Press Release: A Gender-Based Budget with Little Ambition

Budget 2018 is an important symbolic step for women, but doesn’t go far enough


Ottawa, ON: February 27, 2018 — Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) is encouraged to see the federal government release Federal Budget 2018 with a gender-based analysis, the first federal budget in Canada to do so. Proposing legislation on pay equity and improving women’s access to jobs are both important pieces in tackling women’s economic equity.

But Budget 2018 lacks the ambition needed to make real advancements on this front, particularly those living in poverty or struggling to make ends meet. Without meaningful funding for a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy, this budget leaves them behind for another year.

The introduction of enhanced parental benefits is not ambitious enough without a serious dedication to accessible childcare for all. The 2018 Budget also announced the introduction of the Canada Workers Benefit (CWB), a new version of the Working Income Tax Benefit, which will provide additional income to low wages earners and households in Canada. The improved accessibility to this program is welcomed but the onus should not fall on the taxpayer to fund an increasingly inequitable Canadian workforce. Given the ever-present gender wage gap that exists, its funding structure leaves many women behind since it is a household transfer, not an individual transfer.

This Budget does next-to-nothing to address Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, ignoring the fact that, globally, women bear the brunt of the effects of climate change. It was written as if the climate crisis was resolved with the 2016 announcement of the Pan-Canadian Climate Framework and the 2017 Low Carbon Economy Fund. These measures certainly moved the yardsticks forward but fell far short of what is required from Canada to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. And despite these measures, Canadian greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have yet to decrease.

At CPJ, we believe that social and environmental priorities must inform the ways in which we achieve our economic goals. We applaud efforts to address the particular social and economic vulnerabilities of Indigenous Peoples as well as the expansion of the First Nations Land Management Act. However, Budget 2018 does almost nothing to address the $1.6 billion that continues to be given to the fossil fuel industry in the form of subsidies every year, representing billions in lost revenue that could be invested in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and skills development.

In view of the unique challenges faced by refugees who are women and girls, it is commendable that Budget 2018 specifically addresses both the urgent resettlement needs of this population as well as the importance of combating gender-based violence. The government’s commitment to resettle an extra 1,000 refugee women and girls from various conflict zones over the next five years is commendable. But considering the level of vulnerability of this population, this is not nearly enough.

Regarding irregular border crossers, the government is disappointingly maintaining the position to not rescind the Safe Third Country Agreement and will instead spend $173.2 million to support security operations at the Canada-U.S. border and the processing of asylum claimants arriving in 2018–19 along with $85.5 million towards the Canada Border Services Agency in 2018-19.Overall, Budget 2018 is considerably deficient considering the ever-escalating numbers of refugees worldwide and as well as the ever-increasing demands on Canada’s refugee system.

Read CPJ’s full budget response here.


For more information, contact Brad Wassink at ac.jpc@darb or 613-232-0275 x. 225.

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