Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Liberals to Dig Deeper, Aim Higher on Gender Equality in 2018 Federal Budget

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Liberals to Dig Deeper, Aim Higher on Gender Equality in 2018 Federal Budget

Article excerpt

Libs to dig deeper on gender in 2018 budget

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OTTAWA - The Liberal government is trying to move beyond the obvious in its quest for gender equality, thinking outside the daycare box to more thoroughly examine how the federal budget would impact men and women in different ways -- even before committing to a dime of spending.

"They definitely received the message that it needs to be not just a list of things that are true about gender inequality," said Kate McInturff, a senior researcher with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

"It needs to be really fundamentally integrated into their economic policy."

The idea behind gender-based analysis is to think about how a government policy, legislation or spending might affect men and women, or boys and girls, in different ways, while accounting for other intersecting factors such as income, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation.

If the analysis, which is ideally done early on in the process, reveals one gender would experience disproportionately negative impacts, then policy-makers can change course or pay added attention to other areas that could help mitigate those effects.

Last year, the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau got some on-brand attention for adding some feminist flavour to the federal budget, including a 25-page chapter that touched on how some of its commitments would benefit women, including child care spending.

This time around, government officials -- speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the Feb. 27 budget -- took a more holistic approach to gender-based analysis, including a framework that will help determine the impact on a larger scale, rather than one line item at a time.

It was no doubt a big help that the Liberal government has decided to make gender equality an overarching theme of its G7 presidency. The budget is expected to include elements that would help Canada lead by example as it hosts the June gathering of world leaders in La Malbaie, Que.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has previously said the budget would include measures to boost the participation of women in the workforce.

Several stakeholders who took part in his gender-related consultations said they heard a lot about women in leadership, but they hope the budget will also include things like dedicated leave for new fathers or non-birthing parents, funding for the pay-equity legislation the Liberals promised to introduce this year and, potentially, something more on child care.

The officials said the goal of the gender-based analysis this year is to figure out how the entire budget will move the dial on equality in Canada. …

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