Good morning, everyone.
If everyone would take their seats, we'll start our first meeting on WAGE, women and gender equality.
Today I'm pleased to have four of the individuals coming from the Department for Women and Gender Equality. I would like to welcome Nancy Gardiner, assistant deputy minister; Lisa Smylie, director general, communications and public affairs branch, research, results and delivery branch—I don't know how you get that on your business card; Danielle Bélanger, director general, gender-based violence policy; and Kim Gauvin, director of women's program and regional operations directorate.
They have asked for 15 to 20 minutes. We're going to allow them to give us this overview for 15 to 20 minutes, and then we'll take questions from there.
I will pass the floor over to you.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
We're very happy to be here this morning to have this opportunity to present the department's overview, mandate and priorities. As the chair said, we asked for a little longer because there's a lot of information to present in the deck, so we will do that quickly. I'm sure everyone has a copy of the information.
The purpose of the presentation today is to go over the history of the department, legislation, the mandate and the vision, some of our roles and responsibilities, the resources we have within the department, and departmental programming. We are here for questions you may have afterwards.
The organization, not as it is today but in a different form, has been in place since 1976. It's been around for a long time. In 2015, the first minister responsible for the status of women was appointed. In December 2018, new legislation marked the creation of the new Department for Women and Gender Equality. That is a very important point in time for the department as well. We're transforming from an agency to a department of the Government of Canada.
Page 4 outlines the legislation in terms of the expanded mandate of the department. There are two key features, and I will read them directly from this slide:
Advancing equality, including social, economic and political equality, with respect to sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression (SSOGIE).
Promoting a greater understanding of the intersection of sex and gender with other identity factors (e.g., sexual orientation, race national/ethnic origin, Indigenous origin, socioeconomic condition, place of residence, and disability).
This is a very important piece of the legislation. A couple of pieces that complement that are in the Canadian Gender Budgeting Act. The legislation also clarifies the department's role around gender-based analysis which promotes an intersectional lens as well.
Page 5 refers to the mandate. It definitely mimics the legislation we've had presented in that year. More important is the vision. The vision of the department shows a Canada where people of all genders, including women, are equal in every way and can achieve their full potential in our country.
Page 6 outlines the roles and responsibilities of the department. Within the Government of Canada, we play three key functions in terms of leadership for gender equality: convener, knowledge broker and capacity builder.
Convener is a really important role. There are many departments that are having roles and responsibilities related to policies or programs related to gender equality. We bring folks together on that. We leverage resources from all different sections as well. We look at international stakeholders and work with international partners in many of the areas related to gender equality.
Regarding knowledge broker, you'll hear a bit more from Lisa later. There's a lot of information that the department has related to research and expertise on gender equality. We also lead the Government of Canada's gender-based analysis. That's the knowledge piece.
The capacity builder is a really key area of work. It's building the capacity of equality-seeking organizations on the ground. That helps capacity work for community organizations. Members would be familiar with that in terms of the roles of members of Parliament.
Departmental resources are on page 7. We're a fairly small department, but mighty. We always say small but mighty. A program budget for us was around $66 million in the 2019-20 fiscal year, which is through grants and contributions. That's the framework we have in place around the Gs and Cs. It's a small operating budget. We have about 300 staff, not only in Ottawa but in the regions across the country to allow us to work directly with community groups focused on gender equality. As you can see, we have the regional areas in Moncton, Montreal, Edmonton and Toronto, and serve the whole country from those four bases.
I'll spend a couple of minutes on the priorities of the department that we have under way this year. Then I'll turn it over to my colleagues.
We're focusing on four main priority areas. One is strategic action, support and investment to address systemic barriers. I just spoke about that around our programning grants and contributions piece. Partnership opportunities allow us to work with the sector as well as other key partners to advance the priorities of the department.
Commemoration is a really important area this year, and we've been working on it related to MMIWG. That is a very key piece of work for us. We also work with other partners around providing expert advice and guidance.
The second priority is the gender-based analysis, which I spoke about earlier, gender-based analysis plus, working to ensure there's a comprehensive integration of gender-based analysis throughout the policy, legislative, program development and evaluation cycle within the government. Also, we support finance in terms of the Canadian Gender Budgeting Act.
The third priority is looking at preventing and addressing gender-based violence. A key area that we're working on here, which is the federal response, is supporting a gender-based violence strategy within Canada. As we mentioned, Danielle is here, and she supports that initiative within the department.
The last piece is around strategic engagement throughout all of our partners as well as the private sector.
That was a very rapid overview of the department in all of its areas.
I'll turn it over to Lisa now. I think this is an important part of the presentation that this group would appreciate. It is really focusing on research.
I get to answer the question everybody always has: What is the current state of gender equality in Canada?
Prior to budget 2018, we had a GBA+ action plan, but there was something missing. What was missing was a framework for guiding us in our action on gender equality, what our priorities were, where we were heading and how we would know we got there.
In budget 2018 we released the gender results framework. This framework comprises six pillars, six key areas of action, if you will. Within those areas of action, we have objectives and some indicators that we're paying attention to in terms of monitoring our progress on gender equality. It's with that framework that I'll walk you through what the current state of gender equality is in Canada.
Starting on page 12 with education and skills development, in Canada, boys are less likely than girls to complete high school. Here's why a GBA+ and an intersectional lens is important. When you drill down and take a look at indigenous peoples in Canada, you see the story is much different. Indigenous women have lower high school completion rates than non-indigenous women. When you take a look at indigenous men, you see it's even lower. When we take a look at Inuit men in Canada, we see they have the lowest high school completion rate, at 55%.
Women are under-represented in some fields of study and overrepresented in others. They're under-represented in sciences, technology, engineering and math. They're overrepresented in education, business and health.
When we take a look at economic participation and prosperity, we see we've increased labour force participation rates of women in Canada, but they're still lower than men's rates.
When we take a look at one key indicator of economic prosperity, the gender wage gap, we see that we have a gender wage gap of 12¢. We see women make 88¢ for every dollar men make, when we take a look at hourly wages.
StatsCan just released this week some new data on this. When we take a look at annual income, we see that it's even worse. It's 70¢, and so there's a 30¢ wage gap.
You also see a different wage gap when you take a look at fields, occupational segregation. We have the largest wage gap in the natural resources and agriculture sector. Women make 43¢ for every dollar men make.
Second in line is trades and transport, the male-dominated fields. We have the smallest wage gap in the women-dominated fields, health and business.
In terms of the wage gap, I note there are a lot of things driving it, such as gender norms around unpaid work and interruptions in the labour force for women in terms of maternity leave. We sometimes call that the motherhood penalty. We also know that women are more likely than men to work part time, and in temporary or lower-paying jobs.
When we take a look at leadership and democratic participation, we see that in 2018 women accounted for 48% of employment, but only 33% of those who were employed were in senior management positions. Women account for only 10% of C-suite executives at Canada's 100 largest publicly traded corporations.
When we take a look at GIC appointments, we see we're almost at parity, at 49%.
When we take a look at corporate board memberships, we see that overall in Canada, women make up 18% of director seats. That's a slight increase from 2016. When we take a look at the top 500 companies in Canada, we see that women account for a bit more, 25%, and for the first time since 2001, at least 10% of all board directors in every single sector were women.
I'll move on to gender-based violence and access to justice. Women are overrepresented as victims of police-reported intimate partner violence, accounting for 80% of victims in 2017. When we take a look at homicide by an intimate partner, again women account for 80% of victims. When we look at sexual assault, only 5% of sexual assault reports come to the attention of police. Indigenous women are three times more likely than non-indigenous women to experience sexual assault, and though they make up approximately 4% of the population, account for 11% of all missing women and 16% of homicides in Canada. Those who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual are twice as likely to experience violent victimization in Canada than those who identify as heterosexual.
With regard to poverty reduction, health and well-being, the poverty rate is similar between men and women, but again, this is why GBA+ is so important. When you look at single mothers, single fathers, recent immigrants, indigenous peoples and two-spirit and transgender youth, they're much more represented among those who are living in poverty. It's the same thing for core housing need, where those groups are overrepresented. When we look at health, men and boys are three times more likely than women to die by suicide. However, women are three times more likely to attempt suicide. This comes down to the choice of method of suicide. Men tend to choose methods that are much more certain.
On gender equality around the world, women's rights organizations are the most significant factor in influencing systemic changes and policy changes toward gender equality, but only 0.5% of the total aid earmarked for OECD gender-specific programming went to women's rights organizations in 2014. When we look at parliamentarians globally, we see an improvement between 1997 and 2019, from 12% to 24%. Women make up more than two-thirds of the world's illiterate population. In conflict zones, girls are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than boys. When we look at gender-based violence globally, one in three women worldwide are estimated to have experienced physical or sexual intimate partner violence. At least 200 million women and girls worldwide have been subjected to female genital mutilation.
When I was the minister for seniors, we did a study on how the employers can assist unpaid family caregivers so that they can give flexible hours; they're working from home and also creating a supportive environment. Often, if you take too much time off, chances are your colleagues will have to take up your load, and they will ask, “Hey, why are you absent so often?” I think that, again, is an area we have not been able to look at, to support these unpaid family caregivers. That will also have an economic effect on productivity, because most of these women caregivers—including men, but mostly women—have arrived at a time when, whether they want a promotion, whether they want to change from full time to part time, there would be a loss to productivity, and therefore the economic situation of women...and you know....
That is another area. This is never an easy issue, but I want to throw it out so that we are not limited to certain areas, because it's so complex and it involves so many different ages. Also, seniors age into disability, and many of them are women. In that process, again, it affects our programming. When we give grants and contributions to non-profit organizations, that might be an area we should look at.
This is just my experience. I wanted to share with you and the rest of our colleagues that it is an area we might want to look at. For women, for girls—because I also came from an academic background; I used to be a professor in a college and then a university, a polytechnic—one of the things that we look at will be how we can encourage girls to go into the STEM areas, because again, they grow and they mature and if they do not pick that as one of their career choices, chances are that the wage difference between those areas and the other ones like health services and education, will be even bigger.
Again, I'm throwing that at you just for your programming and your consideration.
Have I used up all of my time?
Thank you for your question.
In order to build a gender-based violence national action plan, we are certainly looking at models in other countries, including Australia and New Zealand. We are also looking to countries in Europe such as Sweden and Iceland, and we've even met with officials from other OECD countries. A lot of models are out there.
Here, in Canada, we have to keep jurisdiction in mind, so it's more complicated. Of course, we are looking at the various models through that lens. The provinces and territories have adopted many models that are proving successful, so when it comes to establishing a national action plan, it's definitely important to incorporate the perspectives of the provinces and territories.
We are the department that leads on the gender-based analysis. We are the centre of expertise around information and knowledge for GBA+ for all departments.
Every department now, though, also has their own gender-based analysis unit within the department to allow them to do analysis on any of the policies that departments will be putting in place, such as memorandums to cabinet or Treasury Board submissions. There's a gender-based analysis aspect to those documents, and they're required.
We provide expertise and guidance to departments that are maybe having a bit of a challenge related to research, data or statistics. For any of that type of analysis, our team will actually work with departments to help provide them with that bit of expertise that they may need.
There's more work to be done in this area for sure, such as looking at how to be a bit bolder and how to ensure that all aspects of government programming does look at that gender-based analysis plus. The plus is very important, as we talked about earlier.
Kim talked about programming, which is grants and contributions. When you're actually putting grants and contributions in place, how do you actually look at that through a GBA+ lens? Right now we're working on what that means and how we expand that to many aspects of government work. I would say there's been huge progress in the work that departments do around the GBA+.
I can speak to it generally.
When we're looking at funding projects, we use the GBA+. In terms of identity factors, that's something that is considered throughout.
In looking at addressing leadership, we've supported a number of projects. In terms of trying to support women who are under-represented, a number of projects have done research.
Typically, of course, our projects involve the affected women. That's one of the key things in terms of how we address these issues, to make sure everyone has a seat at the table to be able to put forward what the actual barriers are so there is a clear understanding not just of a dominant perspective, but of all the different perspectives that come forward.
The barriers are so complex, and perhaps different for each of those groups. While we don't like to think about it, some of those barriers are unconscious or conscious bias, so we have to shift the culture, shift cultural attitudes towards certain groups.
We also need to create more inviting spaces for certain groups, for example, for indigenous peoples. Part of not only getting indigenous peoples into leadership positions but keeping them there is creating spaces that speak to their cultural traditions.
It's a question, then, of changing attitudes, creating spaces and, going back to education, of making sure that the education environment is also inviting and speaks to the realities of specific groups; for example, when we're teaching certain subjects in schools, making sure that we're including either literature or examples in math that speak to different groups, so that people can see themselves in the educational system.