OTTAWA — The liberals of Justin Trudeau have promised to review how their policies affect women and men differently, but according to internal documents, the government was slow to implement this analysis in all ministries and public bodies.
According to an internal survey carried out by status of women Canada to measure the implementation of “the gender-based analysis plus (GBA+ in the government jargon), less than half of the government departments and public agencies have a plan in this sense, most of the departments stating that they do not have the internal mechanisms to do so.
The conservatives and liberals have recognized that GBA+ was useful to reflect on the policies and to ensure that nobody is left out.
The gender analysis is a tool used to reflect on how a given policy may affect men and women in different ways, while taking into account the age, income, culture, ethnicity, and other factors which intersect.
If the analysis is ideally performed at the beginning of the design of a policy – reveals that a sex would be subject to negative impacts disproportionate, the managers have the ability to arrange things or mitigate these effects.
Mr. Trudeau has asked the minister of women’s affairs, Maryam Monsef, to ensure that the government make greater use of GBA + in the decision-making. In 2017, the liberals said they had applied a gender analysis to a federal budget for the first time. But significant gaps remain, according to the own conclusions to the government.
For example, in 2016, the Trudeau government has imposed on all of the memoranda submitted to Cabinet and the Treasury Board – which often form the basis of expenses of a substantial or strategic decision making – a gender based analysis. According to the internal survey, less than half of the departments have checked if this had been done for these notes or other documents.
The results also show that 40 percent of departments and agencies say that they do not monitor the extent to which they have put in ?the implementation of GBA + and what would be the effects.
“The ACS + is less integrated in certain phases of the policy cycle,” says the survey, adding that the departments and agencies reported significant barriers to the collection and analysis of separate data for women and men.
The training issue
According to the results of the survey, presented in may 2018, to a committee of senior officials, the training on how to conduct a comparative analysis between the sexes is still not compulsory in the whole of government and focuses only on the analysis of policies.
Sarah Kaplan, director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy, University of Toronto, was not surprised to learn that the ACS + had not been more widely applied, in spite of the priorities of the feminist which boasts both the Trudeau government.
“I guess that most of the employees in the departments to see just this as an addition to their schedule is already full of activities that they are supposed to do. I think, therefore, that it is for this reason that we don’t see a setting ?work in depth,” explained Ms. Kaplan.
According to her, the training offered to civil servants is one of the main problems – it does not go far enough to provide practical guidance on how to apply early as the comparative analysis between the sexes.
“The online training is really effective to give you the state of mind you say: “What are some elements to take into account”… but the training doesn’t have a lot of things on what you need to do actually, technically, if you want to do this comparative analysis between the sexes,” she said.
A long-standing issue
The difficulties of the government to apply a gender perspective to policy decisions hang around for a long time. A plan for the application of a form of gender analysis has been in place since 1995.
In 2016, the auditor general, Michael Ferguson, released a report claiming that the analyses of gender of the government were “not always complete or consistent quality”.
In response to the report, an action plan of 15 years had been established and the government ensures that it is working on ?the implementation of GBA +.
“Our government continues to place the issue of men-women at the centre of decisions so that our policies can better meet the needs of all Canadians,” said the spokesman for Ms. Monsef, Braeson Holland.
“We are seeing significant progress across the government, including in relation to the workforce in place to support the process of GBA +. For example, policy analysts 80 percent of departments are now following the online course offered by Women and gender Equality in Canada. We continue to see a membership important to the government and will continue to work with our partners across the government to promote membership.”