Canada makes history with an unprecedented global investment in the care economy and women’s rights

Canada makes history with an unprecedented global investment in the care economy and women’s rights

 

June 30, 2021  OTTAWA – Today Prime Minister Trudeau took bold action in support of a global feminist economic recovery by announcing $100 million in new international assistance funding dedicated to paid and unpaid care work at the Generation Equality Forum, the largest multi-sector gathering on women’s rights in the world. This is the first targeted global investment in the care economy by a donor government. 

This international assistance commitment, alongside Canada’s historic $30 billion commitment to build a national early learning and child care system in the 2021 federal budget, shows the government sees investment in the care economy – in areas such as childcare, eldercare and decent working conditions for domestic workers – as essential components to both Canada and the world’s pandemic economic recovery strategies. 

“In this critical time when the world is seeking to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, Canada’s investment in care is timely as care work makes other work possible,” said Nicolas Moyer, CEO of Cooperation Canada. “The feminist recovery in Canada and everywhere in the world requires strong and effective leadership as demonstrated by Canada today.” 

COVID-19 exposed how important care is for our society and our economy, while also demonstrating just how fragile the care sector is. Heavy and unequal care responsibilities remain one of the most significant barriers to gender equality across the world. According to the International Labour Organization, even before the pandemic hit 42 per cent of women of working age said they were unable to do paid work because of their unpaid care responsibilities such as care-giving activities and domestic chores like cleaning and cooking – compared to just 6 per cent of men. 

Oxfam, along with global allies, have been calling for a multi-million-dollar investment in programs that will help recognize, reduce and redistribute unpaid care work, freeing up women’s time and creating more opportunities for work and political and community participation. Investing in both paid and unpaid care, in Canada and around the world, will support women’s rights and makes good economic sense. 

This $100 million commitment has the potential to support initiatives that advocate for the rights of care workers, create and improve care infrastructure and support programs which foster positive social norms around men and women’s shared responsibilities for care. 

 

Media Contact 
Kat Guerin
Communications Manager
[email protected]  

 

About Cooperation Canada 

Cooperation Canada brings together and advocates for Canada’s international development and humanitarian organizations by convening sector leaders, influencing policy and building capacity. Together, we work with partners both inside and outside Canada to build a world that’s fair, safe and sustainable for all. 

Cooperation Canada reacts to Budget 2021: A missed opportunity for Canada’s global engagement

Cooperation Canada reacts to Budget 2021: A missed opportunity for Canada’s global engagement

Keeping Canadians safe is the most important role of the government. That means eradicating COVID-19 from around the world, urgently addressing the climate crisis, and ensuring an equitable pandemic recovery. Our economy is global, our population is multicultural, and we cannot solve global challenges in isolation. Canada will not recover until the world recovers.

Today, the Government of Canada announced budgetary measures aimed at eradicating COVID-19. This includes $375 million towards the global pandemic response – a critical contribution that will save lives. Yet this modest figure stands in contrast with the Government’s commitments last year, amounting to an estimated $1.2 billion and does not reflect or respond to the dire humanitarian needs around the globe: with 97 million people pushed to extreme poverty and 270 million facing acute hunger. COVID-19 is not a fleeting crisis. It calls for political leadership and strategic investments to make up for the 25 years of human development progress lost in the first 25 weeks of the global pandemic. Today’s budget is a missed opportunity to demonstrate such political leadership.

Women and girls, marginalized communities and historically disadvantaged countries are bearing the brunt of the harshest economic, social, and health effects of the crisis. Securing their futures requires ambitious action. This is why the international development sector has been calling for the government to invest 1% of its COVID response to support the global response and recovery. Today’s Budget provides for $375 million in COVID-19 global response, encapsulated in a $1.4 billion increase in international assistance, spread over five years. Such an increase emerges as insufficient against the backdrop of the biggest global crisis in a generation and the need for long-term investments in mechanisms of global health, social protection and economic collaboration on which depends our ability to recover from COVID-19 and prevent and mitigate future crises.

Canada is currently contributing far below its global fair share and its international commitments, investing only 30 cents in international assistance for every 100 dollars in gross national income. Despite an increase last year, Canada continues to perform below the average of donors of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Low levels of funding, exacerbated by unpredictable new allocations that follow political trends and media attention instead of the humanitarian needs and development strategies, are threatening the achievement of the government’s own Feminist International Assistance Policy.

Canadians understand the need for a bold budget with robust measures to address the crisis within and beyond our borders. While Canada grapples with its own vaccine roll-out, many lower-income countries have not received a single dose, endangering lives, and threatening the health and economic recovery everywhere.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how important it is to address global crises in a timely manner,” said Nicolas Moyer, CEO of Cooperation Canada. “Canada’s international development and humanitarian sector has been calling on the Government to commit to a strategic, long-term investment in global solutions to the multiple concurrent crises affecting us everywhere. This Budget missed an opportunity to answer those calls.”

Today was also not the day Canada presented a vision for addressing international climate challenges. Looking forward, the Government must tackle the climate crisis with determination. This means allocating Canada’s fair share of the global climate finance commitments, which corresponds to $1.8 billion in annual contributions, on top of the current international assistance levels. Our global crises cannot be solved in isolation. Climate adaptation and mitigation, humanitarian interventions and development efforts are mutually reinforcing and as such deserve comprehensive and strategic investments that match the severity and the urgency of the crises we are facing everywhere.

Canada has an opportunity to do better later this year at the G7 Summit and the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) with a chance to invest in progressive and principled global development, that is in everyone’s interest. It is time to commit meaningfully to effective efforts to build back healthier, safer, more equitable and sustainable communities for us all.

Media Contact
Kat Guerin
Communications Manager
[email protected]

About Cooperation Canada
Cooperation Canada brings together and advocates for Canada’s international development and humanitarian organizations by convening sector leaders, influencing policy and building capacity. Together, we work with partners both inside and outside Canada to build a world that’s fair, safe and sustainable for all.

Key Messages from Cooperation Canada’s Submission on Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy

The Government of Canada has completed the first round of consultations to inform Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy. The goal is to help inform a white paper that will guide Canada’s feminist policy as a whole, in line with the already existing commitments and principles, such as those outlined in Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP).

 

The Feminist Foreign Policy Working Group has collected sector-wide inputs here. Below is Cooperation Canada’s submission in English and French, which has been informed through sector-wide consultations and member feedback. Below are key messages outlining Cooperation Canada’s position in this important process of devising an future oriented, rights-based, and coherent feminist foreign policy.

 

Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy must adopt a human-rights based approach that amplifies the voices of feminist actors and marginalized groups in multilateral and bilateral decision-making arenas. Canada should aim for transformative change, which addresses deeply rooted norms and core causes, as informed by local contexts.

Canada’s feminist approach to its global engagement should define leadership through collaboration. Working alongside like-minded peer countries, acting as an enabler and accelerator of local feminist actors is needed for integrated and sustainable approaches.

Canada’s Feminist Foreign policy should entail processes of institutional transformation. This calls for a shift in focus away from prescriptive outcomes and towards more flexible and context—specific structures and processes of Canada’s institutions including Global Affairs Canada, relevant ministries, and Canada’s missions abroad.

Coherence must be a key pillar of Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy, linking structures and agendas of international trade, diplomacy, defense, and international assistance. Mutually reinforcing strategies must be developed across these areas of intervention to allow for future-oriented and equitable solutions.

Measuring the success of Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy is needed for a continuously evolving policy that leverages policy learning and builds on the expertise of Canadian civil servants, partners, and communities the policy aims to support. Quantitative benchmarks should be accompanied by qualitative reporting processes that allow for the identification of innovative solutions.

 

Click here to read Cooperation Canada’s submission.