Budget 2018: Rebuilding Multiculturalism and Evidence-Based Policy

After the neglect over the past two years, the government is investing in the multiculturalism program (essentially restoring or more the previous cuts) along with targeted initiatives for Canadian Blacks.

Equally, if not more significant, the creation of new Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics will improve the quality and quantity of diversity-related data, with more data disgraced by race (likely defined as the different visible minority groups).

Both initiatives respond largely to some of the more substantive recommendations of the Canadian Heritage committee report on M-103:

Strengthening Multiculturalism and Addressing the Challenges Faced by Black Canadians (p184) – $42 million

Diversity is Canada’s strength and a cornerstone of Canadian identity. Recent domestic and international events, like the rise of ultranationalist movements, and protests against immigration, visible minorities and religious minorities, remind us that standing up for diversity and building communities where everyone feels included are as important today as they ever were.

To provide support for events and projects that help individuals and communities come together, the Government proposes to provide $23 million over two years, starting in 2018–19, to increase funding for the Multiculturalism Program administered by Canadian Heritage. This funding would support cross-country consultations on a new national anti-racism approach, would bring together experts, community organizations, citizens and interfaith leaders to find new ways to collaborate and combat discrimination, and would dedicate increased funds to address racism and discrimination targeted against Indigenous Peoples and women and girls.

As a first step toward recognizing the significant and unique challenges faced by Black Canadians, the Government also proposes to provide $19 million over five years that will be targeted to enhance local community supports for youth at risk and to develop research in support of more culturally focused mental health programs in the Black Canadian community. In addition, with the creation of the new Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics, announced in Chapter 1, the Government is committed to increase the disaggregation of various data sets by race. This will help governments and service providers better understand the intersectional dimensions of major issues, with a particular focus on the experience of Black Canadians.

Evidence-Based Policy (p 56)

In order to properly address gender inequality and track our progress towards a more equitable society, we need to better understand the barriers different groups face. The Government of Canada intends to address gaps in gathering data and to better use data related to gender and diversity.

This includes proposing $6.7 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, and $0.6 million per year ongoing, for Statistics Canada to create a new Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics. The Centre will maintain a public facing GBA+ data hub to support evidence-based policy development and decision-making—both within the federal government and beyond.

The Centre will work to address gaps in the availability of disaggregated data on gender, race and other intersecting identities to enrich our understanding of social, economic, financial and environmental issues. The work conducted at the Centre will include collecting, analyzing and disseminating data on visible minorities to understand the barriers different groups face and how best to support them with evidence-based policy.

As part of the Government’s commitment to address gaps in gender and diversity data, the Government is also proposing to provide $1.5 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, and $0.2 million per year ongoing, to the Department of Finance Canada to work with Statistics Canada and Status of Women to develop a broader set of indicators and statistics to measure and track Canada’s progress on achieving shared growth and gender equality objectives.

Budget 2018 also proposes to provide $5 million per year to Status of Women Canada to undertake research and data collection in support of the Government’s Gender Results Framework. One of the first projects this would support is an analysis of the unique challenges visible minority and newcomer women face in finding employment in science, technology engineering and mathematics occupations. This research will fill important gaps in knowledge as to how to achieve greater diversity and inclusion among the high-paying jobs of tomorrow.

Recognizing the importance of poverty data in evidence-based decision- making by all levels of government, the federal government additionally proposes an investment of $12.1 million over five years, and $1.5 million per year thereafter, to address key gaps in poverty measurement in Canada. This includes ensuring that poverty data is inclusive of all Canadians, data on various dimensions of poverty are captured, and the data is robust and timely

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: