November 28, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

On November 8, 2018 Dr. Erin Hannah of King’s Political Science department served as an expert witness at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. She appeared before the panel to discuss Bill C-86, an omnibus act.

Dr. Hannah discussed the gender dimensions of the bill as they pertain to international trade – Gender Budgeting Act, Pay Equity Act and the creation of the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality.  “It was an exciting experience to share my input,” Dr. Hannah says. “Certain dimensions of the massive omnibus bill have the potential to produce very progressive policy…however, there are also key issues with each of these items, particularly as they pertain to international trade. It was an excellent opportunity to be invited to share my recommendations on how best to deliver on the promises outlined in the Bill.”

She made four arguments, which she addressed in turn:

  • Canada is a leader on the gender and trade agenda and many elements of Bill C-86 are reflective of Canada’s “progressive” and gender-sensitive approach to trade.
  • There is a risk of overpromising and under-delivering on the trade and gender agenda.
  • A pay equity act is meaningless if trade liberalization is pushing women into increasingly low pay and precarious work.
  • Using trade as a lever for gender equality will require more commitments on capacity building and knowledge transfer both in Canada and abroad.


Dr. Hannah’s appearance as an expert witness even led to a brief exchange with the Liberal MP for London North Centre (and King’s Alumnus and former faculty) Peter Fragiskatos ’04, which can be seen at

She was invited to be an expert witness on the basis of her research expertise and publications on gender, trade and development,

Many King’s students watched the proceedings, including Jessica Afara, a third-year student in the Honours Specialization Political Science program with a distinction in Western Thought and Civilization.

“Watching Dr. Erin Hannah's testimonial as an expert witness before the House of Common's Finance Committee was both inspirational and intriguing. It was terrific to be able to see Dr. Hannah represent King's on a meaningful and impactful bill, that being the implementation omnibus bill,” Afara says. “As a woman with interest in pursuing a career in politics, I am constantly reminded that women continue to be underrepresented in leadership positions. Dr. Hannah demonstrated the ability to overcome obstacles and to be one of the best in her fields through hard work and dedication.”

Clips of Dr. Hannah’s testimony can be found at and

For more information on the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance and the discussion of Bill C-86, visit (Click on Watch on ParlVU to watch a video of the proceedings.)