Thank you, everyone. Thank you for the invitation to appear today.
I will give my presentation in English.
This is an important question, obviously. The Centre for Women in Politics and Public Leadership at Carleton promotes women's roles in public leadership by providing leading edge research and training. We work with a wide range of partners to integrate, strengthen, and advance existing work in critical thinking that enhances women's influence and leadership in public life.
We know that women continue to face many challenges in advancing to leadership positions, and I believe that if women are not in positions where decisions are being made, it is significantly linked with their prosperity and economic well-being. There's a correlation, a link, between them.
The centre did a study, which we have brought for the committee, called Progress in Inches, Miles to go. It looks at a benchmark study of women's leadership in Canada. When I was a deputy at Status of Women, we heard so often that women have attained equality. We did the benchmark study to have the evidence base that says, on many fronts—this looks at the leadership front—it's very clear that Canadian women have not attained full equality.
When we look at industries, women are significantly, and continue to be significantly, under-represented in senior leadership positions. In our 2012 benchmark study, we showed that women make up 29% of leadership positions. It's 26% when you remove public administration, which includes the public service of Canada. In some sectors, such as energy and mining and the technical centre, it's approximately 10%, or even below.
On the FP500 boards, it's 15.6%, as our last Canadian Board Diversity Council study showed, with only 9% in mining and oil and gas. Women are significantly under-represented in the higher-paid industries, such as resources, technology, engineering, and they're disproportionately concentrated in industries such as public administration, elementary education, nursing, and service industries. All of this has economic ramifications for the economic prosperity for women.
In our benchmark study, we did a deeper dive into the public service of Canada and the mining sector. That was a juxtaposition of a sector that's done quite well, when you look at the public service of Canada and the strides it has made in advancing women into leadership—it's not 100% yet, but it's come a long way—and the mining sector, which is at the bottom end.
In the Canadian Board Diversity Council annual report last year, when the sector board members were asked if there was a need for change or whether they should keep the status quo in terms of women and diversity on boards, much of the mining sector said they didn't see any need to change.
Of course, all of this starts with the education system and with how guidance counsellors influence young girls and boys. Women in the past, although they do well in science and math, have not been encouraged to go into professions such as technology and engineering. Those sectors themselves have not encouraged women, by the very way that their culture works. They have made it less than friendly for women.
We know—and I'm speaking to the converted—that women are graduating from universities in higher numbers and are well represented in the professional schools. We know that the challenge is not a supply challenge. When we look at law and we look at M.B.A.s, there have been a significant number of women graduating from law schools—in law firms, in government, and in the judiciary. We still only have approximately 30% of the partners in law firms being women, and approximately 30% of the judiciary are women. At the academic level—it's a little better in the law schools—they're still significantly under-represented.
There have been several studies, one of them by the University of Chicago, which looked at their M.B.A. graduates. In fact, the women M.B.A. graduates normally started with a lower salary than their male colleagues and ended up earning less as they proceeded, despite having the same level of education. This again leads to disparities and differences in the economic well-being of women.
What are the challenges that we face? One that we looked at in our study was societal expectations and workplace culture.
There are still gender notions of leaders, which tend to be focused more around the male model. Despite all of the studies that exist on the leadership capability and qualities that women bring to the table, the way that promotional boards often look at it is through the lens of the existing male models. I still hear that women who are assertive are seen as aggressive and are viewed negatively. I've heard reports of promotional boards that will say a man is a go-getter just because he is aggressive, but a woman is really aggressive. We also know that women are promoted on what they've already done and men are promoted on potential. So that results in disparity.
We all know that women often do not negotiate their salaries because they don't want to be seen as self-promoting, which is again another cultural norm that holds women back. Sometimes it's to their disadvantage to negotiate, but many times it's to their disadvantage not to negotiate, because the difference in wage and income earning in part relates to where you start and how well you negotiate that first level of salary.
We still have cultural norms that reinforce women as the primary caregivers for children and parents and so-called workplace family-friendly policies reinforce this because they don't actively support men who seek to be equal caregivers. Just as an example, when we were doing the mining study I spoke to a senior mining executive who told how much he supported women with their family responsibilities. I asked him what he did for the men. He asked me why I had asked and told me that they didn't do anything. I asked him why they didn't do anything. If you do not do it for the men then you harm the women because you continue to reinforce the same cultural norms. It was not by any conscious decision on his part, but simply an unconscious lack of awareness of what the implications were.
So if we need to change the cultures, family friendly policies need to be truly family friendly. I think the federal government with its top-up policies and other policies has done better on average than the private sector in encouraging that.
I don't want to take too long, but want to just highlight a couple of others. There are many other things that we can talk about, but I'll leave those to your questions. One of the areas that I know is of interest here is that women entrepreneurs are viewed as risk-averse and cannot access funding as readily as male entrepreneurs. So if you step out of the industry and the employee stream and you look at women entrepreneurs, they're not doing as well. That has a huge cost to society, something in the range of $2 billion.
I was part of the Canadian task force for women's business growth. If you are interested in that report it's on the Telfer School of Management's site. In it there was a statement that if women-owned enterprises were growing at the same rate as male-owned enterprises, there would be another $2 billion in the Canadian economy annually. That's significant because there still are a number of barriers and challenges facing women entrepreneurs.
Finally, some of the other things that block women from advancement are the verbal and physical violence directed against them. In particular, I would focus not only on the violence against women in society as a whole but that's also directed at women who seek leadership and power. We've seen a lot of these kinds of comments in the media when women speak up, and the misogyny and the terrible comments that are directed at them.
I think of the recent University of Ottawa situation involving the young woman who was on the student council and some of the comments that were made by men about here. These things do harm to women's aspirations for leadership. Our economy needs women in leadership positions.
So that's how I'll end. I'll leave it open for all of you to raise questions. In our work at the centre we are looking to do this kind of background research, looking at some of these broader areas and segmenting some of them. For example, we're going to be looking at some of the areas that are coming up, too.
I chair Ontario's Equal Pay Coalition, which has worked for 40 years toward trying to close Ontario's gender pay-gap. When I was asked to participate here, I attempted to convert some of the work we had done at the Ontario level to the national level. What was disturbing about the process was to find that the patterns are all the same. Actually, the national gap is higher than Ontario's gap, which is 31.5%, and the national gap is 33%. But some of the same aspects of it are quite similar in the sense that the gap is widening, not narrowing.
The focus we have taken is look at the average annual earnings gap. Again, we're looking at paid employment. Women's unpaid work is a whole other issue that we leave to somebody else.
In the paid situation, though, we look at the average annual earnings, because we want to know at the end of the day what amount of money women actually bring home and what amount of money men bring home. In other words, there are arguments about whether you should really use hourly rates, but we think the main focus should be on the average annual earnings as the starting measure, because that gives you the picture of the earnings that women and men bring home. It also starts the dialogue about what kind of a country we want and what kind of measures we need to actually flip the situation so that men and women bring home equal earnings.
That may mean that you could have different patterns as a result; for example, the mining executive actually encouraging the men to have some involvement with their children. You may have some men going out, and some men staying at home. In other words, you will have a different pattern as you start to equalize all of the categories. It takes time, but we think that is the vision and that if you start with the average annual gap you'll get there.
We see from the last data available on average annual earnings that the gap went up from 32% in 2010 to 33% in 2011. Similarly, in Ontario it actually went up 3% during those years. But it was the same thing: men's average annual earnings increased by $400 between 2010 and 2011, and women's went down $500. So the gap didn't close. The men are going up; the women are falling. That's the general picture.
When you use average annual earnings, you are actually taking into account the fact that seven out of ten part-time workers are women. The average annual earnings reflects the fact that a variety of women are in part-time jobs, many forced to be in part-time jobs because so many of their forms of employment are part-time because of the way the employer structures the work. So they are either on call, or they are in more insecure jobs.
Average annual earnings helps you to figure out the question of how to encourage and get women to have more full-time jobs, which would help us to close that overall gap.
The other thing to keep in mind is that a decrease in the gap doesn't necessarily mean that women's conditions are better. It may mean that men's are worse. In other words, because it's a relative figure, you have to look at the two together and drill down to see what's actually happening to men's and women's employment, drill down by the occupational categories that Clare was talking about, and try to figure out what's happening in the economy. One of the roles of government is to try to do that, to try and give us the studies or whatever, so that people like us in the Equal Pay Coalition and academics aren't the only people who are trying to figure this out and analyze the different aspects of it.
The other thing you need to do is to drill down, for example, by management occupations. If you look by occupational data, you will see that in management occupations, women's remuneration went down over that period by $1,800. They went down from $62,600 on average to $60,800. So you again see that in those occupations they are going down; they are not going up.
You can also look at it in terms of sectors. Even in the sectors where you would think it would be better, health occupations for example, you still see that women earn $50,700 less annually than men on average in that sector, and that`s the one in which they predominate. Similarly, in social science, education, government service, and religion, which is another sector put together by Statistics Canada, you have them earning $20,200 less. If you go through each occupational category from Statistics Canada, they earn less. If you go through each industry sector, they earn less.
So what is the bottom line? They earn less, and they earn substantially less.
While we talk at various points about how things are getting better, in fact they're not actually getting significantly better, particularly given that women are 62% of university graduates. You would think that over the period of time we're talking about there would have been much more a closing of the gap because of the additional human capital that women are getting. Why aren't we closing it quicker?
That leads us to some of the issues about why there is still a gap. Some of this is that we continue to have this segregation of occupations, so that people are in different.... Men and women still continue to be in different kinds of work, primarily, and in different kinds of occupations and industries. As a result, at various points the pay structures are developed separately and lead to some of this problem.
The other problem is that there still is a systemic undervaluation of the kind of work women do. It's different work, and it isn't valued as much as some of the work men do.
Those factors combine to create a variety of these patterns. The brief talks about there being 10 ways a government could focus on in trying to close this gap. Think of it as actual comprehensive planning towards closing the gap. I'll go to that. I can talk a bit more about why, in terms of how it's a human right and how it would contribute to the economy. There's a lot written internationally—and I'm sure some of you have already gone through this—about why increasing women's economic equality actually drives a better and more productive economy. I won't go through those arguments.
I'm going to go through some of the steps, but I'll outline them. First of all, there are 10 of them.
The first one is basically to look upon it as a human right. The reason why it's important to do this is that when we don't look at it that way, it often gets disposed of when we're attempting to make policies, because it's not important enough. We just say that we have a whole lot of choices to make and it's not important enough in the large scheme of things, or that we can't afford to do it and we can't do it, so we're not doing it.
The important thing is to analyze it once you know what the gap is, to figure it out, and to say that it is a human rights priority for you to figure it out. It also allows you, when you're looking at austerity measures, to consider that women should be brought to the starting line before they bear the brunt of austerity measures. In other words, once they're equal, they can bear austerity measures, but before that, all you do is set them further back by applying everything equally to men's and women's work. That's one of the first practical ways of trying to apply a human rights focus to it.
The second is to raise awareness. One of the ways it's done internationally is through Equal Pay Days.
Ontario just declared April 16 to be an official government-declared Equal Pay Day. The day is supposed to be the amount of time women have to work through the following year to earn what men earn by December 31 of the year before. In other words, it takes about three and a half months. The day was one week later than the year before, because in fact our pay gap increased and didn't close.
In the U.S., they had their Equal Pay Day on April 8. It has been declared by the government there. It's a real focus each year to help raise awareness about that gap and also to monitor where you got in the last year in terms of trying to close it. That's another aspect of what one could do. For example, the U.S. White House website has a whole lot of material on it about Equal Pay Day. We could see our having a website that also focuses on women's equality, because it has been seen and it has been part of the State of the Union Address in the U.S.
Now, part of the problem is that some of the measures in the U.S. aren't as strong as some of our measures, actually, in fact, but there's still a broader discussion at the senior leadership level about why it's an important aspect.
I want to thank you for inviting me to your committee to share my experience as an indigenous woman leader and to talk about the economic prosperity of indigenous women, particularly those living on reserves in the north, and mainly in northern Manitoba.
It is very important that your study make recommendations that reflect the specific realities faced by indigenous women. I have been chief of War Lake First Nation for eight years, and I was a councillor for four years before that. I've been in leadership since 1997. It has been very hard, especially if your community really asks you to do a lot more than what they would ask a male chief, actually.
One day there was a funeral in the community. I had to stay up all night to attend with the people. When I was a councillor I still did that, but when I was chief they called me to do it. I left at 11 o'clock and then I still went back out. They called. So there have been lots of challenges.
I am also the longest-serving woman chief in Manitoba. I am one of the two women chiefs of northern Manitoba and a woman chief who represents an isolated first nation. My experience as a woman chief, as I said, has its challenges. One of the things too is that I guess as women, we are a lot more understanding in our way of listening to people. I get more people being upset and yelling at me, and they know, but they know also that I won't get mad or upset. It's a way of allowing them to vent because they won't do that to my councillors who are male, or I don't notice male chiefs being spoken to in that manner.
But I tell them, you know what, if that's how they really feel, I tell them it's best to calm down and then we can talk it through. So they eventually calm down. And that's what they say after a while: they say the reason they like talking to me is because I'm more understanding and I really listen, and even though they get upset, I still manage to talk in a very professional manner.
In leadership, when we attend meetings for our chiefs, there were five women chiefs in Manitoba, and we have our concerns. So we bring up the concerns and we ask our male chiefs to support us, to sign and to second it, if they say no, that this is a women's issue. I was upset one day when they had said that, because women tend to have to get a little bit upset in order to make their voices known. But we have say it in a way that makes them understand that this is not just our issue, it should be everybody's issue. If there are missing and murdered women out there, or issues with education, and taking your daughters and making sure that they're provided with proper lives with their spouses. Another important issue is violence against women, and also I believe more women would run as chiefs if they were given the opportunity, because as I said, we are a lot more understanding. And we encourage our young people to run. That's part of what we do in making sure that these roles are made available to them.
I also want to say to you that on my first nation, it's mostly 100% women in our community offices, except for the band constable and also one who works for child and family services. It's just the two men among the 24 positions.
I've been listening to all the women about the barriers that are faced in everyday life. Aboriginal women share the same challenges and concerns as other women in Canada; however, in many ways aboriginal women are more marginalized. Statistically, aboriginal women and girls make up 4% of the total Canadian female population. The female aboriginal population is growing much more rapidly than the rest of the female population in Canada. From 1996 to 2006, the number of aboriginal females rose by 45%, compared with a 9% growth rate in the non-aboriginal female population.
The aboriginal population is much younger than the non-aboriginal population. In 2006 the median age of aboriginal females was 27.7 years. The fact that we have too many young people, including young women, in our communities means that we also need supports for these youth. That is so very true. We have many young women in our communities, and when they go out to school and bring back their partners, it's difficult sometimes for their partners, their spouses; they have a hard time adjusting.
As for the youth in first nations across the north, there is a lack of funding in terms of education. In fact it has been shown that first nations students on reserve receive a half to two-thirds of the funding that non-aboriginal students receive. Sadly, the lack of funding creates substandard education. The result is that 39% of first nations women in Canada have less than a high school education.
Our youngest children also need supports. Head start and child care programs are often lacking or non-existent in first nations communities. Given that 20% of first nations women are single parents, having access to child care allows them to access opportunities outside the home. These are the programs that the federal government can fund.
It is true that we receive substandard education. My grandson, who is only 10 years old, is concerned about his education. He is in grade 4, but he is worried about going into grade 5, because there are only two teachers and he thinks that going on to the next class he won't learn anything. Then, when he goes on to grade 9 and leaves the community, he knows that he will fail, as they're not being taught the regular curriculum that non-aboriginal students get in rural areas or urban areas.
We've seen it over the past few years, and even now, that many of our youth come home after grade 9. When they do achieve a grade 12 education, it's all specialized. They don't receive a normal grade 12 education; they receive a special education grade 12. When they are employed, they can't do regular math, so they are not hired for any of this work.
Yes, I've been wanting the head start program in my community ever since it started. I've been working on it since 1996.
I don't qualify to access it because my community is very small, but we do have lots of babies. One year we had seven babies born, and it's almost like that every seven years: seven or eight babies, and then two or three in-between.
If we had more programs such as these, it would certainly help the parents, the youth, the young parents.
Thank you very much for inviting me to speak on these issues today. I am very pleased to see that the focus is on not just questions of leadership, but on questions of economic leadership and women's prosperity. There is a strong connection among all of these concepts, and I would like to introduce my comments by drawing your attention to the one-page handout that each person should have, with a few charts on it that may help contextualize some of my comments.
The first point that I want to make is that women's equality in Canada is definitely not something that has been achieved yet. In fact, the reality is that women's sex equality, which was very well on the road to becoming a reality back in the 1990s, has been deteriorating rapidly in Canada. People say this a lot, but I decided to put into chart form the most recent international rankings that are based on the same indicators used to assess the degree of sex equality in other countries.
This shows that although Canada was number one in the entire world on the basis of both human development factors as well as on sex equality factors, beginning in the year 2000, Canada has been falling rapidly in the international rankings. On some of the rankings, one of which is conducted by the World Economic Forum, Canada in recent years fell as low as number 31 out of all of the countries in the world. This is a very seriously negative set of rankings that reflect the fact that on every known economic and social welfare indicator, women in Canada are persistently falling behind, with the exception of one. This has already been mentioned by other speakers.
Women in Canada continue to be ranked number one on the issue of educational attainment. I would like to emphasize that because this cannot possibly be blamed on women. Women in Canada have by their actions, generation after generation, demonstrated that they are very strongly motivated to achieve as much as possible with their educational backgrounds, with their abilities, with their energies, and so on. What we are facing here is a question of how economic policies and social policies intersect with women's life aspirations to produce a very disturbing picture showing the deterioration of sex equality in Canada.
The dimensions of women's inequality in Canada are very durable. Over the last 20 years we've seen very little change in some fundamental economic indicators. One is the question of how much unpaid work is done by women as compared to men. The percentage of unpaid work done by women has continued to hang in the 62% to 64% area for the last 20 years; that is, women continue to do the bulk of unpaid work that gets done in Canada. This is by hours.
Also measured by hours, women are now at the point where they have almost equal numbers of hours of paid work, as compared to men. If you add those two sets of figures together, with women doing 45% to 47% of all paid work hours, together with 62% to 64% of all unpaid work hours, you actually see that women are working more hours every year in Canada than men are.
What do women get for it? Recent economic statistics indicate that women's market incomes continue to only account for 36% to 38% of all market incomes. So, for all that work, women are still receiving slightly more than one-third of all market incomes that are received in this country.
I give you these figures because this is a very serious problem, and it is a problem that has significance on the economic level.
International organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and other leading economic organizations have all found in studies they've carried out over the last 10 years or so that the more sex equality exists in a country, the more durable that country's economy is, the more resistant families are to the ups and downs of economic crises, boom and bust cycles. They've also found that the more work is shared equally between women and men, be it unpaid work or paid work, the greater the health, the wellbeing, and the overall productivity of the entire population. This is not a finding that has any real detractors to it: sex equality is a fundamental economic strategy for achieving prosperity.
So what has been going wrong in Canada? My main area of research and focus within the general area of gender issues relating to law and politics is in the fiscal area. I'd just like to draw some basic findings to your attentions, which I think help illuminate the path forward.
First of all, since 2006, Canada has cut its various sources of revenues by approximately 2.2% of GDP per year. Canada is missing $40 billion worth of revenues every year that it used to have. This has been in conjunction with the effects of economic recession, the combined effect of which has been a growing emphasis on austerity policies, deficit reduction, and cutting public expenditures. Unfortunately, this has made it difficult for Canada to sustain the programs that are absolutely necessary to achieving gender equality in an economically significant way.
One of those ways is that it has brought to a virtual halt any efforts to implement a national child care program, which is essential to making it possible for women to do less than 62% to 64% of all unpaid work in this country. It's just impossible for women to do more in the way of paid work than they have been able to without some relief from the unequal responsibility that they bear for such activities as home care, child care, elder care, community care, and so on.
The second thing that has been happening is that, as Canada has become increasingly reliant on tax expenditures of various kinds to solve political problems, Canada's revenue base has been carved out from the inside so that something like $172 billion of potential tax revenue is left on the table by the government every year through the existence of a large number of tax expenditures. So for virtually every tax dollar that is collected, another dollar has been left on the table in the form of this large number of tax expenditures.
Most of these many tax expenditures have a negative gender impact, but I just want to draw your attention to the most particularly toxic tax expenditures from a gender perspective, and these are the tax expenditures that have been enacted in order to reward women to not work for pay. That is, there are a large number of tax benefits that have been enacted and are a fundamental part of our tax transfer system that give larger after-tax rewards to households in which women have smaller paid work lives than they would perhaps otherwise have.
At the present time, this is currently costing the Government of Canada $6.7 billion per year, which I point out is more than enough to finance even the most lavish national child care program. But along with this is the ongoing promise of new parental income splitting benefits, which would cost the federal government an additional $2.7 billion come 2015. I have put a little decile breakdown at the bottom of this page to demonstrate how this is not only hugely expensive, but it's also hugely unfair and runs directly contrary to any sensible policy aimed at trying to improve the prosperity of Canadian women.
I will close by making one more statement, and that is that when parental income splitting comes into effect, couples who live on one income of $190,000 or so per year will receive a tax benefit of $12,000 from parental income splitting. That's a very large amount of money.
There's been a lot of talk at this committee in our study about networking, and I like the way you put it—Rolodexes.
Ms. Clare Beckton: The old-fashioned statement. We don't use it anymore.
Mrs. Stella Ambler: We know what you mean, and it's actually a good way to put it. We can all picture what that looks like, and we know that we need long lists of contacts in order to be able to fundraise and win those nominations.
You mentioned self-promoting, and when you were speaking earlier, you talked about critical thinking. When we spoke offline, you and I discussed different styles of communicating. Is that what you were referring to by “critical thinking”? You pointed out that sometimes—and please correct me if I'm not paraphrasing accurately—a women's focus is a little more scattered, which said in a more positive way, I think, means we multi-task.
Do you think this is necessarily a bad thing, and how can our different styles be accommodated?
Yes, it will have a negative effect in a number of ways.
First of all, the $2.7 billion federal cost for it will probably be accompanied by something like a $1.7 billion cost provincially and territorially, wherever other governments enact income splitting along with the federal government's program. So we're talking about $4.4 billion out of Canada's economy each year, as a minimum, that will be paid basically to reward women who put more of their efforts into unpaid work.
For women who need to have a minimum economic capacity of their own, that is, the ability to go into the labour market and earn money in some way, should life make it necessary for them to support themselves—and I think that's probably 100% of all women at some point in their lives—this means that women are essentially being bribed in a way to participate in a program that is not in their best interests.
In addition to that, people might say, “Well, women will get the benefits of income splitting too”, but there are two reasons that is not the case.
First of all, even the highest income women in this country will receive only a small proportion of those benefits compared to the men. I've done some simulation analysis using SPSD/M software produced by Statistics Canada to get these figures. Although 25% of all women in couples will get some benefit from income splitting into their own hands, they will only get 16% of the dollars. So 84% of the total $4.4 billion is going to go directly into men's hands.
The second effect that is negative for women is that there's a great deal of social research demonstrating that if a government has a choice between putting social benefits into the hands of the male in a couple or the female in a couple, or shared control over the fund, it will normally benefit the family as a whole more to give women at least half of the control over the money, if not all of it, because they tend to spend the money on things like the needs of children, the needs of the family, and so on. But if you put these tax benefits, such a huge amount of money, into the hands of men, because they will be the ones receiving sole control over the tax refunds from income splitting, then it creates a situation in which men will feel a sense of greater entitlement to decide how that money will be used, and it won't necessarily be used to meet the needs of all of the members of the household equally.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
First of all, I would like to thank the witnesses for being here.
As you know, we are currently studying the economic leadership and prosperity of Canadian Women. Of course, we want to find concrete solutions to improve conditions for working women in Canada.
My question is for Ms. Lahey.
From the testimony given by a number of witnesses since the beginning of our study, we have learned that there is still a salary gap. We know that a woman earns 60 % of the salary paid to a man and that it would take 69 years to bridge that gap. It is not that women do not have access to upper management positions in the public and private sectors as well as in non-profit organizations. Rather, there is systemic discrimination because of all the factors that have been listed.
According to your chart, the current total cost to the federal government is $6.7 billion. You mentioned that with this money, a policy for the provision of day care services in a productive economy would have much more of an effect on the Canadian economy than simply receiving these services through tax credits.
Could you please explain your thoughts on this issue?
Reinvesting the $6.7 billion that I reference in these notes would have a beneficial impact on the Canadian economy, because it would, first of all, provide resources for more women to meet their own economic needs and those of their families by entering into paid work with fewer constraints on the hours they could work, how far away from home they could work, and so on—all of the barriers that I know everyone in this room has become very familiar with. There's a second benefit to moving in the direction of providing greater structured, accessible childcare, and other caring resources as well, in the Canadian context. Canada, like other countries of its general demographic structure, has large care needs, and they will be growing in the future as demographics change. As that sector grows, it will be important for it to grow in an economically healthy way—that is, with full-time, permanent, well-paid work for people moving into paid care positions. If that were to happen, then the economy would grow not only because women would be entering into paid work in larger numbers but also because more jobs would be created. Jobs and money flows both add to economic growth.
A third benefit from restructuring the use of the $6.7 billion is that when there is more money flowing in the economy from more people working and more people in new jobs, then governments have access to larger revenue flows at the same time. So then governments gain a greater sustainable source of funding for their own social and economic development programs. Research has demonstrated that in countries that move in this direction by encouraging larger arrays of options for child care, economic growth actually increases. The precise extent to which it increases depends on the specific economy in question, but in no country has the economy ever shrunk as a result of moving into paid child care resources supported by the government. The evidence in the Quebec context makes it very clear that there's a large multiplier effect. That's what I'm describing. You basically get three dollars of increased economic growth and revenue for every dollar that's put into childcare resources.
I think the first one is to develop a plan, to commit as a government to analyzing the situation and to developing a plan similar to how the EU embeds, in its economic strategies and in its women's equality strategies, pay equity. Other countries have done this. They have planning. They integrate it into their planning. That would require the federal government to cooperate with provincial jurisdictions as well. So that's the first thing.
The federal sustainable development strategy talks about three kinds of elements that I think you could adapt. One of them is what is called an integrated whole-of-government picture of actions and results. In that strategy it's environmental sustainability, and here it's closing the gender gap. There's also the link between that and your expenditure planning. In other words, you're making some very concrete connections, and that includes—as I'll get to in a moment—effective measurement and reporting as part of that plan. So that's the first aspect of it.
The second aspect of it is incorporating into government decision-making a “closing the gender pay gap” analysis as part of the gender-based analysis you do. That means in fact saying, “Is the government policy contributing to closing the gender pay gap, is it doing nothing at all to the pay gap, or is it widening it?” We need to know that before we engage in government decision-making. That's another aspect of it that you would look at. That includes the budgeting, whether budgetary measures have those kinds of impacts, both in terms of trying to do positive measures.... I would see child care expenditures as something that would help contribute to closing the gender pay gap.
I think the other thing to look at as well is the leadership role that the public sector can play. Generally around the world, the public sector has had an equalizing effect. There is generally a lower gender pay gap within the public sector. It generally has more progressive employment policies than the private sector does. It has a whole equalizing effect through leadership, which I think is important to keep in mind. This is particularly in relation to where you have privatization; it tends to sometimes destroy that equalizing effect, because when women are laid off into the private sector, often they lose a variety of the benefits they had in public sector employment, which has led to their lower pay gap.
The other final one is the issue of pay transparency. This was one of the key things the European Union did in its latest Equal Pay Day, in February. They required that by December 2015, EU states will report on how they are making pay transparency an obligation with respect to employers. It could be done in a number of different ways.
So one of the other ways the federal government could act is in requiring federally regulated public sector employers, and also federal contractors in terms of contract compliance, to be transparent about their pay. President Obama just issued an executive order with respect to that on the Equal Pay Day in the U.S. in April, talking about it with respect to federal contractors in the U.S. over which they had direct power. But it's one thing that could be done here.
Essentially what the EU talks about is that women shouldn't be paid less because they don't know what males with jobs within the workplace are being paid, and that there shouldn't be pay secrecy policies, which often serve to reinforce pay inequities. Either women don't speak up because they don't actually know what the pay policies are in a workplace, or they may come in and actually be paid differently for the same work: the male was paid more before coming in, asks for what he was previously paid, and someone agrees to pay him that or puts him on a higher step. There's a whole series of reasons why pay transparency is now one of the more innovative ways of trying to get at the pay gap.
So that is the next thing I want to ask about as a subquestion of sorts. Again, I don't think we have time for you to address it, but I would love it if Carleton University, or any of your groups or organizations....
We seem to be going backwards in our culture—and I say this as someone with a sociology degree—because here we are, on the one hand, saying that we want to advance women, etc., and yet on the other hand in North America and Canada young girls are being encouraged by our culture to be dressed and presented, as you all know, as skinny, and beautiful, etc. We just recently did a study on bulimia and eating disorders and all of that.
Why are we, 30, 40, certainly 60 years later, still needing to bust that myth, still working on it, and appear to be going backwards in fact? I know that the Status of Women minister is very concerned about this issue. I know that there are some huge sociological, cultural things that we're not getting at, beyond the mentorship, beyond all of these wonderful things that we're doing, that we need to get at as a society in order to really bust this out.
Again, we would appreciate some thoughts, even some program proposals on this. I know the department would love that.
It's very quick. Thank you.
Professor Lahey, I just want to finish my questions for the panel.
It's very quick, and I know that you probably don't have time to respond, but perhaps you can send something in. Certainly your response to the last question was very interesting.
We've been asking panel members not only to look at the amount of program funding within the Status of Women, because that's a very limited amount of money, but also at whether you and/or other people have studied funds that have gone to support women for economic and other successes across the federal government. In your last answer, as I said, you talked about building more infrastructure for community centres, etc. At a macro level, across the board, how have we done in moving the agenda forward with things like skilled trades training, for example?
I know that on the employment side at HRSDC, they have done a lot of targeted women's skills training and that type of thing.
So if you could send something in to us to capture that, it would be great.