The Federal Social Security Reform: Taking Gender into Account - Submission to the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development and to the Federal Department of Human Resources Development
64 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2014 Last revised: 17 Mar 2015
Date Written: December 23, 1994
This report by the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) sets out a list of recommendation to the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development on the reform of the federal social security system. NAWL takes the view that Canadian women must be full and equal participants in creating social welfare policy and that the federal reform process should consider a fundamental objective to be the promotion of women's substantive equality. NAWL has made 26 recommendations for social security reform. Among these: Canadian women must be recognized as equal participants in social welfare policy decision-making. Social spending should not be targeted as a deficit reduction measure without a reassessment of all federal tax and spending policies. Social security reform must recognize women's market and non-market roles as mothers and as household labourers. Federal training programs must be accessible and accountable to women facing diverse needs. Literacy and language training should be considered a basic right. Part-time work should be fully insured under Unemployment Insurance, and treated equally under other federal employment programs and statutes. The federal minimum wage should be increased. Federal transfers for post-secondary education should not be replaced by an expanded income-contingent loan but instead, should be tied to education equity goals. The Canada Assistance Plan (CAP) should not be replaced with an unconditional block funding formula, or a funding formula tied only to increasing employability or reducing child poverty. Existing national conditions under CAP should be fully enforced, except to meet the distinct concerns of Québec and Canada's First Nations. The CAP condition related to adequacy should be strengthened, and a non-discrimination condition be added. Willingness to participate in training or other employment programs should never be a pre-condition for receiving social assistance. Child poverty should be remedied by addressing the poverty of mothers. Universality in child benefit programs should be retained, but the greatest support should be provided to families with the greatest needs. Accessible child care should be a national priority, as it is a systemic barrier to women's equal access to education, training and employment. Issues around health, housing, immigration and settlement should be part of the social security review process, with special attention to the impact of any reform on women. Changes to the social security system should be made overtly, after full Parliamentary debate.
Keywords: women, Canada, Parliament, committee, standing committee, human resources, federal, social security, social welfare, deficit, social, spending, reform, labour, wage, training, Canada Assistance Plan, poverty, child, benefit, employment
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation