Thank you, Madam Chair.
It is a privilege to be with you on this unceded traditional territory of the Algonquin peoples, and on this particularly important day.
On May 24, 1918, I'm sure it seemed that the government of the day had finally recognized that women had a role to play in the government and the governance of this country, but there were more milestones to come. It would be another 12 years before the first woman was appointed to the Canadian Senate, thanks to the Famous Five. It was 22 more years before women in Quebec could vote in provincial elections. It was another 42 years, 1960, before indigenous women and men on reserves could vote in federal elections. It was another 97 years, 2015, before Canada saw its first gender-balanced cabinet.
Since then, you may have noticed, a lot of work has been done. A lot of work can be attributed to governments, but most of it I think is attributed to those whose tireless advocacy got governments like ours to listen.
I'm here to give you a summary of some of the work that's being done, and I'd be happy to take any questions afterwards.
Let's start with the main estimates.
The main estimates reflect this government's commitment to breaking down barriers to gender equality and to developing strategies to better prevent violence against women and girls. Our $62.3 million allocation in the 2018-19 estimates represents a nearly 60% increase in our overall spending over the previous year.
This increase is very important to us because our role has grown tremendously in the past year or two, and because we need to grow to keep up with the new demands on Status of Women Canada. There's an increased level, as you know, of public focus on the need to end gender bias in all parts of our society. We want and need to build on this momentum.
We will be using the increase in funds to improve the capacity at Status of Women Canada to handle new demands coming from cabinet, Parliament, parliamentary committees, Canadians, the profit sector, and the non-profit sector. Our new responsibilities on GBA+, for example, involve a great deal of coordination with other federal departments and agencies, as well as interactions with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments. In many instances, issues stretch across many departmental lines. We don't always own a particular file, so more effort is involved in making sure that the proper inputs are considered. We also need to strengthen our public policy capacity to establish the permanent corporate structures necessary to meet the needs of our clients, and to deliver on our ambitious government priorities.
On gender-based violence, a large part of our increase will directly address the high demand to focus more of our attention and resources on gender-based violence. We're funding many different projects on this issue at local, regional, and national levels, as well as in partnership with indigenous leaders living on and off reserve. The new gender-based violence program—this is the funding envelope—helps organizations in the development and implementation of promising practices in support of survivors of gender-based violence and their families, including underserved populations.
We're also making adjustments to the way we support organizations with potential extensions of project funding from three up to five years, an increase in grants of up to $1 million, and an expansion of eligible groups to include think tanks, organized labour, post-secondary institutions, and others. We're also providing funding for gender-based violence research, data analysis, and surveys to give us a deeper understanding of the true scope of the challenge.
On GBA+, as you know, all measures in budget 2018 were subject to a GBA+ analysis. The budget also included a new gender results framework to guide future decision-making while measuring our progress in creating an economy that works for everyone.
New GBA+ legislation will be introduced this fall to enshrine gender budgeting within the federal budget-making process. We will continue improving the use of GBA+ across the federal organizations that we're responsible for, so that an intersectional gender lens is carefully applied to the government's decision-making on policies, programs, and services. We will also host a national round table on GBA+ later this year to share the results and best practices of these efforts.
An important part of this initiative is making sure that federal employees have the necessary training to carry out GBA+. I am pleased to report that to date, we have been able to build on the GBA+ skills of over 100,000 public servants, parliamentarians, and staff. I thank all of you around this room who have taken the course and have your certificates to prove it.
We are also focusing, like you, on another issue that the committee has studied extensively, addressing the persistent barriers that create economic insecurity for far too many Canadian women every day. The statistics are all too familiar. The stories are familiar to this group as well, as I know you've studied it.
To address this, and as part of our efforts where Status of Women specifically is leading, earlier this month in Alberta I announced $10 million in funding for projects to tackle the root causes of economic insecurity for women by improving their access to jobs and careers. For example, we are funding a project to encourage more women to get involved in aviation. Only 5% of pilots, by the way, are women. Another helps to remove barriers to the job market for those fleeing domestic violence. There are also projects aimed at increasing women's participation in STEM fields.
We also recognize that we are in an era of reconciliation. We need to do business differently, but we also need to work in respectful collaboration and partnership with the first peoples of this land. Last night it was an honour for me to join with colleagues and bring together the first indigenous women's circle to advise Status of Women Canada directly. We recognize that in this era of reconciliation, women hold the key to a lot of the solutions we need. We know there is a lot of strength and resiliency in those communities, and their wisdom will help guide the way for us as this is the most important relationship for our government.
You also are aware that Canada is leading the G7 this year, and gender-based analysis and that intersectional gendered lens is woven through all the important conversations that ministers and leaders will have in Charlevoix in two weeks, and that's an important milestone. Mainstreaming gender into this agenda has never happened before, and I'm grateful to the members of the Gender Equality Advisory Council, Women 7, Youth 7, and Labour 7, who came together, along with other ministerial colleagues, to ensure that the work of the G7 is going to address inequality and focus on equality as a driver for growth.
As we all are, I'm sure, I am proud that the legacy of those who fought for us to have the right to vote 100 years ago is in the hands of many across the country, including those of us who have the privilege of serving as parliamentarians. I am proud of our government's efforts to honour their legacy by continuing to build on the work they've done, and clearly all the work that remains to be seen.
I also appreciate and want to thank every one of you for the work you've done on this committee. I also know that you are tapped to do work on other committees because gender equality, of course, is not just an issue that Status of Women, neither the committee nor the agency, can do alone. Many thanks for the time you are offering me to be here with you today. Two great women from Status of Women Canada are here to provide any technical briefings that this group may wish.
Madam Chair, I am happy to take any questions colleagues may have.