How Do Parties Plan to Tackle Gender Inequity If Elected?

From addressing gender-based violence to closing the wage gap, here are their promises

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(Photo: iStock)

From wage disparity—women get paid 87 cents to every dollar a man makes—to pervasive gender-based violence, from barriers of access for newcomer women to the staggering numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, achieving gender equity and justice is a national and necessary issue to consider ahead of election day. We’ve compiled some of the main platform points from the four major parties that deal specifically with working to make Canada a fairer, more equitable society.

The Conservative Party

  • Tories say they will develop a National Action Plan to “address the ongoing tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.”
  • They would make the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Project—a program introduced by the government in June to support more Canadians privately sponsoring LGBTQ2 refugees fleeing persecution—a permanent government program to “better support people seeking refugee protection because of persecution based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or HIV status.”
  • They would require all judicial appointees to take sexual assault sensitivity training before taking the bench.

Read this next: Here’s Why Sex Workers’ Rights Are a Big Issue This Election

The Green Party

  • Greens say they would work with women’s and Indigenous organizations to develop a Canada-wide plan—with funding and a timetable—to eliminate violence against women, girls and gender-diverse people.
  • Would implement all recommendations of the Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
  • Would invest $40 million over four years in the Shelter Enhancement Program, a service run by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) which funds the building and repairing of shelters and housing for people fleeing domestic violence. This would provide more than 2,100 new and renovated spaces in shelters and transition houses, they say.
  • They plan to increase funding to bolster investigations and convictions in human trafficking cases, which disproportionately affect women.
  • They promise to ensure access to gender-affirming health care.
  • Greens would implement universal childcare, which they say is “fundamental for women’s equality.” They promise to increase childcare funding by an additional $1 billion per year until it reaches at least one percent of GDP per year.
  • They would support women’s workforce participation, education and training and would also legalize sex work.
  • Greens plan to increase pay to rural and suburban postal workers, who are predominantly women and underpaid.
  • Greens would implement federal pay equity rules.
  • They would support the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s framework on equity, diversity and inclusion—which commits to strengthening Canadian scientific and engineering communities by including equity-seeking groups like women and people with diverse gender identities.
  • They plan to re-invest in prisoner rehabilitation and preparation for reintegration in society, particularly for Indigenous people and women.
  • Greens promise to fund community-driven awareness programs for the greater understanding of diversity of sexualities and gender identities, and referral programs to direct trans, non-binary and two-spirit people to appropriate services.
  • Pledge to make sex designation on all federally-issued official documents alterable by trans, non-binary and two-spirit people, in accordance with their gender identity.

Read this next: For Indigenous Women, These Are the Election Issues That Matter

The Liberal Party

  • Would renew their commitment to a Federal Plan for Gender Equality, including a coordinated strategy built on the Gender Results Framework and other international agreements; also promise that gender-based analysis (GBA+)—a program used to assess how women, men and non-binary people experience government policy—will continue to be performed on all policy proposals.
  • Would move forward with an additional $30 million investment to develop a National Action Plan to end gender-based violence. “This will help ensure that anyone facing gender-based violence has reliable and timely access to protection and services.”
  • Would temporarily suspend firearms licenses to people who are suspected of posing a danger to themselves or others in attempts to address the problem of gender-based and intimate-partner violence.
  • Would work with provinces and territories to make sexual and reproductive health medications covered under national pharmacare.
  • Promises to create a National Institute for Women’s Health Research, which would bring together experts in women’s health from across the country to tackle gaps in research and care, with an intersectional approach that includes race, ability, indigeneity and more.
  • Plans to invest an additional $9 million over three years to help visible minority newcomer women find and keep jobs.
  • Liberals say they will improve diversity in appointments to federal agencies and bodies, through another gender-balanced Cabinet.
  • Would require federal construction contracts meet targets for greater inclusion of women in the trades.
  • Liberals plan to make new investments to support United Nations peace efforts, “with more help to advance the women, peace, and security agenda.”
  • Would move forward with pay equity legislation to ensure equal pay for work of equal value.
  • Will amend the Criminal Code to ban the practice of conversion therapy, which targets LGBTQ2 Canadians in attempts to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

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The NDP

  • The New Democrats say they will prioritize pay equity and put an end to gender-based wage discrimination. They would implement and enforce pay equity legislation and regulations right away.
  • They say their vision of Canada is one where women’s organizations have stable funding.
  • They would develop a National Action Plan to end gender-based violence, backed by funding for shelter services and other programs are available all across Canada—with a focus on traditionally underserved areas.
  • NDP would begin work immediately on ensuring major cities have dedicated hate crime units within police forces to counter online hate, from racism to gender-based violence.
  • NDP say they would promote domestic violence leave policies in workplaces, improve police training on sexual assault and require universities to develop plans to end sexual violence on campus. They would also address violence against Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQI2S+ people by working with Indigenous communities to implement recommendations from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
  • They would make it easier to quality for Employment Insurance, “make parental leave more flexible” and support options for women building careers in the trades and other fields like innovation and STEM.
  • They say they would provide “safe, accessible abortion and reproductive health care services” to everyone. They would also enforce Canada Health Act to ensure provinces make medical and surgical abortion available in all parts of the country.
  • They plan to make prescription contraceptives and reproductive health care options available at no cost through Medicare and a national pharmacare program.
  • NDP would develop a national action plan to ban conversion therapy for minors in Canada, and work with provinces to provide equal access to gender confirming surgery across the country—covered by public health plans.
  • They would add sexual orientation, gender identity and expression to the Employment Equity Act, to address disadvantages experienced by LGBTGQ2+ communities in finding work.
  • They would encourage women’s political participation by reforming electoral system and introducing legislation to ensure political parties run more women candidates.

Read this next: Which Federal Party Has the Best Climate Action Plan?

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