Mr. Speaker, I just remembered the second attribute of Manitoba. It is the curling capital of the world, not just Canada.
I am going to share my time with my good friend, the hon. member for Winnipeg North, whom I have known for 33 years. He had a lot more hair back then, but he is wiser. He is my counsel. I am so proud to have him sitting next to me.
I am pleased to rise today as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality, as well as the member for Winnipeg South, to speak about budget 2019, a budget that focuses on building an economy that works for everyone, a budget that gives all Canadians, regardless of gender, a fair and equal chance at success.
Our government truly believes that our country and our economy benefit when women, girls and people of all genders are safe and free to live their lives to the fullest.
The facts speak for themselves. Over the last 40 years, greater participation of women in the workforce has accounted for about one-third of Canada's economic growth. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, advancing gender equality could contribute as much as $150 billion to our economy by 2026. More and more, we can see there is a very close correlation between gender equality, the level of competitiveness and human development in our country. It is clear to us that gender equality is the foundation for a prosperous Canada. For decades, women's organizations and other equality-seeking organizations have been working hard to tackle the systemic barriers impeding gender equality, and they have made a huge difference.
We need to support further community action to create the right conditions so that everyone can achieve their potential. Our government has stepped up with historic investments to advance gender equality, but women's organizations know first-hand how vital it is to safeguard the hard-won rights and progress they fought for.
Budget 2019 made an important investment of $160 million to support projects that work to tackle systemic barriers impeding women's progress while also recognizing and addressing the diverse experiences of gender and inequality across this country. These new funds allow the government to set in motion new innovative partnerships to fundamentally change the way we fund women's organizations so it is more stable and sustainable, and our Minister for Women and Gender Equality has made some really terrific announcements at Women Deliver in Vancouver this week.
Canadian women are among the world's most educated, yet women and girls still face barriers in achieving their potential. We cannot move forward if half of us are held back. Budget 2019 recognizes that and encourages women's participation in high-demand fields of the economy through investments and skills development and financial support for training in order to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the STEM sector, to girls. These are wise investments indeed.
Investing in the middle class includes investments in gender equality, and gender equality is a core consideration in this government's policies and programs. Our government is working to develop policies and programs that will deliver a society where a person's gender identity or expression does not deter the likelihood of developing one's potential. In this vein, budget 2019 helps address the unique needs and persisting disparities among LGBTQ2+ Canadians by investing in capacity-building and community-level work of service organizations. I want to thank the member for Edmonton Centre for his great work in this regard.
Ending gender-based violence is crucial if we are serious about giving everyone the same opportunities to join and grow Canada's middle class. Our government has invested over $200 million in a strategy to prevent and address gender-based violence. We have heard from survivors and the organizations that support them, and we are responding to the need for funding to prevent and address gender-based violence. We have heard from underserved groups, groups that are often impacted disproportionately by gender-based violence and that need more resources to address the gaps in services. We have listened and are investing more than $50 million for more than 60 projects in communities across the country to support survivors of gender-based violence and their families.
One of the harsh realities of gender-based violence is human trafficking, which I know is an issue everyone in the House feels strongly about and one that needs to be addressed aggressively. Budget 2019 announced a whole-of-government human trafficking strategy, recognizing that individuals at greatest risk of victimization include persons who are socially or economically disadvantaged, women and girls, youth and children, indigenous peoples, refugees and migrants, LGBTQ2+ individuals and persons with disabilities. We need to address their needs.
Budget 2019 also supports combatting child sexual exploitation online, preventing hate crimes and providing increased access to family justice in the official language of one's choice.
Our government was elected on a promise to support the middle class and to work hard to help those who want to join the middle class. From day one, we have understood that one of the most important things we can do to achieve this is to ensure that everyone has access to safe and affordable housing. The budget implementation act before us today recognizes that the right to adequate housing is a fundamental human right affirmed in international law. It ensures that Canada's first-ever national housing strategy is not also the last. The national housing strategy and the commitments to build and repair shelter spaces for women fleeing violent situations mean that more women and their children have a safe place to turn to.
The decisions governments make impact different people differently. That is why gender budgeting is at the heart of our government's strategy to improve equality in Canada. In December, we passed the Canadian Gender Budgeting Act, which requires by law that all future budgets take gender equality into account when we make decisions. As we have said, what gets measured gets done. The gender results framework, launched in budget 2018, has guided our decisions on policies and programs that are responsive to the needs of the diversity of individuals in our society.
The most important determinant of our country's competitiveness is its human talent and the skills and productivity of its workforce. No one should be left behind. We all deserve equal access to the workforce and to political decision-making power. We should all have access to resources and opportunities.
To have a country where all citizens are equal and have a fair chance of success is a goal worthy of our best efforts. I believe the people of Canada deserve nothing less than our very best.