Minister Sajjan Responds to Auditor General’s Report on Gender Equality Support

Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, today issued the following statement:

“I would like to thank the Auditor General of Canada for the Report on International Assistance in Support of Gender Equality, which she has tabled in Parliament. I have accepted all her recommendations.

“Global Affairs Canada has a proven track record in supporting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in its international assistance. This was strengthened with the launch of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP). In implementing the policy, Canada has substantially increased its investments in advancing gender equality. For example, Canada committed up to $300 million to the Equality Fund, provided $150M to support local women’s rights organizations under our Women’s Voice and Leadership program, and made ground-breaking investments in sexual and reproductive health rights, and paid and unpaid care work.

“In fact, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recognized us, for the fourth year in a row, as its top bilateral donor in terms of overall share of aid supporting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

“Indeed, in the last fiscal year, nearly all – 99%- of Canada’s bilateral international development assistance either targeted or integrated gender equality. Canada’s overall dollar investment in initiatives that specifically target gender equality results has increased six-fold since 2015-2016 and had reached 14% of our total portfolio in 2019-20. Before the FIAP, this number was just 3%. We will continue to advance efforts to integrate and target gender-equality results in our international assistance.

“Global Affairs Canada’s management action plan, which will be shared with the Office of the Auditor General [OAG], will clearly outline the concrete actions we are taking to address the gaps identified by her office. These actions include improving our information management systems and practices, reporting more thoroughly on the cumulative impacts of international assistance projects and further considering intersecting identity factors when conducting project-level gender-equality assessments.

“We are committed to continuing to improve our practices to better address intersectionality – the consideration of the multiple factors that shape people’s identity, experiences, discrimination and privilege – as a core principle of our feminist approach to international assistance. We have been working to enhance requirements and guidance for the consideration of intersecting identity factors, including when assessing gender equality and human rights in projects.

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