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Canadian women have been key to the building and strengthening of our country. Their ability to participate and achieve the full benefit of living in a free, democratic, and vital country must be ensured. Equality of opportunity to fully enjoy the possibilities of achieving their goals and realizing their contribution to Canadian society will enhance the future of Canada for generations.
As a member of the Canadian Heritage Portfolio, Status of Women Canada (SWC) plays an important role in our society. In 2007–2008, SWC will continue to support and create opportunities for the full participation of the women of Canada in all aspects of Canada’s economic, social, and cultural life. It will target its efforts to have a direct impact on women, particularly Aboriginal, senior, visible minority, and immigrant women. The priority will be on improving the economic security of women and eliminating violence against women.
Over the past year, SWC’s operations have been streamlined to ensure that its activities deliver more concrete results for women in their communities. In 2007–2008, to reflect these changes, SWC will make the necessary adjustments to its planning and reporting tools, including its Program Activity Architecture. The Report on Plans and Priorities for 2007–2008 thus incorporates elements from both SWC’s existing Program Activity Architecture and the renewed terms and conditions of the Women’s Program.
SWC, in cooperation with the central agencies and other federal departments and levels of government, will continue to foster an environment that considers the impact of policies and programs on women and men. SWC’s vision and objectives for the year 2007–2008 are set out in this Report on Plans and Priorities. They demonstrate the vital role that SWC plays in providing direct support to Canadian women.
Beverley J. Oda
This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Guide for the Preparation of Part III of the 2007–2008 Estimates: Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports.
Florence Ievers, Co-ordinator
To achieve concrete results regarding the full participation of women in the economic, social and cultural life of Canada, work is still needed across the federal government and with other levels of government, the private sector and nongovernmental organizations.
As a result of an efficiency review completed by SWC, $5 million in administrative savings will be generated as of April 1, 2007. These savings will have been achieved by streamlining and consolidating operations to enhance SWC’s policies, processes and practices for funding programs and by streamlining the core work of SWC’s policy advice role so as to achieve greater accountability and effectiveness. As a result of the efficiency review, SWC will be able to focus on initiatives in line with government priorities that directly affect women and to simultaneously ensure the integrity and coherence of the organization’s core functions and activities. Hence, the main challenges and risks to SWC in 2007–2008 are likely to be identified as implementation of the revised organizational structure and of the new (internal and external) processes proceeds.
SWC will pursue two priorities over the coming years.
First, the organization will support the strengthening of accountability in the federal government. SWC will develop policy advice and tools that will achieve results, including enabling departments to effectively integrate gender-based analysis into public policies and programs and assisting central agencies to monitor and report on government-wide progress in promoting the full participation of women.
Second, SWC plans to better integrate policy and planning by developing partnerships and by investing in projects that have a direct impact on women, in keeping with government priorities. In doing so, SWC will focus on funding projects designed to enhance the full participation of women in Canadian society. (For details, visit http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca).
The delivery of the renewed Women’s Program has been streamlined to manage more efficiently the same annual grants and contributions budget of $10.8 million. As in the case of the organization’s policy advice role, SWC’s Women’s Program funding will be used to support strategic priorities such as the situation of Aboriginal women and the economic security of particular groups of women. This support will be in addition to the remaining three years of the annual $1 million contribution to the Sisters-In-Spirit initiative.
Two operational priorities were also identified following the assessment of the Management Accountability Framework at SWC in 2006:
The following tables reflect SWC’s total financial and human resources (full time equivalents—FTEs) in accordance with the Main Estimates:
Under the revised criteria for its funding program (see Section II, Activity 2), SWC expects that a wider range of organizations will be interested in applying to its grants and contributions program, thus potentially leading to partnerships involving governmental and other organizations on projects that address the needs of women—in particular, women who face barriers to their participation in Canadian society.
SWC’s funding program applications are now available online, which should improve accessibility to users. The variety of organizations applying for funding may also increase as a result of the recently modified criteria.
The Women’s Program will also improve its accountability by implementing the SWC Management Response to the evaluation of the Women’s Program and to the 2006 Integrated Results-based Management Framework and Risk-based Audit Framework. This process will involve the implementation of a diverse and comprehensive strategy to monitor and document outcomes, ensuring that projects achieve more concrete results, provide value for money and demonstrate clear accountability.
Through the amalgamation of the previous Policy, Gender-Based Analysis and Research directorates, SWC’s core work of policy advice will now consist in supporting departments and central agencies to apply gender-based analysis when designing and implementing departmental policies and programs. While discontinuing the Policy Research Fund, SWC will still undertake internal research activities to support its policy work by generating evidence-based knowledge and by identifying international and domestic best practices on gender issues and on innovative approaches to integrating gender-based analysis into public policy formulation.
The rationalization of SWC’s core functions will permit the Government to be better positioned to work toward identifying and addressing existing barriers, preventing new ones from being established, and promoting the full participation of women in the economic, social and cultural life of the country.
In 2007–2008, SWC will also pursue the implementation of the two operational priorities adopted following the 2006 Management Accountability Framework assessment:
In fulfilling its mandate, SWC is committed to contributing to the vitality of official language minority communities, assisting in their development and fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society. In 2007–2008, SWC will continue to work in partnership with key partners, including Canadian Heritage, voluntary organizations and other stakeholders to carry out its legislative obligations under the Official Languages Act. SWC will also provide support for projects that help to facilitate the full participation of official language minority women in the economic, social and cultural life of Canadian society.
The main challenges and risks to SWC in 2007–2008 are likely to be identified during implementation of the revised organizational structure and of the new (internal and external) processes. For example, responding to a wide variety of accountability requirements will necessitate adjustments. As a learning organization, SWC intends to follow such developments and come up with solutions and adjustments where necessary. For example, plans and deliverables will be reviewed according to the focus on direct participation of women, the streamlined SWC structure and processes, and the criteria of the renewed funding program.
The program activity architecture, on which public and financial reporting are based, will also be revised to reflect the activities undertaken, and the results sought, by SWC.
The objective of assisting women in becoming full economic partners in Canadian society forms part of the foundation of SWC’s mandate and informs and supports Government priorities. The objective to attain a societal context in which women are treated as full economic partners contextualizes SWC’s working environment and simultaneously supports the Government priorities.
Through much of the twentieth century, the movement to obtain official recognition of the importance of women’s participation in Canadian society was primarily a struggle for basic human rights. There is no doubt that progress in the nature of women’s involvement and participation levels has been enormous since such recognition was granted. For example:
The table that follows presents the program priorities selected for the next three years by SWC to work towards its strategic outcome and the resources that will be associated with each of them:
One way in which SWC will support the strengthening of accountability in the federal government is by providing policy advice and capacity-building in gender-based analysis to federal departments. Although all policies and programs can benefit from the application of gender-based analysis, the technique is particularly important when looking at specific population groups of women who face barriers—for example, Aboriginal women and women living in poverty.
The application of gender-based analysis as a systematic approach allows departments to develop, implement and assess their initiatives based on sound evidence regarding the gender and diversity elements of the Canadian population. Such an approach enhances the effectiveness and efficiency of policies and programs because they are then grounded in evidence and are thus more likely to lead to concrete, positive results for all Canadians.
More specifically, within the context of a three-year strategic plan, SWC will be undertaking the following actions to ensure accountability and sustainability of commitments to the full participation of women in the Canadian society:
With the same annual budget for the renewed Women’s Program ($10.8 million), SWC will focus the delivery of its grants and contributions to support projects that have a direct impact on women, in keeping with government priorities. Also to improve women’s participation, SWC will provide financial assistance to organizations addressing significant participation barriers faced by women and developing partnerships with the public, not-for-profit and private sectors.
In the same vein, the $5 million contribution to the Sisters-In-Spirit initiative will also continue for its remaining three years at $1 million annually. Undertaken with the Native Women's Association of Canada, this initiative is expected to make a strong contribution to federal efforts in going beyond the focus on family violence to address racialized and sexualized violence against Aboriginal women, determining its root causes and informing policy direction and development.