Gender equality achievements

Advancing gender equality is one of the Government’s most important priorities.

From appointing the first gender-balanced federal Cabinet to unparalleled investments in women and girls, we continue to make progress to advance gender equality in Canada and around the world. This ongoing commitment is upheld through important initiatives in a number of areas. Discover the important achievements and milestones for gender equality in Canada.

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Economic prosperity

When women succeed, Canada’s economy thrives. That’s why the Government is:

  • increasing the number of women in STEM, the skilled trades, and other well-paying fields
  • investing in women-led businesses to provide women entrepreneurs with access to financing, talent, networks and expertise
  • launching a new parental sharing benefit to support a more equitable distribution of child care within the home
  • taking action to address the gender wage gap through pay transparency measures in the federally regulated sector and moving forward with a proactive pay equity regime
  • including a gender statement in the federal budget to examine the gender impact of budget measures
  • strengthening the Canada Child Benefit so that it continues to help families that need it most and supporting affordable child care across Canada
  • investing $40 billion on a National Housing Strategy to help reduce homelessness and improve housing for Canadians in need, with at least 25% supporting women, girls and their families.

Milestones for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)

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Milestones for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) - Transcript
  • Providing girls and women with equal access to education ensures our future leaders reflect our diversity as Canadians.
  • In 2016, 33% of STEM graduates are women, but only 23% are working in this field.
  • When women lead in STEM, the ripple effect can be profound…
  • 2017 – Dr. Theresa Tam is appointed as Canada’s first woman Chief Public Health Officer. As a physician with expertise in immunization, infectious disease, and emergency preparedness, she is leading Canada’s COVID-19 public health response
  • 2017 – Mona Nemer becomes Canada’s first woman Chief Science Advisor. Born in Lebanon, as a young student, she advocated to expand her school’s curriculum so girls could study science at higher levels and went on to complete a PhD in chemistry at McGill University in 1982 [photo].
  • 2020 – Of the 14 chief medical officers and public health officers battling COVID-19 in Canada, seven are women.
  • We are making waves—increasing the number of women in these fields fuels change that improves the lives of people across the country.
  • #BecauseOfYou

Milestones on women’s economic participation and prosperity

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Milestones on women’s economic participation and prosperity - Transcript
  • Everyone – regardless of gender identity or expression – deserves to receive equal pay for work of equal value.
  • 2001 – The Canadian Human Rights Commission recommends employers examine their pay practises to ensure women and men receive equal pay for equal work – workers should not have to file a complaint before action is taken on pay equity.
  • From 2001 to 2004, the Bilson Task Force fuels progress in our pursuit of pay equity and recommends changes to the law and the role of unions so that we can not only achieve—but maintain—pay equity.
  • The rate of women participating in paid work increases by 12% in between 1995 and 2020.
  • The pay gap decreases by 6 cents between 1997 and 2019. Women earn 88 cents for every dollar earned by men.
  • 2018 – Parliament adopts the Pay Equity Act to ensure fair compensation of men and women in the federal public service and federally governed institutions.
  • 2019 – Karen Jensen is appointed as Canada’s first Pay Equity Commissioner [photo].
  • We have lessened the pay gap and are gaining momentum. Let’s continue to work for parity.
  • #BecauseOfYou

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Pay equity - Text version

Pay equity

Everyone – regardless of gender identity or expression – deserves to receive equal pay for work of equal value.

2001 - The Canadian Human Rights Commission recommends to Parliament that a proactive pay equity system be established so that employees proactively get equal pay, without needing to file a complaint to receive it.

2001-2004 - From 2001 to 2004, the Government of Canada appoints the Bilson Task Force to improve federal pay equity approach. 113 recommendations were made for a new proactive pay equity system.

2018 - Parliament adopts the Pay Equity Act to ensure fair compensation of men and women in the federal public service and federally governed institutions.

2019

  • Karen Jensen is appointed as Canadaʼs first Pay Equity Commissioner.
  • Women earn 88 cents for every dollar earned by men, a 6 cent increase since 1997.

We have lessened the pay gap and are gaining momentum. Letʼs continue to work for parity.

Gender-Based Violence

Gender-based violence continues to be a significant and preventable barrier to gender equality. That’s why the Government is:

  • passing legislation to ensure that federally regulated workplaces, including Parliament Hill, are free from harassment and sexual violence
  • invested over $200 million across government to prevent gender-based violence, support survivors and their families, and create more responsive legal and justice systems
  • Women and Gender Equality Canada is investing over $13 million in over 100 commemoration initiatives to honour the lives and legacies of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, including LGBTQ and Two Spirit people. This responds to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ interim report, issued in November 2017. On June 3, 2019, the commission submitted its Final Report. The Government of Canada is examining its findings in order to establish a holistic path
  • investing in Canada’s network of shelters and transition homes to help ensure that those fleeing domestic violence have a place to turn
  • launching the first national gender-based violence survey to collect information on safety in public and private spaces, at work, or online and collect data on intimate partner violence.

LGBTQ2

The Government is committed to advancing gender equality. That’s why the Government has:

  • appointed a Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 issues and a Secretariat in the Privy Council Office to coordinate the government approach to LGBTQ2 issues
  • changed gender designation in Canadian passports to support LGBTQ2 rights and permit people who do not identify as female or male to acquire passports that better reflect their gender identity
  • enshrined gender identity as a protected right under the Canadian Human Rights Act and amending the Criminal Code to include violence motivated by gender identity as a form of hate crime through Bill C-16, which received Royal Assent in June 2017
  • become the co-chair of the Equal Rights Coalition, the first inter-governmental network to promote and protect human rights of LGBTQ2 people around the world
  • Women and Gender Equality Canada invested $20 million as announced in Budget 2019 to support capacity-building and community-level work of Canadian LGBTQ2 organizations
  • Global Affairs Canada has announced over $30 million to improve socio-economic outcomes for LGBTQ2 people in developing countries
  • The Federal Tourism Growth Strategy includes major investments in Pride events across Canada
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has announced increased support for LGBTQ2 refugees fleeing violence and persecution through the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Partnership
  • Canadian Heritage has set aside $2 million over two years under the Building Communities through Arts and Heritage program for Pride and LGBTQ2 events.

Milestones on LGBTQ2 rights

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LGBTQ2 rights - Transcript
  • Everyone deserves to feel safe and secure, to live free from discrimination and persecution, and to express themselves fully, no matter who they love or how they identify.
  • 1996 – Sexual Orientation is added to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • 2005 – Same-sex marriage is legalized across Canada.
  • 2009 – The first Trans March in Canada is organized during Toronto Pride.
  • 2017 – Gender expression and gender identity are added to the Canadian Human Rights Act.
  • 2017 – The Government of Canada makes a formal apology for the historic purge of LGBTQ2 members from the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP, and civil service.
  • 2019 – Gemma Hickey Becomes one of the first Canadians to receive a gender-neutral birth certificate and passport [photo].
  • Let’s celebrate all those who work to advance gender equality and continue to create a better and equal world for all.
  • #BecauseOfYou

Download in PDF format.

LGBTQ2 rights - Text version

LGBTQ2 rights

Everyone deserves to feel safe and secure, to live free from discrimination and persecution, and to express themselves fully, no matter who they love or how they identify.

1996 - Sexual orientation is added to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

2005 - Same-sex marriage is legalized across Canada.

2009 - The first Trans March in Canada is organized during Toronto Pride.

2017 - Gender expression and gender identity are added to the Canadian Human Rights Act.

  • The Government of Canada makes a formal apology for the historic purge of LGBTQ2 members from the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP, and civil service.

2019 - Gemma Hickey becomes one of the first Canadians to receive a gender-neutral birth certificate and passport.

  • The Government of Canada announces support to help grassroots LGBTQ2 organizations grow.

Letʼs celebrate all those who work to advance gender equality and continue to create a better and equal world for all.

International

Canada is proud to be recognized as a world leader in advancing gender equality. That’s why the Government is:

  • participating in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW), where we help shape the work being done to advance the rights of women and girls around the world
  • making the issue of gender equality front-and-centre in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
  • launching Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy to respond to the needs of local women’s organizations in developing countries
  • investing in organizations supporting sexual and reproductive health and rights as part of Canada’s comprehensive $650-million approach to closing existing gaps in reproductive rights and health care services for women
  • investing nearly $3.8 billion to support quality education for women and girls living in crisis, conflict-affected and fragile states and expand training and education programs for women and girls in STEM
  • supporting peace operations to help protect vulnerable groups such as women and children.

Leadership

When women are underrepresented in leadership roles, we miss out on their ideas, talents and expertise. That’s why the Government is:

  • putting into place a new merit-based, open, and transparent approach to selecting high-quality candidates for approximately 4,000 Governor in Council and Ministerial appointments on commissions, boards, Crown corporations, agencies, and tribunals across the country
  • modifying the corporate governance laws to support the increase of women’s participation on corporate boards and in senior management positions
  • appointing women to key leadership positions such as Government House Leader, RCMP Commissioner, Commandant of NATO Defense College and Judge Advocate General
  • creating an Indigenous Women’s Circle (advisory forum) to discuss ways of addressing systemic inequalities that disproportionately impact Indigenous women and girls
  • investing $100 million over five years in Women and Gender Equality Canada to fund projects to promote women in leadership, end violence against women and girls, and improve women’s economic security and prosperity.

Milestones on women in leadership roles and democratic participation

This video does not include any audio narration.

Political participation and leadership - Transcript
  • When more women and people from diverse gender communities take on leadership roles in politics and civic life, we create healthier and more inclusive communities that better reflect our diversity as Canadians.
  • Graphic depicting the increase of women elected to parliament from 1/5 in 1997 to 1/3 in 2019.
  • 1993 – Jean Augustine becomes the first African Canadian woman to be elected to Canada’s House of Commons and led the campaign to create Black History Month.
  • 1993 – Kim Campbell becomes the first woman to serve as Prime Minister of Canada.
  • Graphic depicting 1995 – an equal number of men and women are appointed to Cabinet for the first time.
  • Graphic depicting 2020 – Senate parity.
  • We have made so much progress—just imagine what we will achieve in the years to come as new trailblazers rise and advance gender equality in Canada.
  • #BecauseOfYou

Download in PDF format.

Political participation and leadership - Text version

Political participation and leadership

When more women and people from gender diverse communities take on leadership roles in politics and civic life, we create healthier and more inclusive communities that better reflect our diversity as Canadians.

1995 - Canada adopts the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action.

1997- One in five (1/5) people elected to Parliament are women.

2015 - Canada has its first ever gender-balanced Cabinet in history.

2019 - A record number of women run for Parliament, representing 42% of candidates.

2020 - One in three (1/3) people elected to Parliament are women.

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