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Changing Public Services

Following the 2008 recession, public services in Canada faced significant changes, including the increase in privatization and funding cuts. These changes have considerable impacts on the lives of women, as public sector employees and as users of public services. The impacts of changing public services are not neutral. Choices about how and what public services to change need to be examined using a gendered and intersectional lens.

Changing Public Services (CPS) researched and documented:

  • What we know about what is changing in public services;
  • What the impacts are on diverse groups of women, and;
  • What actions we can take to respond to these changes.

CPS partners worked together over the course of three years to create a pan-Canadian network. Together, we collectively prioritized areas for further research and action by identifying and tracking changes to public services and their impacts on women.

Organization of the Project

The project operated in four different regional clusters located in Halifax, Ottawa, Saskatoon, and Vancouver. Each cluster focused on important questions in the region and on one or more groups of women who may face unique barriers and opportunities (e.g. women with disabilities, immigrant women, women in rural areas, young women, Indigenous women, senior women) in the face of changing public services. The clusters focused on local barriers and changes to public services in their regions based on community consultations and engagement.

In addition, CPS initiated research projects designed to analyze existing labour force data and review current literature to determine the impacts of changes in public service policy and delivery on diverse groups of women.


The Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women housed this research project in partnership with:

  • Public Service Alliance of Canada
  • Canadian Union of Postal Workers
  • Canadian Union of Public Employees
  • Canadian Association of University Teachers
  • Canadian Labour Congress

The Changing Public Services project has produced many reports and fact sheets documenting the changes to public services in Canada, their impact on women, as well as offering recommendations on shaping public services to meet diverse women’s needs.

The Changing Public Services: Women and Intersectional Analysis project was led by the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW-ICREF). The CPS project was generously funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and through donations from the project’s union partners, including PSAC, CUPE, CUPW, CAUT, and CLC.