Gender-based Analysis Plus
Institutional GBA+ capacity
Gender, diversity and intersectionality are key considerations in the work of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), given its global mandate and its impact on newcomers, refugees and Canadians. The IRCC GBA+ Unit, which is part of the Strategic Policy and Planning Branch, is the Department’s GBA+ focal point. The Unit promotes and supports the Department’s application and implementation of GBA+.
The Director General of the Strategic Policy and Planning Branch is responsible for providing GBA+ functional guidance to the Department. IRCC’s GBA+ institutional capacity is also supported by Champions at the senior management level for diversity and inclusion, and the Women’s Network.
Since 2001, IRCC has had a legislative requirement under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) to report on GBA+ in the Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration. To better support evidence-based analysis that underpins GBA+, the Department has extensive data that is disaggregated by gender, as well as other intersectional factors, such as age and country of citizenship. In addition, IRCC is working to further incorporate GBA+ into performance measurement and evaluation processes to ensure IRCC programs address GBA+ considerations.
In 2019–20, the Department had 3.0 full-time equivalents (FTEs) dedicated to the implementation of GBA+: 2 FTEs in the GBA+ Unit and 1 FTE in the Settlement and Integration Policy Branch. In addition, GBA+ work is regularly undertaken by the policy and operational branches within IRCC.
Highlights of GBA+ results by program
The IRCC GBA+ Unit provides advice on policy and operational initiatives, and reviews key initiatives for GBA+ considerations through the review of Memoranda to Cabinet, Treasury Board Submissions, and Federal Budget Proposals. In 2019–20, the GBA+ Unit reviewed and provided guidance on over 50 key policy and program initiatives.
To build awareness among IRCC staff, the GBA+ Unit leads information sessions for IRCC staff. In 2019–20, the Unit led 11 sessions that engaged staff and IRCC management. In addition, the Department’s internal GBA+ webpage was refreshed in 2019 as a key resource for IRCC employees. As it does every year, in September 2019 the Unit also organized the GBA+ Awareness Week, which included a guest speaker to raise awareness about family violence from an immigrant perspective.
Moreover, the GBA+ Unit leads the Department’s reporting on its work to advance GBA+. In 2019–20, IRCC reported on GBA+ through the Departmental Results Report, the Departmental Plan, and the Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration.
IRCC facilitates the entry of visitors, whether as tourists, vacationers visiting friends or family members, or business travellers. The majority of travellers come from the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Australia and France. In recent years, the number of issued Electronic Travel Authorizations (eTAs) and Temporary Resident Visas (TRVs) has been increasing, with the majority of TRVs being multiple entry instead of single-entry visas.
IRCC collects sex-disaggregated data on the number of TRVs and eTAs issued. For multi-entry visa applications that were approved, the male and female proportion was consistently around 47% male and 53% female in recent years, including 2019. The male and female proportion of issued eTAs also remained consistent (around 50% male and around 50% female) in recent years, including 2019.
International students contribute significantly to the cultural, social and economic landscape of Canada. As such, Canada has continued to improve its ranking as a top 10 study destination for international students.
IRCC collects sex-disaggregated data on study permits for international students. For study permit applications received, there was a slightly higher proportion of male students than female students in 2019, consistent with recent years (56% male and 44% female).
IRCC facilitates the entry of foreign nationals who wish to work temporarily in Canada. This allows gaps in the labour market to be filled temporarily by foreign workers in industries and jobs where there is a lack of available and qualified Canadians or permanent residents. IRCC helps to fill these labour gaps through the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program and the International Mobility Program (IMP).
Temporary workers contribute both economically and socially while in Canada—they grow the economy by creating jobs as well as filling them, participate in their local communities, expand awareness and understanding among Canadians of global issues, and forge bonds, all of which can result in future business opportunities.
IRCC collects data that is disaggregated by gender on temporary workers.
For the TFW Program, over 98,000 work permits became effective in 2019, of which around 18% were issued to female permit holders and around 82% to male permit holders. Fewer than 10 permits were for persons of another gender (not female or male). Of note, about 58% of total TFW Program work permits were for the agricultural sector, of which around 95% were male applicants. About 7% of TFW Program work permits were for the caregiving sector, of which around 95% were to female applicants. In 2019, the gendered proportions within these streams were consistent with previous years, and reflected the historically male-dominated nature of the agricultural sector and the historically female-dominated nature of the caregiving sector in Canada.
For the IMP, over 300,000 work permits became effective in 2019, of which around 43% were issued to female permit holders and around 57% to male permit holders. Fewer than 10 permits were for persons of another gender (not female or male). Of note, around 20% of IMP work permits were for International Experience Canada (IEC) for persons aged 18 to 35 from selected countries to work temporarily in Canada. About 50% of IEC permits were female permit holders, and around 50% were male permit holders.
GBA+ Highlight: Measures to support foreign nationals from abusive job situations
IRCC recognizes that foreign workers in Canada face diverse challenges that can be exacerbated by their immigration status. Nobody should have to stay in an abusive situation, but some individuals may feel obligated to remain in an abusive work situation out of fear of jeopardizing their immigration status.
To address situations of abuse for workers with employer-specific work permits, which often have a gender dimension, IRCC introduced the Open Work Permit for Vulnerable Workers in June 2019. Further features were added in July 2019 to exempt application fees and the possibility for family members already in Canada to obtain an open work permit. The new permit is intended to enable workers with an employer-specific work permit to leave situations of abuse (physical, psychological, sexual or financial) quickly, transition to a new job, and maintain their immigration status in Canada.
Additional operational guidelines were also introduced to assist immigration officers in identifying and addressing cases where a person is in a situation of abuse. These guidelines will continue to be refined as needed. They are designed in a way to prevent gender bias in Canada’s immigration system and support the overall objective under Canada’s Gender Results Framework to eliminate gender-based violence. The guidelines help to meet our goal to improve gender equality, and continue to support the security of foreign nationals from abusive workplace and family conditions. IRCC intends to undertake a thorough GBA+ analysis of trends under the program in its first year to inform continual program improvement.
Highlights of results achieved in 2019–20
Between June 2019 and March 31, 2020, IRCC approved 367 applications for the open work permit for vulnerable workers program. Men represented nearly 68% of successful applicants in 2019–20. This may reflect the fact that men were the majority (75%) of those granted employer-specific work permits in the same period, which is the population that could potentially apply for this new permit. This might also be the result of men being over-represented in sectors that also had higher numbers of applications for these open work permits thus far, namely agriculture and trucking.
Federal economic immigration
Economic class immigration focuses on selecting and processing immigrants to build a skilled work force, address immediate and longer-term labour market needs, and support national and regional labour force growth. This is done through various streams: Federal Skilled Workers, Federal Skilled Trades, Canadian Experience Class, Caregivers Classes, Self-Employed Persons Class, and the Start-Up Visa stream.
IRCC collects data that is disaggregated by gender on admissions through federal economic immigration programs. In 2019 and in recent years for all of the streams in this program, overall there was a slightly higher proportion of male permanent residents admitted (52% on average) than female (48% on average) – this includes principal applicants, their spouse/partners, and dependents. The gender proportion among principal applicants, for whom program eligibility and criteria are assessed, was comparable, with male principal applicant admissions at 53% and female admissions at 47% in 2019.
Specific streams have their own GBA+ considerations. Principal applicant admissions in the Caregiver stream were mainly female, reflecting the historically gendered nature of the caregiving sector in Canada as female-dominated: in 2019 and in recent years, around 94% were female. In the High-Skilled stream (Federal Skilled Workers, Federal Skilled Trades, and Canadian Experience Class), there was a higher proportion of male principal applicant admissions (around 57% in 2019); however, the proportion of female principal admissions has been rising slightly in recently years, from 36% in 2017 to 43% in 2019.
GBA+ Highlight: Caregivers Home Child Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot
In June 2019, two new 5-year federal pilot programs – the Home Child Care Provider pilot and the Home Support Worker pilot – were launched to replace the previous pilot programs (Caring for Children and Caring for People with High Medical Needs).
These pilot programs are designed to support the successful economic establishment of foreign in-home caregivers in Canada as permanent residents. They provide a clearer pathway to permanent residence for foreign nationals working as in-home caregivers. They address specific vulnerabilities (e.g., family separation) experienced by in-home foreign caregivers who are mainly female, and provide them with occupation-specific work permits to reduce their dependence on single employers, allowing for a quick change of employers when necessary.
The new pilots also allow immediate family members to accompany the in-home caregiver to Canada, to help families come to Canada together. Adult family members may be issued work permits, allowing the foreign caregiver to work in Canada with the benefit of family support.
This initiative supports the overall objective under Canada’s Gender Results Framework on economic participation and prosperity by keeping families together while the caregiver is working, which supports better economic and social well-being.
Provincial economic immigration
To better meet regional economic needs through immigration, various programs are provincially driven, including the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, the Quebec Skilled Worker Program and the Provincial Nominee Program. Through these programs, provinces and territories can use immigration to target specific labour market and economic development needs. Provinces and territories have the authority to nominate individuals for permanent residence who possess the skills, education and work or business experience to meet local economic development and regional labour market needs, and who wish to settle in that specific province or territory.
IRCC collects data that is disaggregated by gender on admissions through provincial economic immigration programs. In 2019 and in recent years for all the streams in this program, overall there was a slightly higher proportion of male permanent residents admitted (53%) than female (47%) – this includes principal applicants, their spouse/partners, and dependents. In 2019, of a total of over 95,000 provincial economic admissions, fewer than 10 persons identified as another gender (not female or male). The gender proportion among principal applicants, for whom program eligibility and criteria are assessed, was higher for males, with male principal applicant admissions at 63% and female admissions at 37% in 2019. This reflects the gender proportion of principal applicants in the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), which is the largest stream within this program. Data on 2019 PNP principal applicants, by gender and occupation, suggests that the top five occupations include trades, transport, and natural and applied science. These sectors are historically male dominated in Canada, and the gender proportions among PNP principal applicants reflect this.
There is a long tradition of supporting family reunification in Canadian immigration, where Canadians and permanent residents can be reunited with certain members of their family through sponsorship. This includes spouses, partners, dependent children, parents, and grandparents wishing to join their families in Canada.
IRCC collects sex-disaggregated data on admissions under family reunification. In 2019 and in recent years, around 58% of overall admissions under this program were female and 42% were male – this proportion was comparable for principal applicants.
The largest stream in this program is sponsored spouses, partners and children. There is a higher proportion of females sponsored in this stream (around 59% female and 41% male). For parents and grandparents, the gender proportion in recent years (2017–2019) has been around 52% female principal applicant admissions and 48% male.
GBA+ Highlight: Measures to support foreign nationals from family violence
IRCC recognizes that foreign nationals in Canada, including sponsored family, can face diverse challenges that can be amplified due to their immigration status, which often have a gender dimension. Some individuals may feel obligated to remain with an abusive spouse or partner out of fear of jeopardizing their immigration status.
As of July 2019, IRCC implemented two initiatives to support newcomers in situations of family violence and whose immigration status can be considered precarious due to a dependency on an abusive spouse or partner for their status in Canada:
- Out-of-status foreign nationals who are currently in Canada and seeking permanent residence that is dependent on remaining with an abusive spouse or partner are able to apply for an expedited temporary resident permit. This measure provides vulnerable spouse or common-law partners and their dependent children in Canada with the security of short-term immigration status to help escape the influence of abuse so that they have time to decide their next course of action.
- An expedited process has also been formalized for individuals in Canada who are in urgent situations of family violence and who apply for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
Both of these measures were developed and implemented with a number of important GBA+ considerations taken into account. A strong focus on expediency, for example, is a crucial factor for this group of clients, as well as a wide range of evidence of abuse accepted by IRCC officers in reviewing client applications. In addition, the following key features were implemented as part of the Temporary Resident Permit:
- Inclusion of a work permit, as an important factor for achieving financial independence and escaping abuse;
- Fee exemptions for the initial Temporary Resident Permit and work permit, in recognition that financial vulnerability may play a role in cases of family violence; and
- Interim Federal Health Program coverage, as a fundamental support for vulnerable individuals with particular physical, mental, or emotional health needs.
Additional operational guidelines were introduced to assist immigration officers in identifying and addressing cases where a person is in a situation of abuse.
These measures support the overall objective under Canada’s Gender Results Framework to eliminate gender-based violence by promoting the security of foreign individuals in situations of violence.
Highlights of results achieved in 2019–20
While these the two measures are relatively new, early indicators suggest a notable client demand for these new supports.
Since the July 2019 launch and up to March 31, 2020, IRCC approved approximately 55 Temporary Resident Permits for family violence, and made approximately 35 positive eligibility decisions for individuals in situations of family violence who applied for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. The majority of applicants for these measures were women and dependent children.
Humanitarian and compassionate, and discretionary immigration
IRCC can take humanitarian and compassionate considerations into immigration decisions. Many humanitarian-based public policies are used to facilitate immigration for at-risk populations with protection needs.
IRCC collects data that is disaggregated by gender on admissions under these streams. In 2019 and in recent years, around 54% of overall admissions in this program were female and 46% were male. Of a total of over 4,600 admissions in these streams, fewer than 10 identified as another gender (not female or male).
IRCC and its partners have a significant role in upholding Canada’s international and humanitarian commitments by offering protection to refugees and individuals that are in need of it. Refugee resettlement can take into account gender and diversity considerations, including an applicant’s exposure to sexual and gender-based violence. There is recognition that survivors may face unique barriers and vulnerabilities to the pre-existing ones relating to immigration and integration into society.
IRCC collects data that is disaggregated by gender on Government-assisted refugees, privately sponsored refugees, and blended visa office-referred refugees. In 2019 and in recent years, around 47% of overall resettled refugees were female and 53% were male. In 2019, fewer than 10 resettled refugees identified as another gender (not female or male), from a total of over 30,000 resettled refugees. Among the three streams, both Government-assisted refugees and blended visa office-referred refugees were around 49% female respectively, and the gender proportion for privately sponsored refugees was around 46% female.
GBA+ Highlight: Women at Risk Program and Urgent Protection Program
Women and children represent half of the world’s refugee population and may face increased risks due to gender-based violence, including sexual violence and exploitation.
IRCC recognizes the disproportionate and unique impact that forced displacement has on refugee women and children. They face increased risk due to their gender, and are at risk of, or have suffered from, sexual violence and exploitation, physical abuse and marginalization.
Canada regularly resettles at-risk women and children through each of its three refugee streams. Within the Government-assisted refugee stream, Canada has an Assistance to Women at Risk Program that recognizes the unique needs of refugee women and children.
Canada’s Assistance to Women at Risk Program is designed to offer resettlement opportunities to women who do not have the normal protection of a family unit and who find themselves in precarious situations where local authorities cannot ensure their safety. Some women may need immediate protection, while others are in permanently unstable circumstances. The persecution or harassment that they experience may be solely gender-based. In 2019, Canada resettled 1,446 women and children under the Women at Risk Program.
Referral organizations can attach the Women at Risk designation to relevant cases, which allows Canada to expedite processing, exempts the individuals from the normal requirement to demonstrate an ability to establish themselves in Canada in the short to medium term, and if required, provides them with additional settlement support services once in Canada through the Joint Assistance Sponsorship Program.
Women in urgent need of protection may also arrive through Canada’s Urgent Protection Program, developed to enable Canada to respond to requests from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to provide rapid protection through resettlement for refugees.
The Urgent Protection Program resettles individuals whose life, liberty or physical safety is under immediate threat. If not protected, these people are likely to be killed; subjected to violence, torture, sexual assault or arbitrary imprisonment; or returned to their country of nationality or former habitual residence. Canada resettled 78 women and children under the Urgent Protection Program in the 2019–20 fiscal year.
In 2018, Canada made a commitment to resettle a further 1,000 refugee women and children from various conflict zones around the world, and this commitment was met by the end of 2019. Canada resettled 1,458 vulnerable refugee women and children in the 2019–20 fiscal year.
These measures reinforce Canada’s commitment to a gender-sensitive Global Compact on Refugees that better protects and empowers at-risk refugees, affirms international legal obligations, and increases international cooperation in refugee protection.
GBA+ Highlight: Rainbow Refugee Assistance Partnership
LGBTI refugees face specific vulnerabilities. IRCC aims to increase awareness among Canadian sponsors and strengthen overall sponsorship of this vulnerable group, who may experience persecution due to sexual orientation, gender expression and identity.
Starting in 2019, the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Partnership is a new initiative that builds on the success of the previous Rainbow Refugee Assistance Pilot. The partnership is a 5-year agreement that provides start-up costs and monthly income support for up to 50 privately sponsored LGBTI refugees per year. This unique partnership is in addition to the existing refugee programs, which continue to provide protection to LGBTQ2 and other vulnerable people from around the world. In 2019–20, 51 LGBTI refugees were sponsored and admitted to Canada through this pilot.
This initiative supports the overall objective under Canada’s Gender Results Framework to combat gender-based violence, by increasing the number of LGBTI refugees in Canada and strengthening their settlement supports.
The Asylum Program provides protection to persons fleeing persecution and risk of torture, risk to life, or risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment. The in-Canada asylum system provides gender-specific protection to in-Canada refugee claimants who have fled conflicts or fragile states. Moreover, IRCC has developed specific program delivery instructions with respect to processing in-Canada claims for refugee protection of minors and other vulnerable persons.
IRCC collects data that is disaggregated by gender on those admitted as permanent residents who have been deemed in need of protection from the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) – this also includes their spouse/partner and dependents from abroad. Overall, in 2019 and in recent years, around 48% of protected persons were female and 52% were male (principal applicant, spouses and dependents). The gender proportion of the principal applicants, who are the persons who submitted an asylum claim in Canada and were deemed in need of protection by the IRB, averaged around 44% female and 56% male in 2019 and recent years. In 2019, fewer than 10 protected persons identified as another gender (not female or male), from a total of over 18,400 persons.
The Settlement Program supports all permanent resident newcomers in successfully integrating into Canadian society and the economy. IRCC recognizes that migration to Canada can bring many opportunities, but it can also include distinct and multiple challenges. To address these challenges, considerations for gender, age identity and circumstances of migration are included in the design and delivery of Settlement Program policies.
IRCC provides funding to more than 500 settlement service provider organizations (SPOs) across Canada so that they can deliver pre- and post-arrival settlement services to assist newcomers successfully establish themselves and integrate into Canadian society.
IRCC recognizes that newcomer women and LGBTQ2 individuals are often at increased risk of social and economic marginalization due to gender inequality. Settlement programing, such as settlement language training, is designed to be flexible and widely accessible to address the diversity of adult newcomer learners who may face multiple barriers (e.g., low literacy or official language capacity, lack of social networks, low educational attainment, exposure to trauma, disability, and social isolation). In 2019–20, over 100,000 clients took formal language training, as was for every year since 2015–16. In 2019-20, 66% identified as female, which was also consistent since 2015–16.
Settlement language program offerings are needs-based and locally driven. Teaching is guided by national curriculum guidelines, which may include topics such as family and gender-based violence, women’s rights, children and the law, and health care. Alternative modes of delivery are available, such as women only classes, to ensure that teaching is adapted to a learner’s needs.
The Settlement Program contributes to the gender equality goal of education and skills development of Canada’s Gender Results Framework by increasing learning opportunities and outcomes for newcomers, particularly newcomer women.
On the uptake in Settlement Program services in 2019–20:
- Women accounted for slightly more than half (55%) of Settlement Program clients, while men accounted for 44%. In fact, for each settlement service type offered in Canada, female clients constitute a small majority. Of the total of around 547,600 clients who accessed at least one settlement service, less than 10 persons identified as another gender when they came to Canada.
- More women accessed employment related services (55% of clients) than men (45%). Overall, by immigration category, around 55% of clients for such services were in economic category (which includes the immediate family of skilled immigrants), 26% refugees, and 17% sponsored family category.
- Support services for newcomers (e.g. childcare during language training, transportation, provisions for disabilities, interpretation) are integral to facilitating access to settlement services. In 2019–20, 59% of clients who received support services were female, and 41% were male. For each type of support service, women typically represent a higher proportion, especially for childcare services and crisis counselling, which may reflects the multiple barriers they have faced and willingness to seek support. Overall, by immigrant category, around 53% were refugees, 24% were from the economic category (which includes the immediate family of skilled immigrants) and 19% were from the sponsored family category.
- Needs assessments and referrals are conducted to assess newcomers’ needs and link them to appropriate settlement and community-based services. Almost 54% of clients who received a needs assessment in 2019–20 were female. Across all the need assessment areas, such as to increase knowledge of life in Canada, improve language skills or find employment, no area was particularly gendered; female and male clients reported to be interested in the same respective areas at similar levels. Both female clients (around 83%) and male clients (around 84%) identified the need to increase their knowledge of community and government services as their top need assessment.
GBA+ Highlight: Visible Minority Newcomer Women Pilot
Visible minority newcomer women can face multiple barriers when entering the Canadian labour market, including gender and race-based discrimination, precarious or low-income employment, a lack of affordable childcare, and weak social support. To address these challenges, Budget 2018 announced a three-year, $31.9 million Visible Minority Newcomer Women pilot program that was launched in December 2018 to support the employment and career advancement of visible minority newcomer women.
The pilot aims to improve employment outcomes for newcomer women by addressing their unique barriers. It provides an opportunity to support the economic success of visible minority newcomer women in Canada (outside of Quebec) in 3 phases:
- Phase 1: Ten settlement SPOs were selected to receive additional funding to expand their existing programming to serve more visible minority newcomer women. Funding for this phase ended March 2020.
- Phase 2: New partnerships were established with non-traditional partners to fund innovative interventions to help visible minority newcomer women access the labour market, capacity building in smaller organizations that serve or are led by visible minority newcomer women, and digital/online learning. Funding for this phase will end in March 2021.
- Phase 3: The Social Research and Demonstration Corporation is supporting the Department by testing the effectiveness of different models of labour market programming for visible minority newcomer women. Funding for this phase will end in 2022.
In 2019–20, over 2,500 clients participated in activities related to the pilot through the three phases, including a variety of employment related services such as work placements, mentorships and employment counselling. These services support the clients in acquiring knowledge, skills, and connections to prepare for the Canadian labour market. In addition, IRCC facilitated access to settlement services for the pilot participants by providing support services to 1,550 pilot participants. The most frequently used support service was transportation, which increases the ability of clients to participate in other settlement services.
This initiative supports the overall objective on economic participation and prosperity under Canada’s Gender Results Framework, by increasing labour market opportunities and participation for visible minority newcomer women.
GBA+ Highlight:Enhanced settlement programming to address gender-based violence
Through the federal strategy, It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-based Violence, IRCC received $1.5 million in funding over five years to further enhance its Settlement Program (starting in 2017–18). This funding supported the development of a national settlement sector strategy on gender-based violence through a coordinated partnership of settlement and anti-violence sector organizations across Canada. This national settlement sector strategy is focused on capacity building by developing consistency in gender-based violence policies and protocols, establishing a common base of knowledge on gender-based violence, training for front line settlement workers to assist in identifying abuse and making appropriate referrals, and gender-based violence prevention programming for clients accessing services.
Key outcomes in 2019–20 included:
- Increased settlement service provider access to information, and support on family and gender-based violence through the Gender-based Violence Strategy Partnership.
- Increased collaboration among the Gender-based Violence Strategy Partnership organizations nationally on the issue of addressing family and gender-based violence.
- Completion of a settlement sector needs assessment to identify capacity building initiatives for the Gender-based Violence Strategy moving forward.
- Responsive adaptation of activities to the context of COVID-19, including the development of two national webinars on gender-based violence.
This initiative supports the overall objective under Canada’s Gender Results Framework to address gender-based violence through capacity building for front line settlement workers and enhanced place-based services.
IRCC administers the acquisition of Canadian citizenship by developing, implementing, and applying legislation, regulations and policies that protect the integrity of Canadian citizenship and allow eligible applicants to be granted citizenship or be provided with proof of citizenship.
IRCC collects data that is disaggregated by gender on citizenship grants and proofs. In 2019–20, a total of 32,784 applicants were approved for citizenship proofs, of which around 48% were female and 52% were male. Fewer than 10 identified as another gender, from an overall total of over 32,700 proofs approved. For citizenship grants (naturalization), a total of 249,538 applicants were approved, of which around 53% were female and 47% were male. Fewer than 10 identified as another gender. The top countries of birth for new citizenship grants in 2019–20 were the Philippines, India, China, Iran and Syria.
In 2019–20, legislation to amend the Oath of Citizenship was re-introduced in Parliament to reflect Indigenous treaty rights and respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action. The proposed amendments, similar to those introduced in May 2019, reflect consultations with national Indigenous organizations and citizenship stakeholders. Its adoption by Parliament would change the Oath, helping to raise awareness among newcomers and emphasize the importance of Indigenous and treaty rights in Canada. It would be an important step toward reconciliation by encouraging new Canadians to fully appreciate and respect the significant role of Indigenous Peoples in forming the Canadian fabric and identity.
IRCC works with other Government of Canada partners to deliver the Passport Program, which provides passport and other travel document services to eligible Canadian citizens, permanent residents and refugees.
IRCC collects data that is disaggregated by gender on passports issued. In 2019–20, a total of over 2.4 million regular “blue” passports were issued. Of this, around 51% of passports were issued to females and 49% to males. A total of 281 regular “blue” passports were issued with an “X” identifier for gender. (Please see “Internal services” for more information on the Gender X designation.)
GBA+ Highlight: Gender X designation
Recognizing the importance of gender identity and diversity, individuals who do not identify exclusively as female or male can have an “X” printed on their passport, travel document, citizenship certificate or permanent resident card.
Interim measures for Gender “X” began in May 2017. In June 2019, those measures became permanent. Those who would like to replace their current documents with gender “X” could do so with no fee until June 4, 2020.
These measures contribute to the broader gender equality goal to eliminate gender-based violence and provide access to justice under Canada’s Gender Results Framework, where persons can obtain IRCC documentation that reflects their gender identity. Canada is committed to ensuring that the gender identity, diversity and inclusivity of Canadian citizens and residents are respected.
In 2019–20, a total of 386 passports, travel documents, citizenship certificates, temporary resident documents, and permanent resident cards were issued with the “X” gender identifier.
GBA+ Highlight: Canada’s contribution to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in December 2018, following a vote in which 152 Member States, including Canada, voted in support of the Compact.
The Global Compact provides a comprehensive framework to guide all aspects of migration management. It consists of 23 objectives to support safe, orderly and regular migration, which are complemented by a list of good practices from which states can draw to achieve these objectives. The Global Compact is a non-legally binding document that explicitly reaffirms the sovereign rights of states to determine their national migration policy. It is a framework to inform the efforts of each country to strengthen their own migration systems. Canada played a leadership role in advocating for a gender-responsive Global Compact, including recognition of the unique challenges affecting women and girls, who represent approximately half of all migrants worldwide.
IRCC supported language in the Global Compact that ensures that the human rights of women and girls are considered at all stages of migration and that their specific needs are properly understood and addressed. IRCC has consulted with experts in gender and international migration on how to effectively promote meaningful approaches to gender in the Compact’s implementation, with international partners, and in the UN system. With international efforts turning increasingly to implementation of the Compact, Canada will be using the results of these consultations in discussions with the UN and other countries.
In 2019–20, IRCC consulted stakeholders to inform future engagement with the UN and other countries on gender-responsive implementation of migration policies. Results are anticipated in 2020–21.
Canada’s support of the Global Compact contributes to the overall objective under Canada’s Gender Results Framework to advance gender equality around the world.
GBA+ Highlight: Project for an online “Gender Hub” to support the gender-responsive implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration
IRCC has an International Migration Capacity Building Program, with a project stream to provide grant funding to initiatives that advance global migration policies and programs in support of Canada’s migration and humanitarian objectives. Projects are selected in part based on alignment with Canada's priorities, including the Feminist International Assistance Policy.
IRCC is funding the development of a new tool to support the gender-responsive implementation of the Global Compact for migration. The International Migration Research Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University, in partnership with collaborators, will develop an interactive online “Gender Hub” that will provide concrete guidance and resources on how to design, implement, monitor and evaluate gender-responsive migration policies and practices in line with the Global Compact – including the development of a migration-related GBA+ module. This would be available online to the public, ensuring that stakeholders, other countries, the United Nations, and non-governmental organizations would be able to access these tools. The project is currently in the research and development phase, and results are anticipated in 2020–21.
By actively promoting the development of gender-responsive migration policies and programs, the International Migration Research Centre contributes to the overall objective under Canada’s Gender Results Framework to advance gender equality around the world.
GBA+ Highlights: Gender diversity and inclusivity
In May 2019, IRCC launched the Gender Diversity and Inclusivity Online Training course. This course is offered to all employees and provides training on how to adopt an inclusive, positive and respectful approach toward clients and colleagues, regardless of gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.
The content of the course covers the topics of personal identity, challenges faced by gender diverse individuals and the application of gender-inclusive language. In addition, the course covers the changes being implemented by the Canadian government to be more inclusive of gender diversity, in terms of both gender identity and expression.
From May 2019 to March 2020, 431 Client Support Centre employees completed the Gender Diversity and Inclusivity Online Training course. In addition to the online training, 8 Client Support Centre employees participated in a Gender Diversity and Inclusivity in-class workshops during this time.
IRCC actively considers gender diversity and inclusion in news releases, announcement strategies, and the Communication section of Memoranda to Cabinet. For outreach and e-communications, language is gender neutral and follows the new Treasury Board Secretariat guidelines on sex and gender. For visual design, promotion and advertising, the Department identifies opportunities to reflect intersectionality and advance equity (e.g., different genders, cultures, abilities) and communication mediums are inclusive of people with different physical and motor abilities (e.g., dyslexia, deaf/hard of hearing, autistic spectrum).
The Government of Canada public engagement principles and guidelines for open dialogue are applied to our consultations with stakeholders and the public. As such, our consultations incorporate the following factors identified within the GBA+ framework: gender, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability. In addition, the Government of Canada standards for conducting public opinion research are applied to IRCC’s research studies, including private individuals and representatives of businesses or other entities.
IRCC public opinion research studies incorporate the following factors identified within the GBA+ framework: gender, age, education, language, employment status, and household income. This does not preclude the use of additional lenses, such as immigration status, membership in an Indigenous community, sex, sexual orientation or those living with a physical, visual or hearing impairment.
Recently, IRCC updated the question used to collect gender identity in our surveys to be more inclusive than the binary male/female question previously used. The new question is “What is your gender?” with the following choice options: female, male, another gender, and the option to opt-out.
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