OTTAWA, ON – March 27, 2018 – The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) welcomes the gender-based analysis that informed Budget 2018, as well as its commitment to introduce legislation that ensures gender budgeting remains a permanent part of the federal process.
CASW also welcomes the focus of advancing reconciliation with Indigenous People and Communities, but believes that for reconciliation to truly be a priority for the Government of Canada, it must also be the enshrined as lens that informs all future budget decisions and priorities. “From the perspective of CASW, both reconciliation and gender-based analyses are required given that Indigenous women and children carry the heaviest burdens from the ongoing legacy of colonialism,” notes CASW President Jan Christianson-Wood.
In terms of expenditures of Budget 2018, CASW is supportive of the enhanced Canada Child Benefit, Employment Insurance Parental Leave Benefit, and strengthened Canada Workers Benefit accompanied with the commitment of support throughout the year, rather than after tax filing. “These measures will support working families from relying on charity for food and home security,” adds Christianson-Wood. “However, for people without an income to file, the changes do nothing to support their climb out of poverty.”
Consequently, CASW advocates that the federal government build upon existing structures such as universal health care, and programs such as OAS and GIS, toward a Universal Basic Income. “We have the principles and the foundation laid for a basic income in Canada; this next step would have huge economic and cultural benefits, further enshrining Canada as a progressive leader” states Christianson-Wood.
Another key support in terms of lifting Canadians out of poverty is the plan for universal pharmacare. CASW is very supportive of the announced National Advisory Council on the Implementation of Pharmacare – but will hold the government accountable to swift and responsible implementation.
Finally, CASW is heartened by the measures to address the opioid crisis in Canada, but hoped for bolder action to save lives in Budget 2018. “Legislation for the opening new safe injection sites, the renewal of harm reduction as a pillar in the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy, and the adoption of the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act were all positive steps” states Christianson-Wood. “However, we were truly hopeful that this Budget would have embraced the evidence and signaled the decriminalization of personal use of psychoactive substances.”
For further information:
Fred Phelps, MSW, RSWCASW Executive Director