Evidence of meeting #3 for Status of Women in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was work.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Nancy Gardiner  Assistant Deputy Minister, Department for Women and Gender Equality
Suzanne Cooper  Director, Strategic Policy, Policy and External Relations Directorate, Department for Women and Gender Equality
Lisa Smylie  Director General, Communications and Public Affairs Branch, Research, Results and Delivery Branch, Department for Women and Gender Equality

Noon

NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Thank you for that. You talked about housing and the importance of housing. I'm glad to hear that the government believes it is a human right. I agree with that, for sure.

In my community, in London, Ontario, indigenous people suffer about 30% to 40% of homelessness, which is very, very high. For example, there are three indigenous housing places that are actually at the end of their 25-year agreements. They are now selling off properties because they can't afford to continue to provide that housing as needed. These are all coming together as a huge crisis that a lot of communities are facing.

The PBO did a report in 2019 that said that with all of these initiatives the government was bringing forward, it wasn't actually clear that any of those were doing any good to help reduce the prevalence of and need for housing. It wasn't increasing the actual number of housing units. It wasn't fulfilling the need that was required by Canadians in need of affordable housing.

If you'd like to address that issue, I'd appreciate it, especially as it relates to indigenous housing.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Karen Vecchio

There's one minute left.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Maryam Monsef Liberal Peterborough—Kawartha, ON

The most recent numbers we have are that over a million Canadians have been lifted out of poverty over the past four years or so, and over a million families have access to safe and affordable roof, which they didn't before 2015.

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

How do you explain, then, the PBO's numbers, and how it's actually not helping?

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Maryam Monsef Liberal Peterborough—Kawartha, ON

The national housing strategy is a 10-year plan with very concrete goals around eliminating homelessness, adding to the stock of affordable housing and repairing existing housing, and also renewing agreements around co-operatives to make sure that what's been affordable stays affordable.

One addition to the housing strategy, which will come into effect this April, is the portable housing benefit that gives up to $2,400 a month for Ontarians. It's a subsidy that goes to the individual as opposed to the housing provider itself. You can choose to live in any community and you will pay about $200 or so less every month on the cost of housing.

I'd love to have a conversation offline with you about how we can help your community to access funding through the national housing strategy if it is interested.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Karen Vecchio

I'm looking at the time.

On behalf of the committee, I'd very much like to thank Minister Monsef as well as Guylaine Roy for joining us.

We welcome to the table Lisa Smylie, Danielle Bélanger and Suzanne Cooper.

We are going to continue with this round of questioning.

There was a bit of an error on the chair's part. I would like to move the floor back over to Salma.

Salma, you have your time to ask questions, and then we'll go back to the Conservatives, back and forth. From the second round, you did not have an opportunity to ask your questions. That was my mistake. I overlooked you.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Salma Zahid Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

No, I did.

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Karen Vecchio

She did, okay.

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Salma Zahid Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

I thought maybe you were asking me something.

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Karen Vecchio

Oh, goodness gracious. Well, Salma, okay, wonderful.

Just to let everyone know, we'll be going Conservative, Liberal, Conservative, Liberal, and then we'll end off with Bloc and NDP.

I'm going to pass the floor over to Alice.

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Alice Wong Conservative Richmond Centre, BC

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

Welcome, everyone. Welcome Danielle, who was here, and Lisa, who was not. I have met you all in my former life.

My question is about the grants and contributions.

Looking at vote 5b, $300,000 from the ministerial operating budget has been moved into grants and contributions.

First of all, can you provide more in depth how, specifically, this increase in grant funding is to be spent or has been spent and for what specific organizations or programs?

The other thing is about the rationale behind it. Why is it moving from the operating budget to grants and contributions?

12:10 p.m.

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

Thank you very much for the question.

It's a very direct answer. The $300,000 was in operating budget, as you said. Moving that money into grants and contributions allowed us to do programming for specific projects related to men and boys, because in operating dollars, you can't do grants and contribution programming, as you know.

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Alice Wong Conservative Richmond Centre, BC

Right, yes.

12:10 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Department for Women and Gender Equality

Nancy Gardiner

This allowed us to do projects on the ground to support some of the work that we talked about yesterday related to men and boys. There are four projects that we were working on.

I'll list a few of them.

There's the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters. Some of the projects were used to promote awareness of gender-based violence and healthy masculinity. Next-generation men was another project that we supported.

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Alice Wong Conservative Richmond Centre, BC

Where is the next-generation men project, in which province, or is it across the nation?

February 27th, 2020 / 12:10 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Department for Women and Gender Equality

Nancy Gardiner

It's working with the University of Calgary

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Alice Wong Conservative Richmond Centre, BC

Okay.

12:10 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Department for Women and Gender Equality

Nancy Gardiner

Those projects were used to support projects related to men and to build awareness and healthy masculinity.

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Alice Wong Conservative Richmond Centre, BC

That means all that money is only spent in the province of Alberta.

12:10 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Department for Women and Gender Equality

Nancy Gardiner

No, there are other projects as well that we were supporting.

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Alice Wong Conservative Richmond Centre, BC

Okay.

12:10 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Department for Women and Gender Equality

Nancy Gardiner

Those were the only two that we were just talking about. Catalyst was another project, and Foxy and Smash. This project was in the north and related to engaging indigenous youth, particularly young men and boys, on gender equality issues. The issues were very, very relevant in that part of the country, and so a project was developed to support that work.

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Alice Wong Conservative Richmond Centre, BC

Are any of the programs targeted at elderly men?

12:10 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Department for Women and Gender Equality

Nancy Gardiner

That's a very good question. None of the projects we just spoke about were specifically working with senior men, but engaging—

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Alice Wong Conservative Richmond Centre, BC

You know seniors are close to my heart.