Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2005. “Ten Year’s Later: Structural Changes that have Reshaped Canadian Women’s Lives (1995-2005).”

Abstract

What are the structural and socio-economic and political changes that have reshaped women’s lives since 1995? This paper provides the contextual background outlining current global, health, social, justice, workplace/employment, poverty, family and governance issues based on secondary data, existing research and literature.

Table of Contents
Abstract 1
Table of Contents

Introduction 2

  1. New Social Architectures that reshape women’s lives 2
  2. Women’s Economic Autonomy 7
  3. Women and the conflict between work and family life 9
  4. Health Issues 10
    1. Violence against women over the last decade 11
  5. Appendix 1 12
    1. Acronyms, Agencies, Institutions, Policies by Name 12
    2. Significant Events, Publications, Policies and Programs by date 19
  6. Selected Bibliography 24
Introduction

In preparation for Beijing +10 Canada began a period of evaluation of its past accomplishments and future efforts towards greater gender equality in Canada. The Federal Plan for Gender Equality was produced a decade ago as an interdepartmental initiative spearheaded by Status of Women Canada. The FPGE was intended as a framework and commitment to address women’s poverty, economic security and health concerns. Ironically in the same year the federal budget imposed unprecedented broad and deep social service and program cuts to eliminate an alarming national deficit which eclipsed commitments to PFA (Yalnizyan 2004).

Some Canadian women, particularly those who are not of a racial, ethnic or linguistic minority, have formal education, live in urban areas in Ontario and Alberta and are not lone parents[1], have seen their economic autonomy improve. Canadian women outside those categories, particularly lone parents and First Nations, Métis and Inuit women[2], face new social risks and in some cases are more vulnerable today than they were a decade ago.

Gender equality enshrined in key institutional mechanisms for women’s equity issues, from the Royal Commission on the Status of Women (1970), the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the establishment of the Status of Women Canada (1976) and the Federal Plan for Gender Equality (1995) only touched the tip of the iceberg.

New Social Architectures that reshape women’s lives

During the last decade there has been growing recognition that strong sustainable social programs can contribute to economic efficiency and progress (Saint-Martin 2004). This recognition is particularly significant to women whose specific needs for social services that assist with child care, family support and protection against violence cannot be met through the market. Assumptions largely unchallenged in the 1970s and 1980s situating the marketplace as the critical social institution and primary arbiter of human affairs, have been unsettled over the past decade. Economic efficiency[3] and social justice are no longer perceived as mutually exclusive[4]. Social policies provide social infrastructures that attract skilled workers in a knowledge-based economy. Municipalities that offer health, child care, family support and educational opportunities are more competitive in this new economy. The high cost of persistent inequities is more widely acknowledged (Saint-Martin 2004) and this bodes well for the cause of women’s equality.

Contemporary states such as Britain, Canada, members of the EU, have recognized that social policies designed for a post-WWII era cannot protect vulnerable populations against new social risks (Saint-Martin 2004). These states are faced with the challenge of designing a new more relevant, inclusive and responsive social architecture. There is a disenchantment with politics as usual. Governments are more open to experimentation, decentralization and inclusion of all stakeholders at the community, local and regional levels. But they are also aware of the need for centralized coordination and collaboration. Policy makers in Canada and Europe face the challenge of designing social programs that respond to deep structural changes. A key area of common concern in these contemporary states is that of finding a balance between work and family life. The state can face this new social risk which places high stress on young men and women by expanding the public and private provision of complementary child and elder care (Mahon 2004). Social risks are unevenly distributed as shifts in the labour market, family structure, demographic pressures and increasing female labour-force participation affect genders, ethnicities and age-groups differently.

Saint-Martin acknowledges that establishing and nurturing closer links between economic and social policy is one of the most difficult challenges facing contemporary governance. Social policies that assure social services require more collaboration and funding from central governments. The Canadian government continues to work towards maintaining tax cuts[5] and deficit elimination.

Critics claim that the trend towards smaller government places women at a greater disadvantage then men. But there has been no gender based analysis or gender budget to measure the consequences to women of the reforms in governance. Yalnizyan (2004) noted that no federal Minister of Finance had even begun the process of undertaking a gender analysis of its fiscal policies. Without an analysis of macro-economic policies there can be no budgeting of resources for programs that can make change possible. There is a need to incorporate gendered budget analyses to plan and assess the gendered impact of decisions (Yalnizyan 2004:19).

OECD[6] recognized that the goals of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 to mainstream gender in all aspects of economic and social development, continued to evade its member nations a decade later. OECD actively promotes gender budgets,[7] which take gender mainstreaming one step further by identifying the real costs and benefits of budget items in public policy. Gender budgeting “insures that the mandated gender equality perspectives guiding policy are effectively incorporated in all policies and at all levels and at all stages” (OECD 2004: 20). One of their key objectives is to “create a practical awareness amongst policy makers in Ministries of Finance of the need of gender perspective at all levels of the implications of gender budgets for their future everyday work (OECD 2004: 19).”

The mechanical use of GBA mechanisms alone does not guarantee meaningful change. Rankin and Vickers (2004) listed factors that weaken the potential for finding sustainable solutions to women’s social rights issues within Canada include: lack of political will and adequate government financing and support; lack of coordination between levels of government; lack of public education about GBA and the difference between gender and sex; lack of consultation with women who are providers and users of health care in everyday life; drastic reduction of infrastructure for women and equity seeking groups decreasing potential for monitoring; lack of attention to the interface between gender and ethnicity, class, age, sexuality; lack of systematic application of GBA to all policy areas including for instance, economic and technology policies that effect health (Rankin and Vickers, 2004).

The “current neo-liberal policy context, characterized by privatization and deregulation, is consistently at odds with gender equality” (Teghstsoonian 2000 cited in Hankivsky 2005). The increased tendency towards downloading of costly social services to provinces and municipalities hinders the development and implementation of programs that protect women against violence, combat the increase in the feminization of poverty, insure child care and respond to women’s specific health issues. Social services that deal with these pernicious issues are invariably costly and require a federal policy with a gender budget to match. Yalnizyan argues that,

The idea of small government may be antithetical to women’s interests in the long run. Women need the systems governments put into place to protect them from violence and injustice, and address needs and market failures that the private sector, on its own, cannot handle. No market process can create the overriding rules that ensure quality and accountability in the purchase of public/common goods, for example in education, health care and child care. No private sector institution is mandated to provide basic economic security for all citizens, through income supports such as unemployment insurance, or social assistance, or subsidies for housing. No business or group of businesses could undertake the investments required to build public infrastructure for the benefit of all users. And no enterprise has as its mandate that of assuring citizen input into the decision-making processes of government, or safeguarding an accessible system of courts and law. (Yalnizyan 2004:61)

In 1999 new relations between federal, provincial[8] and territorial governments were inaugurated under the Social Union Framework Agreement. These new modes of governance work from a concept of a shared vision of social policy, with joint planning and efforts. However, a lack of participation of local knowledge communities presents a serious hindrance to policy learning (Saint-Martin 2004). SUFA offers a partial solution but without rigorous accountability for gender-specific concerns, there is no guarantee that women’s most urgent needs will be met. SUFA’s top priority is the elimination of child poverty. The existing National Children’s Agenda fit this new form of governance.

The visible growth of the third sector globally and within Canada represents a profoundly important shift in how human beings organize and design a responsive, responsible and inclusive social architecture. The growth in civil society as an economic and ideological force has caused a shift away from a dyadic market-state tension towards a triad which includes NGO’s, agencies, groups and organizations that now have an enormous economic clout. The civil society sector is perched between — and until recently marginalized — by the state and the market. All three sectors contribute in varying degrees to women’s material, physical emotional (and in some sectors spiritual) well-being. The state sponsors services and income transfers; the market provides income and increasingly in the last decade non-market care and support come from within the family and communities[9].

Increased participation in civil society contributed to debates on gender equality issues in a variety of public forums. One of the most important ways in which Aboriginal women’s rights[10] have been safeguarded in recent decades is through the untiring efforts of organizations like the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Métis National Council of Women (MNCW) and Pauktuutit Inuit Women’s Association (Status of Women Canada 2002).

Shifting international, national and regional economic, demographic, political and social patterns have transformed how families, communities, state and the market perform their roles and responsibilities as sources of welfare (Saint-Martin 2004). The well-being of women has been deeply affected by these social and economic shifts.

In the post-industrial era city-regions have emerged with populations that outnumber some provinces. These municipalities have the greatest intensity of immigrants and of women in the workforce. Although they have the highest concentration of poverty, they also have better infrastructures for dealing with social issues than in less densely populated rural areas (Mahon 2004). In this new era of intergovernmental arrangements, municipalities[11] and local communities are shut out of negotiations. In 1998 the state of housing was declared a National Disaster by mayors of some of Canada’s largest city-regions.

Years of cascading downloading, from federal to provincial to municipal treasuries, had compromised social supports. The lack of affordable housing became a crushing burden on low-income families and new immigrants (both international and inter-provincial). Getting and maintaining adequate shelter was becoming an increasingly precarious proposition for a rapidly growing number of households. (Yalnizyan 2004)

In Canada the insistence on deep and wide cuts to social services which began in a period of deficit (1995-7) raised barriers to women who are most needy of support. Canada’s economic growth over the last eight years has been faster than any other G7 nation (Yalnizyan 2004: 100) yet the most vulnerable populations in Canada, First Nations, Métis and Inuit women, continue to experience significant inequities in relation to the general population (Health Canada 2004).

Women’s Economic Autonomy

At first glance it appears that Canadian women have made great strides towards social inclusion in the economic sector. Women’s economic autonomy has increased according to statistics on employment, education and income over the last decade.[12] There was a dramatic growth over the past several decades of women entering the paid work force and women now have a high ratio of labour force participation (57% in 2003). There are now more women than men in undergraduate programs. There is an increase of women in middle management positions, business and finance, doctors and dentists (52% in 2003), social sciences and religion. Most growth took place in the 1970s and 1980s but the numbers began rising again recently.

However on closer examination, employment and income levels across the country vary based on level of education, region, race and age. Urban women who are not minorities, aged between 25-54 years and have a university degree in Ontario and the Western provinces are the most likely to be employed (Lindsay, Almey, and Statistics Canada 2003). Thirty-four per cent[13] of full-time Canadian women who work are in jobs with low wages (Yalnizyan 2004: 74). Seven of every ten part-time employees are women. Three self-employed workers out of ten are women. Eleven per cent of all women with jobs are self-employed. The majority of women are still concentrated in traditional female occupations such as teachers, nurses and clerks. Women professionals and students are a minority in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics. There are fewer women in upper management[14] positions. Few women work in transportation, trades or construction work areas where high wages are not dependent on education (Lindsay, Almey, and Statistics Canada 2003). Even with a university education women still earn only 77% of their male counterpart’s income in gender neutral jobs.

Although young women have made impressive improvements in terms of formal education[15], women in their twenties earn less than they did in 1980 (Lindsay, Almey, and Statistics Canada 2004:13). They have heavy student loans yet less choice in employment. They remain stuck in pink collar jobs and experience a high incidence of low income. Women working in jobs that are part-time and/or low income were the hardest hit as pay rates remained stagnate while costs for housing, tuition, transportation and child care soared (Yalnizyan 2004: 6). It is particularly disturbing that while low income rates have decreased among the overall population since the 1980s, there is an increase among women[16].

The picture for Aboriginal women is even starker. Although visible minorities, particularly young immigrant women have high employment rates and low income, it is more likely that a young immigrant woman newly arrived in Canada will have employment and a higher income than her Aboriginal counterpart. A quarter century ago young Aboriginal women fared slightly better than their grandchildren in 1996 (Lindsay, Almey, and Statistics Canada 2004:21). Young women in First Nations, Métis and Inuit remote communities have the highest unemployment rate and the lowest income (Lindsay, Almey, and Statistics Canada 2004). In Canada in 1996 the economic well-being based on income and employment of Aboriginal women in their twenties was dramatically inferior to the national average for women in that age group and was even inferior to visible minority and immigrant women (p.21). More than half of young Aboriginal women in 1996 had low incomes.

Statistically the employment rate of Canadians was at an all time high in the 1990s, yet many Canadians with low income and/or in temporary jobs were still living in poverty. Social policies, such as NCB which insist on activation or employability as a prescription for the elimination of poverty have succeeded in introducing a wave of women, often mothers into the workforce in a move which is sometimes referred to as being ‘paid to be poor.’ (Jenson 2004:12).

Reforms to the unemployment insurance policies in the 1990s have placed women who work in low-wage or part-time jobs (69% of all part-time workers in Canada) at the greatest disadvantage. (Yalnizyan 2004: 74). As well, various incentive programs benefit higher income earners only (Yalnizyan 2004: 102). Women with low incomes who pay few or no taxes do not benefit from tax credits for care givers or tax expenses for child-care. Women with low incomes do not benefit equally in maternity programs. Unlike higher wage earners, they often return to the work force before the full year maternity leave is over since the 50% of their regular income is insufficient for living. Tax incentives through RESPs or RRSPs do not benefit women with low incomes who cannot afford to put several thousand dollars a year aside for education. Formal education costs have risen and current student loans are insufficient for tuition as well as cost of living making it more difficult for low income earners to improve their economic autonomy through education (Yalnizyan 2004). Reforms to the tax system continue to favour individuals and businesses with higher incomes while the poorest women saw little improvement (Yalnizyan 2004: 93).

Women and the conflict between work and family life

One of the new social risks facing women is the rising conflict between work and family life. This is a public not just a personal issue. There has been a 10% rate of reports of medium to high conflicts between work and family in the last decade (Status of Women Canada 2005c). The lack of child care support is placing heavy stress on Canada’s youngest adults. Young women have more responsibilities and greater expectations with little change in the social norm of females performing most unpaid domestic work[17]. Young women particularly have higher levels of stress than any age group with a significant number suffering from clinical depression (Lindsay, Almey, and Statistics Canada 2004).

SUFA’s major accomplishment, The National Children’s Agenda whose primary aim is to reduce child poverty, punishes mothers who prefer to stay at home with their children or who have the possibility of a job with a slightly higher wage than social assistance. Low-income supplements are clawed back from social assistance recipients to remove all work disincentives. The new provincial-federal relationship permitted provinces to spend federal transfer payments in any of the four areas. More than half of the provincial and territorial governments chose to put nothing into child care[18] choosing to spend the $300 million federal transfers on higher profile areas such as health (Mahon 2004: 7). The province-centred governance structure as embodied in SUFA fails to secure universally accessible rights-based child care. Even middle-income families struggle to meet rising costs of child care.

As governments at all levels downloaded responsibility for welfare to the third sector, women who have traditionally participated in the community sector at a disproportionately high level saw their unpaid workload increase. There is a growing need to recognize the ongoing care-giving provided (primarily by women) for children of all ages, the disabled, the infirm and the elderly; (Yalnizyan 2004: 74). Although the EI program added six weeks of Compassionate Care for temporary absences from work of up to six weeks to provide primary care for a critically ill family member, the benefits are difficult to actually access.

Health Issues

A nation’s health (women, men and children) is a key indicator of a society’s well-being. When asked to self-report on their own health, the majority of Canadian women considered themselves to be in very good or excellent health. However, health is not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Women’s health involves their emotional, social and physical well-being and is determined by the social, political and economic context of their lives, as well as by biology. … The prevalence among women of poverty and economic dependence, their experience of violence, negative attitudes towards women and girls, racial and other forms of discrimination, the limited power many women have over their reproductive and sexual lives, and lack of influence in decision-making are social realities which have an adverse impact on their health (Hankivsky 2005).

The Canadian government committed itself to Women’s Health Strategy (1999)3, an integrated framework for addressing major women’s health issues and was intended to address the principles of the Beijing Platform. As with other commitments related to the PFA social service cuts negatively affected all areas of women’s health (Hankivsky 2005). Although the Romanow Report is widely praised for its defense of Medicare, the NCGHCRW noted a fundamental flaw. Women are the principal users and providers of health care in Canada but the Report did not offer a gendered analysis. It did not “consider women’s places in the health care system and the consequences of health care reforms for women in different locations throughout the system” (NCGHCRW 2003: 7 cited in Hankivsky 2005).

Aboriginal women have a higher incidence of problems related to health than the average Canadian. They experience higher rates of respiratory problems[19] than the rest of the general female population. Current evidence shows that diabetes is three times as prevalent in Aboriginal communities as in the general population a disease that affects twice as many Aboriginal women than men. Twice as many Aboriginal women have HIV/AIDS than non-Aboriginal women. Aboriginal women have more children and at an earlier age than the overall Canadian female population. Many Aboriginal people recognize that alcohol abuse is a social problem in their communities and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) are causing concern in some First Nations and Inuit communities (Health Canada 2004).

Violence against women over the last decade

Societies as well as individuals pay the high consequences of violence against women. Canadian health related costs alone exceed $1.5 billion a year (Day 1995; Health Canada 1999). Although the incidence of wife abuse allegedly declined between 1993 and 1998, young women remain at high risk of domestic violence[20]. Violence against women continues to be a primary cross-departmental and cross-sector concern. More women use temporary shelters for abused women. Girls accounted for 85% of the victims of sexual offences against children reported to police in 2002 (Status of Women Canada 2005b). Women and girl/children are most vulnerable to being exploited in trafficking in humans, the world’s fastest growing crime (Status of Women Canada 2005b).

Violence against women is particularly acute in First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. An Aboriginal woman is three times more likely to die a violent death than other Canadian women. If she is between 25 to 44 years old, the risk increases. She is eight times more likely to be murdered by her own husband than a non-Aboriginal woman. In cases of substance abuse in a family, women are more likely than men to be victims of violent crime. More Aboriginal women are admitted to hospitals for alcohol related accidents. More Aboriginal women commit suicide than non-Aboriginal women. They are also more likely to be suicide survivors as the suicide rate in Aboriginal population is consistently higher than the general Canadian population as a whole, in almost every age category (Health Canada 2004).

Acronyms, Agencies, Institutions, Policies by Name

Activation Social policies, such as NCB which insist on activation or employability as a prescription for the elimination of poverty have succeeded in introducing a wave of women, often mothers into the workforce in a move which is sometimes referred to as being ‘paid to be poor.’ (Jenson 2004:12). Statistically the employment rate of Canadians was at an all time high in the 1990s, yet many Canadians with low income and/or in temporary jobs were still living in poverty.

CC Compassionate Care (2004) benefits which is covered under EI allow “some workers temporary absence from work to provide care to a closer family member with a serious medical condition with significant risk of death within six months. Such benefits, however, only benefit a small portion of the population, and exclude the great number of female caregivers who are underemployed or unemployed” (Hankivsky 2005). There is a concern that many requests are refused and even siblings are not necessarily considered to be a close family member.

CCTB “The Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) and National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS) the refundable tax credit that provides income supports for low-income families with children under age 18. The Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) is the biggest initiative the federal government has undertaken in terms of income supports, and is critical to an assessment of how women have been affected by federal budgets since 1995” “The CCTB/NCB has been vaunted as an income-support programme that targets help most to low income families. But the National Welfare Council reported that, despite these claims, income supports for the poorest families in Canada – those on welfare – did not increase. The reason was that the federal government decided to allow provinces and territories to claw back the National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS) from families receiving social assistance” (Yalnizyan 2004).

CEDAW The Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) human rights treaty with the force of international law which obligates States “to repeal or abolish all existing laws, regulations, penal provisions, customs and practices that are discriminatory against women.” Canada acceded to CEDAW in 1981. CEDAW contains a specific section on health reinforcing the link between human rights and women’s health. Canada agreed under the force of international law to “take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care in order to ensure , on a basis of equality of men and women, access to health care services, including those related to family planning.

CHST The Canada Health and Social Transfer (CHST), which includes funding to the provinces and territories for health care, post-secondary education, social assistance and social supports. Since April 2004 the CHST has been transformed into two separate funds the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) and the Canada Social Transfer (CST) (Yalnizyan 2004).

CPRN Canadian Policy Research Network provides directions for a rejuvenated and highly relevant contemporary social policy. The CPRN was founded in 1994 by the former Chair of the Economic Council of Canada to provide fresh alternatives to the almost unchallenged prevalent assumptions informing public policy in the economically tumultuous mid-1990s which insisted on the crucial need for economic efficiency and the protection of entrepreneurship and private investment by cutting social services even at the expense of social justice (Saint-Martin 2004:3 cited in Jenson 2004:2). CPRN brought together a vast cross-sector network of researchers from governments, unions, corporations, ngos, voluntary organizations, academics and others involved in policy research on Family, Health, Public Involvement and. Canada’s economic restructuring of the 1990s aimed at deficit reduction and tax reforms led to painful cutbacks in social services.

COS Canadian Opportunities Strategy is “a co-ordinated set of measures building on the thrust of the last budget, designed to create opportunity by expanding access to lifelong learning”. It is the “biggest new spending initiative by the federal government during the surplus era from 1998 to the present.” This new and costly federal initiative is “a series of budgetary initiatives that began as supports for individuals trying to improve their foothold in the job market but diverged into a set of supports for the research and development of new technologies, both in universities and through the business sector, and supports for the commercializing of that research.” “The vast majority of the cash funding under this “learning” rubric has taken the form of cash supports for students: approximately $4 billion in student loans, grants and scholarships has been allocated since 1998. Of this amount the single biggest item was the announcement of the Millennium Scholarship Foundation, a 10 year $2.5 billion endowment.” (Yalnizyan 2004).

CST “Since April 2004 the CHST has been transformed into two separate funds the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) and the Canada Social Transfer (CST)” (Yalnizyan 2004).

CWHN Canadian Women’s Health Network

ECDE “Early Childhood Development and Education is a relatively new federal funding initiative which was initially folded into the CHST and now flows through the CST” (Yalnizyan 2004).

EI “Employment Insurance funds benefits to eligible unemployment Canadian workers, those out of work for reasons of sickness or short term disability, the unemployed who are in training, and parents on maternity/parental leave” (Yalnizyan 2004).

FAFIA Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action researcher Yalnizyan and associates received funding from the SWC for its report entitled Canada’s “Commitment to Equality: A Gender Analysis of the Last Ten Federal Budgets” (1995-2004) (Yalnizyan 2004).

HEALTH “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Women’s health involves their emotional, social and physical well-being and is determined by the social, political and economic context of their lives, as well as by biology. … The prevalence among women of poverty and economic dependence, their experience of violence, negative attitudes towards women and girls, racial and other forms of discrimination, the limited power many women have over their reproductive and sexual lives, and lack of influence in decision-making are social realities which have an adverse impact on their health” (Hankivsky 2005).

GBA Gender-Based Analysis is “…an analytical tool applied to research, policies, program design, and evaluations to ensure that appropriate questions about both men and women yield sensitive and accurate analyses and programs.” (Health Canada, 2002:1). The mechanical use of GBA mechanisms alone does not guarantee meaningful change. Factors that weaken the potential for finding sustainable solutions to women’s social rights issues within Canada include: lack of political will and adequate government financing and support; lack of coordination between levels of government; lack of public education about GBA and the difference between gender and sex; lack of consultation with women who are providers and users of health care in everyday life; drastic reduction of infrastructure for women and equity seeking groups decreasing potential for monitoring; lack of attention to the interface between gender and ethnicity, class, age, sexuality; lack of systematic application of GBA to all policy areas including for instance, economic and technology policies that effect health (Rankin and Vickers, 2004). The “current neo-liberal policy context, characterized by privatization and deregulation, is consistently at odds with gender equality (Teghstsoonian, 2000). See (Hankivsky 2005).

Gender budgets “analyse how governments raise and spend public money, with the aim of securing gender equality in decision making about public resource allocation and gender equality in the distribution of the impact of government budgets, both in their benefits and their burdens. ( Judd, 2002) Gender budgeting is an application of gender mainstreaming in the budgetary process. It means a gender-based assessment of budgets, incorporating a gender perspective at all levels of the budgetary process and restructuring revenues and expenditures in order to promote gender equality” ( The Council of Europe) (OECD 2004: 20).

OBM Outcomes Based Measurement and public reporting as used in the NCB-SUFA placed the onus on individual citizens to access the meanings, comparative analysis and form opinions. According to Saint-Martin (2004) this places unrealistic expectations on individual citizens ill-equipped to access and analyze all the relevant data, technical information, institutional sources and therefore determine the adequacy and implications of for policy analysis. See also (Phillips 2003: 107).

OECD The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is a Paris-based, international organization, whose member nations have accepted international agreements regarding gender equity and are committed to gender equity in public policies and programs. OECD’s influential recommendations set normative standards for member and non-member nations setting the pace in the field of development. OECD recognizes that gender is a major influence on how people are affected by government policies and programs and access to opportunities and resources. OECD is uniquely placed to play a major role in development and refinement of gender budgeting in developed economies. OECD plays a pivotal role in developing and refining gender budgeting in developed economies (OECD 2004). OECD’s work on producing more gender responsive analyses and policies is intended to be catalytic, complementing and strengthening the work in member nations, such as Statistics Canada , the major provider of gender-specific data in Canada. OECD work addresses the growing gap in the methodological development of gender relevant analysis. OECD promotes the development of gender responsive analytical tools embedded deliberately and systematically into analysis. The collection and analysis of statistical data needs to be gender sensitive that reflects the different impacts of policies on the economic and social lives of women and men. Gender responsive data strengthens sound policy development and ensures greater equity and efficiency. These gender statistics can then be used as a vital baseline to measure and evaluate progress in improving gender equality. Gender responsive statistics revealed that pension reform in an OECD country had the unintended consequence of lowering women’s pensions by 7% below that of their male counterpart from 80% to 73%. Through gender responsive analysis it was established that minimum wage policies in a member country reached the intended income of having a greater beneficial impact on women. The World Bank, the United Nations, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Eurostat/the European Commission and the International Labour Organisation share the concern for and produce gender responsive analyses. UK, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have some gender budget initiatives (OECD 2004).

LICO Low-income cut-offs is a measurement used by but not necessarily promoted by Statistics Canada which classifies people as low income depending on the number of people in the family and the size of the urban or rural area where the family resides, and how much of a percentile of their pre-tax income is spent on food, shelter and clothing for example a low-income cut-off with a cut-off usually at 20%. People with incomes below the LICOs in 1992 spent more than 54.7% of their pre-tax income on food, shelter and clothing. In 2000 16% of all women in their twenties had incomes below Stats Canada’s low-income cut-offs (Lindsay, Almey, and Statistics Canada 2004:14).

NCB The National Child Benefit (NCB) focuses on promoting activation of low-income parents in order to reduce child welfare. NCB was created by federal, provincial and territorial governments in 1997, is cited as a positive example of the new mode of governance promoted by SUFA (Saint-Martin 2004).

NCGHCRW The National Coordinating Group on Health Care Reform and Women (NCGHCRW) in its Reading Romanow: The Implications of the Final Report of the Commission on the Future of Health Care for Women, “…the Report is fundamentally flawed. By not offering a gendered analysis, it fails to consider women’s places in the health care system and the consequences of health care reforms for women in different locations throughout the system” (2003: 7 (Hankivsky 2005).

PFA Platform for Action” (PFA) was adopted by the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995) which marked an important watershed in international efforts to further gender equality. The PFA is a policy commitment of the highest order, confirmed by the UN General Assembly in 1995 and again in 2000. The PFA contain specific sections on women’s health that reinforce the link between women’s health and human rights. The PFA has a section that prioritizes the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health for women. Significantly, it emphasizes a social determinants approach to understanding women’s health (Hankivsky 2005)

PRF Policy Research Fund under the auspices of Status of Women Canada puts out Calls for Proposals to fill gaps in existing research on women’s issues. PRF research is peer reviewed to ensure that methodological, ethical and professional standards meet rigorous standards in terms of accuracy, completeness and timiliness; that methodologies and data collected support the analysis and recommendations; originality of contribution to existing literature; usefulness to equality-seeking organizations, advocacy communities, government policy makers, researchers and other target audiences. Swc.

Small government “The idea of small government may be antithetical to women’s interests in the long run. Women need the systems governments put into place to protect them from violence and injustice, and address needs and market failures that the private sector, on its own, cannot handle. No market process can create the overriding rules that ensure quality and accountability in the purchase of public/common goods, for example in education, health care and child care. No private sector institution is mandated to provide basic economic security for all citizens, through income supports such as unemployment insurance, or social assistance, or subsidies for housing. No business or group of businesses could undertake the investments required to build public infrastructure for the benefit of all users. And no enterprise has as its mandate that of assuring citizen input into the decision-making processes of government, or safeguarding an accessible system of courts and law” (Yalnizyan 2004:61).

Social Architecture Papers is a series of nine research reports by the CPRN on a new social architecture that will maximize well-being for all Canadians in the 21st century. Individual reports examine Canada’s history, the experience of neighbouring countries and jurisdictions, the challenges facing Aboriginal peoples

SWC The Status of Women is part of a larger network of departments and agencies concerned with developing a fair and inclusive social architecture.

SUFA Canada’s Social Union Framework Agreement of collaborative governance, focused on joint planning and work. SUFA encourages a collaborative effort between federal and provincial/territorial governments with business, labour, municipal governments, the educational system, voluntary groups, researchers, communities and citizens combining resources through various forms of working partnerships to ensure appropriate opportunities for Canadians to have meaningful input into social policies and programs through shared decision-making and policy development. In its exemplary model, the NCB, for example all levels of government are responsible for the overall product. The NCB offers a new form of accountability which focuses on accountability for effective management by the government partners and accountability for program effectiveness to the public (Saint-Martin 2004).

WES The Women’s Economic Summit was organized by the NDP and held in Ottawa on February 16, 2004. Jane Jenson presented the keynote address which set the context for discussions on identification of elements that would constitute a women’s equality budget (Jenson 2004).

WHS Women’s Health Strategy under Health Canada’s Bureau of Women’s Health and Gender Analysis (1999) was an integrated framework for addressing major women’s health issues. This was intended as Canada’s response and commitment to the Beijing 1995conference. WHS’s goal was to improve the health of women in Canada to “ensure that Health Canada policies and programs are responsive to sex and gender differences and to women’s health needs; increase knowledge and understanding of women’s health and women’s health needs; support the provision of effective health services to women; and promote good health through preventive measures and the reduction of risk factors that most imperil the health of women” (Hankivsky 2005).

WP The Women’s Program which is part of SWC “provides support to women and other voluntary organizations to address the causes of family violence in ways that lead to systemic changes and the development of alternative, long-term prevention strategies.” The Women’s Program is part of a larger national network of 12 departments and agencies including Justice Canada, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Canada Heritage[21] in a Family Violence Initiative coordinated by Health Canada.

Significant Events, Publications, Policies and Programs by date

1946 The United Nations was founded “pledging to reaffirm faith in equal rights of women and men.”

1947 Commission on Status of Women (CWS) was created to promote women’s rights reporting to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

1970s-80s The 1970s and 1980s were recession prone. Market liberal assumptions were almost unchallenged in the recession prone 1970s and 80s. Proponents such as Margaret Thatcher argued that social justice issues needed to be sacrificed for greater economic efficiency. This would eventually lead to greater economic growth. Spending on social justice issues hampered discouraged private investment and undermined the spirit of entrepreneurship.

1981 Canada acceded to the human rights treaty acknowledging the force of international law of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which obligates states to “ repeal or abolish all existing laws, regulations, penal provisions, customs and practices that are discriminatory against women”. Canada also acceded to “take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care in order to ensure , on a basis of equality of men and women, access to health care services, including those related to family planning.“

1970? The Royal Commission on the Status of Women tabled its landmark report containing 167 recommendations in many policy areas, aimed at the federal government. Recommendations included the development and implementation of mechanisms to measure gender equity in public policy.

1970s-1980s The marketplace was perceived as the critical social institution and primary arbiter of human affairs. Economic efficiency and social justice were considered to be mutually exclusive[22].

1994 Canadian Policy Research Network was founded.

1995 The General Assembly of the UN mandated CSW to integrate a review of the 12 critical areas cited in the PFA. Canada is currently serving on the CSW.

1995 The Federal Plan for Gender Equality spearheaded by Status of Women Canada was a statement of commitments and a framework for the future intended as Canada’s contribution toward the goals of the global Platform for Action to be adopted at the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in September 1995. Twenty four federal departments and agencies worked together to commit to the following objectives: implement gender-based analysis throughout federal departments and agencies; improve women’s economic autonomy and well-being; improve women’s physical and psychological well-being; reduce violence in society, particularly violence against women and children; promote gender equality in all aspects of canada’s cultural life; incorporate women’s perspectives in governance; promote and support global gender equality; advance gender equality for employees of federal departments and agencies. advance the situation of women, both within its own borders and globally. The Federal Plan was a collaborative initiative whose intention at the time was to assist Government of Canada’s progressing toward gender equality.

1998 “The mayors of Canada’s biggest cities came to Ottawa and declared the state of affordable housing was a National Disaster. Years of cascading downloading, from federal to provincial to municipal treasuries, had compromised social supports. The lack of affordable housing became a crushing burden on low-income families and new immigrants (both international and inter-provincial). Getting and maintaining adequate shelter was becoming an increasingly precarious proposition for a rapidly growing number of households” (Yalnizyan 2004)

1998 Canadian Opportunities Strategy is “a co-ordinated set of measures building on the thrust of the last budget, designed to create opportunity by expanding access to lifelong learning”. It is the “biggest new spending initiative by the federal government during the surplus era from 1998 to the present.” This new and costly federal initiative is “a series of budgetary initiatives that began as supports for individuals trying to improve their foothold in the job market but diverged into a set of supports for the research and development of new technologies, both in universities and through the business sector, and supports for the commercializing of that research.” (Yalnizyan 2004)

1998 Giddens challenged market liberal assumptions that pitted social justice issues against economic efficiency. Saint-Martin (2004) describes how Giddens refers to “social investment” (Giddens, 1998), “active social policy” (Vandenbroucke, 2001) or “productivist social policy” (Holliday, 2000), the idea that a well-performing economy requires reliable and effective social policy goes against the neo-liberal assumption of the inevitable and big trade-off between economic efficiency and social justice. At the political level, this policy vision is part of the ideas promoted by the Third Way in Europe and North America, which seeks to modernize the social democratic project by – among other things – ending “the cleavage between economic and social policies” (Stedward, 2003: 143).” Cited in (Saint-Martin 2004: 12)

2000 Health Canada developed a GBA policy in 2000 in which they applied GBA to programs and policies in the areas of ‘health system modernization, population health, risk management, direct services and research.’ (Hankivsky 2005).

2000 “Census data shows that average earnings for all women in paid employment rose by 12.9% between 1990 and 2000, to $24,390. Yet fully half of all women with paid work earned less than $20,000 in 2000. 3 Among full-year full-time female workers, average wages increased by 10%, to $34,892. Similarly employed males (full-year, full-time) earned, on average $49,224 in 2000. A quarter of these working men made over $60,000, compared to only 10% of women who worked full-year and full-time. 4 While every category of average earnings saw an increase over the decade, it should be remembered that many workers saw no wage increases at all in that period. At the same time, inflation rose by over 22% between 1990 and 2000 (and about the same from 1994 to 2004), eroding the purchasing power of most incomes.5 (Bank of Canada) Meanwhile the basics for everything from housing costs to child care, transit costs to utility costs, tuition fees and pharmaceuticals all went up” (Yalnizyan 2004:15).The number of Canadians with a low-income decreased whereas the number of women in Canada with a low income increased (Lindsay, Almey, and Statistics Canada 2004:14).

2000 “With stagnant levels of welfare in most provinces and territories throughout the late 1990s and the early part of the new century, the purchasing power of welfare rates has fallen, eroded by inflation, which has increased by 14% since 1998, when the new system was introduced. The CCTB and the NCBS did nothing to change this fact. The federal government’s own National Child Benefit Progress Report: 2000 showed 44 percent of families who received the National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS) did not receive the supplement – their provincial or territorial governments clawed the money back. Single parent families, the vast majority of which are headed by women, seemed hardest hit” (Yalnizyan 2004).

2000 The Optional Protocol was adopted by the UN to strengthen accountability in regards to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee.

2001 A report entitled “Women’s Economic Independence and Security: A Federal/Provincial/Territorial Strategic Framework” was produced by the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women documenting “women’s higher rates of poverty, lower employment earnings, higher participation in part-time work, greater involvement in unpaid work and unpaid care of children and elderly people, and segregation into traditionally female jobs” (Yalnizyan 2004:13).

2002 One stark example of a failure to implement GBA into health planning and reform is evidenced in the Romanow Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care, which published its report in November 2002. While praised for its recommendation to re-enforce and expand Medicare it was criticized for failing to incorporate a gender lens in its analysis and proposals. As noted by the National Coordinating Group on Health Care Reform and Women (NCGHCRW) in its Reading Romanow: The Implications of the Final Report of the Commission on the Future of Health Care for Women, “…the Report is fundamentally flawed. By not offering a gendered analysis, it fails to consider women’s places in the health care system and the consequences of health care reforms for women in different locations throughout the system” (2003: 7). Moreover, the Health Accord that was derived from the Romanow Report and signed by the provinces and federal government in February 2003 was also void of any kind of gender analysis (Hankivsky 2005).

2003 Following the Romanow Report, the federal Budget of 2003 put forward a five-year for health care. There was no GBA in the Romanow and therefore its failed to consider the consequences of health care reform on women. Women continue to be in a minority position in terms of policy-making in health care while at the same time women form the large majority of health care providers and users who are familiar with everyday practice. For more see National Coordinating Group on Health Care Reform and Women (NCGHCRW) report (2003) entitled “Reading Romanow: The Implications of the Final Report of the Commission on the Future of Health Care for Women”

2004 The Women’s Economic Summit was organized by the NDP and held in Ottawa on February 16, 2004. Jane Jenson presented the keynote address which set the context for discussions on identification of elements that would constitute a women’s equality budget (Jenson 2004).

2004 The report entitled “The Health Council of Canada: The Health of Canadians” (2004) did not use GBA.

2004 Ten years after its commitment to greater equality of women in Canada no federal Minister of Finance has even begun the process of undertaking a gender analysis of its fiscal policies. Without an analysis of macro-economic policies there can be no budgeting of resources for programs that can make change possible (Yalnizyan 2004:8).

2004 On March 29 in Halifax a “Dialogue on Accountability Mechanisms and Gender Equality” was opened by the Honourable Jean Augustine, Minister of State (Multiculturalism and Status of Women).

2004 The Standing Committee on the Status of Women was struck in the Fall of 2004 by Standing Order 108(2). It undertook an extensive consultation with national and regional women’s organizations inviting them to identify key issues of women’s organizations and equality-seeking organizations during a series of roundtable discussions throughout November and December.

2004 Changes to Employment Insurance introduced Compassionate Care benefits which allowed “some workers temporary absence from work to provide care to a closer family member with a serious medical condition with significant risk of death within six months. Such benefits, however, only benefit a small portion of the population, and exclude the great number of female caregivers who are underemployed or unemployed” (Hankivsky 2005). There is a concern that many requests are refused and even siblings are not necessarily considered to be a close family member.

2005 On February 10, 2005 the Standing Committee on the Status of Women presented their Report to the House of Commons. “Although the groups which appeared before the Committee represented a wide spectrum of perspectives, many witnesses pointed to the ongoing inequality between men and women. The overwhelming majority of witnesses expressed concern at the decreased prominence given to women’s issues and substantive equality, and emphasized the importance of preventing these issues from sliding off the public policy agenda. The Committee has heard that the women’s movement has played an important role in keeping equality issues on the public agenda, but that these organizations have been weakened over the past decade as a result of decreased funding as well as a shift away from core/program funding toward project-specific funding” (Standing Committee on the Status of Women 2005). Pauline Rankin presented a report entitled “Study on Gender-Based Analysis” (Rankin 2005). She was asked by a Member to explain why women’s issues needed more research since their rights are entrenched in the Charter (More Info needed re Reference).

2005 A meeting of the OECD Social Affairs Ministers will be held in Paris on March 31-April 1 2005 to discuss social policy challenges spotlighted in the latest edition of the OECD’s Society at a Glance. “Selection of OECD Social Indicators: How does Canada compare? Should OECD governments spend more on tackling child poverty and less on unemployment benefits? Or focus on pension reform and the need for family-friendly policies to help parents, in particular mothers, balance a career with bringing up a child? (2005)

 

Selected Bibliography

2005. “Selection of OECD Social Indicators: How does Canada compare?” Retrieved Access 2005. http://www.oecd.org/LongAbstract/0,2546,en_33873108_33873277_34553343_1_1_1_1,00.html

Day, Tannis. 1995. “The Health-Related Costs of Violence Against Women in Canada: The Tip of the Iceberg.” Tannis Day, Centre for Research on Violence against Women and Children, London, Ontario. Retrieved March 23, 2005, Access 1995. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/english/pdf/womens/facts_violence.pdf

Hankivsky, Olena. 2005. “Women’s Health in Canada: Beijing and Beyond.” The Canadian Women’s Health Network, Winnipeg. Retrieved Access 2005. http://www.fafia-afai.org/docs/CWHN_Beijing_Response_Health_Feb_16_2005.doc

Health Canada. 1999. “Violence Against Women.” Retrieved Access 1999. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/english/pdf/womens/facts_violence.pdf

—. 2004. “The Health of Aboriginal Women.” Women’s Health Bureau. Retrieved March 27, 2005, Access 2004. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/english/women/facts_issues/facts_aborig.htm

Jenson, Jane. 2004. “A Decade of Challenges; A Decade of Choices: Consequences for Canadian Women.” Canadian Policy Research Network-Family Network, Montréal. Retrieved Access 2004. http://www.cprn.com/en/doc.cfm?doc=558

Lindsay, Colin, Marcia Almey, and Statistics Canada. 2004. “A Quarter Century of Change: Young Women in Canada in the 1970s and Today.” Status of Women Canada (SWC) Policy Research Fund, Ottawa. Retrieved Access 2004. http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/pubs/0662388976/200412_0662388976_1_e.html

Mahon, Rianne. 2004. “Early Child Learning and Care in Canada: Who Rules? Who Should Rule?” Pp. 17 in National Conference on Child Care in Canada: Child Care for a Change: Shaping the 21st Century. Winnipeg: Canada Council on Social Development. Retrieved Access 2004. http://www.ccsd.ca/pubs/2004/cc/mahon.pdf

OECD. 2004. “Gender Coordination at the OECD: Second Annual Report.” Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved March 27, 2005, Access 2004. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/58/61/32139347.pdf

Rankin, Pauline. 2005. “Study on Gender-Based Analysis.” House of Commons. Retrieved Access 2005.

Saint-Martin, Denis. 2004. “Coordinating Interdependence:Governance and Social Policy Redesign in Britain, the European Union and Canada.” Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN), Ottawa. Retrieved Access 2004. http://www.bibliotheque.assnat.qc.ca/01/mono/2004/05/774250.pdf

Standing Committee on the Status of Women. 2005. “Increasing Funding to Equality-Seeking Organizations (Presented in the House).” Standing Committee on the Status of Women, Ottawa, ON. Retrieved Access 2005. http://www.parl.gc.ca/committee/CommitteePublication.aspx?COM=8997&SourceId=100443

Status of Women Canada. 2002. “Roundtable discussion for gender-based Aboriginal policy research.” Retrieved March 23, 2005, Access 2002.

—. 2005a. “Canada at a Glance.” in Beijing +10 Fact Sheets. Ottawa. Retrieved Access 2005a.

—. 2005b. “Violence against Women.” in Beijing +10 Fact Sheets. Ottawa. Retrieved Access 2005b.

—. 2005c. “Women and the Economy.” in Beijing +10 Fact Sheets. Ottawa. Retrieved Access 2005c.

Yalnizyan, Armin. 2004. “Summary of Beijing+10 Report by Armin Yalnizyan and Associates: A Gender Analysis of Canada’s Federal Budgets, 1995-2004.” Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA), Ottawa. Retrieved Access 2004. http://www.fafia-afai.org/gvt/CanadaCommitmentToEquality.pdf

 


[1] Female lone parents make up almost 20% of all families with children (Status of Women Canada 2005a).

[2] ‘Women continue to have higher poverty rates than men, especially lone parents and Aboriginal women” (Status of Women Canada 2005a).

[3] Even the top officials at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), known for its Structural Adjustment Policies that cut deeply into nation’s social services, has now made an about-face and is in favour of stronger links between economic and social policies (Saint-Martin 2004: 11).

[4] Although mass media sound bytes continues to prefer the taxes-versus-service dichotomy.

[5] “Tax cuts introduced since 1998 have cost federal public coffers $152 billion thus far – cuts that help well-off Canadians far more than they do low-income, vulnerable, and at-risk women” (Yalnizyan 2004: 102).

[6] The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is a Paris-based, international organization, whose member nations have accepted international agreements regarding gender equity and are committed to gender equity in public policies and programs. OECD’s influential recommendations set normative standards for member and non-member nations setting the pace in the field of development. OECD recognizes that gender is a major influence on how people are affected by government policies and programs and access to opportunities and resources. OECD is uniquely placed to play a major role in development and refinement of gender budgeting in developed economies. OECD plays a pivotal role in developing and refining gender budgeting in developed economies (OECD 2004).

[7] The World Bank, the United Nations, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Eurostat/the European Commission and the International Labour Organisation share the concern for and produce gender responsive analyses. UK, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have some gender budget initiatives (OECD 2004). Gender budgets “analyse how governments raise and spend public money, with the aim of securing gender equality in decision making about public resource allocation and gender equality in the distribution of the impact of government budgets, both in their benefits and their burdens. ( Judd, 2002) Gender budgeting is an application of gender mainstreaming in the budgetary process. It means a gender-based assessment of budgets, incorporating a gender perspective at all levels of the budgetary process and restructuring revenues and expenditures in order to promote gender equality” ( The Council of Europe) (OECD 2004: 20).

[8] Québec declined to join. Québec has an impressive child care program based on childcare as a right. Mahon (2003) argues for a universally-accessible child care system but acknowledges the distinct rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis to determine their own services (Mahon 2004:13)

[9] For an in-depth discussion refer to the excellent series on social architecture specifically to Saint-Martin (2004) and Jenson (2004).

[10] “Few issues aroused greater passion than the unequal treatment First Nations women experience as a result of the Indian Act. In short, affected First Nations women have been able to regain Indian status following the passage of Bill C-31 in 1985, but they continue to experience discrimination. This stems from Indian Act provisions that effectively deny their grandchildren Indian status if and when their children marry non-Aboriginal partners. As well, many First Nations have refused to give women the right to return to their communities, or have forced their non-status children to move off-reserve upon reaching the age of majority (Status of Women Canada 2002).”

[11] This means that city-regions like Vancouver and Toronto, where there is the highest concentration of poverty, are at a disadvantage in seeking funding.

[12] The 1995 The Federal Plan for Gender Equality was committed to the promotion of “the valuation of paid and unpaid work performed by women, women’s equitable participation in the paid and unpaid labour force and the equitable sharing of work and family responsibilities between women and men; encourages women’s entrepreneurship; and promotes the economic security and well-being of women.”

[13] Japan has a worse record but women in the US fare better than Canadian women.

[14] The Paris-based OECD is working proactively to recruit women for upper management positions as a “matter of utility and self-interest.” They refer to recent studies of Fortune 500 by the Bank of Montreal (2004) which confirm that women in management lead to profitability in large private sector companies (OECD 2004: 8).

[15] Increased female enrolment in education and training programs or small business loans are not sufficient indicators with which to measure the degree to which women freely access adequate employment

[16] In 2000 16% of all women in their twenties had incomes below Stats Canada’s low-income cut-offs (Lindsay, Almey, and Statistics Canada 2004:14).

[17] This consists of over six hours of unpaid domestic activities for married and single mothers (Lindsay, Almey, and Statistics Canada 2004:15).

[18] Over thirty five years ago the Royal Commission the Status of Women in Canada revealed that a child care system was pivotal to women’s equality generally and that governments had a major role to play. (Mahon 2004). In her discussion paper on an appropriate framework for early child care and learning, Mahon situates the child as a rights-bearing actor (Mahon 2004: 3).

[19] Diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases are two of the chronic diseases listed as endemic globally. WHO and Health Canada are jointly confronting the global epidemic of these and other chronic diseases.

[20] 47% of Canadian women in their twenties reported at least one instance of physical abuse from a former partner (Lindsay, Almey, and Statistics Canada 2004:18)

[21] Some of these departments and agencies support community-based projects initiated and managed by Aboriginal women’s groups.

[22] Although mass media sound bytes continues to prefer the taxes-versus-service dichotomy.

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