(a) the House recognize that gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) is an analytical process that provides a rigorous methodology for assessing systemic inequalities, as well as a means to determine how diverse groups of women, men, and gender diverse people may experience policies, programs and initiatives; and
(b) in the opinion of the House, the government should direct the Department of National Defence to implement GBA+ to meet recruitment and retention targets for under-represented groups.
Madam Speaker, I rise today to move my public interest motion, Motion No. 58, in the House of Commons.
I am happy and proud to present this motion to my colleagues from across Canada, whether they are present in the House in person or virtually. I am also happy to present this motion to our constituents and, especially, to the members of the Canadian Armed Forces, many of whom, I think, are watching.
My motion is on an analytical tool that, in my opinion, could improve the recruitment and retention of under-represented groups in our armed forces.
Motion No. 58 calls on the government to recognize that gender-based analysis, commonly known as GBA+, is an analytical process that provides a rigorous methodology for assessing systemic inequalities, as well as a means to determine how diverse groups of women, men, and gender-diverse people may experience policies, programs and initiatives.
In today's complex security environment, a diverse military is seen as a strategic advantage. In 2017, our government released “Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada's Defence Policy”. It recognizes that Canada's multicultural population is one of its greatest strengths and identifies several personnel modernization initiatives aimed at enhancing diversity, respect and inclusion in the CAF.
The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are committed to striving for gender equality and to building a workforce that leverages the diversity of Canadian society.
At the same time, the CAF must reflect the society it serves and uphold the values it defends. As Canada’s population has grown increasingly diverse, the Canadian Armed Forces has placed a stronger emphasis on improving its attractiveness as an employer of choice for women, first nations people, visible minorities and members of the LGBTQ2 community.
To that end, the Canadian Armed Forces has set targets for recruiting and retaining under-represented populations, recognized the benefits of diversity for operational effectiveness in its doctrines and made various commitments relating to improved diversity and inclusion.
The Department of National Defence has set the following objectives: increasing the representation of women in the CAF from 14.9% in 2016 to 25% by 2026; increasing the representation of first nations people in the CAF from 2.6% in 2016 to 3.5% by 2026; and increasing the representation of visible minorities in the CAF from 6.7% in 2016 to 11.8% by 2026.
Canada's diversity must be reflected in the CAF so that it is representative of the richness of society.
The CAF is modernizing its recruitment practices to ensure that it welcomes all applicants, but there are a number of areas where it could focus its recruitment efforts in order to achieve greater representation of women, indigenous people, visible minorities and members of the LGBTQ2 community.
These areas include new recruitment strategies, recruitment in rural, remote and indigenous communities, recruitment in urban centres, and reserve force recruitment.
As a member of the Standing Committee on National Defence, I believe that this motion is in the spirit of our government's commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion across the public service.
The objectives of gender-based analysis plus, or GBA+, also include improving the skills and competencies of analysts and developing the capacity within the public service to support and implement this commitment in government decision-making.
GBA+ provides an opportunity to deepen knowledge and examine the impact of programs, initiatives and policies on different groups of women, men and people of different gender identities. The “+” indicates that the analysis also takes account of the multiple other identity factors that define a person, including ethnic origin, religion, age and intellectual or physical disabilities.
This motion aims to encourage and support existing efforts by the CAF to implement GBA+ across the organization, including the unit level, and to promote awareness and training on GBA+ among all current members, including new recruits, and newly hired civilian staff.
It would also help develop assessment and evaluation mechanisms to regularly monitor the impact of GBA+ within and across the CAF. This will ensure efforts by the CAF to designate gender, diversity and inclusion champions, both at the unit level and across the organization, and to promote awareness of the focal points among all current members, including new recruits, and newly hired civilian staff.
It will encourage and support the development and implementation of recognizing individual initiative and leadership in the area of gender equality, diversity and inclusion within the CAF.
I am proud to be part of a feminist, progressive and inclusive government. This intent is also demonstrated by our government's decision to include this analytical tool in many decision-making processes. For example, the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and member for Peterborough—Kawartha ensured that GBA+ was considered in the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Almost 185,000 people have completed the GBA+ online course, including federal public servants, parliamentarians and their staff, and provincial and territorial officials. Furthermore, GBA+ is now mandatory in all Treasury Board submissions, memoranda to cabinet, and departmental results frameworks and reports, and is reflected in the Cabinet Directive on Regulation.
Strategic relationships are being developed and strengthened, and a network of GBA+ experts from across the Government of Canada is increasingly collaborating to meet common goals.
Legislation increasingly includes GBA+ and obligations to conduct intersectional analysis. For example, the new Impact Assessment Act requires that GBA+ be a factor in the assessment of designated projects.
The 2018 Gender Budgeting Act enshrined gender budgeting in federal budgetary and financial processes.
Due to the growing demand for better intersectional data, the government has responded by creating Statistics Canada's Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics.
I believe this motion is necessary since, again, Canadians must be able to see themselves reflected in their armed forces. The CAF must reflect the richness and diversity of our society. It must also set an example as an employer by promoting the diversity we are so proud of as Canadians.
As many of my colleagues know, I have been dedicated to our armed forces since I first became involved with them in my youth. I hope that my colleagues in the House will grasp the importance of this motion and take the time to read and understand it so that we can move forward. Although this motion is a simple one, I believe it is necessary, because it makes use of a specific tool to addresses a complex societal concern.
I look forward to questions from my friends and colleagues. I hope that our discussions will be fruitful, especially in the interest of the Canadian Armed Forces. I am, of course, available to answer phone calls and emails to answer the questions, and even the concerns of all of my colleagues.