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Archived - Annex 4: 
Gender, Diversity, and Quality of Life Statement

Gender equality and diversity are fundamental to creating a thriving and successful country that reflects Canadian values and achieves its potential. When every Canadian has the opportunity to succeed, all Canadians benefit.

Gender Equality and Diversity as Means to a Stronger Society

The past half century has seen major advancements in gender equality and diversity in Canada, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put that progress at risk. Canada’s challenge now is to ensure an inclusive, intersectional recovery that builds a truly equitable society.

“Now is the time to make sure that every voice is heard. Now is the time to teach our children so that human rights, and gender equality become part of who they are and how they will live. Our lives are better thanks to the efforts of the women who came before us. If we are to honour their legacy and our daughters’ futures, we must continue the fight for gender equality in our communities, our workplaces, our schools and our homes.”

Marie-Claude Landry, Ad.E.,
Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission

Progress over the last half century has been real. Women have broken barriers in positions of leadership, taking on roles as entrepreneurs, scientists, educators, and CEOs. LGBTQ2, Indigenous, and minority rights have also been greatly expanded, enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Human Rights Act. But there remains a range of gaps and barriers that threatened equality even before the pandemic.

The government’s recovery plan is feminist and intersectional, and makes targeted investments to support those most affected by the pandemic and address long-standing inequities. In laying out its plan, the government remains committed to Canada’s broad gender equality goals and to a decision-making process that considers the impacts of policy proposals on Canadians from all angles, as enshrined in the Gender Budgeting Act. The Task Force on Women in the Economy has been established to advise the government on priorities for gender equality.

Two important gender budgeting tools have also helped to guide the preparation of Budget 2021: the Gender Results Framework (GRF), which helps to identify policy gaps and priorities, and the process of factoring gender and diversity considerations into decision making (gender-based analysis plus, or GBA Plus, which encompasses numerous identity factors such as ethnicity, region of residence, age, biological sex, income level, gender, educational attainment, sexual orientation, race, immigrant status, and mental or physical ability).

Figure A4.1
Gender Equality Goals for Canada
Figure A4.1: Gender Equality Goals for Canada

The Gender Results Framework is aligned with the Government of Canada’s policy of GBA Plus, ensuring that gender is considered in relation to other intersecting identity factors. Wherever possible, and with a view to collecting better data, intersecting identity factors will be considered in the above indicators.

Text version

Gender equality goals for Canada

Education and Skills Development

Equal opportunities and diversified paths in education and skills development

Economic Participation and Prosperity

Equal and full participation in the economy

Leadership and Democratic Participation

Gender equality in leadership roles and at all levels of decision-making

Gender-Based Violence and Access to Justice

Eliminating gender-based violence and harassment, and promoting security of the person and access to justice

Poverty Reduction, Health and Well-Being

Reduced poverty and improved health outcomes

Gender Equality Around the World

Promoting gender equality to build a more peaceful, inclusive, rules-based and prosperous world

Canada’s Gender Results Framework (GRF) was introduced in Budget 2018 as a whole-of-government articulation of gender equality priorities and goals with matching indicators to track developments toward these goals. This statement includes a summary of where Canada stands on these priorities.

Reflecting that gender is only one aspect of identity, and that systemic discrimination, racism, ableism, and ageism, among other many factors, compound the impacts of gender issues, this section also presents statistics on additional identity characteristics to enable a deeper understanding of the experiences of diverse groups of people, such as Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, racialized peoples, and members of LGBTQ2 communities. By reporting on indicators in the GRF, Canadians and the government can see where Canada was, where it is now, and where it can be in relation to gender equality and diversity.

As in previous years, this statement also highlights some of the key actions the government is taking in this budget to improve fairness and inclusion within each priority area, and provides a summary of the aggregate gender and diversity impacts of all new and renewed measures in this budget.

Budget 2021’s Impacts Report, which follows this Statement, includes an assessment of the impact of every budget measure included in Budget 2021. To support the government’s efforts to address existing inequalities and make more inclusive decisions, this budget makes significant investments in Statistics Canada to improve the availability of data.

Note on Terminology

In this section, the term "visible minorities" is occasionally used because it is the official demographic category defined by the Employment Equity Act and used by Statistics Canada in their surveys. With the commitment to support a task force on modernizing the Employment Equity Act, the question of appropriate terminology will be taken up by the members.

Education and Skills Development

Gender Results Framework
Education and Skills Development
Equal opportunities and diversified paths in education and skills development

Education and skills development are critical for participation in the job market, and a key source of opportunities for Canadians to pursue a better life. Educational paths should be chosen based on interests and aptitudes, free from gendered expectations and stereotypes.

Educational attainment
Labour force
Share aged 25-64 with a certificate, diploma or degree.
Text version
2006 84 86
2011 86 88
2016 87 90
University degree
Gender earnings gap
Share aged 25-54 with a university degree.
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Men Women
1990 17 14
1991 17 14
1992 18 15
1993 19 16
1994 19 17
1995 19 17
1996 19 18
1997 20 18
1998 20 19
1999 21 20
2000 21 21
2001 22 22
2002 22 22
2003 23 23
2004 23 24
2005 23 25
2006 24 26
2007 24 27
2008 25 28
2009 25 28
2010 25 30
2011 26 30
2012 26 32
2013 27 32
2014 28 33
2015 28 35
2016 30 37
2017 30 38
2018 31 38
2019 32 40
2020 33 42
Gender wage gap
Share of newly certified tradespeople who are women.
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1991 7
1992 6
1993 6
1994 10
1995 12
1996 14
1997 13
1998 14
1999 13
2000 13
2001 13
2002 10
2003 12
2004 12
2005 12
2006 12
2007 13
2008 13
2009 12
2010 14
2011 15
2012 17
2013 15
2014 19
2015 17
2016 16
2017 16
2018 17
2019 14
High school math
Full-time workers
Share aged 15 at proficiency level 2 or above in mathematics.
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  M W
2006 90 88
2009 90 88
2012 87 86
2015 86 86
2018 84 84
High school reading
Unpaid work
Share aged 15 at proficiency level 2 or above in reading.
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  M W
2006 86 93
2009 86 94
2012 83 93
2015 86 93
2018 82 91
High school science
Child care costs
Share aged 15 at proficiency level 2 or above in science.
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  M W
2006 89 90
2009 91 91
2012 88 91
2015 88 91
2018 85 88
Adult numeracy
Career choice
Share aged 16-65 at proficiency level 3 or above in 2012.
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51 40
Adult literacy
Temporary or involuntary part-time work
Share aged 16-65 at proficiency level 3 or above in 2012.
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52 51
Field of study
Education 76
Health 76
Math and comp. science 27
Arch. and engineering 25
Share enrolled in a Bachelor's in 2018-19 who were women.

Sources: 2016 Census, Labour Force Survey, Registered Apprenticeship Information System, 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment, 2012 Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies, and Post-Secondary Student Information System, 2018-19.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many significant gender gaps in education and skills development had narrowed. Women exceeded men in terms of high school graduation and university education, and many fields of study that were once male-dominated in the past had become far more equal. For example, women represented around one in 20 students in law and medicine in 1950, but now represent over one-half of students in these fields. Despite marked improvements, women were still significantly under-represented in some fields of study, like engineering, math, and computer science, and were much less likely to pursue high-paying jobs in the trades. For example, only about 1 in 4 engineering students and about 1 in 7 newly certified registered apprentices are women. There were also a number of important education and skills development gaps from a diversity perspective, such as lower rates of educational attainment among people with disabilities, and lower literacy and numeracy skills among Indigenous peoples.

Diversity Focus

Indigenous identity
  • 26 per cent of Indigenous people had no educational credentials in 2016 compared to 11 per cent of non-Indigenous people. Inuit men were the most likely to report none.
  • Off-reserve Indigenous peoples had lower literacy and numeracy skills than non-Indigenous people in 2012.
Visible minority status
  • University attainment varied substantially among racialized people in 2016. Canadians of Korean descent were the most likely to be university educated (57 per cent), while Southeast Asian Canadians were the least likely to have obtained a university degree (24 per cent). Gender gaps were the largest for Canadians of Filipino descent, where 47 per cent of women had completed a university degree, compared to 38 per cent of men.
LGBTQ2 member
  • Between 2015 and 2018, gay men and lesbian women were more likely to have a post-secondary qualification than heterosexual men and women, while bisexual men and women were less likely to have a post-secondary qualification.
Disability status
  • Persons with disabilities, especially those with severe disabilities and men, were less likely to have obtained an educational credential in 2017 than those without disabilities.
  • High school students’ socio-economic status was a weaker predictor of academic performance in Canada in 2018 than in other OECD countries, and disadvantaged students in Canada were more likely to be academically resilient.

Given that many postsecondary degrees or diplomas require at least one year or more to complete, the impact of COVID-19 and related public health restrictions on lifelong educational attainment is hard to measure in the short term. But it is clear that the pandemic has had large negative impacts on racialized women and youth, with both students and non-students seeing significant job losses, particularly young women, and many young people returning to school or staying in school longer in light of weaker job prospects. There is strong evidence that the effects of a recession on young people are long lasting and that the scarring effects of unemployment can reduce earnings for years after the economy has recovered. When young people experience periods of unemployment, or are forced to work at jobs for which they are overqualified, they miss out on opportunities to acquire valuable skills that help them advance, and decrease their connection to the labour market during formative years. All these challenges will be compounded for more vulnerable youth.

There is no silver bullet to address these challenges. Governments provide extensive supports aimed at helping youth achieve their full potential. Major federal investments in recent years have focused on making postsecondary education more affordable, including enhancements to the Canada Student Loans and Canada Student Grants programs, and improving skills development and job opportunities, including funding to assist provincial and territorial training and employment supports such as work-integrated learning placements. Countries whose youth perform better in the school-to-work transitions, such as Germany, tend to have a strong apprenticeship culture. In recent years, the government has made many investments in these areas — such as through Canada Apprentice Loans, Apprenticeship Incentive and Completion Grants.

The Task Force on Women in the Economy members have emphasized the opportunities for women to enter high paying fields in the trades and other well-paying jobs in the innovation sector. They also emphasized the importance of providing opportunities for up-skilling for mid-career women and training and employment opportunities to groups who systemically face fewer opportunities. The 2020 Fall Economic Statement provided funding to bolster training supports for those most affected by the pandemic, including marginalized women, Indigenous peoples, youth, persons with disabilities, and recent newcomers to Canada.

In an effort to build on that momentum and tackle long-standing gaps in education and skills development, and encourage lifelong learning and retraining among all groups of Canadians, the government has introduced a number of Budget 2021 measures, including:

  • Additional funding and a pilot expansion of the Supports for Student Learning Program.
  • Strengthening elementary and secondary education on reserve, including helping adults finish high school.
  • Additional funding for Aboriginal Head Start programs.
  • Enhancements to federal skills and employment training programs, including to strengthen foundational skills through Skills for Success.
  • Providing enhanced student financial assistance and expanded student debt relief.
  • Supporting Indigenous post-secondary students and institutions during COVID-19.
  • Opportunities for businesses and young workers through Mitacs to expand work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students.
  • Helping youth and students build job skills and connect with employers through additional funding towards the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, the Student Work Placement Program, and the Canada Summer Jobs program.

For the details of the impacts of these and more Budget 2021 measures which advance the Education and Skills Development Pillar, please see the Impacts Report.

Economic Participation and Prosperity

Gender Results Framework
Economic Participation and Prosperity
Equal and full participation in the economy

Ensuring that every person has the opportunity and the support to participate fully in the economy will raise the incomes of Canadian families and benefit the country as a whole.

Labour force
Labour force
Share aged 25-54 in the labour force.
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  M W
1976 95 52
1977 94 54
1978 95 56
1979 95 58
1980 95 60
1981 95 63
1982 94 64
1983 94 65
1984 93 67
1985 94 69
1986 94 70
1987 94 72
1988 94 73
1989 94 74
1990 93 76
1991 92 76
1992 91 75
1993 91 76
1994 91 75
1995 91 76
1996 91 76
1997 91 77
1998 91 78
1999 91 78
2000 91 79
2001 91 79
2002 92 80
2003 92 81
2004 92 82
2005 92 81
2006 91 81
2007 91 82
2008 91 82
2009 91 82
2010 91 82
2011 91 82
2012 91 82
2013 91 82
2014 90 82
2015 91 82
2016 91 82
2017 91 83
2018 91 83
2019 91 84
2020 90 82
Gender earnings gap
Gender earnings gap
Gender gap in median employment income for those aged 25-54.
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1976 57
1977 54
1978 53
1979 52
1980 51
1981 51
1982 50
1983 48
1984 48
1985 47
1986 47
1987 46
1988 47
1989 43
1990 43
1991 42
1992 40
1993 38
1994 40
1995 37
1996 38
1997 37
1998 36
1999 38
2000 39
2001 38
2002 37
2003 37
2004 37
2005 35
2006 32
2007 32
2008 33
2009 30
2010 32
2011 32
2012 33
2013 29
2014 29
2015 31
2016 30
2017 29
2018 29
2019 27
Gender wage gap
Gender wage gap
Median hourly full-time wage gap for those aged 25-54 years.
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1997 18
1998 20
1999 18
2000 20
2001 18
2002 18
2003 16
2004 15
2005 15
2006 16
2007 15
2008 14
2009 16
2010 14
2011 14
2012 13
2013 15
2014 12
2015 14
2016 13
2017 14
2018 14
2019 14
2020 11
Full-time workers
Full-time workers
Share of employed aged 25-54 working full-time.
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  M W
1976 99 78
1977 98 77
1978 98 77
1979 98 77
1980 98 76
1981 98 76
1982 97 76
1983 97 75
1984 97 76
1985 97 76
1986 97 76
1987 97 77
1988 97 77
1989 97 78
1990 97 78
1991 96 77
1992 96 77
1993 95 77
1994 96 77
1995 95 77
1996 95 77
1997 95 76
1998 95 77
1999 96 78
2000 96 79
2001 95 79
2002 95 79
2003 95 79
2004 95 79
2005 95 80
2006 95 81
2007 95 81
2008 95 81
2009 95 81
2010 94 80
2011 94 81
2012 95 81
2013 95 81
2014 94 81
2015 94 81
2016 94 81
2017 94 82
2018 94 82
2019 94 83
2020 94 83
Unpaid work
Unpaid work
Share aged 25-54 engaging in unpaid work activities in 2015.
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  M W
Housework 72 87
Child care 24 37
Shopping 25 36
Child care costs
Child care costs
Average proportion of after-tax income spent on child care in 2019.
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Child 0-5 Child 0-12
Couples 6.3 5.1
Lone parents 6.9 5.6
Career choice
Nursing 89
Office support 87
Front-line public
protection services
Industrial, electrical and
construction trades

Share of employed who are women by occupation in 2020.
Temporary or involuntary part-time work
Temporary or involuntary part-time work
Share of employed aged 25-54 in temporary or involuntary PT work.
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  M W
1997 8 14
1998 8 14
1999 8 13
2000 8 13
2001 8 13
2002 9 14
2003 9 14
2004 8 14
2005 9 14
2006 9 13
2007 8 13
2008 8 12
2009 9 13
2010 10 14
2011 10 14
2012 10 15
2013 10 14
2014 10 14
2015 10 14
2016 10 14
2017 10 14
2018 9 13
2019 9 12
2020 8 12
Low-wage jobs
Low-wage jobs
Share aged 25-54 with hourly pay less than two-thirds of the median.
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  M W
1997 10 22
1998 10 22
1999 10 22
2000 9 21
2001 10 22
2002 10 22
2003 10 21
2004 10 21
2005 10 21
2006 10 21
2007 10 20
2008 10 20
2009 10 20
2010 11 20
2011 11 19
2012 10 19
2013 10 18
2014 10 19
2015 10 19
2016 11 18
2017 11 18
2018 10 18
2019 10 17
2020 10 16

Sources: Labour Force Survey, Survey of Consumer Finances, Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics, Canadian Income Survey, 2015 General Social Survey, and 2017 General Social Survey.

Fifty years ago, only half of Canadian women participated in the labour market and women’s annual income was almost 60 per cent lower than men’s. Today, over 8 in 10 women participate in the labour market and the gender gap in annual employment income has fallen to 27 per cent. These changes represent major progress toward gender equality in the labour market. However, persistent social norms mean that women continue to spend more time on caregiving and household responsibilities, and this unpaid work is not valued in traditional economic terms and cuts into the number of hours that women can spend in the paid workforce. Balancing work and family responsibilities may also lead some women to trade off more secure, high-paying jobs, for lower-paying, but more flexible positions. In addition, occupational segregation continues to limit career choices for women, making women more likely to work in low-wage jobs. Women from underrepresented groups, including Indigenous, Black, racialized and newcomer women, often face even greater barriers to equal and full participation in the labour market. Where women do succeed in predominantly male fields, there remain diparities between their compensation relative to their male counterparts.

Diversity Focus

Indigenous identity
  • Indigenous women earned 44 per cent less than white men in 2015. Even after adjusting for differences in demographic and job characteristics, a large gap of over 30 per cent remained.
  • Indigenous men and women had higher unemployment rates than non-Indigenous men and women in 2019.
Visible minority status
  • In 2015, visible minority women earned 17 per cent less than white men. Demographic and job characteristics, like industry, occupation, age, and education, did not explain this gap.
  • Unemployment rates were higher among racialized Canadians, but the rates varied significantly across groups. For example, in May 2016, about 1 in 7 Arab Canadian women were looking for work, compared to 1 in 25 Filipino Canadian women. Black Canadian men and women, Arab Canadian men, West Asian Canadian women and South Asian Canadian women, also had particularly high rates.
Immigrant status
  • In 2019, immigrant women, especially recent immigrant women (i.e. those who landed in Canada 5 or less years earlier), were less likely to work than women born in Canada. Compared to recent immigrant men, newcomer women from Africa and Asia experienced the largest gender gaps in employment.
  • Visible minority newcomer women earned $26,600 in 2015, compared to $30,100 for non-visible minority newcomer women, $35,600 for visible minority newcomer men, and $42,600 for non-visible minority newcomer men.
LGBTQ2 member
  • Between 2015 and 2018, lesbian women were more likely to work than heterosexual women, while gay men were slightly less likely to work than heterosexual men. Bisexual men and women had the lowest employment rates.
Disability status
  • Persons with disabilities were less likely to work than those without disabilities. Severity negatively impacts employment, with only 31 per cent of people with severe disabilities working in 2016.

In part reflecting these pre-existing inequalities, the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health measures have disproportionately affected women, especially women from underrepresented groups. As outlined in the Overview of Economic and Social Foundations, women’s jobs were affected earlier and more severely, and continue to recover more slowly, with especially notable negative employment impacts for Black and racialized women, newcomer women, low-wage women and young women. Even when women were not at risk of losing their jobs, the essential nature of the services they provide – e.g. nursing, child care – put them at a greater risk of transmission of COVID-19. Although the overrepresentation of women in low-wage work has been a long-standing contributor to gender inequity in Canada, COVID-19 has highlighted the essential nature of many of these jobs, especially front-line care work. For women who are mothers, the closure of schools and child care centres exacerbated work-life balance challenges and increased barriers to labour market entry.

The Task Force on Women in the Economy has been clear in advising the government that this pandemic requires a stimulus and recovery response tailored to the unique nature of this crisis on women. Members placed a high priority on investments in the care economy to address the burden of unpaid work on women, to facilitate women’s participation in the paid labour force, and to create good jobs in sectors of the economy where women work. This includes investments in early learning and child care, and in supportive care, where the pandemic exposed inadequacies in the quality of care being provided to seniors and in the wages and working conditions of care workers.

“Any job can be a great job. The social infrastructure on which we all depend will be a growing driver of GDP for decades, the result of population aging and the needs of a shrinking but increasingly valuable working-age cohort. The caring economy could power a better life, not just a bigger economy, if we address issues revealed by the pandemic. Just as manufacturing generated Canada’s middle class from the 1950s to the 1970s, the care sector could be the source of our next middle class.”

Armine Yalnizyan, Economist, Atkinson Fellow on the Future of Workers and
Task Force on Women in the Economy Member

In recognition of these challenges, Budget 2021 is investing in a feminist and inclusive recovery and working toward tackling gender inequities and systemic discrimination in the labour market in a number of ways, some of which include:

  • Establishing a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system.
  • Supporting Black Canadian communities through additional investments for Black-led non-profit organizations and establishing a Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund.
  • Strengthening long-term and supportive care across Canada by investing to support the implementation of standards for long-term care, improved access to quality palliative care and improved data infrastructure to lay a better foundation for coordinated action across the sector.
  • Also see actions listed under Poverty Reduction, Health and Well-Being to raise the federal minimum wage and enhance the Canada Workers Benefit.
  • Investing in distinctions-based, culturally appropriate child care for Indigenous children.
  • Deploying the Social Finance Fund to mobilize private capital and grow the social finance market in order to create thousands of new jobs in this women-dominated sector, provide much-needed services for vulnerable Canadians, and drive positive social change.
  • Renewing the Investment Readiness Program to continue helping charities, non-profits, and other social purpose organizations to develop the necessary skills and capacity to access social finance opportunities.
  • Funding to my65+ by the Service Employees International Union Healthcare to provide incentives for worker participation.

For the details of the impacts of these and more Budget 2021 measures which advance the Economic Participation and Prosperity Pillar, please see the Impacts Report.

Leadership and Democratic Participation

Gender Results Framework
Leadership and Democratic Participation
Gender equality in leadership roles and at all levels of decision-making

Gender equality and diversity in leadership positions in economic, political and judicial spheres is essential to a fair and democratic society.

Senior management
Labour force
Share of senior management positions filled by women.
Text version
1987 21
1988 21
1989 22
1990 26
1991 27
1992 30
1993 24
1994 27
1995 25
1996 27
1997 27
1998 28
1999 28
2000 21
2001 24
2002 25
2003 25
2004 22
2005 24
2006 26
2007 26
2008 30
2009 32
2010 32
2011 28
2012 27
2013 29
2014 32
2015 31
2016 37
2017 29
2018 32
2019 32
2020 29
Business ownership
Gender earnings gap
Share of private enterprises by majority-ownership.
Text version
Men-owned Women-owned
2005 68 17
2006 68 17
2007 67 18
2008 67 18
2009 67 18
2010 67 18
2011 66 18
2012 66 18
2013 66 18
Board members
Gender wage gap
Share of boards by number of women directors in 2018.
Text version
None 62
One 27
Two or more 11
Full-time workers
MPs, Ministers and Senators who are women by Parliament.
Text version
  MPs Ministers Senators
1st 0 0 0
2nd 0 0 0
3rd 0 0 0
4th 0 0 0
5th 0 0 0
6th 0 0 0
7th 0 0 0
8th 0 0 0
9th 0 0 0
10th 0 0 0
11th 0 0 0
12th 0 0 0
13th 0 0 0
14th 0 0 0
15th 0 0 0
16th 0 0 1
17th 0 0 2
18th 1 0 2
19th 1 0 2
20th 0 0 2
21st 0 0 4
22nd 1 0 6
23rd 1 5 5
24th 2 3 7
25th 2 5 6
26th 2 3 5
27th 1 3 5
28th 0 0 8
29th 2 0 8
30th 3 5 8
31st 4 5 11
32nd 5 5 11
33rd 10 16 14
34th 13 16 15
35th 18 21 22
36th 20 26 29
37th 20 25 34
38th 21 23 35
39th 21 21 35
40th 22 28 33
41st 25 26 36
42nd 27 48 45
43rd 29 47 48
Today 30 50 49
Provincial and territorial
Unpaid work
Share in PT governments who are women as of Feb. 16, 2021.
Text version
Members 35
Cabinet 36
First Nations Bands
Child care costs
Share in First Nations Band Councils who are women.
Text version
1992 12 21
1993 11 21
1994 11 22
1995 11 23
1996 12 24
1997 13 26
1998 13 26
1999 15 26
2000 16 26
2001 16 27
2002 15 27
2003 16 27
2004 16 28
2005 16 29
2006 17 29
2007 19 30
2008 20 31
2009 19 31
2010 19 29
2011 18 29
2012 17 29
2013 17 29
2014 19 29
2015 20 31
2016 20 31
2017 19 29
2018 20 28
2019 19 27
Career choice
Share of city councillors who are women as of Feb. 16, 2021.
Text version
Councillors 38
Mayors 17
Federal judges
Temporary or involuntary part-time work
Federal judges who are women by month and year, Jan. 85 to Apr. 21.
Text version
Month-Year Share of women
Jan-1985 5
Feb-1985 5
Mar-1985 5
Apr-1985 5
May-1985 5
Jun-1985 5
Jul-1985 5
Aug-1985 5
Sep-1985 5
Oct-1985 5
Nov-1985 5
Dec-1985 5
Jan-1986 6
Feb-1986 6
Mar-1986 6
Apr-1986 6
May-1986 6
Jun-1986 6
Jul-1986 6
Aug-1986 6
Sep-1986 6
Oct-1986 6
Nov-1986 6
Dec-1986 6
Jan-1987 6
Feb-1987 6
Mar-1987 6
Apr-1987 6
May-1987 6
Jun-1987 7
Jul-1987 7
Aug-1987 7
Sep-1987 7
Oct-1987 7
Nov-1987 7
Dec-1987 7
Jan-1988 7
Feb-1988 7
Mar-1988 7
Apr-1988 7
May-1988 7
Jun-1988 7
Jul-1988 7
Aug-1988 7
Sep-1988 7
Oct-1988 8
Nov-1988 8
Dec-1988 8
Jan-1989 8
Feb-1989 8
Mar-1989 8
Apr-1989 8
May-1989 8
Jun-1989 8
Jul-1989 8
Aug-1989 8
Sep-1989 8
Oct-1989 8
Nov-1989 9
Dec-1989 9
Jan-1990 9
Feb-1990 9
Mar-1990 9
Apr-1990 9
May-1990 9
Jun-1990 9
Jul-1990 9
Aug-1990 9
Sep-1990 9
Oct-1990 9
Nov-1990 9
Dec-1990 9
Jan-1991 10
Feb-1991 10
Mar-1991 10
Apr-1991 10
May-1991 10
Jun-1991 10
Jul-1991 10
Aug-1991 10
Sep-1991 10
Oct-1991 10
Nov-1991 10
Dec-1991 10
Jan-1992 11
Feb-1992 11
Mar-1992 11
Apr-1992 11
May-1992 11
Jun-1992 11
Jul-1992 11
Aug-1992 11
Sep-1992 11
Oct-1992 11
Nov-1992 11
Dec-1992 12
Jan-1993 12
Feb-1993 12
Mar-1993 12
Apr-1993 12
May-1993 12
Jun-1993 12
Jul-1993 12
Aug-1993 12
Sep-1993 12
Oct-1993 12
Nov-1993 12
Dec-1993 12
Jan-1994 12
Feb-1994 13
Mar-1994 13
Apr-1994 13
May-1994 13
Jun-1994 13
Jul-1994 13
Aug-1994 13
Sep-1994 13
Oct-1994 13
Nov-1994 13
Dec-1994 14
Jan-1995 14
Feb-1995 14
Mar-1995 14
Apr-1995 14
May-1995 14
Jun-1995 14
Jul-1995 14
Aug-1995 15
Sep-1995 15
Oct-1995 15
Nov-1995 15
Dec-1995 15
Jan-1996 16
Feb-1996 16
Mar-1996 16
Apr-1996 16
May-1996 16
Jun-1996 16
Jul-1996 16
Aug-1996 16
Sep-1996 16
Oct-1996 17
Nov-1996 17
Dec-1996 17
Jan-1997 17
Feb-1997 17
Mar-1997 17
Apr-1997 17
May-1997 18
Jun-1997 18
Jul-1997 18
Aug-1997 18
Sep-1997 18
Oct-1997 18
Nov-1997 18
Dec-1997 18
Jan-1998 19
Feb-1998 19
Mar-1998 19
Apr-1998 19
May-1998 19
Jun-1998 19
Jul-1998 19
Aug-1998 19
Sep-1998 19
Oct-1998 19
Nov-1998 19
Dec-1998 20
Jan-1999 20
Feb-1999 20
Mar-1999 20
Apr-1999 20
May-1999 20
Jun-1999 21
Jul-1999 21
Aug-1999 21
Sep-1999 21
Oct-1999 21
Nov-1999 22
Dec-1999 22
Jan-2000 23
Feb-2000 23
Mar-2000 23
Apr-2000 23
May-2000 23
Jun-2000 23
Jul-2000 23
Aug-2000 23
Sep-2000 23
Oct-2000 23
Nov-2000 23
Dec-2000 23
Jan-2001 23
Feb-2001 23
Mar-2001 23
Apr-2001 23
May-2001 24
Jun-2001 24
Jul-2001 24
Aug-2001 24
Sep-2001 24
Oct-2001 24
Nov-2001 24
Dec-2001 25
Jan-2002 25
Feb-2002 25
Mar-2002 25
Apr-2002 25
May-2002 25
Jun-2002 25
Jul-2002 25
Aug-2002 25
Sep-2002 25
Oct-2002 25
Nov-2002 25
Dec-2002 26
Jan-2003 26
Feb-2003 26
Mar-2003 26
Apr-2003 26
May-2003 26
Jun-2003 26
Jul-2003 26
Aug-2003 26
Sep-2003 27
Oct-2003 27
Dec-2003 27
Jan-2004 26
Apr-2004 27
May-2004 27
Jun-2004 27
Jul-2004 27
Aug-2004 27
Sep-2004 27
Oct-2004 27
Nov-2004 27
Dec-2004 27
Jan-2005 27
Feb-2005 27
Mar-2005 27
Apr-2005 27
May-2005 28
Jun-2005 28
Jul-2005 28
Aug-2005 28
Sep-2005 29
Oct-2005 29
Nov-2005 29
Dec-2005 29
Jan-2006 29
Feb-2006 29
Mar-2006 29
Apr-2006 29
May-2006 29
Jun-2006 29
Jul-2006 29
Aug-2006 29
Sep-2006 29
Oct-2006 29
Nov-2006 29
Dec-2006 29
Jan-2007 29
Feb-2007 30
Mar-2007 30
Apr-2007 30
May-2007 30
Jun-2007 30
Jul-2007 30
Aug-2007 30
Sep-2007 30
Oct-2007 30
Nov-2007 31
Dec-2007 31
Jan-2008 31
Feb-2008 31
Mar-2008 31
Apr-2008 31
May-2008 31
Jun-2008 31
Jul-2008 31
Aug-2008 31
Sep-2008 31
Oct-2008 31
Nov-2008 31
Dec-2008 31
Jan-2009 31
Feb-2009 32
Mar-2009 32
Apr-2009 32
May-2009 31
Jun-2009 32
Aug-2009 32
Sep-2009 32
Oct-2009 32
Nov-2009 32
Dec-2009 32
Jan-2010 32
Feb-2010 32
Mar-2010 32
May-2010 32
Jun-2010 32
Jul-2010 32
Aug-2010 32
Sep-2010 32
Oct-2010 32
Nov-2010 32
Dec-2010 32
Jan-2011 32
Feb-2011 32
Mar-2011 32
Apr-2011 32
May-2011 32
Jun-2011 32
Jul-2011 32
Aug-2011 33
Sep-2011 32
Oct-2011 32
Nov-2011 32
Dec-2011 32
Jan-2012 32
Feb-2012 32
Mar-2012 32
Apr-2012 32
May-2012 33
Jun-2012 33
Jul-2012 33
Aug-2012 33
Sep-2012 33
Oct-2012 33
Nov-2012 33
Dec-2012 33
Jan-2013 33
Feb-2013 33
Mar-2013 33
Apr-2013 33
May-2013 33
Jun-2013 33
Jul-2013 34
Sep-2013 34
Oct-2013 34
Nov-2013 34
Dec-2013 34
Jan-2014 34
Feb-2014 34
Mar-2014 34
Apr-2014 34
May-2014 34
Jun-2014 34
Jul-2014 34
Aug-2014 34
Sep-2014 34
Oct-2014 34
Nov-2014 34
Dec-2014 34
Jan-2015 34
Feb-2015 34
Mar-2015 34
Apr-2015 34
May-2015 34
Jun-2015 35
Jul-2015 35
Aug-2015 35
Sep-2015 35
Oct-2015 35
Nov-2015 35
Dec-2015 35
Jan-2016 36
Feb-2016 36
Mar-2016 36
Apr-2016 36
Jun-2016 36
Jul-2016 36
Aug-2016 36
Sep-2016 36
Oct-2016 37
Nov-2016 37
Dec-2016 37
Jan-2017 37
Feb-2017 37
Mar-2017 37
Apr-2017 38
May-2017 37
Jun-2017 38
Jul-2017 38
Aug-2017 38
Sep-2017 39
Oct-2017 38
Nov-2017 38
Dec-2017 38
Jan-2018 38
Feb-2018 39
Mar-2018 39
Apr-2018 39
May-2018 39
Jun-2018 38
Jul-2018 40
Aug-2018 40
Sep-2018 40
Oct-2018 40
Nov-2018 40
Dec-2018 40
Jan-2019 41
Feb-2019 41
Mar-2019 41
Apr-2019 41
May-2019 42
Jun-2019 41
Aug-2019 42
Sep-2019 42
Oct-2019 42
Nov-2019 42
Dec-2019 42
Jan-2020 42
Feb-2020 42
Mar-2020 43
Apr-2020 43
May-2020 43
Jun-2020 43
Jul-2020 44
Aug-2020 44
Sep-2020 44
Nov-2020 44
Dec-2020 45
Jan-2021 45
Feb-2021 45
Mar-2021 45
Apr-2021 45
Police officers
Low-wage jobs
Share of full-time equivalent police officers who are women.
Text version
1986 4
1987 4
1988 5
1989 6
1990 6
1991 7
1992 8
1993 8
1994 9
1995 10
1996 10
1997 11
1998 12
1999 13
2000 14
2001 14
2002 15
2003 16
2004 16
2005 17
2006 18
2007 19
2008 19
2009 19
2010 19
2011 20
2012 20
2013 20
2014 21
2015 21
2016 21
2017 21
2018 22
2019 22

Sources: Labour Force Survey, Canadian Employer-Employee Dynamics Database, Corporation Returns Act, Parliament of Canada, Indigenous Services Canada, municipal, provincial and territorial websites, Office of the Commissioner of Federal Judicial Affairs, and Police Administration Survey.

Since most women won the right to run as candidates in the federal elections in 1920, there have been gradual improvements in gender representation in Canadian politics. For example, the number of women elected to Parliament has increased to 100 out of 338, and in 2015, Canada saw its first ever gender balanced Cabinet.

At the same time, there have been significant improvements in the judicial sphere, in part due to recent reforms to the superior courts’ judicial appointment process that emphasize transparency, merit, and the diversity of the Canadian population, while continuing to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity. This process has helped to increased the share of federally appointed judges who are women from 34 per cent in 2015 to 45 per cent in 2020. It has also resulted in the appointment of 16 judges identifying as LGBTQ2 and 30 judges identifying as belonging to a visible minority group since October 2016.

However, the power gap persists. Business continues to be heavily male dominated, with only 1 out of every 3 senior management positions filled by a woman, and diversity is severely lacking in many leadership and decision-making roles. For example, Black, racialized people, Indigenous peoples and people with disabilities are much less likely to be business owners and serve on corporate boards. Racialized Canadians are also less likely to serve in law enforcement.

Diversity Focus

Indigenous identity
  • Few small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were majority-owned by Indigenous people in 2017 (1 per cent).
  • There are currently 5 First Nations, 2 Inuit, and 4 Métis Members of Parliament (MPs), representing 3 per cent of the House, compared to 5 per cent of the population. Of the 11 Indigenous MPs, 4 are women. Concurrently, the Senate has 5 First Nations, 1 Inuit, and 4 Métis Senators (10 per cent). Of these Indigenous Senators, 6 were female.
  • Overall, 4 per cent of police officers and 3 per cent of recruits identified as Indigenous in May 2019. Within First Nation police services, 63 per cent of officers identified as Indigenous.
  • Among the 403 distributing corporations that disclosed diversity information in 2020 to meet the new Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) regulations, only 0.3 per cent of 2,411 board directors were Indigenous and only 0.2 per cent of 2,158 individuals in senior management positions were Indigenous.
Visible minority status
  • While over 1 in 5 people reported belonging to a visible minority group in Canada in 2016, only about 1 in 8 SMEs were majority-owned by visible minorities in 2017.
  • In mid-May 2019, visible minorities were underrepresented as police officers (8 per cent) and recruits (11 per cent).
  • Members of visible minorities held 4 per cent of board seats and 9 per cent of senior management positions among the 403 distributing corporations that disclosed diversity data in 2020.
LGBTQ2 member
  • According to the Annual Report Card 2018, published by the Canadian Board Diversity Council, only 1 per cent of board directors self-identified as LGBTQ2.
Disability status
  • Although over 1 in 5 people reported a disability in 2016, SMEs were rarely majority-owned by persons with a disability (1 per cent) in 2017.
  • Only 0.3 per cent of board seats and 0.6 per cent of senior management positions among the 403 distributing corporations that disclosed data in 2020 were held by persons with disabilities.

COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on women, especially racialized women. Beyond all the direct impacts, their underrepresentation in politics, business, and justice has meant that their voices are muted in many political and economic discussions. This has created additional challenges in securing the change needed to help women and diverse groups overcome systemic barriers and discrimination.

Women, however, have taken a leading role in the charitable and non-profit sector. According to a recent report by the YWCA, organizations in this sector employ over 2.4 million people in Canada, 70 per cent of whom are women. Of that, Canada’s human and community service organizations employ approximately 315,000 people.

Governments play a key role in facilitating and encouraging improved gender equality in politics, business, and justice. To support and build toward gender equality and diversity in Canada’s public institutions, the federal government introduced a commitment to selecting Governor in Council appointees that are reflective of Canada’s diversity in terms of linguistic, regional, and employment equity groups in open, transparent and merit-based processes in February 2016. And, more recently, to support gender equality and diversity in business, the federal government launched the 50-30 Challenge, an initiative that asks that organizations aspire to gender parity on their boards and in senior management and to significant representation of other underrepresented groups. As of April 13, 2021, there were 1,172 participating organizations. For similar reasons, the federal government also recently introduced new disclosure requirements for gender and diversity concerning director and senior manager positions and diversity policies in corporations governed by the Canada Business Corporations Act.

Since women’s entrepreneurship reflects broader industrial gender segregation patterns in the economy, business owners who are women have also been particularly negatively affected by the pandemic, as have business owners who are racialized Canadians. Structural barriers for many women entrepreneurs amplified the greater impacts of the pandemic.

Reflecting that the needs of women entrepreneurs are unique, the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy was introduced to increase women-owned businesses’ access to the financing, talent, networks and expertise they need to start up, scale up and access new markets. The Task Force on Women and the Economy and other stakeholders have emphasized that the support networks and financing needs of women entrepreneurs are often different from those of men, with women valuing wraparound supports and smaller amounts of funding.

Recognizing that there continue to be challenges for women and diverse groups in attaining and maintaining positions of leadership, the government has introduced a number of Budget 2021 measures, including:

  • Accelerating the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy.
  • Providing additional funding to support the Black Entrepreneurship Program.
  • Consultations on corporate governance diversity in federally regulated financial institutions.
  • Supporting small and medium-sized businesses including non-profit and charitable social enterprises through enhancements to the Canada Small Businesses Financing Program.
  • Legislative amendments to the Public Service Employment Act to address potential bias and barriers in staffing processes.
  • Investing in companies led by Canadians from typically underrepresented groups through a new Inclusive Growth Stream of the Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative.
  • Additional Indigenous Business Supports to increase opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses, and increase the proportion of Indigenous businesses owned and operated by Indigenous women.
  • Strengthening Indigenous voices in federal decision-making by supporting their capacity to engage in federal consulations and engagements.
  • Supporting Indigenous Governance and Capacity for First Nations communities with the most acute needs, resulting in better administration and access to services and programs.
  • Supporting entrepreneurs, including underrepresented entrepreneurs through the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development Program.

For the details of the impacts of these and more Budget 2021 measures that advance the Leadership and Democratic Participation Pillar, please see the Impacts Report.

Gender-Based Violence and Access to Justice

Gender Results Framework
Gender-Based Violence and Access to Justice
Eliminating gender-based violence and harassment, and promoting security of the person and access to justice

Gender-based violence has long-lasting, negative health, social, and economic effects that span generations, often leading to cycles of violence within families and potentially whole communities. All Canadians should be safe and free from physical, emotional or sexual violence, discrimination, and harassment, regardless of where they live.

Workplace harassment
Workplace harassment
Share self-reporting harassment in the workplace in past year in 2016.
Text version
Men Women
13 19
Intimate partner violence
Intimate partner violence
Police-reported intimate partner violence, rate per 100K population.
Text version
2009 579 145
2010 576 148
2011 545 140
2012 520 137
2013 489 131
2014 471 129
2015 483 132
2016 485 134
2017 494 135
2018 508 135
2019 536 149
Sexual assault
Sexual assault
Share self-reporting sexual assault in 2018.
Text version
Since 15 8 30
Past year 1 3
Childhood abuse
Childhood abuse
Share aged 15+ self-reporting childhood abuse in 2018.
Text version
Physical 25 22
Sexual 4 12
Homicide rate
Homicide rate
Homicide rates per 100K population in 2019.
Text version
Indigenous 8.8 2.4
Non-Indigenous 1.1 0.5
Homicide relationship
  M W
Intimate partner 6 47
Other family member 15 26
Other relationship 52 13
Stranger or unknown 26 13

Share of homicides by relationship to perpetrator in 2019.
Violent victimization
Violent victimization
Share of violent victimization reported to police in 2014.
Text version
Men Women
36 23
Indigenous women
  Sexual Physical
First Nations 48 45
Métis 40 44
Inuit 25 26
Non-Indigenous 26 30

Share self-reporting assault since age 15 years in 2018.
Unfounded sexual assault
Low-wage jobs
Per cent of incidents of sexual assault deemed to be unfounded.
Text version
  All levels
2017 14
2018 12
2019 10

Sources: 2016 General Social Survey, Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, 2018 Survey of Safety in Public and Private Spaces, Homicide Survey, 2014 General Social Survey.

Gender-based violence is defined as violence that is committed against someone based on their gender identity, gender expression, or perceived gender and includes a range of behaviours from unwanted sexual attention, harassment, and neglect, to physical and sexual assault, and homicide. Experiences of gender-based violence are quite common in Canada, with women reporting about 536 incidents of police-reported intimate partner violence per 100,000 population in 2019 and about 1 in 3 women reporting in 2018 that they had experienced at least one incident sexual assault since the age of 15 years.

Some groups of women and girls are disproportionately affected by gender-based violence, including Indigenous women and girls, Black women, and LGBTQ2 community members. For example, in 2018, 43 per cent of Indigenous women reported experiencing sexual assault since the age of 15 years, compared to 26 per cent of non-Indigenous women. Those living in northern, rural, and remote communities and people with disabilities are also at an elevated risk of experiencing gender-based violence.

Diversity Focus

Indigenous identity
  • In 2016, Indigenous women were more likely to report workplace sexual harassment in the past 12 months (10 per cent) than non-Indigenous women (4 per cent).
  • In a 2018 survey, more First Nations and Métis adults reported experiences of childhood abuse than Inuit and non-Indigenous people.
  • Compared to non-Indigenous women, Indigenous women were more than three times as likely to self-report an experience of spousal violence between 2009 and 2014. Indigenous victims of spousal violence were also more likely to report the most severe forms of spousal violence.
Visible minority status
  • When surveyed in 2018, visible minority men and women were slightly less likely to report experiences of childhood abuse. In this same survey, they were much less likely to report adult experiences of physical or sexual assault.
  • In 2014, recent experiences of spousal violence were reported slightly less often by people belonging to a visible minority group than by those that did not.
Immigrant status
  • Immigrants reported adult experiences of physical or sexual assault since age 15 years less often than non-immigrants when asked in 2018, but were only marginally less likely to report experiences of childhood abuse.
LGBTQ2 member
  • In a 2016 survey, lesbian and bisexual women reported elevated rates of sexual harassment at work compared to heterosexual women.
  • Transgender individuals reported inappropriate workplace behaviour (69 per cent) in a 2018 survey at three times the rate of cisgender individuals (23 per cent).
  • Gay, lesbian, and bisexual people reported higher rates of childhood abuse than heterosexual people when surveyed in 2018. They were also more like to report experiences of physical or sexual assault since age 15 years.
  • In this same 2018 survey, transgender people were significantly more likely to report having had experiences of physical or sexual assault since age 15 years (59 per cent) than cisgender people (37 per cent).
Disability status
  • When asked in 2018, persons with disabilities were more likely to report having experienced physical or sexual assault as adults than persons without disabilities, with women with disabilities reporting sexual assault since age 15 years at three times the rate of men with disabilities. People with disabilities were also more likely to report experiencing childhood abuse.

COVID-19 and the resulting financial stresses and self-isolation has created conditions that led to a rise in intimate partner and family violence. Increased call volume at violence help lines and a rise in the number of calls for police services related to domestic disturbances and disputes indicate that gender-based violence was exacerbated by the public health crisis. Recognizing that many Canadians' safety was at risk during the pandemic, the Government of Canada acted quickly to ensure that front-line organizations that support women and families facing violence had the resources they needed to keep their doors open and continue providing their vital services, with dedicated funding for those organizations serving Indigenous women both on and off reserve.

Like many of the other structural challenges faced by women, eliminating gender-based violence will take sustained efforts over the long-term, as it is firmly grounded in gender and social norms around femininity and masculinity, including patriarchal views of the family, sexism, and gendered expectations regarding behaviour.

Knowing that many women and girls continue to face violence, the government has made significant investments towards eliminating gender-based violence and supporting victims and survivors, including through the It's Time: Canada's Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence. Federal government actions have also included introducing a National Framework to Prevent Gender-Based Violence on Campus, changes to the treatment of unfounded sexual assault cases, and legislation to ensure that federally regulated workers are protected from workplace harassment. In 2019, the federal government also introduced its National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking.

Improving access to and confidence in the justice system is also key to supporting survivors of gender-based violence and other acts of physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering, such as race-based hate crimes. And it is vital to a safe and secure Canada.

Recent federal government actions and investments to improve access to justice and build confidence in the justice system have included boosting legal aid to support victims of sexual harassment in the workplace, amending legislation to increase access to family justice in the official language of one's choice, investing in an assessment of the impact of race and culture on sentencing, and supporting the growing demand for Public Legal Education and Information Services.

To continue to address the ongoing challenges related to gender-based violence in Canada, and the structural and systemic barriers that limit access to justice for many disadvantaged groups, the government has introduced a range of Budget 2021 measures, some of which include:

  • Expanding the work of the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada to eliminate sexual misconduct and gender-based violence in the military and support survivors.
  • Increasing funding for provinces and territories to divert youth away from the justice system.
  • Supporting Indigenous policing and community safety.
  • Improving access to justice for Indigenous peoples.
  • Addressing systemic racism in institutions.
  • Supporting a range of measures to end the national tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
  • Supporting community-based organizations and the LGBTQ2 Secretariat to advance greater equality for LGBTQ2 communities.
  • Enhancing access to legal support for racialized communities.
  • Advancing a National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence to support at-risk populations and survivors and ensure that victims have reliable and timely access to protection and services.

For the details of the impacts of these and more Budget 2021 measures which advance the Gender-Based Violence and Access to Justice Pillar, please see the Impacts Report.

Poverty Reduction, Health and Well-Being

Gender Results Framework
Poverty Reduction, Health and Well-Being
Reduced poverty and improved health outcomes

All Canadians should have their basic needs met, access to good quality health care, and know that action is being taken to reduce poverty and create new opportunities for a better quality of life.

Share below the Official Poverty Line.
Text version
  M W
2015 14 15
2016 12 13
2017 12 12
2018 11 11
2019 10 10
Food insecurity
  M W
Living alone 12 12
Lone parent 16 25
All households 9 9
Couple, no kids 3 3
Couple, with kids 7 7
Share of households in moderate or severe food insecurity in 2017-18.
Core housing need
  M W
All Canadians 9 10
Living alone 19 19
Lone parent family 17 30
Seniors 8 11
Share living in core housing need by family type in 2018.
Support orders
Support orders
Spousal and child support order payment collection rate.
Text version
2005-06 82
2006-07 82
2007-08 84
2008-09 85
2009-10 84
2010-11 85
2011-12 85
2012-13 86
2013-14 87
2014-15 85
2015-16 82
2016-17 79
2017-18 77
2018-19 77
Causes of death
  M W
Cancer 1 1
Heart diseases 2 2
Accidents 3 5
Chronic lower respiratory 4 4
Cerebrovascular 5 3
Rank of five leading causes of death by gender in 2019.
Life expectancy
Life expectancy
Health-adjusted life expectancy at birth.
Text version
  M W
2000-02 67 70
2005-07 68 71
2010-12 69 71
2015-17 69 70
Sports participation
Sports participation
Share aged 15+ participating in sports regularly in past year in 2016.
Text version
  Men Women
2016 34 20
Psychological well-being
Psychological well-being
Share aged 12+ reporting very good or excellent mental health.
Text version
  2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
M 75 73 73 71 70
W 71 69 68 66 65
Adolescent birth rates
Adolescent birth rates
Number of live births per 1,000 females aged 15-19 years.
Text version
2000 17
2001 16
2002 15
2003 15
2004 14
2005 13
2006 14
2007 14
2008 14
2009 14
2010 14
2011 13
2012 12
2013 11
2014 10
2015 9
2016 9
2017 8
2018 7
2019 6

Sources: Canadian Income Survey, Canadian Community Health Survey, Survey of Maintenance and Enforcement Programs, Vital Statistics Death and Birth Databases, 2016 General Social Survey.

Poverty, especially long-term poverty, has deep and wide-ranging impacts. Individuals living with low income have a lower life expectancy, higher rates of suicide, as well as higher rates of heart disease, chronic conditions, and mental health issues. Poor mental and physical health – whether as a result of poverty or not – may affect an individual's well-being and earnings potential, and result in economic losses for individuals, families, and society.

In Canada, poverty and poor health are challenges faced by many, but some subgroups are at greater risk than others. For example, poverty is more prevalent among recent immigrants and racialized people, while poor mental health is more prevalent among Indigenous peoples and LGBTQ2 Canadians.

The prevalence of low wage, low quality jobs in certain sectors of the economy can also contribute to the incidence of poverty, and these low wage, low quality jobs are themselves the result of a number of factors, including the absence of bargaining power among workers, as evidenced by the decline of private sector unions, low or limited growth in real minimum wages, a rising return to investments in education and skills, and increased automation and globalization. Since women are more likely than men to be employed in low wage, part time, and precarious jobs, women are more at risk of being among the working poor.

Diversity Focus

Indigenous identity
  • Indigenous people faced higher poverty rates (20 per cent) than non-Indigenous people (10 per cent) in 2018.
  • Off-reserve Indigenous people reported lower levels of mental health in 2017-18 than non-Indigenous people.
  • In 2016, Indigenous men reported regularly participating in sports less often than non-Indigenous men, but there were no notable differences for women.
Visible minority status
  • In 2017-18, people belonging to a visible minority group reported similar levels of positive (very good or excellent) mental health as those not belonging to a visible minority group.
  • Poverty rates were higher among the visible minority population in 2016. West Asian Canadians had the highest poverty rates, but rates were also elevated among Arab, Korean, Black, and Chinese Canadians.
  • Visible minority women regularly participated in sports less often than their counterparts in 2016, while visible minority men participated slightly more.
Immigrant status
  • Recent immigrants faced higher poverty rates (20 per cent) than non-recent immigrants in 2018.
  • Immigrants and those born in Canada were nearly equally likely to report very good or excellent mental health in 2017-18.
  • Compared to people born in Canada, immigrant individuals were less likely to regularly participate in sports in 2016.
LGBTQ2 member
  • Bisexual women had the lowest rates of positive mental health in 2017-18, followed by bisexual men. Gay men and lesbian women had higher rates than bisexual men and women, but lower rates than heterosexual women, who themselves had lower rates than heterosexual men.
  • In 2016, gay men and bisexual women reported regularly participating in sports less often than heterosexual men and heterosexual women.
  • Transgender individuals had higher rates of negative mental health in 2018 and were significantly more likely to report having seriously contemplated suicide (45 per cent) than cisgender individuals (16 per cent).
Disability status
  • Persons with a disability had elevated poverty rates in 2017 (17 per cent), especially if they simultaneously belonged to another at-risk group.
  • Babies born into the lowest income quintile in 2015-17 could expect to live about eight years less than those born into the highest income quintile.
  • Mental health was worse among low-income people in 2017-18.
  • People with less than a high school diploma had worse mental health in 2017-18 than those with a Bachelor's degree or higher.

The economic and health crisis brought on by COVID-19 and related public health measures has had devastating impacts on the physical and mental health and financial well-being of huge numbers of Canadians. As public health restrictions reduced social contacts, mental health declined and many Canadians increased their use of substances. Even for those Canadians fortunate enough to avoid COVID-19, physical health has still been negatively impacted as sports were cancelled and gyms were closed. And, although Canadians have been supported by strong and responsive income programs, like the Canada Response Benefit, which helped offset the income and employment effects of the pandemic, many Canadians continue to suffer from unemployment or face challenges meeting their essential needs.

While the Government has supported a comprehensive response to the pandemic, it has long been committed to policies aimed at reducing poverty, providing access to affordable housing and making investments in healthy communities. For example, recent investments in the Canada Child Benefit helped lift more than 400,000 children out of poverty, while an expansion of the Rental Construction Financing Initiative helped to increase the supply of affordable rental housing, and a redesigned federal homelessness program, called Reaching Home, helped to support people without access to safe and secure housing. Federal government actions also included supporting a Pan-Canadian Suicide Prevention Service with bilingual, 24/7 crisis support from trained responders and enhancing the response to the opioid crisis.

To support Canadians at risk of or facing poverty, food insecurity and core housing need as a result of the pandemic, the federal government has introduced a Canada Child Benefit and special GST Credit top-up payment, enhanced funding for the Reaching Home initiative, and supported food banks and other organizations providing hunger relief to affected individuals. Other actions have included additional investments for Distress Centres and the introduction of the Wellness Together Canada Portal to support Canadians struggling with mental health or a substance use disorder.

In the context of future actions to support a pandemic recovery, members of the Task Force on Women in the Economy have emphasized the issue of precarious work and the importance of policies to support better wages and working conditions, such as changes to minimum wage laws and paid sick leave. They also stressed the need over the long term for modernization of Canada's income support programs, such as Employment Insurance, the Canada Workers Benefit, and disability supports.

"The economic, health and social impacts of COVID-19 have been devastating for the communities we work with. From the loss of steady jobs to child care shortages to addressing discrimination, hate and violence in all its forms, we are seeing we can't go back to the old ways of doing things. We need a fresh approach that thinks about the economy and gender equity together."

Maya Roy, CEO of YWCA Canada and Task Force on Women in the Economy Member

To respond to immediate and ongoing challenges related to poverty, health and well-being, the government has introduced a number of Budget 2021 measures, including:

  • Establishing a $15 federal minimum wage.
  • Maintaining flexible access to Employment Insurance benefits as the labour market begins to improve.
  • Emergency funding for homelessness programs to protect vulnerable Canadians experiencing – or at risk of – homelessness.
  • Continued funding to emergency hunger relief organizations supporting food security for vulnerable Canadians.
  • Supporting community organizations to improve access to sexual and reproductive health care information and services.
  • Addressing the opioid crisis and problematic substance use by supporting a range of innovative approaches to harm reduction, treatment, and prevention.
  • Extending the Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot.
  • Enhancing the Canada Workers Benefit, which could provide about $1,000 more a year to low-wage, full-time workers and lift close to 100,000 Canadians out of poverty.
  • Increasing funding for public health measures and the Indigenous Community Support Fund to respond to the immediate needs of Indigenous communities.
  • Supporting communities in providing services for Indigenous peoples dealing with mental health issues through a distinctions-based mental wellness strategy.
  • Investments in mental health to support populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and to develop national mental health standards.
  • Establishing a National Institute for Women's Health Research.
  • Extending Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits to better support Canadians suffering from illness or injury

For the details of the impacts of these and more Budget 2021 measures which advance the Poverty Reduction, Health and Well-Being Pillar, please see the Impacts Report.

Gender Results Framework

Gender Results Framework
Gender Equality Around the World
Promoting gender equality to build a more peaceful, inclusive, rules-based and prosperous world

Full and equal access to resources, opportunities and security for women and girls around the world can lead to greater prosperity, improved quality of life, and peace and security for everyone. Women and girls are powerful agents of change and can improve their own lives and the lives of their families, communities and countries.

Peace and security
Labour force
Share of UN peacekeeping personnel who are women.
Text version
2009 3
2010 3
2011 4
2012 4
2013 4
2014 4
2015 4
2016 4
2017 4
2018 5
2019 6
2020 7
2021 7
Gender earnings gap
Share of seats held by women in national parliaments globally.
Text version
1997 12
1998 13
1999 14
2000 14
2001 14
2002 15
2003 15
2004 16
2005 16
2006 17
2007 18
2008 18
2009 19
2010 19
2011 20
2012 21
2013 22
2014 22
2015 23
2016 23
2017 24
2018 24
2019 25
2020 25
Women's rights
Gender wage gap
Screened bilateral allocable aid targeted toward gender equality.
Text version
2014 60
2015 72
2016 69
2017 87
2018 93
Sexual health
Full-time workers
Share of girls in 31 countries who experienced genital mutilation.
Text version
30 years ago 49
25 years ago 47
20 years ago 45
15 years ago 44
10 years ago 42
5 years ago 39
Today 34
Reproductive health
Unpaid work
Share of women aged 15-49 years using contraceptives.
Text version
1990 2000 2014 2017
58 60 64 60
Gender in trade agreements
  • Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement
  • Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership
    Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement
  • Canada-Chile FTA
  • Canada-Israel FTA
Resource equity
Career choice
Countries without equal spousal administrative authority over assets.
Text version
1971 26
1972 26
1973 26
1974 25
1975 24
1976 24
1977 24
1978 23
1979 22
1980 21
1981 20
1982 20
1983 19
1984 18
1985 18
1986 17
1987 16
1988 16
1989 16
1990 16
1991 15
1992 15
1993 15
1994 14
1995 14
1996 14
1997 14
1998 14
1999 13
2000 13
2001 13
2002 12
2003 11
2004 10
2005 9
2006 8
2007 8
2008 8
2009 7
2010 7
2011 7
2012 7
2013 6
2014 6
2015 6
2016 6
2017 6
2018 6
2019 6
2020 5
2021 5
Gender-based violence
Low- and middle-income countries
Eastern Mediterranean
South-East Asia
Western Pacific
High-income countries 23
Share of women with experiences of intimate partner violence in 2010.
Education and skills
Low-wage jobs
Literacy rate of youth aged 15-24 years.
Text version
  Women Men
1975 70 84
1976 70 84
1977 70 84
1978 71 85
1979 72 85
1980 73 85
1981 73 85
1982 74 85
1983 75 85
1984 76 86
1985 76 86
1986 77 86
1987 78 86
1988 78 87
1989 78 87
1990 79 87
1991 79 87
1992 80 88
1993 80 88
1994 80 88
1995 81 88
1996 81 88
1997 82 89
1998 83 90
1999 83 90
2000 83 90
2001 84 90
2002 84 90
2003 85 91
2004 86 91
2005 85 91
2006 86 92
2007 86 91
2008 87 92
2009 87 92
2010 87 92
2011 88 92
2012 88 92
2013 89 92
2014 89 93
2015 89 93
2016 90 93
2017 90 93
2018 90 93
2019 91 93

Sources: United Nations, Inter-Parliamentary Union, OECD, UNICEF, World Bank, WHO.

Gender equality around the world has continued to improve as international organizations and governments recognize the importance of the empowerment of women and girls. Not only is gender equality a fundamental human right but there is significant evidence that unlocking the potential of all women and girls is the most effective way to reduce poverty and create a world that is more inclusive, more peaceful and more prosperous.

Although significant progress has been made in many countries around the world over the last two decades, there are still millions of women and girls who continue to be held back from achieving their full potential due to unequal access to resources, opportunities, and security. These inequalities start at birth and follow women throughout their lives. For example, in many countries, boys receive access to health care, nutrition, and education to the detriment of girls. All combined, the impact of a preference for boys and men over girls and women has led to an estimated 100 million women missing due to excessive mortality. In addition, in 41 countries, inheritance laws do not treat daughters and sons equally; in 38 countries, there are no laws prohibiting the dismissal of pregnant workers; and in 32 countries, there is no legislation specifically addressing domestic violence.

Gender-based violence and sexual exploitation also continue to act as significant barriers to women and girls around the world. For example, 12 million girls are married before reaching adulthood each year, almost one in three women has experienced intimate partner violence, and over 200 million women and girls in 31 countries have experienced female genital mutilation.

To help in the fight for global gender equality and women's rights, the federal government undertook a number of important actions, including supporting the implementation of Canada's Feminist International Assistance Policy through the International Assistance Envelope, welcoming an extra 1,000 vulnerable women and girls from various conflict zones around the world as government-assisted refugees, launching Her Voice, Her Choice, to enable the fight against sexual and gender-based violence, and helping women's organizations and networks in over 30 developing countries through the Women's Voice and Leadership Program. Canada also took to the world stage as a leader in advancing gender equality by creating the G7's first Gender Equality Advisory Council and leading G7 partners in committing to meaningful action to help improve the lives of women and girls around the world, co-hosting the first formal Women Foreign Ministers' Meeting, and leading trade missions supporting women-owned businesses through the Business Women in International Trade program, as well as launching a new Partnership for Gender Equality, bringing together the Government of Canada, the philanthropic community, the private sector and civil society.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges that women around the world were already facing have been amplified. Unpaid care work – predominantly carried out by women – increased as schools and child care services closed, more meals needed to be cooked at home, and public health authorities recommended more cleaning and disinfecting. Access to modern contraceptives and family planning diminished due in part to the diversion of resources away from sexual and reproductive health services and in part due to public health restrictions that limited access to or temporarily cancelled certain services, leading to a rise in unintended pregnancies and maternal mortality. Job losses and economic hardships have been felt across the globe but are particularly affecting women as 40 per cent of all working women, globally, are in the sectors that have been most impacted by the pandemic. And, crucially, job loss impacts have the potential to be particularly traumatizing for women, who traditionally earn less, save less, and have less financial independence than men. Poor working conditions in many women-dominated health-care related jobs, such as nursing, have also put many women at greater risk of transmission. Finally, shortfalls in humanitarian aid funding amid the COVID-19 pandemic may have placed millions of women and children fleeing violence at risk of starvation. Recognizing the uneven impact of COVID-19 on women, the government has committed to ensuring that international efforts to fight the pandemic are invested in line with the Feminist International Assistance Policy.

As long as gender equality around the world remains elusive, Canada will have a role to play in eliminating barriers to equality and helping to create better opportunities for women and girls. Recognizing this, Budget 2021 proposes the following measures:

  • Extending the Middle East Strategy for another year.
  • Addressing growing international humanitarian assistance needs around the world.
  • Additional funding for the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE).
  • Further enhancing Canada's contribution to the International COVID-19 Response.
  • Supporting Canada's response to the Rohingya crisis and the situation in Myanmar.
  • Sustaining Canada's effort on the Venezuelan migrant and refugee crisis.

For the details of the impacts of these Budget 2021 measures, please see the Impacts Report.

Summary of Budget 2021 Gender and Diversity Impacts

This year's budget is about securing the recovery and building a strong, more inclusive and more resilient economy. This government is committed to evidence-based decision making and taking into account impacts on people from a variety of perspectives. This approach has guided all decisions taken on the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan as well as all investments made in this budget.

Following the approach introduced in Budget 2019, the remainder of this chapter provides a summary of the impacts of the budget as a whole. This analysis is complemented by the comprehensive analysis of the impacts of individual budget measures in terms of gender, diversity and other factors as found in the Budget 2021 Impacts Report.

Timing of GBA+ and Responsive Approaches

Chart A4.1
When GBA+ was First Performed
Chart A4.1: When GBA+ was First Performed
Text version

This chart compares the timing of when GBA+ was first performed for Budget measures in 2019 and 2021. GBA+ was performed early in the development phase or at the midpoint for 75 per cent of Budget 2021 measures, up from 51 per cent for Budget 2019 measures. GBA+ was performed later in the development stage for 6 per cent of measures in Budget 2019 and 15% of measures in Budget 2021.

Budget 2021 saw a greater proportion of GBA+ being performed in earlier stages, which is indicative of the continuous efforts the government is making to integrate gender and diversity considerations in policy development. There remains room for further improvement, however, considering the number of measures that are still reporting this analysis being performed at the later stages.

Chart A4.2
Responsive Approaches
Chart A4.2: Responsive Approaches
Text version

This chart describes Budget 2021 measures with responsive approaches. Just under 10 per cent of measures in Budget 2021 identified a possible negative impact on some groups. For roughly half of these measures, a responsive approach was developed. Where negative impacts were identified as unlikely, over 15 per cent of measures incorporated a proactive approach to reduce potential barriers to access, up from 8 per cent in Budget 2019.

A key purpose of conducting a GBA+ is to identify barriers to access or unintended negative impacts for specific groups so that mitigation strategies or responsive approaches can be developed to respond to these. Just under 10 per cent of measures identified a possible negative impact on some groups. For roughly half of these measures, a responsive approach was developed. Where negative impacts were identified as unlikely, over 15 per cent of measures incorporated a proactive approach to reduce potential barriers to access, up from 8 per cent in Budget 2019. Other measures were explicitly targeted at vulnerable groups.

Target Population

Chart A4.3
Share of Budget 2021 Investments
($ value of measures*)
Chart A4.3: Share of Budget 2021 Investments

*Excluding Tax Fairness and Savings Measures.

Text version

This chart describes the share of budget 2021 investments by target population. 28% of the dollar value of measures is aimed at all Canadians while the remainder is targeted support for specific subgroups or specific regions/sectors (9%). Targeted support for specific subgroups includes support for indigenous communities which comprises 13% of the budgets investments, benefit increases for seniors (8%), and early learning and child care (19%).

While many measures in the budget are aimed at all Canadians (28 per cent of the budget), some measures target support to a specific group of the population or region/ sector (9 per cent). Targeted support is aimed at challenges or opportunities unique to subgroups of Canadians. For example, this year's budget includes significant support for Indigenous communities and businesses (13 per cent of the budget) and beneficiaries of two specific measures: early learning and child care i.e. women and families with young children (19 per cent) and benefit increases for seniors i.e. seniors age 75+ (8 per cent).

Expected Benefits: Gender

Chart A4.4
Share of Budget 2021 Investments
($ value of measures*)
Chart A4.4: Share of Budget 2021 Investments

*Excluding Tax Fairness and Savings Measures.

Text version

This chart describes the share of Budget 2021 investments by gender. A large percentage of Budget 2021 directly benefits women and men in equal proportions (48 per cent), while the remainder carries benefits that are likely to disproportionately benefit women or men. A significant proportion (34 per cent) of this year's budget is expected to directly benefit women.

A large percentage of Budget 2021 directly benefits women and men in equal proportions (48 per cent), while others carry benefits that are likely to disproportionately benefit women or men. A significant proportion (34 per cent) of this year's budget is expected to directly benefit women. In particular this reflects up to $30 billion in investments to Establish a Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care System which will directly create jobs for women and will support women's labour market participation and their responsibilities as caregivers. Other measures in Budget 2021 will address challenges faced more by men, for example Ending Homelesness (men represent 72 per cent of shelter users).

Expected Benefits: Additional Characteristics

Chart A4.5
Expected Benefits by Subgroup,
Number of Measures
Chart A4.5: Expected Benefits by Subgroup
Text version

This chart shows the number of budget measures expected to benefit ten different subgroups either directly or indirectly. The following subgroups have more than 20 measures directly or indirectly benefitting them: newcomers, people living in rural areas, visible minorities, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities or health problems, LGBTQ2, and low-income individuals. The other groups are: lone-parent households, people who live in urban areas, and students.

Budget measures were assessed in terms of expected direct and indirect benefits by various subgroups of Canadians. A number of measures in this budget are identified as helping Indigenous peoples, rural Canadians, and visible minorities. For example, Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care is expected to benefit Indigenous women, children and families while efforts to strengthen the Canadian Race Relations Foundation are expected to benefit racialized communities. Budget measures can also carry benefits for more than one group – for instance, improving Food Security of Vulnerable Canadians is expected to benefit Black, Indigenous and northern communities as well as low-income Canadians and lone-parent families.

Expected Benefits: Intergenerational and Income Distribution Impacts

Chart A4.6
Expected Intergenerational Impacts, Share of Budget 2021 Investments
($ value of measures*)
Chart A4.6: Expected Intergenerational Impacts, Share of Budget 2021 Investments

*Excluding Tax Fairness and Savings Measures.

Text version

This chart shows the breakdown of the expected impacts of budget investments on different generations. More than half of Budget 2021 investments are expected to benefit Canadians broadly equally across generations. A significant share (30 per cent) are expected to particularly benefit youth or future generations while approximately 10% primarily benefit seniors or the baby boomer generation.

Chart A4.7
Expected Income Distribution Impacts, Share of Budget 2021 Investments
($ value of measures*)
Chart A4.7: Expected Income Distribution Impacts, Share of Budget 2021 Investments

*Excluding Tax Fairness and Savings Measures.

Text version

This chart shows the expected impacts of budget 2021 investments on different income groups. While many budget measures have no significant distributional impacts, a large share (44%) are expected to either somewhat or strongly benefit low income individuals while approximately 16% are expected to somewhat benefit higher income individuals.

Budget 2021 measures were also evaluated with respect to how they affected Canadians at different generational and income levels. More than half of Budget 2021 investments are expected to benefit Canadians broadly equally across generations. A significant share (30 per cent) are expected to particularly benefit youth or future generations. For example, Supporting Internships and Growing Businesses through Mitacs directly benefits youth entering the labour market by expanding access to work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students. This category in part also reflects many of the environmental budget measures, such as Historic Investments in Canada's Natural Legacy which are designed to benefit all Canadians, but assessed as particularly benefitting youth and future generations given that the ultimate impacts of climate change and loss of biodiversity will not be felt for several years.

A large proportion of the budget benefits lower-income Canadians. For example, enhancements to the Canada's Workers Benefit will benefit three million low-and modest-income workers through direct income support and by promoting longer term attachment to the labour force. A smaller portion of the budget is expected to benefit higher income Canadians. For example, Growing Zero-emission Technology Manufacturing will benefit all Canadians in the long term but immediate benefits will accrue to higher income technology manufacturers as these groups receive disproportionately large amounts of investment income.

Measuring What Matters: Quality of Life

The Government of Canada is working to better incorporate quality of life measurements into decision-making and budgeting based on international best practice, expert engagement, evidence on what shapes well-being, and public opinion research on what matters to Canadians.

The Government of Canada has made important progress over the years in understanding how societal trends and budget investments affect people differently. A logical next step is to focus more on the nature of these impacts. This means assessing progress on multiple fronts so decisions about priorities and investments are based on evidence of what will most improve Canadians' quality of life.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many dimensions of Canadians' quality of life, from health impacts and job losses to mental health and social isolation. Inequalities in our society and gaps in our social safety net have been revealed, and many Canadians are reflecting on what they value most. Governments are also assessing how best to promote recovery and build back better.

The experience of the pandemic in Canada and around the world has highlighted the importance of thinking "beyond GDP." It has long been understood that standard measures of economic progress like GDP do not capture the full range of the factors that, evidence shows, determine a good quality of life. GDP tells us how overall economic activity is growing, but little about how growth is distributed across our society. It fails to account for non-market economic activity, like care responsibilities, and environmental harms.

Recognizing the importance of factors beyond GDP does not imply a reduced focus on investing in a strong economy or prudent fiscal management; in fact these are critical to achieving and sustaining quality of life. Increasing Canada's GDP through productivity growth, labour market participation, and investment is crucial for raising Canada's national standard of living now and into the future.

"One in two Canadians (53%) feel that stronger growth in Canada's GDP is important to their day-to-day life. However, far more (82%) feel that measures beyond economic growth such as health and safety, access to education, access to clean water, time for extracurricular and leisure activities, life satisfaction, social connections, and equality of access to public services are important to their day-to-day life. In fact, nearly three quarters (71%) of respondents feel it is important that the government move past solely considering traditional economic measurements like levels of economic growth, and also consider other factors like health, safety, and the environment when it makes decisions."

Public Opinion Research by Earnscliffe
Commissioned by the Department of Finance Canada, August 2020
Figure A4.2
Objectives of the Quality of Life Framework for Canada
Figure A4.2: Objectives of the Quality of Life Framework for Canada
Text version

Quality of Life

Looking at non-economic factors like health, housing, environment, and safety.


Looking at the distribution of outcomes and opportunities across places and people.


Looking at weather today's prosperity undermines future living standards.

This image illustrates the three main objectives of the Quality of Life Framework, with a series of three numbered bars, stacked vertically.  The first reading 'Quality of Life: Looking at non-economic factors like health, housing, environment and safety' is illustrated with a small image of the Quality of Life Framework.

The second, reading 'Equality: Looking at the distribution of outcomes and opportunities across places and people' is illustrated with an image of two people, one standing, one seated in a wheelchair.

The third, reading 'Sustainability: Looking at whether today's prosperity undermines future living standards' is illustrated with an image of the globe.

While economic growth is important, there is now growing international interest in adopting broader measures of progress for decision-making. Building on the OECD's "Better Life Initiative," more than half of its member countries now have "quality of life" or "well-being" policy initiatives. These differ in design and application, but share a common ethos: 1) a well-functioning society should focus on the well-being of its citizens, 2) the distribution of outcomes across society matters, and 3) governments should aim to achieve sustainable outcomes over time.

Governments have generally developed frameworks that track a set of indicators to monitor how the country is faring from a quality of life standpoint, using this evidence inform better policy and funding decisions based on the greatest opportunities for cost-effective interventions.

With renewed attention on what Canadians value most, the pandemic offers an opportunity to "build back better" toward a society that is more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable. Canada has been working towards these objectives prior to the pandemic, making important investments in long-term economic growth, poverty reduction and housing, and taking action on the climate crisis.

The OECD's Better Life Initiative develops statistics that capture aspects of life that matter to people and that help shape the quality of their lives.

In 2019, New Zealand released the world's first Well-being Budget based on the NZ Treasury's Living Standards Framework, setting well-being priorities at the outset of the annual budget cycle.

Scotland's National Performance Framework articulates outcomes related to quality of life and sustainability, aligning the efforts of the public, private and not-for-profit sectors to achieve them.

In 2020, France announced its green budgeting initiative, evaluating its national budget against its Paris Agreement objectives.

A quality of life framework can bring together these and other objectives, such as social cohesion and resilience. This integrated approach can serve as a north star for policy development and budgeting; articulating priorities based on what matters most for Canadians' quality of life. Work to do this is well underway. In December 2019, the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance was tasked with better integrating quality of life measurements into decision-making and budgeting. Guided by conversations with experts, nations that are advanced in their thinking about well-being, provinces and territories, Indigenous partners, and feedback from Canadians themselves, officials across the government have teamed up to create a draft "made-in-Canada" approach.

Figure A4.3
Architecture of the Quality of Life Framework for Canada
Chart #: Chart title
Text version

Quality of Life




Good Governance


Fairness and Inclusion

Sustainability and Resilience

This image illustrates the Quality of Life Framework.  It is represented as a circular graphic with the term 'Quality of Life' at its centre, and is divided into five segments which represent each of the five domains of the framework.  The Prosperity domain is represented by an image of a line graph, the Health domain with a heart, Society by a group of people, Environment by trees, and Good Governance by a building.  The two cross-cutting lenses of the framework encircle the image, represented by curved arrows.

The Quality of Life Framework is based on evidence about the factors that matter most to Canadians: prosperity, health, environment, social cohesion, and good governance. It uses disaggregated data to look at the distribution of these outcomes through a "Fairness and Inclusion" lens, and considers long-term dynamics through a "Sustainability and Resilience" lens. You can learn more about the proposed framework in this discussion paper on the Department of Finance Canada website. Dialogue will continue on the framework and its evergreen set of indicators.

This framework is already beginning to inform decisions. Consideration of how each budget proposal affects the various dimensions and indicators of this framework helped achieve the right mix of measures with an appropriate focus on building a strong, inclusive and sustainable recovery. Moving forward, the framework will continue to underpin how we monitor progress in "building back better" to improve Canadians' quality of life now and into the future.

"Last but not least, hard-wiring well-being into policymaking could make an important contribution to "building back better". Our forthcoming Economic Survey looks at how measures of well-being can be used in policymaking. Canada's commitment to developing a well-being framework can help to ensure that the slogan of "building back better" is translated into an actionable set of outcomes and concrete measures."

Angel Gurría, Secretary-General, OECD,
Address to the Empire Club of Canada, February 2021

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