Budget 2024 Policy Wins for Women

16 April 2024
April 16, 2024

New funding for free contraception, creation of more $10-a-day child care spaces and investment in gun control buyback program

Anishinaabe Territory/OTTAWA, April 16, 2024 – The National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) is pleased to see funding in Budget 2024 which addresses barriers women and girls in Canada face to achieving substantive gender equality.

Reproductive justice – universal contraception: “NAWL applauds the federal government prioritizing access to free contraception in the first phase of national universal pharmacare. Eliminating the financial barriers to accessing one’s contraception of choice, no matter the cost, is an important matter of reproductive health and justice. Free contraception makes women, non-binary individuals and gender-diverse people better able to control their lives – in the areas of family planning, educational and skills training goals, workforce participation and financial independence,” says Tiffany Butler, Executive Director of NAWL.

Child care and national school food program: For women struggling to access affordable child care and to feed their children nutritious food during the affordability crisis, the budget contains new desperately needed investments to support the foundation and creation of inclusive systems, including:

  • $1 billion for a federal Child Care Expansion Loan Program and $60 million in grants for the construction of new low-fee public and not-for-profit licensed child care spaces;
  • $10 million over two years, starting in 2024-25, to increase the number of qualified early childhood educators through training initiatives; and
  • A new National School Food Program – $1 billion over five years to provide meals to 400,000 children per year across the country.

Gender-Based Violence: NAWL is also pleased to see confirmation in the budget of $30.4 million over two years, starting in 2024-25, for the assault-style firearms buyback program. This investment will increase the safety of women across Canada from gun violence and save lives.

NAWL also welcomes additional funding of $1.3 million over three years toward a regional Red Dress Alert System to notify the public when an Indigenous woman, girl or two-spirit person goes missing.

NAWL is also pleased to see funding of $30.6 million over three years to Justice Canada to continue funding legal advisory and education services for victims of workplace sexual harassment.     

Housing Affordability and Homelessness: The budget’s measures to tackle the spectrum of housing availability and affordability challenges will especially benefit women, who earn less than men on average, and one-parent families headed by a woman, who are more likely to live in poverty.

“Measures like an additional $1.3 billion over four years for the Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy, a national renters’ bill of rights, and $15 million for a tenant protection fund over 5 years will benefit low-income women who are housing insecure and vulnerable to unfair rent increases, renovictions or illegal activity by landlords,” says Butler.

Budget Shortfalls: NAWL is disappointed to see no new funding to the Women’s Program and no commitment in Budget 2024 to provide stable and predictable funding to the women’s rights sector and the national feminist organizations working across the country to advance systemic change and substantive equality.

Overall, Budget 2024 demonstrates the federal government’s ongoing commitment to closing the gender equality gap for women in Canada. However, much more remains to be done on child care, gun violence, and gender-based violence, among other issues. In particular, NAWL is advocating for the following priority measures by the federal government:

  • amend Canada’s Divorce Act to ban “parental alienation” accusations in family court to protect victims of family violence against victim-blaming and stereotypes;
  • properly fund the GBV sector to ensure survivors receive the health services they need; and
  • urgently stabilize national women’s rights organizations with predictable operational funding needed to ensure women’s rights and gender equality continue to be fiercely defended in Canada.
about NAWL
The National Association of Women and the Law is a not-for-profit feminist organization that promotes the equality rights of women through legal education, research and law reform advocacy.
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