OTTAWA – Finance Minister Bill Morneau said gender equality would be an overarching theme of the 2018 federal budget, particularly when it comes to boosting the participation of women in the workplace.
That includes changes for paternity leave and plans for closing the gender wage gap in federally regulated workplaces, but here are some other measures aimed at advancing equality:
STATUS OF WOMEN CANADA
The Liberal government has been giving Status of Women Canada more and more things to do since coming to power with the promise to implement a feminist agenda, but the agency remained relatively strapped for cash. The budget, which makes it a full department, is changing that. The funding boost includes another $100 million over five years to expand a grants program for projects aimed at advancing gender equality and $1.8 million over two years to develop a strategy to engage men and boys with the issue.
TRACKING PROGRESS THROUGH BETTER DATA
The budget went through a full gender-based analysis, which involves thinking about how every tax or spending measure would impact men and women in different ways, while also taking things like age, income, ethnicity and other intersecting factors into account. The Liberals also included a “gender results framework,” which is meant to help them assess the impact this and future budgets will have on the greater goal of improving equality. To bolster these efforts going forward, the Liberals are also committing millions of dollars to improving the collection of data needed to do this. That includes $6.7 million over five years and $600,000 a year thereafter, for Statistics Canada to set up a new Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics.
SEXUAL ASSAULTS ON CAMPUS
The Liberal government is committing $5.5 million over five years to develop a national framework aimed at addressing gender-based violence at universities and colleges. They are also backing up the initiative with a threat: if a post-secondary institution is not serious enough about dealing with on-campus sexual assault in 2019, the government will consider withdrawing funding. The federal gender-based violence strategy is also getting an additional $86 million over five years to focus on things like preventing dating violence among teenagers and giving more support to sexual assault centres located near Canadian Forces bases.
WOMEN IN NON-TRADITIONAL WORK
The Liberal government wants to increase the participation of women in the workforce — and that includes jobs that have traditionally been dominated by men. The federal government will allocate $19.9 million over five years, for a pilot apprenticeship incentive grant to provide women with up to $6,000 while training in male-dominated skilled trades, such as welding or pipe-fitting. Other measures include $1.4 billion over three years from the Business Development Bank in new financing for female entrepreneurs and $105 million over five years to help the regional development agencies support women-led businesses.
WOMEN AND GIRLS AROUND THE WORLD
The Liberal government is also committing to increasing its overseas humanitarian aid budget by $2 billion over five years, which the budget says will be focused on supporting women and girls through its feminist international development policy. The budget also includes $20.3 million over five years to settle 1,000 more refugee women and girls from conflict zones around the globe.
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