In 1995 the government implemented the most significant spending reductions in contemporary Canadian history. Following these reductions, many women suffered significant economic hardship.
A time of economic prosperity then ensued for the federal government. However, federal spending policy in the last ten years has done nothing to help women and other vulnerable populations, on the contrary.
When NAWL’s representatives presented to the Federal Finance Committee they demonstrated that the 2005 federal budget could successfully increased funding for social programs. They also explained to the Committee how changes to the Canada Child Tax Benefit and the Disability Tax Credit could improve women’s standard of living.
- Pre-Budget Consultations: 2005 Federal Budget (November 2004) [PDF]
Reducing taxes is considered a priority for the government in the federal budgets presented most recently. Underlying the support of tax reduction is the notion that it is better to retain a greater portion of our revenue and look after ourselves than to have access to public programs and services.
However for many women this “increased capacity” to spend and to invest the results from tax cuts is illusory, while the lack of social programs and services for children and elderly persons directly impact women.
NAWL is also concerned about the Caregiver Tax Credit. It is a classic example of the false premise of fiscal policy: that by granting benefits to husbands, the economic security of women can be ensured.
- Pre-Budget Submission To the Standing Committee on Finance House of Commons (October 2001) [doc]
Today many countries such as the United Kingdom, Scotland, Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka recognize the importance of developing fiscal policies that take the gender into account.
Despite its formal commitment to a gender based comparative analysis, Canada is lagging behind with such an analysis with respect to the federal budget. Is it not time that Canada begin to consider the impact of the federal budget on women?