Operating context and key risks

Operating context

The Government of Canada has made gender equality a priority to which the whole-of-government is expected to contribute. SWC serves as a centre of expertise to facilitate the planning, development and implementation of initiatives by federal organizations.  SWC fulfills its mandated role while working closely with partners to identify and address issues related to gender equality and respond to trends of relevance to Canadians. To do so, SWC works with domestic and international stakeholders to advance gender equality and evaluate results. 

SWC advances its goals in a dynamic and complex environment. This context is shaped by changing demographics, increased use of technology, unpredictable and shifting global trends (e.g., forced migration), and changing stakeholder expectations. In addition, the outcomes that SWC has set out to achieve (e.g., gender equality) are long term goals which are dependent on evolving attitudes and norms throughout Canada’s social fabric. Such shifts can take time to recognize, change and to document.

With increased priority placed on gender equality, and the Minister for the Status of Women being made a full Minister, there were increased pressures on the agency to deliver on its 2016-17 priorities.  SWC was also implicated in initiatives of other departments, including changes to Government policies and programs undertaken in collaboration with partner departments and central agencies. Resources were devoted to building capacity throughout SWC to support this work, including in the research, performance measurement, evaluation, gender-based analysis, program delivery, and policy development areas of the Agency.

Key risks

The risks identified below could have an impact on SWC’s contributions to the advancement of gender equality in Canada. The agency responds with strategies designed to limit those risks and measures performance of those strategies through its Corporate Risk Profile process.

Key risks
Risks Mitigating strategy and effectiveness Link to the department’s Programs Link to mandate letter commitments or to government wide and departmental priorities

Dependence on partners to support SWC’s policy and program change agenda

Given that SWC is dependent on partnerships with other federal organizations and a broad range of partners to plan and implement policy and program initiatives to advance gender equality in Canada, there is a risk that initiatives are not delivered in an efficient and timely manner.

  • At the federal level: Strengthened requirements to adopt GBA+ have enabled SWC to better fulfill its role in ensuring that the federal government takes gender equality into consideration.
  • SWC works on shared performance indicators for key initiatives, which improve coordination and alignment of efforts across federal organizations.

Among stakeholders outside of the federal government:

  • SWC engages and collaborates with provincial, territorial and municipal governments to coordinate policies and leverage gender equality initiatives such as data collection and research across jurisdictions.
  • SWC engages other stakeholders through initiatives that facilitate collaboration, networking, and partnerships to achieve concrete results.
  • SWC implements knowledge-sharing strategies that complement and leverage collaborative efforts, based on the recognition that achieving gender equality rests on using the best available evidence.

Strategic Advice, Expertise and Promotion of Gender Equality (PAA Table note * 1.1)

Advancing Equality for Women (PAA 1.2)
Government of Canada Outcome: 
  • Income security and employment for Canadians
SWC priorities:
  • Addressing violence against women and girls
  • Promoting economic opportunities for women
  • Women in leadership
  • Improved Gender-based Analysis Plus

Social Change can be difficult to measure

SWC seeks to fulfill economic and social objectives in broad public policy areas. Consequently, results can be a challenge to measure, to attribute to SWC and to report to Canadians.  There is a risk that the effectiveness of the SWC’s program, policy and communications interventions would not be well demonstrated.

  • SWC developed staff capacity, tools and systems to collect data, undertake research, and monitor, analyze and report on performance, taking both focussed, short-term and broad, long-term developments into consideration. SWC also collaborated with federal departments to coordinate efforts toward shared results.
  • SWC makes strategic investments that aim to build synergies and leverage partnerships, in order to maximize the impact of interventions.
  • SWC engaged in regular formal consultations and informal discussions with Canadians, to remain responsive to an evolving context and focussed on delivering on key priorities and communicating results to Canadians.

Strategic Advice, Expertise and Promotion of Gender Equality   (PAA 1.1)

Advancing Equality for Women (PAA 1.2)

Government of Canada Outcome:

A transparent, accountable and responsive federal government

Date modified: