Evidence of meeting #145 for Status of Women in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was work.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Nancy Gardiner  Assistant Deputy Minister, Department for Women and Gender Equality
Lisa Smylie  Director General, Research, Results and Delivery, Results and Delivery Unit, Department for Women and Gender Equality
Danielle Bélanger  Director, GBA Plus, Policy and External Relations, Department for Women and Gender Equality

9:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Karen Vecchio

Finally, with one minute left, we have Irene Mathyssen.

9:45 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Minister, I wonder if you are aware of the bullying experienced by some of the young women who were Daughters of the Vote. How did you respond to that bullying? What actions did you take to support these young women, and will you continue to fund important programs like Daughters of the Vote? Clearly, we need the strength of women in this Parliament.

9:45 a.m.

Liberal

Maryam Monsef Liberal Peterborough—Kawartha, ON

Yes, to funding them.... I was happy to fund them in 2017 and 2019, and even happier to prepay the next one, because it's really important for young women, and that includes trans women, to come to places like Parliament to see that they belong here and that we need them here.

I've heard both third-hand and direct accounts of folks experiencing bullying. We have shared those challenges with Equal Voice, which shares responsibility for the operations and the management of this.

I'm sure you can appreciate, Irene, if the Liberal government is involved in—

9:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Karen Vecchio

That's excellent. Thank you very much.

We are now finishing our time, and I want to get into the brief. We will be—

Minister, thank you very much for coming today.

We are going to change the panel very quickly, so we can get directly to work. I will ask members if we could switch it up, and we'll get started in one minute.

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Karen Vecchio

Welcome back to the 144th meeting of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women.

For the second hour, I am pleased to welcome Lisa Smylie, Director General for Research, Results and Delivery in the Results and Delivery Unit; Danielle Bélanger, Director, GBA Plus, Policy and External Relations, joined once again by Nancy and Stéphane.

Thank you very much.

We'll be starting directly with questions today, with seven minutes for the first round. We will turn the floor over to Emmanuella for seven minutes.

9:50 a.m.

Liberal

Emmanuella Lambropoulos Liberal Saint-Laurent, QC

Hi. Thank you for being with us today to answer our questions on the main estimates.

I asked the minister about how we're involving men and boys in solutions to the problem of gender-based violence. I'd like to hear from you on whether specific monies are going towards such programs.

9:50 a.m.

Nancy Gardiner Assistant Deputy Minister, Department for Women and Gender Equality

As the minister said, it was quite an accomplishment to have heard from so many people, men, boys and other folks across the country, when we held many sessions with organizations and others to hear about the experiences and the ways that men and boys can contribute in a positive way to gender equality. Our parliamentary secretary, Terry Duguid, was leading that initiative.

Right now we are looking at the ways we can actually support projects that could help do that. In the past we have supported projects like the Moose Hide Campaign, which has done amazing work with indigenous people across this country in support of the work that young men and women in indigenous communities do to ensure that gender-based violence is something that's top of mind. We continue to support projects like that, which will continue to support gender equality.

9:50 a.m.

Liberal

Emmanuella Lambropoulos Liberal Saint-Laurent, QC

Is there any type of funding—whether it's now or in the future, that you foresee—going towards programs that touch kids in schools with regard to gender? Now that the mandate includes gender equality and members of the LGBTQ2+ community, I was wondering if any kind of funding is going towards gender education or sex education that includes LGBTQ2+. We've heard from many that this is not touched on even in schools that teach sex ed and that, basically, there's one type of sex that kids learn about and this is the way. This doesn't help people who are still trying to find themselves and are confused about their gender.

Is there anything going towards things like that?

9:55 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Department for Women and Gender Equality

Nancy Gardiner

I'll start with an answer, and I may turn it over to Lisa as well to provide some further comments.

Right now we're working with the LGBTQ2 secretariat to determine how the funding we received in the 2019 budget will be spent. A lot of the focus is around building the capacity of organizations that support LGBTQ2 people in Canada. Right now we are just at the beginning of looking at what that funding could look like as we go forward.

9:55 a.m.

Lisa Smylie Director General, Research, Results and Delivery, Results and Delivery Unit, Department for Women and Gender Equality

In terms of specific funding for things like sex education, that's the purview of the Public Health Agency of Canada. I do happen to know that they have funding for a project that is updating the “Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education”, but I'm not in a position to speak about the specifics of that.

9:55 a.m.

Liberal

Emmanuella Lambropoulos Liberal Saint-Laurent, QC

Obviously, we spoke about the women entrepreneurship strategy and how we've been helping females who run businesses. I have a lot of females in my riding who are business owners and who have come to speak to me about this project many times. What kinds of projects will we be funding? What are we looking for from these female entrepreneurs? I know we're generally trying to support women, but what types of companies would have better access to this type of funding?

9:55 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Department for Women and Gender Equality

Nancy Gardiner

As the minister mentioned, there was nearly $2 billion set aside in budget 2019 for the women's entrepreneurship strategy. The four pillars of that strategy are helping women-led businesses grow—part of that is around skills development and networking—increasing access to capital, improving access to federal businesses in innovation programming, and enhancing data and knowledge to allow us to actually invest $9.5 million in collecting data for women entrepreneurs.

From working with our colleagues at ISED, we understand there is a huge demand for the programming and for the money that's going to be used to support women entrepreneurs. It just demonstrates to us that the demand is huge in Canada for women, and we will continue to support them in their efforts.

9:55 a.m.

Liberal

Emmanuella Lambropoulos Liberal Saint-Laurent, QC

How much time do I have left?

9:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Karen Vecchio

You have two minutes and 10 seconds.

9:55 a.m.

Liberal

Emmanuella Lambropoulos Liberal Saint-Laurent, QC

Since Rachel won't be on the panel today, I'll allow her to take the rest of my time.

9:55 a.m.

Liberal

Rachel Bendayan Liberal Outremont, QC

Thank you.

You mentioned co-operation with ISED, which I know is ongoing with regard to women entrepreneurship, and the women entrepreneurship strategy in particular. Given that this committee has and is continuing to work on issues related to women in the military, could you explain the co-operation between officials in your department and officials at the Department of National Defence?

9:55 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Department for Women and Gender Equality

Nancy Gardiner

That's an excellent question. Thank you.

We had officials from that department join us earlier this week as part of our gender-based violence advisory committee. We had colleagues there explaining and working with the committee members to give an overview of all the work they are doing. They are strong partners with us.

I will turn it over to Danielle, actually, to give us more highlights around the work we've been doing with DND.

9:55 a.m.

Danielle Bélanger Director, GBA Plus, Policy and External Relations, Department for Women and Gender Equality

Thank you, Nancy.

Under the Canada strategy to prevent and address gender-based violence, DND is one of our key partners. They have increased supports for their members and for families through their enhanced family crisis teams. They'll be providing funding to sexual assault centres that are close to Canadian Armed Forces bases. That service is key, and they're doing an awful lot of work with those families and those members in particular.

9:55 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Department for Women and Gender Equality

Nancy Gardiner

I would just add that the members of our gender-based violence committee were absolutely incredibly impressed by the work that DND has undertaken to support the members, and really felt that the work they were doing was a model that could be used in other places in the country. They felt very strongly about that work and that it be shared more openly and with other organizations within Canada.

The people who are part of that committee have incredible backgrounds and expertise related to gender-based violence, so DND was very interested in hearing from them just to get a really strong sense on the ground of what their work is doing and how it could impact members of organizations in communities—

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Karen Vecchio

We're now going to move over to Rachael Harder, for seven minutes.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

You mentioned that more money would be spent on gathering data. What will be done with that data once it's gathered? What will be accomplished? What goals can we be expecting or what objectives will be met based on that data?

10 a.m.

Director General, Research, Results and Delivery, Results and Delivery Unit, Department for Women and Gender Equality

Lisa Smylie

One of the objectives of collecting that data is to make it publicly available. As members of this committee might know, we released the gender results framework and a set of key indicators for measuring progress on gender equality. With budget 2019, we also released a website on the gender results framework that makes the data in the framework public.

The idea or the objective there, the goal, is to provide that data to people working on the front line, so that they can implement evidence-informed programs and policies and folks can track progress that we're making collectively on gender equality.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Right now, this committee is undertaking a study with regard to women in the Canadian Armed Forces. We're hearing from women who have experienced some fairly tragic events. They've been discriminated against based on sex or gender. They've been discriminated against based on family dynamics, their own family dynamics, having children, being a single mom.

What is the department, WAGE, doing in conjunction with the Canadian Armed Forces to make sure there is a positive reality for women, one where women are able to enter the Canadian Armed Forces with the reasonable expectation they will be respected and treated with dignity and honour and not face any type of violence, whether physical, emotional, psychological or verbal? Are there are any actions being taken by WAGE in advocating on behalf of these women?

10 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Department for Women and Gender Equality

Nancy Gardiner

As we mentioned earlier, we are partners with DND in assisting them with any type of information they might require, whether it's data or research, and providing them with advice and guidance, as well as access to our advisory councils to support the work they are doing.

As I said, they did go through the work they are undertaking. They did acknowledge at that council that this is not the end, that it was very complicated and there's more work to do. They did appreciate the advice of the council and we will continue to work with them as required.

Danielle, do you have anything to add to that?

10 a.m.

Conservative

Rachael Harder Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Within the last year, a number of articles have come out that have talked about GBA+ and whether it's actually being realized throughout the different departments in the current government.

The current government has come under some scrutiny that GBA+, though being a goal, is actually not being met. What's being done to make sure that GBA+ is actually being engaged in by all departments across this government and that all policy decisions are being put through a lens by which women and other minority groups are considered in the decisions that are made?