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Ministerial mandate letters – 3 top takeaways you may have missed!

Published on 01/02/2020 by Anjum Sultana

In mid-December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released his ministerial mandate letters.for this Parliament session. These letters essentially highlight key goals that each Minister is expected to achieve during their current term in office. For the public and policy advocates alike, they give us insights into what issues matter the most this minority Parliament.

Using our YWCA intergenerational intersectional feminist lens, here are the top 3 things you may have missed and should be watching for this session of Parliament.

Canada’s bid for a UN Security Council seat creates opening for inclusive domestic policies

The Government of Canada has just 5 more months to convince the world they should hold a UN Security Council seat. In June, the UN’s 193 member states will vote and Canada will know where it stands on the global stage. Gender equality has been a key pillar of their UN Security Council seat campaign.

For activists and organizations working to advance gender equity, all of this international pressure is creating a pivotal opportunity to see concrete action (and money) to push forward inclusive policies. From seeing a National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence materialize, to promoting gender-focused investments in childcare, housing and economic opportunities to reforming parental benefits, this might be the moment we’ve been waiting for to finally see traction. And it doesn’t hurt that 2020 is also the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action on Gender Equality so even more focus on how we stack up against other nations.

Want to put on the pressure and get the government to take concrete action on advancing gender equality? Sign up here and we’ll loop you into your our upcoming advocacy campaigns!

Commitment to Honour the International Decade of People of African Descent and Tackle Anti-Black Racism

We are at the midpoint of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent which spans 2015-2024.

In honour of this decade, we saw in 2019 Federal Budget a financial commitment of $25 million dollars over 5 years for projects and capital assistance to celebrate, share knowledge and build capacity in our vibrant Black Canadian communities. That commitment is built on with several Ministers being directed to work collaboratively to ensure the International Decade of People of African Descent is being honoured cross-ministerially.

The government has also put financial and policy commitments towards addressing discrimination and bias, especially anti-Black racism. This includes broadening and deepening the use of a Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) across several diversity considerations in future budgets and Cabinet proposals for every department, expanding and advancing Canada’s Anti-Racism strategy, and establishing an Anti-Racism Secretariat.

New Parliament, New Minister, New Action on Youth Policy?

This session of Parliament, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is no longer doing double duty. He has transitioned his role as Minister of Youth to the Member of Parliament for Waterloo, Bardish Chagger. She will also serve as the Minister for Diversity and Inclusion.

The continuation of this role and the presence of several youth-focused policy planks this past election indicates that there is an interest in engaging on issues relevant and important to younger generations. This isn’t surprising given that this past election, Millennials and Gen Z voters made up 37% of the electorate. Their proportion of the population is only going to grow so it will be interesting to see how that changes policy priorities. We already saw a specific youth report this past budget.

What are we watching for? The implementation of Canada’s Youth Policy, the release of Canada’s first State of the Youth report later this year and how the government will implement its commitment of ensuring that 75% of crown corporations will include a young person on their board.

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