilities on women, and the higher representation of women in lower-wage jobs.
Women are overrepresented in part-time, temporary and lower-wage jobs, most of which provide fewer non-wage benefits and limited opportunities for advancement. Even after accounting for differences in hours worked, the median gender wage gap remains at 12 per cent. This gap is also particularly relevant to difficult decisions that many women must make between child care and paid employment. Caring responsibilities—for child-rearing and caring for aging or family members with disabilities—tend to fall to women. According to Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey, women devote 4 hours a day to unpaid work, compared to 3 hours for men in 2015. This can lead to more time off and make women more likely to work shorter hours, which can translate into lower income, which in turn affects parental leave, Employment Insurance benefits, as well as pensions and savings.
[Figure 5.3 - Text version]
Occupational segregation between genders remains a real challenge to economic equality and is a major factor in the gender wage gap. In 2017, women accounted for 23 per cent of workers in natural and applied sciences (which include scientists and engineers), yet represented 80 per cent of the workforce in health occupations. Such segregation reflects a lack of diversified educational paths and is embedded in social norms about traditional gender roles in the workplace. The prevalence of men in highly paid occupations is also due to many other factors, including gender biases in the workplace, and work environments that do not accommodate flexibility for caregiving.
Results to Date
- The Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework will increase the availability of affordable day care spaces, allowing more low- and modest-income mothers to enter and remain in the labour market.
- Parents can now claim up to 18 months of parental leave.
- Workers can also get Employment Insurance when they need to take care of an ill family member.
- All federally regulated employees have the right to request flexible work arrangements, a right that particularly helps working parents balance work and family life.
Budget 2018 Actions
- Supporting a more equal distribution of child care within the home through a new EI Parental Sharing Benefit.
- Committing to move forward with a proactive Pay Equity regime, including new pay transparency requirements in the federally regulated sector.
- Helping visible minority newcomer women in Canada get into and staying in the workforce.
- Collecting data and undertaking research and policy work associated with the Gender Results Framework.
Leadership and Democratic Participation
More women in senior management positions, and more diversity in senior leadership positions
- Proportion of employees in management positions who are women (including intersecting identities), by management level
Increased opportunities for women to start and grow their business, and succeed on a global scale
- Proportion of businesses majority-owned by women (including intersecting identities), by business size, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
More company board seats held by women, and more diversity on company boards
- Proportion of board members who are women (including intersecting identities), by type of board
Greater representation of women and underrepresented groups in elected office and ministerial positions in national and sub-national governments
- Proportion of seats held by women (including intersecting identities) in national Parliament
- Proportion of seats held by women (including intersecting identities) in local governments (provincial, territorial, municipal, First Nations Band Councils)
- Proportion of ministerial positions held by women (including intersecting identities) in federal-provincial-territorial governments and Chiefs in First Nations communities who are women
Increased representation of women and underrepresented groups in the judicial system
- Proportion of federally appointed judges (federal and provincial courts) who are women (including intersecting identities)
- Proportion of law enforcement, security and intelligence officers who are women (including intersecting identities), by rank
Why This Matters
- A more balanced distribution of men and women at all levels of decision-making is essential to a fair and democratic society. It also leads to better decision-making.
- Gender equality and diversity in positions of leadership is associated with better management, increased availability of skilled employees, stronger employee engagement and higher productivity.
Progress and Challenges
While there are more women in decision-making positions today, including entrepreneurs, senior managers and political positions, women continue to face barriers to advancement in leadership roles.
Although progress has been made in women’s entrepreneurship, gender gaps persist. The number of private businesses majority-owned by women in the small and medium sized enterprise landscape has grown in Canada, and women in Canada are more involved in business start-ups than in most other OECD countries. However, women remain underrepresented as business owners, with fewer than one in six small and medium-sized businesses majority-owned by women. Notably, women entrepreneurs are less likely than men entrepreneurs to seek to grow their businesses and are less likely to export.
Canada’s diversity is vastly underrepresented in top corporate positions, including women, Indigenous Peoples, people with disabilities, members of visible minorities and LGBTQ2 individuals. Today, women represent just under one-third of senior managers, with most of the progress over the last 30 years being limited to the public sector. Only one in five company board seats at Financial Post 500 companies is held by a woman, and only one in 20 chief executive officers is a woman. In an effort to bring greater diversity to corporate boards and senior management ranks, the Government introduced Bill C-25, an Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act.
Currently there are three men for every one woman among the top 10 per cent of income earners and eight men for every one woman among the top 0.1 per cent of income earners. Increasing the representation of women in corporate leadership positions would have a large impact on the gender wage gap. A study by Nicole M. Fortin, Brian Bell and Michael Boehn has shown that achieving a more balanced distribution of women and men in top jobs could reduce the gender wage gap by almost half.
[Figure 5.4 - Text version]
In political life, women make up less than one-third of elected officials, although important variations exist across jurisdictions. The introduction of Canada’s first gender-balanced Cabinet in 2015 was an important step, but women still make up only one-quarter of Members of Parliament. In this respect, Canada falls short compared with many OECD countries, ranking 16th out of 35 OECD countries in the percentage of women parliamentarians. Moreover, LGBTQ2 women, women members of visible minorities, persons with disabilities and Indigenous women are underrepresented in the House of Commons. At the municipal level, women are most underrepresented as mayors, accounting for only 18 per cent of mayors across Canada, compared with 28 per cent of city councillors (excluding the Territories).
[Chart 5.3 - Text version]
Greater gender balance and diversity in the judicial system allows the system to be more responsive to the differing needs and situations of Canadians. Progress has been made in the number of women working in the judicial system, and gender gaps are narrower. The proportion of women who are judges has increased over time. Today, roughly 39 per cent of superior court judges are women.
Diversification is also key to equity in policing. In terms of law enforcement, particularly in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the number of women recruits has been stable, but there have been increases in the representation of women at various levels of promotion, including Commanding Officers.
Results to Date
- Canada introduced its first gender-balanced Cabinet in 2015.
- Implemented an open, transparent and merit-based approach to selecting candidates for Governor-in-Council (GIC) positions.
- Increased focus and support for women starting and growing their own business—the Business Development Bank of Canada has authorized a total of $912 million in financing to majority women-owned firms since 2015.
- Introduced Bill C-25, aimed at increasing diversity on corporate boards and in senior management ranks under the Canada Business Corporations Act.
Budget 2018 Actions
- Helping women entrepreneurs grow their businesses with access to financing, talent, networks and expertise, through the new Women Entrepreneurship Strategy.
- Supporting the advancement of women in senior positions by publicly recognizing corporations that are committed to promoting women to senior management positions and boards of directors.
- Supporting Members of Parliament who have young children by improving work-life balance and providing designated child care spaces.
- Enhancing diversity of the judiciary so it better represents Canadian society.
- Supporting the women’s movement by increasing funding for the Women’s Program to support more initiatives that build the capacity of equality-seeking organizations, reduce gender inequality in Canada, and promote a fairer and more productive society.
- Engaging Canadians on the benefits of gender equality by hosting a national roundtable on GBA+, leading a national conversation on gender equality with young Canadians, and developing a men and boys strategy in recognition of the fact that men and boys are part of the solution to issues of equality.
Gender-Based Violence and Access to Justice
Workplaces are harassment free
- Proportion of employees who self-report being harassed in the workplace, by gender
Fewer women are victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault
- Proportion of women and girls aged 15 years and older subjected to physical, sexual or psychological violence by a current or former intimate partner
- Proportion of population who self-reported being sexually assaulted, since age 15, by gender
Fewer victims of childhood maltreatment
- Proportion of population who self-reported childhood maltreatment (before age 15), by type of maltreatment and by gender
Fewer women killed by an intimate partner
- Homicide rate, by relationship to the perpetrator and by gender
Increased police reporting of violent crimes
- Proportion of self-reported incidents of violent crime reported to police, past 12 months, by type of crime and by gender
Fewer Indigenous women and girls are victims of violence
- Proportion of Indigenous women and girls subjected to physical, sexual or psychological violence, by Indigenous identity
Increased accountability and responsiveness of the Canadian criminal justice system
- Proportion of sexual assaults reported to police that are deemed “unfounded”
Why This Matters
- Violence can have impacts on a person’s physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health, which can span generations.
- Access to and confidence in the criminal justice system is foundational to Canadian society.
- Discrimination, harassment and sexual violence in the workplace can have profound negative effects on health and safety, absenteeism and decreasing productivity.
Progress and Challenges
There are important conversations happening in Canada and around the world regarding issues of discrimination, harassment and gender-based violence. Movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp have shed light on situations and behaviours that simply do not belong in our society.
A recent consultation by Employment and Social Development Canada on harassment and sexual violence in the workplace found that nearly one-third of women in Canada have experienced some form of sexual harassment at work. Yet most do not report harassment, often due to fear of retaliation or lack of confidence that reports will be dealt with effectively. Empowering people to tell their stories secure in the knowledge that they will be heard, believed and respected is a necessary step—but real action on the part of employers, governments and other actors is also needed to ensure that the next generation does not face the same challenges.
Gender-based violence can take many forms and includes any act of violence or abuse that can result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering.
[Figure 5.5 - Text version]
Data show that some populations are particularly vulnerable to gender-based violence, including Indigenous women, women with a cognitive or mental health-related disability, those living in northern, rural and remote communities, and LGBTQ2 individuals. For example, research by the Native Women’s Association of Canada suggests that approximately 4,000 Indigenous women were murdered or went missing between 1980 and 2012. Furthermore, while Indigenous women make up only 5 per cent of the female population in Canada, they account for 24 per cent of all victims of homicide in 2015.
Childhood maltreatment is a powerful predictor of future victimization. People who are physically and/or sexually abused as children are twice as likely to be victims of gender-based violence later in life. While men are about 1.5 times more likely than women to report having been victims of physical abuse as children, women are three times more likely to have been sexually victimized as children.
Of all sexual assault incidents reported in Canada, nearly half (47 per cent) were committed against women aged 15 to 24, and it is estimated that as many as one in four women experience sexual assault while attending a post-secondary institution. Although most Canadian post-secondary institutions have established policies to prevent and address sexual violence on campus, and some jurisdictions have legislation that makes such policies a requirement, a recent report card issued by “Our Turn”, a national, student-led movement aimed at addressing sexual violence on campuses, gave a score of C or lower to eight of 14 universities surveyed.
Underreporting of gender-based violence to the police remains a serious issue. According to victims of self-reported violence, only 5 per cent of sexual assaults come to the attention of police, a number that is much lower than for other types of violent crime. The belief that reporting a sexual assault will not lead to any charges against the perpetrator, fear about being re-victimized, and the stigma experienced by women who report sexual assault, may increase the likelihood of cases not being reported to the police.
Women are less likely than men to be victims of homicide, but they are more likely to be victims of homicide by intimate partners. New and improved data on intimate partner violence are being developed but, in general, intimate partner violence is consistently identified as the most common form of violence against women, both nationally and internationally. Beyond the long-lasting physical and emotional consequences for the victims, all Canadians are paying a high price for violence against women. Canadians collectively spend $8.4 billion each year to deal with the aftermath of spousal violence, according to Department of Justice Canada estimates.
Results to Date
- Launched Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, which includes undertaking data collection and research in priority areas.
- Increased funding for shelters and transition housing for individuals fleeing family violence.
- Launched the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
- Enhanced support for victims of sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Updated the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code to consider gender identity and gender expression a distinguishing feature of a person.
- Improved gender balance of professionals in the justice system, including judges, with a view to ensuring that the system is more representative of Canadian society in order to better respond to the needs of Canadians.
Budget 2018 Actions
- Addressing and preventing gender-based violence by expanding Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence.
- Combatting violence at home and in the workplace by protecting federally regulated employees from harassment and violence in the workplace and providing support to victims of family violence.
- Addressing historical wrongs for LGBTQ2 individuals in the federal government.
- Enhancing access to the family justice system for Canadian families by expanding the unified family courts system.
- Supporting enhanced investigative capacity at the RCMP to address unfounded sexual assault cases.
- Establishing a national hotline to combat human trafficking.
- Increasing access to legal information and support for Canadian workers who experience sexual harassment in their workplace, and supporting outreach and awareness-raising on this issue.
- Engaging stakeholders, including provinces and territories, in developing a harmonized national framework to ensure consistent, comprehensive and sustainable approaches to address gender-based violence at post-secondary institutions across the country.
Poverty Reduction, Health and Well-Being
Fewer vulnerable individuals living in poverty
- Prevalence of low income, by economic family type (including single-parent households) and by gender
Fewer women and children living in food-insecure households
- Proportion of individuals living in households that are moderately or severely food insecure, by economic family type (including single-parent households) and by gender
Fewer vulnerable individuals lacking stable, safe and permanent housing
- Proportion of the population in core housing need, by economic family type (including single-parent households) and by gender
Child and spousal support orders enforced
- Collection rate, by type of beneficiary (child, spouse or both)
More years in good health
- Leading causes of death (including suicide rate), by gender
- Health-adjusted life expectancy at birth, by gender
- Proportion of population that participated regularly in sport, by gender
Improved mental health
- Proportion of adults who have high psychological well-being, by gender
Improved access to contraception for young people and reduced adolescent birth rate
- Proportion of population aged 15-34 that did not use contraception among sexually active population not trying to conceive
- Adolescent birth rate (aged 15-19) per 1,000 women in that age group
Why This Matters
- Poverty is a challenge faced by men and women alike, but its effects can be different for women and girls, who are more likely to be victims of violence, to live alone and to suffer health problems.
- Ensuring all members of our society have a real and fair chance at success is part of the Government’s plan to strengthen and grow the middle class.
Progress and Challenges
Poverty is a complex issue that ranges from being unable to afford basic necessities, such as healthy food and safe and permanent housing, to relative deprivation—being unable to afford things like access to the internet, and swimming lessons for children. Poverty is closely linked to issues of mental and physical health and well-being, which affect many Canadians on a day-to-day basis.
Canada is a prosperous country, but about one in 10 people are living in low-income families. Economic and social marginalization affects certain groups of people disproportionately, including women in particular.
[Chart 5.4 - Text version]
Almost one in three single mothers are raising their children in poverty—negatively affecting their children’s health and outcomes in school, and often having lasting effects across generations. This is particularly true for Indigenous women, who are more likely to be single mothers.
Poverty also affects individuals differently. About 2.7 million Canadians, the majority of whom are women, live in households that have inadequate or insecure access to food. Food insecurity is more prevalent among households with children, particularly those headed by single mothers. Food insecurity leaves a significant mark on children’s well-being and puts them at greater risk of conditions such as asthma and depression.Poverty can also lead to inadequate, unaffordable and unsuitable housing, resulting in households that are in core housing need. Single mothers and senior women are particularly affected, as well as women living in the North and in Indigenous households. Gender-based violence is also a key contributor to women’s housing instability.
- In 2014, approximately 136,000 individuals used a shelter.
- Shelter users are more likely to be men, with 72.4 per cent identifying as male, and 27.3 per cent identifying as female.
- Individuals aged 25-49 continue to be the largest group of shelter users, at 52.7 per cent.
- 20 per cent of homeless individuals are youth aged 13-24.
- Approximately 29.5 per cent identify as LGBTQ2.
On homelessness—the most extreme form of poverty—single adult men represent a large portion of this population in Canada. These individuals tend to suffer more from mental illness, addictions and disability. The percentage of women in the homeless emergency shelter population is lower than men, but there is a lack of data on homeless women who are in shelters for survivors fleeing family violence and hidden homelessness. Indigenous Peoples are overrepresented among the homeless population in many urban centres in Canada. LGBTQ2 youth are also at higher risk of homelessness due to homophobia and transphobia in the home.
Poor health can contribute to poverty by preventing people from participating in education, training and work. Canada has enjoyed large gains in life expectancy over the past decades, thanks to improvements in living conditions and public health access, and progress in medical care. Women tend to live longer than men; however, they are less likely to do so in good health. In other words, women tend to suffer more from illness and health problems. Mental illness in particular can have a major impact on income security.
Based on Statistics Canada data, men are about three times more likely than women to die by suicide, but women are three to four times more likely to attempt suicide. LGBTQ2 people, particularly youth and transgender people, face higher rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidality. Youth suicide is also a pressing issue for Indigenous youth.
Life expectancy tends to be below average for Indigenous Peoples. One study found that residents of Inuit Nunangat are expected to live nine years less than residents in the rest of Canada, reflecting self-inflicted injury, primarily at ages 15 to 24, and respiratory diseases often related to smoking-related diseases.
As teenage pregnancy is related to lower educational attainment, it can negatively affect labour force participation in the long term and in turn lead to poverty. While the adolescent birth rate in Canada has been steadily falling, it is higher than in many other OECD countries (Canada ranks 25th out of 34 countries in terms of births among 15-to-19 year olds).
Results to Date
- Nine out of 10 Canadian families are receiving more money under the Canada Child Benefit—particularly beneficial for low-income single mothers.
- Increased Guaranteed Income Supplement payments of up to $947 per year are helping nearly 900,000 low-income seniors, 70 per cent of whom are women.
- Restored the eligibility age for Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits to 65, putting thousands of dollars back in the pockets of Canadians as they become seniors.
- New National Housing Strategy that will support vulnerable populations—with at least 25 per cent of investments to support projects that target the unique needs of women and girls.
- Greater funding to improve the health of First Nations and Inuit, including in services that are women-specific, such as maternal and child health.
Budget 2018 Actions
- Improving access to the Canada Child Benefit and other benefits for Indigenous Peoples living on reserves, in the North and in urban areas.
- Improving access to and increasing support from the Canada Workers Benefit.
- Improving the daily life of Indigenous Peoples with investments in housing, health and safe drinking water
- Improving the quality of life of people with dementia and ensuring that caregivers have the support they need.
- Moving towards an inclusive sport system by setting a target to achieve gender parity in sport by 2035 and increasing funding to support data and research, innovative practices to promote female participation in sport and provide support to national sports organizations to support the greater inclusion of women and girls in all facets of sport.
Gender Equality Around the World
An international feminist agenda that advances Canada’s commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment, including:
- Increased and meaningful participation of women in peace and security efforts
- More women in leadership and decision-making roles, and stronger women’s rights organizations
- More women and girls have access to sexual and reproductive health services and their rights are promoted
- More of Canada’s trade agreements include gender related provisions
- More women have equitable access and control over the resources they need to build their own economic success and the economic success of their communities
- Fewer people are victims of sexual and gender-based violence and sexual exploitation, including in conflict settings and online
- More girls and women access quality education and skills training
Why This Matters
- Canada is committed to eradicating poverty, and building a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world. The Government will invest in women’s empowerment and gender equality as the best ways to achieve these objectives, grounded in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
- Numerous studies tell us this is the right course. It has been estimated that achieving gender equality around the world could increase global GDP by $12 trillion over 10 years. And there are strong correlations between gender inequalities and extreme poverty.
- For these reasons and more Canada is pursuing a feminist approach across all its international policies and programming, including diplomacy, trade, security, and development.
Progress and Challenges
Over the past three decades, the world has made impressive gains in reducing poverty. Sustained economic growth has led to higher incomes, broader access to goods and services, and a better standard of living for most of the world’s citizens. New technologies, including access to mobile phones and the internet, are generating economic opportunities, access to services, and opening new avenues for advocacy and the protection of human rights.
But not all these developments are universally positive nor has everyone benefitted equally. Millions of people continue to struggle in the face of persistent poverty and inequality, exacerbated by violent conflict and the effects of climate change.
Women and girls—whose voices and interests are too often ignored—are at a particular disadvantage. For instance, women are legally discriminated against in more than 150 countries. In some countries women also face restrictions when it comes to registering a business, inheriting property and owning land. An important part of making sure that women and girls are able to take full advantage of economic opportunities involves giving them control over their own sexual and reproductive health. In many countries, these opportunities and choices are limited by discriminatory laws and policies, inadequate services, and ongoing threats of sexual and gender-based violence and exploitation.
When women and girls are given equal opportunities to succeed, and where their rights are promoted and protected, they can be powerful agents of change—driving stronger economic growth, encouraging greater peace and cooperation, and improving the quality of life for their families and their communities. Increasing gender equality can:
- Deliver strong economic growth: Women already generate nearly 40 per cent of the world’s GDP and the potential for further growth led by women is relatively untapped.
- Help cut down on extreme poverty: Ensuring that all students—especially girls—leave school with basic literacy skills could cut worldwide levels of extreme poverty by 12 per cent.
- Reduce chronic hunger: Providing female farmers with equal access to resources could reduce the number of people living with chronic hunger by as much as 17 per cent.
- Benefit entire families: Evidence shows that women tend to spend more of their incomes in ways that directly benefit their children, improving nutrition, health and educational opportunities for the next generation.
- Empower all those who face discrimination: Women and girls are not the only groups that face discrimination and inequality. Others face social and/or economic marginalization, including on the basis of their sex, race, ethnicity, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ability, or migrant or refugee status. By empowering women and girls as a means to achieve gender equality, the Government sends the clear message that equality is for everyone.
Canada is committed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the global effort to eradicate poverty and “leave no one behind”. To this end, Canada has adopted a Feminist International Assistance Policy where it will focus its efforts on 6 action areas—gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, human dignity, growth that works for everyone, environment and climate action, inclusive governance, and peace and security. The Policy supports targeted investments, partnerships, and innovation and advocacy efforts that have with the greatest potential to close gender gaps and improve everyone’s chance of success. By 2021–22, the Policy commits that 95 per cent of bilateral international development assistance will target or integrate gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, and that no less than 50 per cent of Canada's bilateral international development assistance is directed to sub-Saharan African countries by 2021-22.
Canada recognizes the important need to ensure the benefits of trade are shared more broadly with more people. This includes closing the gap in women’s participation in trade and the economy. Canada is pursuing a progressive trade and investment agenda which seeks fair trade opportunities for women-owned and operated SMEs, supports women exporters, and advances trade agreements that incorporate a gender perspective.
Canada is also committed to supporting and maintaining peace and security efforts internationally, which are key to creating a safer and more prosperous world. In fragile and conflict-affected states, human rights can be violated and gender equality efforts negatively affected. Women and girls are particularly at risk in conflict-affected areas. For example, sexual and gender-based violence can become more pervasive in conflict settings. In these contexts, women’s human rights, such as participation in political processes and access to the legal system, are often undermined.
When women are more involved in peace and security efforts, peace processes have been found to be more likely to be successful, and peace agreements more likely to endure. Moreover, women are uniquely able to provide outreach to other women. That is why Canada is focused on increasing the proportion of women deployed overseas and empowering women in all aspects of peace and security, including through support for the Elsie Initiative on Women in Peace Operations—a plan to work with the United Nations and interested member states to develop innovative approaches to women’s meaningful participation in peace operations.
This approach is reinforced through Canada’s new defence policy, which will promote diversity and inclusion as core institutional values. New focus will be placed on recruiting and retaining underrepresented populations, including women, within the Canadian Armed Forces, with a target to increase the representation of women to 25 per cent of the overall force within 10 years. This will not only result in a positive cultural change, but also increase overall operational effectiveness.
Results to Date
- Launched Canada's Feminist International Assistance Policy, which commits to reducing extreme poverty and building a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world. Specific announcements in support of the Policy include:
- $180 million to the Global Partnership for Education, providing targeted support for girls’ education and help to strengthen education systems in developing countries.
- $15 million to Marie Stopes Tanzania, to provide girls and women with improved access to the information and family planning services and commodities they require.
- Launched the Elsie Initiative on Women in Peace Operations to develop innovative approaches for women’s meaningful participation in peace operations.
- $20 million to help create the World Bank-managed Women’s Entrepreneurship Facility.
- Unveiled Canada's new defence policy, which commits to demonstrating leadership in reflecting Canadian ideals of diversity, respect and inclusion, including gender equality.
- A progressive trade agenda, including an amended Canada–Chile Free Trade Agreement that has a chapter on trade and gender—the first of its kind for a Group of Twenty (G20) country— and a new preamble to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership that reaffirms the importance of promoting progressive values, including gender equality.
Budget 2018 Actions
- Providing $2 billion over five years in new resources to expand programming that will contribute to eradicating poverty and building a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world.
- Providing new innovative tools to deliver $1.5 billion over five years in international assistance to support Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.
- Connecting women entrepreneurs with export opportunities through women-focused international trade missions, tailored advisory services, and access to global value chains by providing $10 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, to expand the Business Women in International Trade program.
GBA+ of Budget 2018
Fairness and equality are at the forefront of Budget 2018. Important new investments are supporting equality at home and in the workplace, and providing help to people who need it most, including Indigenous Peoples, people with disabilities and individuals suffering the effects of substance abuse.
This budget also proposes many other investments to help Canadians and grow the economy, which will undoubtedly affect different people in different ways. These include measures to bolster Canada’s research and innovation capacity, help businesses grow and succeed, reinforce the Government’s public safety institutions and enhance services to Canadians.
A true commitment to equality and diversity requires an understanding of how all policy decisions affect different people differently. The Government fully embraced this principle in Budget 2018, where every single decision on expenditure and tax measures was informed by GBA+.
There are many ways that budget measures can carry differential gender impacts. In some cases, investments are targeted for particular groups. In other cases, measures may unintentionally benefit one group or another disproportionately. For example, the delivery of certain measures may rely on sectors or occupational groups that are male or female predominant. The Government’s analysis of expected impacts will not always get it right. It may be limited by data gaps, or incorrect assumptions about how individuals may react. This is why presenting this information within the budget is so important. It invites scrutiny and encourages an open and frank discussion about the impacts of budget measures and how to promote better outcomes for all Canadians.
Strengthening Support for Low-Income Canadians
- Enhancing the Canada Workers Benefit
- Increasing uptake of the Canada Child Benefit and other benefits among Indigenous Peoples
Low-income Canadians face many challenges that can limit their opportunities to get ahead. The Government of Canada provides a number of benefits to reduce barriers to improved well-being and success for these individuals.
- The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) supports about 3.3 million families, and in particular low-income families. Close to 65 per cent of families receiving the maximum CCB amounts are single-parent families, more than 90 per cent of which are led by single mothers. Single mothers who will receive the CCB in the 2018–19 benefit year will receive close to $9,000 annually in benefit payments on average.
- Low-income families and individuals also benefit from the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax Credit, which is paid to about 10.5 million recipients each year.
- The Canada Workers Benefit (CWB, previously the Working Income Tax Benefit) provides important income support for working Canadians and helps offset financial barriers associated with work, such as taxes, expenses, and the loss of supports such as social assistance. While women make up about half of current claimants, they are overrepresented among single-parent claimants, making up about 90 per cent of that group.
- The Refundable Medical Expense Supplement plays a similar role, helping offset the loss of coverage for medical and disability-related expenses when individuals move from social assistance into the paid labour force.
- The federal government also supports low-income seniors through the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), a non-taxable benefit, which includes a top-up benefit for vulnerable seniors who rely almost exclusively on income from the Old Age Security program. In total, the GIS program benefits nearly two million seniors. Budget 2016 increased the GIS top-up benefit for single seniors by up to $947 annually, helping nearly 900,000 low-income seniors, 70 per cent of whom are women.
[Chart 5.5 - Text version]
Impacts of Budget 2018 Investments
The Government is investing in initiatives to help increase the uptake of the CCB and other benefits among Indigenous Peoples living on reserves, in the North and in urban areas. The evidence suggests that these actions are needed, as:
- Indigenous children under the age of 15 are more likely than non-Indigenous children to be living in a single-parent family (about 34 per cent compared to 17 per cent, based on the 2011 National Household Survey).
- Of these children, more than 80 per cent are being cared for by a single mother.
Through broader community engagement with Indigenous communities, in combination with additional investments in the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program and other tax-filing related services, the Government will reach out to families that are facing barriers to accessing these benefits. The significant support provided through the CCB and other benefits will help improve the quality of life of single mothers and other parents living in these communities and ensure that the needs of their children are better met.
Safia is a single parent with one child under the age of six. Safia earns $25,000 and claims $2,500 in child care expense deductions. In 2019, she will receive almost $1,700 from the Canada Workers Benefit—an increase of more than $600 relative to what she would have received from the WITB in 2018. Safia will also receive $6,496 in CCB payments for the 2018–19 benefit year.
Enhancing the Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) and improving access to the benefit will support low-income workers and, in particular, will help support single mothers—a group with relatively low employment rates and an elevated risk of living in poverty. Claimants currently receiving the Working Income Tax Benefit—a precursor to the CWB—are more likely than the general tax filing population to be single parents, representing about 16 per cent of claimants, compared to 7 per cent of tax filing, working-age families.
Helping Working Canadians
- A new Employment Insurance Parental Sharing Benefit to support sharing of child care responsibilities in the first years, which is expected to be available starting June 2019.
- The Employment Insurance Working While on Claim Benefit to help individuals stay connected to the labour market
- Additional skills training support for those who need it most
The Government of Canada provides a number of programs and benefits to help working Canadians balance work and family responsibilities, and encourage individuals to enter and stay in the workforce.
The Employment Insurance (EI) program is a critical part of Canada’s labour market supports, providing temporary income support to people who have lost their jobs and helping Canadians who take time off work for specific life events (e.g., child birth, sickness and injury).
Women represented 44 per cent of all new EI claimants in 2015–16, and received 47 per cent of the total amount paid. However, they accounted for almost two-thirds of new EI special benefits claimants and received 83 per cent of the total amount paid in EI special benefits. In addition to maternity benefits, women received the largest share of the total amount paid in EI parental benefits, sickness benefits and compassionate care benefits.
[Chart 5.6 - Text version]
The federal government also invests nearly $2.9 billion annually in transfers to provinces and territories to support skills training and development in order to improve labour market outcomes. Budget 2017 provided an additional $2.7 billion over six years, starting in 2017–18, to boost skills training and employment supports for unemployed and underemployed Canadians.
The indirect nature of these programs—administered by provinces and territories—represents a challenge to measuring how investments ultimately meet the needs of different groups of women and men. Current negotiations between federal, provincial and territorial governments on Labour Market Transfer Agreements provide an opportunity to achieve program goals, while providing additional flexibility to provinces and territories, expanding eligibility and focusing on outcomes.
Impacts of Budget 2018 Investments
Budget 2018 measures to support working Canadians are intended to fill specific gaps in the workforce, with a particular focus on additional support for underrepresented groups in the workforce.
Employment Insurance Measures
Budget 2018 introduces a new EI Parental Sharing Benefit. The new benefit will be available to eligible two-parent families, including adoptive and same-sex couples. This type of benefit has been proven to encourage a more balanced sharing of child-rearing that goes well beyond the five-week period. Quebec and other jurisdictions that have implemented similar benefits have found that they play a key role in who takes time off to provide caregiving. In 2016, for example, 80 per cent of new fathers in Quebec claimed or intended to claim parental benefits, in part because of leave that was specifically reserved for them. In the rest of Canada, which does not provide specific second parent leave, this same figure is only 12 per cent. The new benefit will also provide greater flexibility—particularly for mothers—to return to work sooner, if they so choose.
The EI Working While on Claim measure will help individuals stay in the workforce and ensure that EI claimants always benefit from accepting available work. In addition, Working While on Claim provisions will be extended to EI maternity and sickness claimants. On the whole, this measure is expected to affect more women than men, since women are more likely to work while on claim, and will also affect seasonal claimants and claimants living in Atlantic Canada or Quebec. Very few mothers work while receiving maternity benefits (about 900 out of 175,000 claims), and this is not expected to change with these measures. However, this will benefit those in low-income households who are facing financial pressures that require them to work. The measure will also support people with longer-term illnesses, chronic illnesses or episodic conditions to gradually return and stay connected to work.
The Government is taking additional targeted steps as part of its Skills plan to ensure that all Canadians are given the opportunity to succeed in the economy of tomorrow.
The new Pre-Apprenticeship Program will target people who are currently underrepresented in the trades, including women, youth, Indigenous Peoples, newcomers, and people with disabilities to prepare for an apprenticeship. Gender differences in the trades seem to be have proved more durable. In 2015, women made up only 11 per cent of new registrations in Red Seal trades, and tended to be in low-paid trades. Furthermore, only 2 per cent of 15-year-old female students in a 2012 survey were planning to pursue a trades career. In addition to attitudinal barriers, women can face other challenges such as an absence of mentors, difficulty finding an employer sponsor, discrimination and family obligations. Barriers can be heightened for women or men who have a disability or who are Indigenous, youth or newcomers.
As a result of this gender-based analysis, Budget 2018 is encouraging women’s increased representation in male-dominated—and better paid—Red Seal trades, by introducing the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women, a five-year pilot project where women in male-dominated Red Seal trades would receive a new grant of $3,000 for each of their first two years of training. This, in combination with the existing Apprenticeship Completion Grant, valued at $2,000, will result in a combined $8,000 in support over the course of their training. This doubles the existing financial support, from $4,000 to $8,000.
The Canada Summer Jobs program has been shown to enable participants to save about one-third of their educational expenses for the following school year, while providing essential skills needed for the future. The current program design accounts for student unemployment in local labour markets, a focus on skills that are most needed, and greater labour market participation of underrepresented groups. These program design features support enhanced participation of women and newcomer youth in STEM fields, and employment opportunities for youth in low-income neighborhoods. In addition, according to the program’s 2016 self-reporting survey results, Indigenous youth represented 5.9 per cent of program participants in summer 2016.
Supporting the Next Generation of Research and Researchers
- New granting council investments with requirements to achieve gender equality objectives
- New funding for the Canada Research Chairs program to better support early-career researchers and increase diversity
- A strategic plan to grow the capacity of Indigenous communities to conduct research and partner with the broader research community
The gender impacts of investments in research are not straightforward. A key rationale for government support for research is the “spillover” benefits to society that can result from the research findings. While these benefits are difficult to predict in advance and can involve long lags, they may be seen to represent knowledge and innovations that benefit all Canadians. However, significant gender disparities exist within the research community at Canadian universities and research hospitals that tend to be the direct beneficiaries of research grants.
As women’s participation in higher education continues to grow, there has been a commensurate increase in the number of women university faculty members, but gender gaps remain. Because fewer women than men continue their studies at progressively higher levels of education in many fields of study, women are underrepresented in the pool of researchers eligible to apply for research grants. For example, in humanities studies women make up 64 per cent of bachelor’s degree holders, but only 41 per cent of doctorate holders.
Gender gaps widen when looking at STEM fields, where women make up only one-fifth of individuals with a doctorate in these disciplines. Female representation in certain STEM fields—specifically in mathematics, computer science and engineering—is particularly low.
[Figure 5.6 - Text version]
The Government has also heard from the Fundamental Science Review Panel and many others in the research community that early-career researchers are facing challenges, such as insufficient funding opportunities. Supporting early-career researchers has important consequences for equity and diversity. For example, women, members of visible minorities and Indigenous Peoples are better represented at earlier stages of educational and academic attainment.
[Figure 5.7 - Text version]
Data on university faculty members who are members of visible minorities and Indigenous Peoples are outdated (from 2006). In addition, the 2016 Census did not collect information on people with disabilities, so limited information is available. However, the limited data that are available suggest that people with disabilities are also underrepresented in academia. The 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability found that 14 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and older reported having a disability, while about 10 per cent of doctorate holders reported having a disability, and only one to 2 per cent of Canada Research Chair holders reported having a disability.
Impacts of Budget 2018 Investments
In Budget 2018, the Government is proposing actions that will make Canada’s research environment more responsive, agile and modern. This includes historic investments in support of researchers and for equipment, combined with improved coordination and harmonization to focus on the highest priorities.
On the whole, the Government does not expect these investments to result in significant immediate changes to the disparities that exist, but consistent with the gender-based analysis, targeted actions are designed to encourage a more inclusive research community and support broader change in the future.
Funding support through the federal granting councils is determined through a merit-based peer review process based on research excellence. In general, the proportion of women who receive granting council awards is approximately equal to the proportion of women applying for them. In some research fields, women are significantly underrepresented, meaning there are fewer female applicants and therefore fewer female awardees. For example, about 80 per cent of applicants and awardees for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s Discovery Grants program are men. Similarly, various Canadian Institutes of Health Research grants programs average over two-thirds male applicants and awardees. Given that these two granting councils award the majority of federal research grants, new funding will disproportionately go to male researchers as a result.
The Government has already begun to implement measures to improve equity, diversity and inclusion, with the recently established Canada Research Coordinating Committee tasked with strengthening equity and diversity in research.
In Budget 2018, the Government is going further to advance these principles, supported by the integration of GBA+ in program design.
- The collection of better data on underrepresented groups will inform action plans to promote stronger representation of underrepresented groups in granting council programs, with clear targets and annual reporting to measure progress.
- Research institutions will receive support to advance equality and diversity through the adoption of the Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) program. The program’s goals include structural and cultural changes, such as increased support for women’s careers and efforts to challenge discrimination and bias.
- Research institutions will be able to compete for grants to tackle challenges in addressing underrepresentation and career advancement faced by women, Indigenous Peoples, members of visible minorities, people with disabilities and LGBTQ2 individuals.
- Indigenous communities will be engaged to identify strategies to grow their capacity to conduct research, partner with the broader research community and assist in establishing a national research program.
In addition, in 2018–19, the granting councils will be required to publish an annual report for Canadians on progress in addressing challenges in the research system, including equity and diversity, and support for researchers at various career stages.
Innovation and Skills Plan—A More Client-Focused Federal Partner for Business
- Simpler and stronger support for companies to innovate, scale up and reach global markets
- A modern approach to intellectual property
- A new Women Entrepreneurship Strategy
The suite of federal business innovation programs is fundamentally about breaking down barriers to the success of entrepreneurs and their companies so that they can continue to grow and innovate for the greater benefit of the economy and society. However, to be truly effective, these programs must recognize that these barriers are different for different people.
[Figure 5.8 - Text version]
Today, women remain underrepresented in the Canadian economy, especially among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)—women are the majority owners of only 16 per cent of all SMEs in Canada. What’s more, women-owned SMEs tend to face poorer prospects, and tend to be smaller, less likely to scale into large companies, and less likely to export. Women-owned companies are especially underrepresented in the technology sector. A recent study estimated that only 13 per cent of Canadian technology companies have at least one woman on the team of founders.
Ensuring that women and women-owned companies have access to this range of support and opportunities is essential to meeting the outcome of a more diverse innovation economy. This includes support throughout the entire growth cycle of a company, from developing new intellectual property to accessing the needed resources and capital for scaling and to finding sales opportunities whether from governments or private companies, including internationally. In addition, well-designed and efficient regulations ensure a level playing field while also minimizing potential barriers to businesses’ success.
Impacts of Budget 2018 Investments
The Government is taking a comprehensive approach to better support the growth of firms in Canada by consolidating and streamlining programs, modernizing regulations and improving trade opportunities.
These actions will serve the entrepreneurs and companies of today, where important disparities continue to exist from a gender perspective. The Government recognizes that change takes time, but equally recognizes its role in effecting this change by better tailoring its programs and services to the needs of Canadians.
The results of GBA+ have informed the Government’s business innovation reforms. A clear result is the new Women Entrepreneurship Strategy—a comprehensive effort to break down the barriers to growth-oriented entrepreneurship that will include new direct funding from the regional development agencies targeted to women entrepreneurs, mentorship and skills training, as well as targets for federal procurement from women-led business. A strong example of GBA+ at work is the Business Development Bank of Canada’s (BDC’s) accessibility review. The BDC conducted the review to examine how accessible its products and services were to women entrepreneurs. The review motivated a number of new actions by the BDC, including a commitment to make available $1.4 billion in financing to women entrepreneurs, as well as service improvements and a renewed focus on training staff on unconscious biases.
More generally, the Government’s coming reform to federal innovation programs will include a universal goal to improve the participation of underrepresented groups, including women entrepreneurs, in the innovation economy. If women entrepreneurs are to become greater participants in the innovation economy, it is crucial that they have fair access to the entire suite of business innovation programming and that potential biases of program administrators are addressed.
Regional development agencies have extensive experience in helping female entrepreneurs access the tools needed to establish and expand their businesses. The strategy will build on these existing relationships and networks to help women identify and act on new innovation-driven opportunities.
The Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario supports Communitech’s Fierce Founders Accelerator program, a seed funding program designed to support women-led early-stage businesses. In 2016–17, the Government announced support of $880,000 over two years to Fierce Founders Accelerator to support 20 women-led technology companies.
Through its commitment to enhance export supports for businesses, the Government is also looking to reduce the barriers around access to external markets for certain groups of people, in particular women entrepreneurs. This includes investing $10 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, to expand the Trade Commissioner Service’s Business Women in International Trade program, to better connect businesses owned by women with international market opportunities. The Government is also making available $250 million through Export Development Canada to provide financing and insurance solutions to women-owned and women-led businesses that are exporting or looking to begin exporting.
To grow their companies, women entrepreneurs must be able to turn their ideas into competitive goods and services that gain market share. Budget 2018 announces the details of a new Intellectual Property Strategy to ensure a strong foundation for commercial success in an innovation economy. This will include targeted initiatives to support underrepresented groups, such as women and Indigenous entrepreneurs. For example, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office will increase its education and awareness initiatives that are delivered in partnership with business, intermediaries and academia to ensure that Canadians better understand and exploit intellectual property, and integrate it into business strategies. As a result of gender-based analysis, this will also include targeted initiatives to support women and other underrepresented groups.
Advancing Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples
- Ensuring that Indigenous children are safe and supported within their communities
- Achieving better results for Indigenous Peoples through investments in health, housing and clean and safe drinking water on reserve
- Supporting the recognition and implementation of rights, self-determination and helping Indigenous Nations reconstitute
The historical relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the Crown has had a profound impact on Indigenous women. Colonial and paternalistic laws like the Indian Act, as well as other legislation and policies such as residential schools, entrenched policies and imposed structures that caused great harm to pre-existing social structures for Indigenous women.
As a result of this shared history, socio-economic gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians continue to be significant.
[Figure 5.9 - Text version]
Indigenous women are particularly vulnerable, as they continue to be less likely to be part of the paid workforce, have fewer post-secondary qualifications and worse health outcomes than non-Indigenous women.
Since governments use different data methodologies, the Government does not have a nationally consistent view on the number and experiences of Indigenous children in care. However, it is obvious that Indigenous children are significantly overrepresented in the child welfare system. Poverty, inadequate housing and caregivers’ experiences within the child welfare system are some of the main reasons Indigenous children are taken into care. Indigenous women are more likely than their non-Indigenous counterparts to be categorized as ‘at-risk’, to be investigated for alleged neglect and maltreatment, and to have their children removed. Although a similar number of Indigenous boys and girls are taken into institutional care, girls are much more likely to experience sexual abuse. In fact, Indigenous girls are four times more likely than non-Indigenous girls to be victims of sexual violence while in foster care.
Impacts of Budget 2018 Investments
By continuing to invest directly in the health and well-being of Indigenous Peoples—in particular, Indigenous women and children—while simultaneously supporting Indigenous self-determination and capacity-building, the Government can continue to make progress on addressing the significant disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
Greater supports for the First Nations Child and Family Services Program are needed to address the funding pressures facing child and family service agencies, while also increasing prevention resources for communities so that children are safe and families can stay together. Through prevention efforts, girls and boys may become less likely to experience forms of child maltreatment (e.g. neglect, physical abuse, emotional maltreatment), and girls may become less likely to experience sexual abuse.
The new Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program will support more First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and men entering the workforce by providing essential and vocational skills training they need for lasting employment. To address the unique needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation women and men, distinctions-based programming will be provided with dedicated funding and labour market strategies for First Nations, Inuit, Métis and urban/non-affiliated Indigenous Peoples. As a result of gender-based analysis, wrap-around services, such as child care, will also ensure that Indigenous women can better access skills development and training opportunities offered by the program’s service delivery organizations.
The health needs and experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis men, women and children are unique, and there is limited disaggregated health information to help understand these differences. For instance, in the area of mental health and addictions, First Nations and Inuit men may benefit from land-based programs. Women may experience difficulty finding the time to attend regular treatment due to family responsibilities, or may delay seeking help for fear of losing custody of their children. Investments in Indigenous Health will support the collection of Inuit and Métis-specific health data to close information gaps. Increased access to addictions treatment and mental health programs within First Nations communities will support women and men so they do not have to leave their communities to access the resources and tools they need to heal and recover. The Government is making progress in devolving health service delivery to Indigenous communities so that, in the future, health programs are designed, delivered, managed and controlled by Indigenous People for Indigenous People.
Lack of adequate and affordable housing can affect health and well-being. In 2011, 27 per cent of Indigenous women lived in core housing need compared to 13 per cent of Indigenous men. Inadequate housing is also one of the main reasons Indigenous children are taken into foster care at much higher rates than non-Indigenous children. Investments in distinctions-based housing strategies will ensure that Indigenous Peoples have greater control over housing to address the distinct needs of each community and the underlying social determinants of poverty that often contribute to Indigenous children being taken from their families, communities and culture.
The First Nations Land Management Regime empowers First Nations to exercise their jurisdiction by opting out of antiquated Indian Act provisions related to land management and replacing them with their own laws. Wider adoption of the First Nations Land Management Regime will allow more First Nations to exercise their inherent right to self-determination by creating their own laws related to land management, while creating economic opportunities for First Nations through self-management of reserve lands, environmental protection and natural resources. Since communities participating in the First Nations Land Management Regime are required to either implement federal matrimonial real property law provisions or develop their own, expanding the First Nations Land Management Regime will provide legal protection from family violence to more women and children living on reserve. Given that Indigenous women tend to be less likely to hold a certificate of possession of the family home and more likely to experience high rates of domestic violence, the matrimonial real property protections will benefit Indigenous women and children living on reserve.
A Clean Environment for Future Generations
- Protecting Canada’s Nature, Parks and Wild Spaces
- Pricing carbon pollution and supporting clean growth
All Canadians benefit from a clean environment that supports clean air, water and land. Some of the main environmental challenges faced in Canada today relate to climate change, air pollution, water quality and biodiversity.
Canada’s plants and animals, and the environments in which they live, make up ecosystems that provide services all Canadians depend on for our well-being. Healthy ecosystems help filter our air and water, and biodiversity helps ensure that ecosystems can continue to function well.
Impacts of Budget 2018 Investments
The Government is working with Indigenous Peoples to conserve species and ecosystems, protect the environment from degradation and pollution, improve access to nutritious food and address the challenges Indigenous communities face in accessing safe drinking water.
In Budget 2018, the Government is taking important steps to create a healthy environment for future generations, protect Canada’s natural legacy, address climate change and grow the economy by pricing carbon pollution.
Actions taken to protect Canada’s nature, parks and wild spaces will support Canada’s biodiversity goals and help conserve natural ecosystems. These investments are expected to benefit all Canadians, with some benefitting more than others. For instance, the 2012 Canadian Nature Survey found that a slightly higher percentage of women (51.3 per cent) than men (48.7 per cent) participate in nature-based recreation, education and leisure in Canada.
Indigenous Peoples, especially those living in northern and remote communities, are much more likely than other Canadians to rely directly on the land and water for their subsistence. The 2012 Canadian Nature Survey found that 20.1 per cent of adult Indigenous Peoples participated in hunting or trapping in comparison to 7.2 per cent of the non-Indigenous adult population, and that 38.1 per cent of adult Indigenous Peoples participated in fishing in comparison to 19.3 per cent of the non-Indigenous adult population. Indigenous Peoples also represent the socio-cultural group most directly affected by biodiversity loss and negative changes to their environment, as the quality of the natural environment is also more likely to be an important part of their tradition and identity. The 2012 Canadian Nature Survey found that 38.6 per cent of adult Indigenous Peoples participated in nature conservation activities in comparison to 21.6 per cent of the non-Indigenous adult population.
Vulnerability to emergencies and natural disasters
- Anticipated impacts of the increasing concentration of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere include a higher frequency and severity of extreme weather events.
- Research undertaken in 2007 by the Canadian Red Cross, Brandon University and federal partners analyzed the needs of at-risk populations in relation to emergency management at the federal, provincial and territorial levels.
- 10 population groups were found to be particularly susceptible to harm due to emergencies or disasters: seniors; persons with disability; Indigenous Peoples; medically dependent persons; low-income persons; children and youth; persons with low literacy levels; women; transient populations; and new immigrants and cultural minorities.
- The research highlighted that the groups mentioned above are not mutually exclusive categories, and that together they constitute a majority group.
The Government is also taking action to put a price on carbon pollution to address climate change. The impacts of climate change affect Canadians living in every region of the country. Higher temperatures, declining sea and lake ice, increases in extreme weather events and coastal erosion are some of the changes being observed. Canadians living in the North are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, as the impacts are more extreme and occurring at a faster rate there. Research also indicates that natural disaster risks are not evenly distributed across Canadian society, but disproportionately affect some groups, including women, children and Indigenous Peoples.
Supporting the Health and Well Being of Canadians
- Addressing the opioid crisis
- Federal Tobacco Control Strategy
- Public education for cannabis
- Supporting people living with dementia and their caregivers
- Supporting Canadian families affected by autism spectrum disorder
Canada presently faces several public health challenges, including problematic substance use disorder, which is of particular concern. Understanding how these challenges affect different people differently is critical to designing effective policy solutions.
Opioid Use in Canada
A number of sub-populations are being affected by the opioid crisis, including men, women, different socio-economic groups, and First Nations and Inuit populations. However, it is notable that data specific to the Canadian context for many of these populations are lacking, including Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQ, and different socio-economic groups. According to national data released by the Public Health Agency of Canada in September 2017 on behalf of provinces and territories, most apparent opioid-related deaths occurred among men (73 per cent), with some variation across provinces and territories.
[Chart 5.7 - Text version]
Data released by the First Nations Health Authority in August 2017 indicated an almost even gender ratio (52 per cent male / 48 per cent female) in First Nations populations across all of British Columbia for overdose event rates. Women are more likely than men to develop an opioid use disorder related to prescription opioids. This may be because women are more likely than men to seek medical assistance for a medical issue and are thus more likely to be prescribed an opioid pain medication.
Illegal drug use, in particular injection drug use, presents a range of risks, a number of which disproportionately affect women. A 2002 study of people who inject drugs in the Vancouver area found that younger people who inject drugs were more likely to be female and more likely to work in the sex trade. Injection drug use combined with involvement in sex trafficking presents a host of risks, such as HIV infection and sexual abuse.
ƚ Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut data are grouped due to low volumes.
This data should be interpreted with caution. Nunavut data are from 2015–2016 (the most recent year of data available); therefore, there is no absolute rate difference shown.
Sources: Hospital Morbidity Database, Canadian Institute for Health Information.
[Figure 5.10 - Text version]
Tobacco Use in Canada
[Figure 5.11 - Text version]
Surveillance data indicate that, although tobacco use has declined in Canada, gaps based on gender and other intersecting identity factors still exist. Male workers (aged 18-75) in blue-collar occupations such as construction, mining, oil and gas extraction, and transportation and warehousing reported a prevalence of smoking that was 2.4 times the prevalence of workers in white-collar occupations, such as finance, administration and education, or a rate of 30.6 per cent compared to 12.6 per cent.
Data from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey indicate that 54.1 per cent of Canada’s Inuit population aged 19 years and older smoke daily. Studies have also shown elevated smoking rates among various LGBTQ2 communities in Canada, with estimates ranging between 24 per cent and 45 per cent across different sexual orientation and gender identity groups.
Cannabis Use in Canada
In 2015, Statistics Canada collected data on cannabis use and found that approximately 13 million Canadians over the age of 15 reported using cannabis or hashish at least once in their lifetime. This included 7.5 million men and 5.5 million women. While the proportion of men who used cannabis in the last year has not changed significantly since 2013, the proportion of women who used cannabis in the last year increased from 7 per cent in 2013 to 10 per cent in 2015.
The use of cannabis was found to be more prevalent among youth (aged 15 to 19) and young adults (aged 20 to 24) than among adults aged 25 years and older. The median age of initiating cannabis use was 17 years old for men and women.
People Living With Dementia and Their Caregivers
In 2013–14, 402,000 Canadians aged 65 years and older were living with some form of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Of those diagnosed with dementia, two-thirds are women. In addition to the social costs and effects on families and loved ones, dementia also has significant economic impacts. According to the National Population Health Study of Neurological Conditions published by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the combined health care system costs and out-of-pocket caregiver costs for people with dementia amounted to $10.4 billion in 2016. By 2031, this figure is expected to increase by 60 per cent, to $16.6 billion.
Canadian Families Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder is a complex, lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder that has serious health, social and financial consequences for Canadian families. The estimated prevalence of autism spectrum disorder in Canada is approximately 1 in 94 children aged 5 to 17 years. Studies concur that boys are almost five times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Canadians affected by autism spectrum disorder regularly face systemic barriers in their pursuit of reliable information, care and resources. Due to the varied nature of how the condition presents in different people, there are no clear best practices for managing the condition that apply to all sufferers equally.
Impacts of Budget 2018 Investments
In Budget 2018, the Government is committed to finding evidence-based and effective solutions to these public health challenges, recognizing that there is no single option that is appropriate for everyone affected.
While the opioid funding will target all Canadians affected by the opioid crisis, certain sub-populations will be particularly targeted for increased access to treatment services, including First Nations and Inuit, offenders in the criminal justice system, people living with addiction and substance abuse disorder, and other vulnerable groups to be identified through increased surveillance activities. Public awareness campaigns and messaging will be gender-sensitive and inclusive of gender-diverse groups, tailored to target Canadian women, men, girls, boys and gender-diverse individuals. In addition, investments supporting data improvements will help us better understand the populations being affected and target particular groups with prevention and treatment programs.
Government efforts on tobacco control will continue to support cessation, harm reduction and prevention for tobacco users in the general Canadian population. In addition, target populations will include young adults working in trades and semi-skilled occupations, Indigenous people, the LGBTQ2 community, and other communities demonstrating high rates of tobacco use. Targeted groups may also include people with lower socio-economic status and people with mental health issues. Under the modernized Federal Tobacco Control strategy, public awareness and targeted programming will take sex and gender inequities under consideration and will undertake targeted efforts, such as specific gender-sensitive health promotions for men to reduce their tobacco use.
Public education for cannabis will benefit all Canadians as the Government works to legalize and strictly regulate and restrict cannabis in order to keep it out of the hands of Canadian youth and keep profits away from criminals and organized crime. Budget 2018’s proposed investments in the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction will help us better understand what cannabis use looks like in Canada. Funding for the Substance Use and Addictions Program will support organizations that are best placed to communicate with their communities. Priorities for the Substance Use and Addictions Program have always included populations with a higher risk associated with cannabis use, such as those who initiate use early (youth), those who use frequently, those who use before driving, those who use during pregnancy, and seniors.
To support people living with dementia and their caregivers, investments are proposed to support community-based projects that provide mental health supports and information about self-care for family caregivers, tools to help locate resources quickly, including information about best practices for providing care for people living with dementia, and tools to combat stigma associated with dementia. This will disproportionately benefit the women who are diagnosed with dementia, as well as their caregivers.
Support for activities that improve access to information and to research evidence on best practices and treatments for people living with autism is expected to positively affect those diagnosed with the disorder and their families and caregivers. This investment will also allow for the exploration of new and innovative ways to improve the quality of life of individuals and families affected by autism as well as their caregivers who are likely disproportionately women.
Ensuring Security and Prosperity
- Introducing Canada’s National Cyber Security Strategy
- Supporting Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canada Border Services Agency front-line operations
- Establishing a national hotline to help combat human trafficking
- Addressing “unfounded” sexual assault cases
- Investing in research to address post-traumatic stress injuries for public safety officers
- Improving mental health supports for inmates
“... to all the women who have been impacted by the Force’s failure to have protected your experience at work, and on behalf of every leader, supervisor or manager, every Commissioner: I stand humbly before you today and solemnly offer our sincere apology.”
Former RCMP Commissioner
formal apology to female officers and
civilian members, Oct 6, 2016
The recent RCMP gender harassment and discrimination class action lawsuit serves as an important reminder of the work ahead to ensure that Canada’s public safety institutions build and nurture cultures that are diverse, respectful and inclusive.
Investments in the public safety sector reflect a number of considerations, one of which is to ensure that all Canadians live in safe communities that are free of violence. Another is to promote diversity within Canada’s public safety institutions so that they reflect the communities they serve. The physical and mental health needs of the people who work to keep us safe every day is another consideration.
A diverse workforce fosters cultural change within organizations, reducing the prevalence and tolerance of harassment and discrimination in the workplace and enabling institutions to develop better tools to interact with Canadians in what are often difficult circumstances.
The public safety sector has been and remains a heavily gendered field. Law enforcement has typically been male-dominated and recent reports have called attention to gendered institutional cultures where discrimination and harassment persist in workplaces such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In 2016, 21.6 per cent of all Regular Members in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were women; across Canada, women accounted for 21.1 per cent of all police officers across various forces.
Emerging areas of law enforcement, such as cybercrime, are also gendered as they typically rely on technical specialists from male-dominated fields in science and engineering. A 2017 study of cyber security professionals found that women are globally underrepresented among this group at 11 per cent—much lower than the representation of women in the overall global workforce.
Challenges also exist in ensuring that public safety institutions have the tools and expertise needed to respond to vulnerable populations—whether they are at the border, in cities or in rural areas.
Among those vulnerable populations are victims of human trafficking, the vast majority (93 per cent) of whom are women and girls. In fact, one quarter of female victims of human trafficking are under the age of 18, according to 2014 data from Statistics Canada. In addition to women and girls, youth, Indigenous Peoples, and individuals who identify with the LGBTQ2 community are most likely to be victims of human trafficking.
Women are also most likely to be victims of sexual assault. In 2014 alone, an estimated 635,000 incidents of sexual assault occurred. Women were victims in 87 per cent of these incidents, and 90 per cent were not reported to police. Of reported incidents, too many cases are inaccurately deemed as unfounded. There is an important opportunity to make changes in this regard.
Finally, in recent years, there have been increasing calls to address the mental health burden associated with work in the public safety sector. The people who put their lives on the line to protect Canadians sometimes need additional mental health supports for their own well-being. A 2017 report on mental health of public safety officers in Canada shows that female municipal and provincial police officers and firefighters are more likely than their male counterparts to report mental health issues. However, a lack of information persists regarding the full extent to which post-traumatic stress injuries affects public safety officers, and more research is needed in this important area, including the need to reduce stigma, and better understand the potential impacts on different groups of men and women.
[Chart 5.8 - Text version]
Impacts of Budget 2018 Investments
Through Budget 2018, the Government proposes to take action to ensure that principles of equity, diversity and inclusion underpin the operations and outcomes of all activities in the areas of safety and security. The investments highlight the importance of increasing the representation of women and other underrepresented groups in fields such as law enforcement, security and intelligence. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Communications Security Establishment have each made it a priority to increase diversity and inclusion through recruitment, demonstrating a commitment to building respectful workplaces with equal opportunities for women in hiring, promotion and retention.
The Government is committed to combatting gender-based violence, and proposes to establish a National Human Trafficking Hotline. The new hotline will help protect vulnerable individuals, the majority of whom are women and girls, from being trafficked and enable victims to access the necessary social and law enforcement services they need.
In addition, the Government proposes to support the RCMP in continuing and expanding its review of unfounded sexual assault cases. Investments in this area will help provide accountability across the RCMP for investigations, and support the development of curriculum and training to address the problems raised by “unfounded”. An external advisory committee and better supports for victims will also form part of this initiative. This investment will support the Government’s commitment to ensuring that survivors of sexual assault and gender-based violence are treated with the utmost dignity and respect, including throughout the course of police investigations.
Finally, Budget 2018 proposes support for the most vulnerable in the federal correctional system. Expanding mental health care supports for inmates, including targeted supports for women inmates, will help respond to the increasingly complex mental health care needs of women in federal correctional facilities. The Government also proposes funding through Budget 2018 to expand the Office of the Correctional Investigator’s capacity to investigate issues—including related to women and Indigenous offenders.
Access to Justice
- Increasing judicial resources for superior courts
- Expanding Unified Family Courts
- Providing legal aid funding to support victims of workplace sexual harassment
- Protecting federally regulated employees from harassment and violence in the workplace
- Increasing access to legal information and services in both official languages
Confidence in and respect for our justice system is one of the pillars of Canada’s democracy. Canadians are entitled to have access to a justice system that is fair and efficient, and a judiciary that is representative of and responsive to the diverse fabric of our country.
Many Canadians will come into contact with the justice system at some point in their lives—whether seeking legal information or advice, working as a legal professional or being party to a legal matter. Depending on the level of engagement, individuals will be affected differently by the justice system when gender, age, culture, ethnicity and racialization are taken into account.
For example, Indigenous Peoples are overrepresented in the criminal justice system and are more than twice as likely as non-Indigenous Peoples to experience violent victimization. The majority of people who appear before the courts on criminal matters are younger Canadians (aged 18-34) and, in general, men are more likely than women to be involved in the criminal justice system—though the number of women is increasing. However, women are more likely to be victims of specific types of offences, such as sexual harassment, sexual assault and intimate partner violence. People with disabilities and members of visible minorities are more likely to experience harassment than other groups.
Canadians’ confidence in our courts could be enhanced if the judiciary more closely mirrors the reality and experiences of those who appear before it. This includes addressing the relatively low representation of women, racialized groups, Indigenous Peoples and persons of other diverse backgrounds on the bench.
The majority of judges (56 per cent) appointed under this Government have been women. Today, women account for roughly 39 per cent of judges on the superior court bench. This is up from 35 per cent in 2015. The Government knows that more can be done to ensure Canada’s judges reflect our diverse society.
That is why in 2016 the Government introduced a new selection process for superior court judges. The new process is meant to increase the transparency and accountability of the selection process to identify outstanding judicial candidates who reflect Canada’s diversity and a gender balance.
Similarly, the Government recognizes that some people—such as Indigenous Peoples—may not have confidence in the judicial system because of the current jury selection processes. That is why the Government intends to bring forward broad-based, concrete reforms to the criminal justice system, including changes to how juries are selected.
Superior Court includes: Supreme Court of Canada, Federal Court of Appeal, Federal Court, Tax Court of Canada Provincial/Territorial Superior Courts
Data as of February 1, 2018, Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs
Source: Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs, Number of federally appointed judges as of February 1, 2018
[Figure 5.12 - Text version]
Impacts of Budget 2018 Investments
Access to justice will have different meanings and implications for every Canadian. This Government proposes to invest in programs and initiatives that will improve access to justice—for all Canadians—now and into the future. Improved access to justice can take the form of faster conclusions to legal proceedings for Canadians who appear before the courts, new legal aid support for victims of harassment in the workplace, and assurances that Canadians’ legal rights are upheld by the judicial system.
The new judicial positions supported through Budget 2018 offer an opportunity to further enhance diversity within the superior courts, to ensure that these judges reflect the makeup of Canada’s population. These judges will be selected through the new superior court judicial appointments process, introduced by the Government in 2016.
Additionally, more Canadian families that are experiencing issues including separation, divorce, support and custody disputes will receive support through an expanded Unified Family Courts system. Unified Family Courts consider family law issues under one court system, rather than two, and help make the process more streamlined and user-friendly. Enhancing access to specialized courts that are sensitive to family law matters will benefit all Canadians who rely on these services, including women who are the majority of family support recipients.
In addition, through Budget 2018 investments, Canadians can expect:
- Greater efficiencies in the Federal Court system resulting from ongoing investments in judicial and registry services.
- Access to more legal information and services in the official language of their choice.
In November, the Government introduced Bill C-65to create a single, integrated framework that will protect federally regulated employees from harassment and violence in the workplace. The proposed initiatives are expected to have a greater benefit for women in federal jurisdiction workplaces, including those in senior management roles, due to their greater exposure to harassment and sexual violence compared to their male counterparts. This is supported by a 2014 Angus Reid Institute survey that found that Canadian women are more than three times more likely than men to say that they have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace (43 per cent versus 12 per cent). In addition, research has identified several demographic groups with elevated risks of violent victimization, including sexual minorities (LGBTQ2), Indigenous Peoples, people with disabilities (especially those with mental or learning disabilities), and workers living in the Canadian territories.
To further support Canadians who have experienced workplace sexual harassment, the Government is proposing to boost legal aid funding across the country with a focus on supporting victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. In addition, a pan-Canadian outreach program will be undertaken to better inform workers, particularly those most vulnerable, about their rights and how they can access services in the event of experiencing harassment.
The Government will also provide up to $5.5 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, to the Status of Women Canada, to work with stakeholders, including provinces and territories towards developing a harmonized national framework to ensure consistent, comprehensive, and sustainable approaches in addressing gender based violence at post-secondary institutions across the country.
Starting in 2019, for those universities and college campuses that are not implementing best practices addressing sexual assaults on campus, the Government of Canada will consider withdrawing federal funding.
Improving Service Delivery
- Improving client services at the Canada Revenue Agency
- Strengthening the IT function in government
- Employment Insurance call centres
- Improving data to support shared growth and gender equality
The federal government provides a wide array of programs and services to Canadians from coast to coast to coast. For these services to be timely and useful, they must be accessible and available to all Canadians, while tailored to meet the needs of different groups.
For many Canadians, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is the only source of direct contact with the government. Effective and accessible CRA telephone and digital services are critical to meeting the diverse needs of Canadians. Furthermore, the complexity of the tax system, low literacy and lack of access to available assistance are all barriers to tax filing among low-income individuals that can cause them to miss out on potential tax benefits. Indeed, according to a 2016 Prosper Canada survey of over 300 tax practitioners and experts, insufficient access to clinics and services and the high cost of commercial tax help were the most commonly cited barriers to tax filing among low income Canadians.
Employment Insurance (EI) call centres also play a key role in delivering EI benefits, allowing Canadians to obtain information and assistance from agents who know the EI program. But demand is high: in 2016–17, there were approximately 6.2 million EI-related calls to Service Canada. In this context, effective service delivery is critical to ensuring that Canadians can access their benefits when they need them most, without the added stress of processing or accessibility problems.
As a major Canadian employer, the Government can be a key contributor to change through the organizational culture that it nurtures. As the Government strives to ensure the security of Canadians’ personal information by adapting to emerging technologies and proactively addressing cyber security threats, the number of public service Information Technology (IT) professionals has grown. However, in 2016–17, only about 25 per cent of employees within the Computer Systems Administration (CS) occupational group across the Government of Canada were women, compared with 55 per cent of women in the federal public service overall.
In order to best tailor its services and programs to the diverse needs of Canadians, the Government must nurture a strong culture of evidence-based decision-making supported by reliable and insightful data. Improved data on gender and other intersecting identities, and across individuals with different socio-economic characteristics and levels of income, as well as greater access to such data, are essential to high-quality research and analysis, effective program design and delivery, and performance monitoring. These data are also essential to gender budgeting and robust GBA+. Federal departments and agencies have made progress over the last year in strengthening capacity around conducting GBA+ and integrating it into policy development. However, challenges remain, with data gaps and access to data being identified among the main impediments to the ability of federal departments and agencies to conduct robust GBA+.
Impacts of Budget 2018 Investments
In Budget 2018, the Government is making targeted investments to improve its services, strengthen its institutions and enhance its data capabilities in order to make better decisions for Canadians. In doing so, it is proposing key actions to achieve better outcomes based on the needs of specific groups.
Improving Direct Services to Canadians
Under the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), the CRA works with local community organization volunteers to help with the completion of tax returns for eligible Canadians, such as Indigenous Peoples, newcomers, seniors, low-income earners and people with disabilities, allowing these individuals to receive the benefits to which they are entitled (e.g., the Canada Child Benefit and the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax Credit).
[Chart 5.10 - Text version]
An expansion of the CVITP should increase tax filing and benefit uptake rates, improving the quality of life of vulnerable Canadians and, in particular, many Indigenous families. Indeed, data show that Indigenous people tend to have more children, and are more likely to be single parents, than non-Indigenous women. A further expansion of the CVITP will build on recent success in extending the program’s reach to Indigenous communities (see Chart 5.10).
Investments in CRA telephone services to address high caller demand and improve accuracy in agent responses will also deliver positive impacts for low-income groups requiring assistance, including seniors, people with mobility barriers, people living in geographically isolated regions, and people who generally prefer to interact with the CRA by telephone. Furthermore, for citizens who use the CVITP, improved telephone services will better help them find volunteers and clinics in their areas. Similarly, investments announced in Budget 2018 to improve accessibility to EI call centres will ensure that Canadians receive timely and accurate information and assistance regarding EI benefits. Service Canada will also examine opportunities to engage with clients in order to understand the difficulties (e.g., language, accessibility) that certain groups face when accessing EI call centres.
Diversity in the Workforce
Providing high-quality and inclusive service goes hand in hand with ensuring that the Government's organizational structure reflects all Canadians. In regard to IT governance, equality benefits are expected to accrue from the functional leadership role of the Government of Canada’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) in the Information Technology/Information Management (IT/IM) community across government. Specifically, the CIO would ensure the development and sustainability of the IT/IM community through talent management and community development strategies, one of which would be to promote opportunities for women in the Government’s IT workforce.
The IT measures being introduced in Budget 2018 also have the potential to improve representation of employment equity groups, including women and Indigenous Peoples, within the IT/IM community across government by building on ongoing initiatives within Shared Services Canada. These initiatives include the implementation of an Employment Equity Action Plan, the establishment of employment equity and diversity committees, and participation in interdepartmental working groups that seek to increase the representation of women in STEM.
Better, More Inclusive Data
The Government has recognized the need to take steps that target the collection, use and tracking of gender and diversity data in order to enrich our understanding of social, economic, political, financial and environmental issues. In response, Budget 2018 proposes to introduce a new Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics, and an Indigenous Statistical Capacity Development Initiative, and to develop a broader set of tracking indicators and statistics. These measures will address gaps in the availability of data on gender, race and other intersecting identities to:
- Support evidence-based decision-making.
- Create more accessible and inclusive information for use by the public.
- Advance the level of statistical skills and engagement among Indigenous peoples.
- Collect, analyze and disseminate data on members of visible minorities to understand the barriers different groups face and how best to support them with evidence-based policy.
- Use the data to measure and track Canada’s progress on achieving shared growth and gender equality objectives.
In addition, to continue acquiring inclusive data on sex and gender in the future, Statistics Canada officials have been working with LGBTQ2 organizations on plans to adjust Census of Population questions and response options to better reflect how people identify themselves—for example, allowing respondents to answer in a non-binary fashion. This will enable the Government to accumulate more data that will better inform GBA+, and consequently enrich policy development, while simultaneously providing a modern census that is inclusive of all Canadians.
Gender Budget—Next Steps
While Budget 2018 takes another important step forward in establishing the Gender Results Framework, measurement of success and greater application of gender-based analysis within the federal government’s decision making, the Government continues to have room for improvement.
In the departmental development of budget proposals, the quality and application of gender-based analysis varied. In some cases, gender-based analysis done by departments was cursory. In other cases, insufficient analyses could be performed due to a lack of data, particularly in relation to intersecting identities.
Experience and expertise in GBA+ is still in development within the federal government. Budget 2017 and Budget 2018 investments in the future Department of Status of Women will provide departments with greater resources and best practices to improve gender-based analysis going forward. Budget 2018 proposes to invest $6.7 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, for Statistics Canada to create a new Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics, a Centre that will act as GBA+ data hub to support future, evidence-based policy development and decision-making.
Moving forward, the Government commits to publish GBA+ of all budget items starting in Budget 2019.
|Examples of room for improvement in Budget 2018
|Chapter 1: Further investments in the Canada Revenue Agency to improve the fairness and integrity of the Canadian tax system||The CRA conducted a cursory GBA+ in support of their revenue generating initiatives, and identified no negative impact, challenges or barriers related to gender or other characteristics of identity. CRA however, did not undertake a more in-depth analysis of past and potentially future cases of tax avoidance and tax planning, the gender incidence and potential gender impacts.|
|Chapter 2: Federal Science and Technology Infrastructure Initiative||Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) conducted only a preliminary GBA+ scan of the potential diverse gender issues. They concluded that differential effects between diverse groups are not expected, however, they have not identified any mitigation strategies to prevent the exacerbation or maintenance of any differential impacts to diversity and inclusiveness in hiring practices. Data shortcomings related to the educational level, language, and income of federal scientists were noted but with no plan address or evaluate the need of such data.|
|Chapter 1: Improving the Quality of Career Information and Program Results associated with skills development||The first GBA+ conducted for this proposal focused exclusively on GBA+ implications of the data platform itself, not discussing the secondary and tertiary impacts such as the groups who will be positively impacted by the proposal. Further analysis by ESDC determined that young Canadians including high school students and post-secondary students, along with unemployed or underemployed job seekers would benefit from this proposal. ESDC identified that future data could be used to support future policy development targeted to support women, Indigenous Peoples immigrants and refugees, persons with disabilities, and individuals from low-incomes families.|
|Chapter 4: Employment Insurance Call Centres||A complete GBA+ could not be performed because Call Centres do not currently track the necessary data from callers such as gender, ethnicity, disability and other identity factors.
Going forward, Service Canada is looking at opportunities to enhance its detailed call tracking process to obtain more data on gender and to engage with clients in order to understand difficulties that certain groups face accessing EI Specialized Call Centres (e.g., language, accessibility).
|Chapter 4: Autism-Intellectual-Developmental Disabilities National Resource and Exchange Network||While studies can be found to show that males are four to five times more likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder than females, information on the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder and the intersection of race, sex, and geographic location is not available. As such, no gender-specific or intersectional approaches to interventions and services have been developed.|
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