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Trudeau Liberals falling short on promise of ‘gender-based analysis’ of policies

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers remarks prior to a meeting with elected members of a borough in his riding in Montreal, Feb. 1, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Internal documents show the Trudeau Liberals’ promise to examine how their plans affect women and men differently hasn’t been fulfilled across the federal government.

Results from an internal survey conducted by Status of Women Canada measuring the implementation of “gender-based analysis plus” — or G-B-A-plus — found fewer than half of departments and agencies have a G-B-A-plus plan, with most departments saying they lack the internal mechanisms to apply one.

Gender-based analysis is a tool used to think about how a certain policy might affect men and women in different ways, along with taking age, income, culture, ethnicity and other intersecting factors into account.

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The findings show that despite the Trudeau government making it mandatory in 2016 that all memos to cabinet and Treasury Board submissions — which often form the basis of big spending or policy decisions — have a gender-based analysis, fewer than half have tracked whether this has indeed been done for these or other documents.

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The survey also shows 40 per cent of departments and agencies say they are not tracking how well they have implemented G-B-A-plus and what effect it might be having.

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Conservatives and Liberals alike have called G-B-A-plus a useful way to think about what they’re doing and make sure nobody is accidentally left out of government plans.

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