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Canada

Feminist and Inclusive Dialogue (CA0071)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Canada Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Canada School of Public Service (CSPS); Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC); Statistics Canada (StatCan); Status of Women Canada (SWC); Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS); other departments and agencies across the Government of Canada

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Gender, Marginalized Communities, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Canada Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Feminist and inclusive dialogue
Issue to be addressed
Open government should benefit all Canadians. Yet many communities continue to be
under-represented in government engagement processes. These communities seeking equality
can include women, girls, LGBTQ2 people, racialized communities, persons with disabilities,
young Canadians, low-income Canadians, and others who face barriers in accessing government
information and participating meaningfully in the government’s decision-making
Commitment
The Government of Canada will support greater inclusion and diversity in its public
engagement. We will apply an intersectional9 lens to open government activities and work to
ensure that the voices and experiences of marginalized and under-represented communities
are represented, considered, and included. In particular, we will:
• test ways to make government engagement and consultation processes more open to
everyone
• implement Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in public engagements and consultations
• build capacity for governments officials to design, facilitate, and support open and
inclusive dialogue
• engage Canadians on gender equality
• support initiatives that build the capacity and longer term viability of women’s
organizations
• increase access to gender and inclusion data
• put people with lived experiences of the consequences of public policy, including
members of vulnerable communities such as persons who are homeless or in poverty, at
the centre of Government of Canada policy design processes
• ensure our own National Action Plan on Open Government is as inclusive as possible by
conducting a rigorous analysis of gender-based impacts of all commitments10

9. Intersectionality refers to the idea that individuals’ lived experiences, and the organization of power in society,
are not only shaped by a single factor (such as gender, race, or social class) but by many factors that work together
and influence each other. These factors can include gender, race, social class, ethnicity, nationality, sexual
orientation, religion, age, disability and illness, as well as other forms of identity. For more a more detailed
definition, check our Annex B [link to follow].
10. This type of analysis is known in the Government of Canada as “Gender-Based Analysis Plus” (GBA+). GBA+ is
an analytical tool used to assess how diverse groups of women, men, and gender-diverse people may experience
policies, programs, and initiatives. The “Plus” in GBA+ acknowledges that GBA goes beyond biological (sex) and
38
Lead department(s)
Canada School of Public Service (CSPS); Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC);
Statistics Canada (StatCan); Status of Women Canada (SWC); Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
(TBS); other departments and agencies across the Government of Canada
Milestones
What will we do? How we will know we succeeded? What is our
deadline?
8.1 Test best practices for
inclusive dialogue and
engagement
(TBS)
10 public engagement or
awareness-raising sessions organized in
partnership with community
organizations representing
equality-seeking communities
April 2020
At least 4 best practices tested as part of
in-person events, for example, use of
alternative venues, event amenities such
as child care and transportation, and
event structure
Report on inclusive engagement practices
and guidance for government
departments published
August 2020
8.2 Promote development of
skills and competencies
required to design, facilitate,
and support open and inclusive
dialogue in policy
development, with support
materials and capacity building
activities
(CSPS/TBS)
Competencies for supporting open and
inclusive dialogue are part of a policy
competency framework for public
servants
March 2019
Capacity-building activities are developed
and offered to public servants
September 2019
Open and inclusive dialogue case studies
and supporting materials are published
and shared with the public
September 2019
8.3 Implement Gender-Based
Analysis Plus (GBA+) in public
engagement and consultations
A guide to integrate GBA+ in public
consultations and engagement has been
December 2018

socio-cultural (gender) differences. We all have multiple identity factors that intersect to make us who we are, so
GBA+ also considers many other identity factors, like race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.
39
What will we do? How we will know we succeeded? What is our
deadline?
(SWC) developed and implemented, as part of
the Guide to Public Engagement
8.4 Engage Canadians on
gender equality by hosting a
national roundtable on GBA+,
leading a national conversation
on gender equality with young
Canadians, and developing a
strategy that engages men and
boys as partners in advancing
gender equality
(SWC)
In-person or online engagement sessions
held:
• Roundtable: targeting approximately
250 stakeholders reached in person
• Engaging men and boys: targeting
approximately 90 organizations
engaged on the development of a
strategy
June 2020
Engagement sessions include
participation from youth, Indigenous
people, officials from different levels of
government, academics, civil society
representatives, and industry
representatives
Information discussed during
engagement sessions are shared in public
reports (for example, What We Heard
Reports, website platform)
8.5 Support initiatives that
build the capacity and
longer-term viability of
women’s organizations
(SWC)
Capacity supports (for example,
resources, tools, strategic plans,
sustainability plans) are generated by
funded projects
June 2020
8.6 Increase access to relevant
and timely gender and
inclusion data
(StatCan/SWC)
More than 50 indicators are released to
improve access to sex-disaggregated and
gender data to support GBA+ analysis
June 2019
Data strategies are developed, including
concepts and standards, to address gaps
as the relate to the concerns of LGBTQ2
communities
October 2019
A gender-based violence (GBV)
knowledge centre is established to serve
Fall 2018
40
What will we do? How we will know we succeeded? What is our
deadline?
as a hub to coordinate federal initiatives
under Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and
Address Gender-Based Violence, support
data collection and research, and
disseminate and mobilize GBV-related
knowledge and evidence
Annual reports to Canadians on the GBV
Strategy’s results are released
June 2020
Data and research in priority areas
related to gender-based violence are
released
June 2020
8.7 Put people with lived
experiences of the
consequences of public policy,
including members of
vulnerable communities such
as persons who are homeless
or in poverty, at the centre of
Government of Canada policy
design processes
(ESDC)
A Federal Housing Advocate and National
Housing Council are appointed and are
starting to consult and collaborate with
stakeholders, including people with lived
experience of housing need and
homelessness
August 2020
An independent National Advisory
Council on Poverty is established to
provide advice to the Minister of Families,
Children and Social Development. The
Council will be representative of Canada's
diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity,
regions, Indigenous people, and official
languages, and include members with
lived experience of poverty
December 2019
8.8 Conduct GBA+ for all
commitments in Canada’s
fourth National Action Plan on
Open Government
(TBS)
A feminist and inclusive peer review of
National Action Plan commitments has
been conducted
August 2018
A GBA+ review of National Action Plan
commitments has been completed
October 2018

IRM Midterm Status Summary

8. Feminist and Inclusive Dialogue

The Government of Canada will support greater inclusion and diversity in its public engagement. We will apply an intersectional lens to open government activities and work to ensure that the voices and experiences of marginalized and under-represented communities are represented, considered, and included. In particular, we will:

  • test ways to make government engagement and consultation processes more open to everyone
  • implement Gender Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in public engagements and consultations
  • build capacity for government officials to design, facilitate, and support more open and inclusive dialogue
  • engage Canadians on gender equality
  • support initiatives that build the capacity and longer term viability of women’s organizations
  • increase access to gender and inclusion data
  • put people with lived experiences of the consequences of public policy, including members of vulnerable communities such as persons who are homeless or in poverty, at the centre of Government of Canada policy design processes
  • ensure our own National Action Plan on Open Government is as inclusive as possible by conducting a rigorous analysis of gender-based impacts of all commitments

Milestones

8.1 Test best practices for inclusive dialogue and engagement (Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat)

8.2 Promote development of skills and competencies required to design, facilitate, and support open and inclusive dialogue in policy development, with support materials and capacity building activities (Canada School of Public Service / Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat)

8.3 Implement Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in public engagement and consultations (Status of Women Canada)

8.4 Engage Canadians on gender equality by hosting a national roundtable on GBA+, leading a national conversation on gender equality with young Canadians, and developing a strategy that engages men and boys as partners in advancing gender equality (Status of Women Canada)

8.5 Support initiatives that build the capacity and longer-term viability of women’s organizations (Status of Women Canada)

8.6 Increase access to relevant and timely gender and inclusion data (Statistics Canada / Status of Women Canada)

8.7 Put people with lived experiences of the consequences of public policy, including members of vulnerable communities such as persons who are homeless or in poverty, at the centre of Government of Canada policy design processes (Employment and Social Development Canada)

8.8 Conduct GBA+ for all commitments in Canada’s 2018-2020 National Action Plan on Open Government (Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat)

For more details about the commitment text, milestones, self-identified success criteria, and estimated completion dates see, https://open.canada.ca/en/content/canadas-2018-2020-national-action-plan-open-government#toc3-4

Start Date: August 2019

End Date: Varies according to milestone

Commitment Overview

Verifiability

OGP Value Relevance (as written)

Potential Impact

Completion

Did It Open Government?

Not specific enough to be verifiable

Specific enough to be verifiable

Access to Information

Civic Participation

Public Accountability

Technology & Innovation for Transparency & Accountability

None

Minor

Moderate

Transformative

Not Started

Limited

Substantial

Completed

Worsened

Did Not Change

Marginal

Major

Outstanding

1. Overall

Assessed at the end of action plan cycle.

Assessed at the end of action plan cycle.

Context and Objectives

The opinions expressed during the discussions with civil society and government stakeholders suggest that promoting feminist and inclusive dialogue is viewed as one of the three most important proposed areas of reform in the current action plan. In commenting on the inclusion of this commitment in the action plan, Pamela Robinson, associate dean and an associate professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University and civil society member of the MSF summed up the rationale as follows:

If we don’t look at systemic barriers; if we don’t probe structural barriers to openness, there’s no point in talking about open government. We [the MSF] had the objective of flagging issues of exclusion that others don’t have the privilege to articulate

This commitment grows out of Commitment 20 of Canada’s third action plan which sought to “foster enhanced citizen participation through greater collaboration and co-creation with the public and stakeholders within and across government initiatives.[58] In line with the OGP’s call for members to “enhance women’s participation and gender equality,” [59] the problem that Commitment 8 seeks to tackle is the under-representation of equity seeking groups in the Canadian federal government’s public engagement activities. The proposed strategy for enhancing levels of inclusion and diversity in government decision-making involves undertaking a number of steps aimed at ensuring the voices and experiences of equity seeking communities are represented, heard, and considered.

Central to this undertaking is the Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) tool that is used to “to assess how diverse groups of women, men and non-binary people may experience policies, programs and initiatives.” [60] Canada committed to applying GBA at the fourth United Nations World Conference on Women in 1995 when it adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and subsequently committed conducting GBA for future legislation, policies, and programs. [61] However, it was not until 2015 when the then newly elected Liberal government came to power that a feminist policy agenda boosting the application of GBA+ to deal with the long-standing gender equity issues was prioritized. The 2015 Report of the Auditor General of Canada “Implementing Gender-based Analysis” led to the development of an action plan for the years 2016–2020, collaboratively developed with Status of Women Canada, the Privy Council Office and the Treasury Board Secretariat, to close gender gaps [62]. Further, the Canadian government’s co-chairship of the OGP has provided it with an opportunity to advance the priority it places on promoting gender equity both domestically and internationally.

Commitment 8 clearly is in line with the principles set out in the OGP’s Open Government Declaration, [63] and its implementation can be reasonably expected to contribute to supporting ongoing efforts at promoting the greater inclusion and diversity in the federal government’s internal and public engagements. [64] The commitment aligns with the OGP values of Access to Information and Civic Participation. However, the extent to which the milestones, as written, align with OGP values is mixed. Milestones 8.1, 8.3, and 8.7 constitute reforms aimed at enhancing the operating environment within which participation in civic spaces takes place. The reform here is not so much about increasing transparency or augmenting participation of civil society organizations but rather about meaningfully including ‘atypical’ groups in government decision-making and service delivery. These milestones are relevant to the OGP value of Civic Participation. With its focus on increasing accessibility to gender- and inclusion-related data, Milestone 8.6 aligns with the OGP value of Access to Information. Milestones 8.2, 8.4, 8.5, and 8.8 are all laudable undertakings but it is unclear how they, as written, align with any of the four OGP values as defined in the IRM Procedures Manual.

Milestones 8.1, 8.3, 8.4, 8.6, 8.7, and 8.8 are uniformly verifiable; either the proposed action takes place, or it does not. However, the specified indicators of success for each of these offer no means of measuring whether and/or the extent to which the proposed activities foster greater inclusion and diversity in the GoC’s public engagement processes. The verifiability of milestones 8.2 and 8.5 requires exercising a degree of interpretation with regard to measurement not least because in each instance the proposed action is very similar to the proposed indicator of success. In the absence of benchmarks and indicators to measure the extent to which completing the milestones is contributing to closing key gaps for diverse groups of women, men and non-binary people, the outcomes of these initiatives will remain unclear.

Despite these limitations of specificity, commitment 8 marks an important proactive step in tackling a targeted set of systemic barriers that negatively impact upon the participation of marginalized and under-represented communities in the Canadian federal government’s public engagement and decision-making activities. If implemented fully, it could be considered a major step forward towards inclusion and enhancing participation of equity-seeking communities.

Next steps

Having member countries take concrete actions on gender actions, and more inclusive co-creation processes is an OGP priority. [65] In its role as Co-Chair of the OGP steering committee, the GoC has been at the forefront of this effort. Commitment 8 marks an important step in addressing the structural biases facing women and other equity seeking groups. [66] This view is aptly and concisely conveyed in a tweet from a participant at the 2019 OGP Global Summit in Ottawa who wrote: [67]

gender blind #opengov processes are not gender neutral...gender blind open gov privileges men. We must correct this for true open gov impact #BreaktheRoles

Bearing this observation in mind, the IRM researcher’s recommendations are twofold:

  • as written, commitment 8 sets out a broad line of action that is lacking in precision and seemingly takes for granted that implementing the proposed activities and deliverables will necessarily contribute to improving the participation and engagement of equity seeking communities. In moving forward specifying benchmarks and metrics for determining whether, and the extent to which, the inclusion-centric reforms are fostering hoped-for outcomes is crucial given the ongoing need for information about what works, and what does not.
  • that the development of future inclusion-oriented action plan commitments involve working directly with equity-seeking communities to identify the most relevant and pressing issues for consideration. One can envision that for some this might entail such actions as augmenting pay-related transparency as a means of reducing gender-based pay discrepancies, whereas for others it might entail, for example, augmenting the transparency of health-related information – subject to applicable restrictions associated with privacy and confidentiality – to identify biases in the delivery of healthcare services to LGBTQ2 people.
[58] Government of Canada. Third Biennial Plan to the Open Government Partnership (2016-18). http://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Canada_AP3.pdf
[59] Pradhan, Sanjay (March 4, 2019). Why gender, why now. Open Government Partnership. https://www.opengovpartnership.org/stories/why-gender-why-now. See also, Actions for a more inclusive Open Government Partnership https://www.opengovpartnership.org/actions-more-inclusive-open-government-partnership
[60] Government of Canada. What is GBA+. Status of Women Canada. https://cfc-swc.gc.ca/gba-acs/index-en.html. See also, Government of Canada. Introduction to GBA+. Status of Women Canada. https://cfc-swc.gc.ca/gba-acs/course-cours/eng/mod00/mod00_01_01.html; Government of Canada. Government of Canada’s Approach. Status of Women Canada. https://cfc-swc.gc.ca/gba-acs/approach-approche-en.html
[61] Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, Strategic Objective G.2.; H. Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, page 84, https://www.un.org/en/events/pastevents/pdfs/Beijing_Declaration_and_Platform_for_Action.pdf
[62] Status of Women Canada, Privy Council Office and Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Action Plan (2016-2020), Audit of Gender-based Analysis, Fall 2015 Report of the Auditor General of Canada: https://cfc-swc.gc.ca/gba-acs/plan-action-2016-en.PDF
[64] See, Government of Canada. Action Plan on Gender-based Analysis (2016-2020). Status of Women Canada. https://cfc-swc.gc.ca/gba-acs/plan-action-2016-en.html
[65] Pradhan, Sanjay (2019, March 4). Why Gender, Why Now? https://www.opengovpartnership.org/stories/why-gender-why-now/. See also, The Feminist Open Government Initiative, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/the-feminist-open-government-initiative/; Advancing OGP’s Gender Strategy (2018, February 27) https://www.opengovpartnership.org/stories/advancing-ogps-gender-strategy/.
[66] See, Neuman, Laura, and Clancy, Katie (eds.) (2019). Feminist Open Government: Addressing gender equity challenges in open government co-creation processes. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre. https://fogo.od4d.net/
[67] Echoing the views reflected in this tweet, it must be noted that the current IRM metrics are inadequate for evaluating both the gender sensitivity of national action plans, and advances/regressions in feminist open government. More specifically, the IRM’s evaluation indicators are oriented toward outputs and outcomes of co-creation activities. They are not well-suited for acknowledging enablers of co-creation, and that women participate differently than men. This matter merits further attention lest the existing metrics ultimately have the adverse effect of mitigating against progress on inclusion and diversity in national action plans

Commitments

  1. User-Friendly Open Government

    CA0064, 2018, Access to Information

  2. Financial Transparency and Accountability

    CA0065, 2018, Access to Information

  3. Corporate Transparency

    CA0066, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  4. Digital Government and Services

    CA0067, 2018, Automated Decision-Making

  5. Open Science

    CA0068, 2018, Access to Information

  6. Healthy Democracy

    CA0069, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  7. Access to Information

    CA0070, 2018, Access to Information

  8. Feminist and Inclusive Dialogue

    CA0071, 2018, Capacity Building

  9. Reconciliation and Open Government

    CA0072, 2018, Access to Information

  10. Open Government Community

    CA0073, 2018, Access to Information

  11. Enhance Access to Information

    CA0042, 2016, Access to Information

  12. Streamline Requests for Personal Information

    CA0043, 2016, E-Government

  13. Expand and Improve Open Data

    CA0044, 2016, Access to Information

  14. Provide and Preserve Open Information

    CA0045, 2016, E-Government

  15. Define an Approach for Measuring Open Government Performance

    CA0046, 2016, Capacity Building

  16. Develop Open Government Skills Across the Federal Public Service

    CA0047, 2016, Access to Information

  17. Embed Transparency Requirements in the Federal Service Strategy

    CA0048, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. Enhance Access to Culture & Heritage Collections

    CA0049, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Enhance Openness of Information on Government Spending and Procurement

    CA0050, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Increase Transparency of Budget and Other Department of Finance Information

    CA0051, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Starred commitment Increase Transparency of Grants and Contributions Funding

    CA0052, 2016, Capacity Building

  22. Improve Public Information on Canadian Corporations

    CA0053, 2016, E-Government

  23. Increase the Availability and Usability of Geospatial Data

    CA0054, 2016, Access to Information

  24. Increase Openness of Federal Science Activities (Open Science)

    CA0055, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. Stimulate Innovation through Canada’s Open Data Exchange (ODX)

    CA0056, 2016, Access to Information

  26. Align Open Data Across Canada (Open Data Canada)

    CA0057, 2016, Access to Information

  27. Implement the Extractives Sector Transparency Measures Act

    CA0058, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  28. Support Openness and Transparency Initiatives Around the World

    CA0059, 2016, Access to Information

  29. Engage Civil Society on Open Government

    CA0060, 2016, Public Participation

  30. Enable Open Dialogue and Open Policy Making

    CA0061, 2016, Capacity Building

  31. Promote Open Government Globally

    CA0062, 2016, Access to Information

  32. Engage Canadians to Improve Key Canada Revenue Agency Services

    CA0063, 2016, Access to Information

  33. Implement Directive on Open Government

    CA0030, 2014, Access to Information

  34. Starred commitment Open Data Canada

    CA0031, 2014, Access to Information

  35. Canadian Open Data Exchange (ODX)

    CA0032, 2014, Access to Information

  36. Open Data for Development

    CA0033, 2014, Access to Information

  37. Open Data Core Commitment

    CA0034, 2014, Access to Information

  38. Starred commitment Open Science

    CA0035, 2014, Public Participation

  39. Starred commitment Mandatory Reporting on Extractives

    CA0036, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  40. Open Contracting

    CA0037, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  41. Open Information on Budgets and Expenditures

    CA0038, 2014, Fiscal Openness

  42. Digital Literacy

    CA0039, 2014, Capacity Building

  43. Open Information Core Commitment

    CA0040, 2014, Access to Information

  44. Consulting Canadians

    CA0041, 2014, Marginalized Communities

  45. Starred commitment International Aid Transparency Initiative: Publish Plan to Make CIDA Activities Available and Accessible

    CA0010, 2012, Aid

  46. International Aid Transparency Initiative: Implement Plan

    CA0011, 2012, Aid

  47. Opening Government of Canada Records: Increase Access to Archived Federal Documents at Library and Archives Canada

    CA0012, 2012, Records Management

  48. Opening Government of Canada Records: Issue New Mandatory Policy on Document Classification

    CA0013, 2012, Records Management

  49. Opening Government of Canada Records: Make Classified Information Available Online

    CA0014, 2012, E-Government

  50. GCDOCS: Deploy Wave One of Electronic Record and Document Management Solution

    CA0015, 2012, E-Government

  51. GCDOCS: Deploy Across Federal Government

    CA0016, 2012, E-Government

  52. GCWEB: Develop Consolidated Web Presence

    CA0017, 2012, E-Government

  53. GCWEB: Implement New Platform

    CA0018, 2012, E-Government

  54. Data.Gc.Ca: Expand Number of Datasets Available

    CA0019, 2012, Access to Information

  55. Data.Gc.Ca: Implement Data.Gc.Ca Portal

    CA0020, 2012, Access to Information

  56. Data.Gc.Ca: Improve Standardization of Data

    CA0021, 2012, Access to Information

  57. Government of Canada Resource Management Data: Publish Resource Management and Performance Data

    CA0022, 2012, Access to Information

  58. Government of Canada Resource Management Data: Enhance Search and Data Tools

    CA0023, 2012, Access to Information

  59. Consulting Canadians: Develop New Platform for Consultation

    CA0024, 2012, E-Government

  60. Consulting Canadians: Develop Standard Approach to Use of Social Media

    CA0025, 2012, E-Government

  61. Consulting Canadians: Pilot a Crowdsourcing Initiative

    CA0026, 2012, E-Government

  62. Consulting Canadians: Enable Use of Common Online Tools

    CA0027, 2012, E-Government

  63. Open Regulation: Federal Regulators to Post Forward Regulatory Plans

    CA0028, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  64. Open Regulation: Simplify Engagement Activities

    CA0029, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  65. Open Government Directive: Issue Directive on Open Government

    CA0001, 2012, E-Government

  66. Open Government Directive: Implement Directive on Open Government

    CA0002, 2012, E-Government

  67. Starred commitment Open Government Licence: Issue Open Government Licence

    CA0003, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  68. Starred commitment Open Government Licence: Adopt Open Government Licence

    CA0004, 2012,

  69. Modernising Administration of Access to Information: Pilot of Online Request and Payment Service

    CA0005, 2012, Access to Information

  70. Modernising Administration of Access to Information: Implement ATI Solution

    CA0006, 2012, Access to Information

  71. Modernising Administration of Access to Information: Make Completed ATI Request Summaries Searchable

    CA0007, 2012, Access to Information

  72. Virtual Library: Begin Design of Virtual Library

    CA0008, 2012, E-Government

  73. Virtual Library: Launch Virtual Library

    CA0009, 2012, E-Government

Open Government Partnership