Arif Virani

Your member of parliament for

Parkdale-High Park

Arif Virani

Your member of parliament for

Parkdale-High Park


Budget 2017: Women and Gender Parity By the Numbers

I have been fortunate, during my career, to have been surrounded by incredible women as mentors and colleagues.  I have been doubly fortunate to have brilliant women in my personal life: my wife, sister, and mother, as incredible inspirations. It is unacceptable that women are still paid less than men for the same job, and underrepresented in leadership positions, but I am pleased to see that our Government is taking action.

Budget 2017 includes the first-ever Gender Statement as part of a Federal Government Budget.  It is fundamental part of our Government’s plan for Canada’s future. The Gender Statement builds on our commitment to use gender-based analysis as an integral part of our evidence-based decision making process. The Gender Statement outlines the need to review and report on how budgetary decisions affect men and women differently. These findings will help us to build a fairer and more inclusive Canada for everyone.

Women deserve to feel safe, supported, and protected in our communities. I was heartened to see $100.9 million allocated in Budget 2017 for the first five years, and $20.7 million per year thereafter to establish a National Strategy to Address Gender-Based Violence. Just this past International Women’s Day on March 8, I rose in the House of Commons to recognize the work of Parkdale-High Park’s very own Redwood shelter for women and children fleeing violence. You can see my statement here. In my work with the Redwood, I have seen the amazing work being done right here in our community, but I have also seen firsthand the critical need for investment and resources to end gender-based violence.

Budget 2017 will invest an additional $7 billion to support the creation of high-quality child care spaces across Canada – up to 40,000 new subsidized child care spaces. With more affordable child care, more parents will be able to return to work.

We have also fulfilled our campaign commitment to introduce more flexibility and choice to parents on parental leave. This is through important changes we have just announced to EI parental benefits in Budget 2017. Proposed changes will allow parents to choose to receive their current benefits over an extended period of up to 18 months.

Budget 2017 also dedicates critical funding for women abroad.  I am proud that our Government has endorsed the Dutch initiative and will be dedicating $650 Million in international aid to the education of women and girls, and to empower women to maintain control over their reproductive rights.  Closer to home, our Government has also launched the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business leaders—this Council is mandated to build a plan of action based on the widespread evidence that women are underrepresented in senior leadership positions.  I am proud to serve in a Government with Canada’s first ever Gender-equal cabinet, but I know a lot more still needs to be done.   When we saw 338 young women take seats in the House of Commons last month as part of the historic Daughters of the Vote event, it was inspiring to see how much the future holds, in the hands of these tremendous young leaders.

Stay tuned for the next installment of my Budget 2017 series tomorrow! Next up: how Budget 2017 supports Indigenous people in Canada.

“We are encouraged to see that the government has recognized some of the challenges that women face in the workforce and that exacerbate the barriers that women face in the engineering profession. We are pleased to see Budget 2017’s plans to address gender-based challenges by closing the gender wage gap, expanding maternity leave options and implementing flexible work arrangements for federally regulated employees.”
Jeanette M. Southwood, Vice-President, Strategy and Partnerships, Engineers Canada

“It’s the first budget with a gender analysis that is very clearly laid out.  It’s been clearly spelled out for Canada that it’s time we had this happening in a more cohesive, transparent and accountable way at the government level. I think that’s wonderful.”
Anuradha Dugal, Director of Violence Prevention Programs‎, Canadian Women’s Foundation

“The Budget’s Gender Statement demonstrates that women are being heard by this Government.”
Diana Sarosi, Senior Policy Advisor, Oxfam Canada

Yours truly,

Arif Virani
MP for Parkdale-High Park
Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism