This week, West Coast LEAF made budget submissions to the provincial and federal governments. We urged both levels of government to build budgets that will advance equality in BC and throughout Canada.

On Monday, we urged BC to use the 2019 budget to reduce economic inequalities. We asked the government to address the gendered and racialized wage gap by enacting proactive pay equity legislation and providing the resources for enforcement.

We also asked the government to make child care more accessible by funding a universal system and prioritizing services for parents in dire need, such as women fleeing from violence.

Finally, we encouraged BC to expand social assistance by fixing unfair exclusions, and by raising welfare and disability rates. Income supports for BC’s most vulnerable citizens must meet the rising costs of living in this province.

On Tuesday, we traveled to Victoria to participate in a pre-budget consultation with the federal government. Executive Director Kasari Govender appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance.

We focused our submissions on the access to justice crisis and the grave financial costs incurred in other areas of our economy as a result. We urged the federal government to increase funding for family legal aid in order to reduce financial and other stress for people across the country.

Today, October 18, is Persons Day, the anniversary of the 1929 constitutional law case in which the first women were recognized as “persons” under the law. The Persons Case opened the door for women to sit on the Canadian senate.

West Coast LEAF celebrates the progress Canada has made toward gender equality since 1929, but we also continue to push for better outcomes for all people who suffer from gender discrimination. We are especially mindful of the discrimination experienced by those who were not considered “persons” with equal rights in 1929, such as Indigenous women and racialized women.

Budgets are a clear way for governments to address current inequalities. We need budgets in 2019 that recognize the rights of all “persons” in Canada, budgets that don’t leave any vulnerable people behind.