Advancing gender equality is one of the Government’s most important priorities. Learn more about how we continue to make progress to advance gender equality through these following initiatives.
GBV Knowledge Centre
Launched on December 10, the GBV Knowledge Centre, will coordinate federal actions under the three pillars of Canada’s first-ever federal Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence: prevention, support for survivors and their families, and the promotion of responsive legal and justice systems. This new online platform is intended for everyone who has an interest in ending gender-based violence, which may include decision makers, service providers, GBV sector organizations, academia, all orders of government, civil society organizations, students, youth, survivors and Canadians.
16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence began on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25, 2018 and ended on International Human Rights Day on December 10.
The campaign also included the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women on December 6 where Minister Monsef delivered the statement in Parliament. Here is an excerpt:
“Today, from coast to coast to coast, roses will be laid, tears will be shed and candles will be lit as we all remember the young women who lost their lives on December 6, 1989. On this day 29 years ago, an act of unspeakable violence occurred when a gunman walked into a classroom at École Polytechnique Montréal, separated the women from the men and then opened fire on the women. Thirteen young women who were students and a female administrator died that day, and several were wounded, simply because they were women.”
This year’s theme, #MyActionsMatter, was a call to action that asks everyone to take concrete steps to question, call-out, and speak up against acts of gender-based violence (GBV).
Bill C-65 - An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1
Harassment and sexual violence of any kind are unacceptable. That’s why the Government of Canada made a commitment to Canadians to help ensure that federally regulated workplaces, including Parliament Hill, are free from harassment and sexual violence. Bill C-65, an Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1, became law on October 25, 2018. This Bill defines harassment and violence as any action, conduct or comment, including of a sexual nature, that can reasonably be expected to cause offence, humiliation or other physical or psychological injury or illness to an employee, including any prescribed action, conduct or comment. Public consultations were held in 2017 to better understand the types of harassing and violent behaviours that take place in Canadian workplaces, such as risks that contribute to inappropriate conduct, preventive measures, responses and supports that are being provided, and resources that can help end workplace harassment and violence. The results of the consultations were published on Nov. 2, 2017, in a What We Heard Report.
Bill C-25 - An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act, the Canada Cooperatives Act, the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, and the Competition Act
Through Bill C-25, which became law on May 1, 2018, the government is modernizing Canada’s federal corporate governance laws and supporting the increase of women’s participation on corporate boards and in senior management positions. As a result of this Bill, publicly-traded, federally-incorporated companies will be required to disclose annually, information on the diversity makeup of their boards and senior management.
Within the public sector, the Government of Canada is working to make (GIC) appointments merit-based and demonstrate gender parity, in keeping with the Government’s priorities. Since late 2015, the representation of women serving as GIC appointees has increased by 13 percentage points and is now at 47%.
Bill C-16 - An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code
On June 19, 2017, Bill C-16 became law to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. It also amends the Criminal Code to extend the protection against hate propaganda set out in that Act to any section of the public that is distinguished by gender identity or expression and to clearly set out that evidence that an offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on gender identity or expression constitutes an aggravating circumstance that a court must take into consideration when it imposes a sentence.
Canada Child Benefit
Starting in July 2018, the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) will be indexed to keep pace with the cost of living. Every month, the CCB puts more money, tax-free, into the pockets of 9 out of 10 families, including those led by single mothers, and is helping lift 300,000 children out of poverty. The maximum annual benefit will increase to $6,496 per child under age 6 and to $5,481 per child age 6 through 17. This change will give parents even more money each month, tax-free, to help them provide for their kids.
Budget 2016 introduced the Canada Child Benefit, a key initiative of the Government to strengthen the middle class and help those working to join it.
Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is:
- simple — most families receive a single payment every month
- tax-free — families don’t have to pay taxes on payments received when they file their tax returns
- targeted to those who need it most — low and middle-income families get higher payments, and those with the highest incomes (generally over $150,000) receive less than under the previous system
- generous — on average, families benefitting from the CCB receive about $6,800 in CCB payments annually.
The government initiatives to reduce poverty, such as the Canada Child Benefit and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, are already making a difference.
From 2015 to 2016, the poverty rate fell from 12.1% to 10.6%, which is 500,000 fewer Canadians living in poverty.
Employment Insurance Parental Sharing Benefit
Budget 2018 announced the Employment Insurance parental sharing benefit, which provides additional weeks of benefits to families when the parents of a newborn or newly adopted child share parental benefits.
With the sharing benefit, parents selecting the standard duration of parental benefits could receive up to 40 weeks of parental benefits, an increase from the current 35 weeks. Neither parent could access more than 35 weeks in total, requiring both parents to take some time off in order to access some or all of the additional weeks.
Parents selecting the extended duration of parental benefits could receive up to 69 weeks of parental benefits, an increase from the current 61 weeks. Neither parent could access more than 61 weeks in total, requiring both parents to take some time off in order to access some or all of the additional weeks.
National Housing Strategy
Canada has one of the best housing systems in the world. However, some 1.7 million families still don’t have a home that meets their basic needs.
Through the National Housing Strategy, the federal government is re-engaging in affordable housing and bringing together the public, private and non-profit sectors to ensure more Canadians have a place to call home. The strategy will first focus on the most vulnerable Canadians. This includes women and children fleeing family violence, seniors, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, those dealing with mental health and addiction issues, veterans and young adults.
55% of Canadian households in core housing need are female-led, as are 63% of households living in subsidized housing. Across the country, women face unique barriers to housing because they are more likely to have low incomes, engage in part-time and precarious work, take on more caregiving responsibilities, and may be dependent on a partner for income. Intersections of identities such as race, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, and socio-economic status create unique experiences among women, including unique experiences of housing instability and homelessness.
The new National Housing Strategy will support vulnerable populations, with at least 33% of investments to support projects that target the unique needs of women and girls and that has already helped move 530,000 families into affordable shelter and reduce chronic homelessness by 50%.
From June 8 to 9, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hosted G7 Leaders in Charlevoix, Quebec, to discuss concrete solutions to today’s most challenging global issues. It included a meeting with members of the Gender Equality Advisory Council for Canada’s G7 Presidency (the “Council”) and our Minister Maryam Monsef. For the first time, gender equality and women’s empowerment occupied were part of the G7 Leaders’ agenda.
Advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is at the heart of Canada’s 2018 G7 Presidency. The Government of Canada, with the key contributions of the Department for Women and Gender Equality and the Council, applied a Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) lens across all its G7 work, including at the Leaders’ Summit and Ministerial meetings, meetings of G7 Formal Engagement Groups – such as Youth 7, Women 7, Labour 7 – and outcome documents.
Applying the GBA+ Lens to G7 Work
The Charlevoix G7 Summit Communique makes several references to advancing gender equality, including: removing barriers to women’s participation in leadership and employment opportunities; focusing on girls’ education; reducing the gender wage gap; supporting women business leaders and entrepreneurs; and eliminating sexual and gender-based violence.
G7 Leaders also adopted the:
- Charlevoix Commitment on Equality and Economic Growth;
- Charlevoix Commitment to End Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Abuse and Harassment in Digital Contexts; and
- Charlevoix Declaration on Quality Education for Girls, Adolescent Girls, and Women in Developing Countries.
Additional G7 highlights:
- The release of the Council’s report of recommendations to Make Gender Inequality History
- The historic investment in education for women and girls in crisis and conflict situation
Visit Canada’s G7 Presidency website to learn more.
On November 21 and 22, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, hosted the first GBA+ Forum, drawing more than 800 participants from federal, provincial/territorial and municipal governments, the private sector, civil society, think tanks, academia and research institutions, and international stakeholders.
Participants discussed the importance of integrating GBA+ into the development of public policies, programs and initiatives, and strategies to strengthen analytical capacity across Canada.
The Forum also allowed participants to share results and best practices.
Women’s History Month
October is Women’s History Month in Canada, a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women and girls across the country and throughout our history.
The 2018 theme was #MakeAnImpact, in honour of the women and girls who have made a lasting impact as pioneers in their field. Whether as business leaders, politicians, researchers, artists or activists, these women of impact helped shape Canada into a thriving, diverse and prosperous country through their achievements and desire to make a difference.
Women of Impact in Canada Online Gallery Launch
As part of Women’s History Month’s celebrations in October, we launched Women of Impact in Canada, an online gallery that celebrates the achievements of more than 100 women and girls through photos and biographies that capture some of their many successes. The gallery is an educational resource, an introduction to the lives of these remarkable women, and a starting point for further discovery. Learn more about their contributions by exploring the gallery’s interactive map and timelines, as well as the Learning Toolkit.
Do you know a woman of impact? Nominate her to be included in the Gallery.
Gender-Based Violence Statistics
Following the widespread #MeToo social media movement in October 2017, police-reported sexual assaults in Canada increased sharply.
There were 25% more victims of police-reported sexual assault in the three months after #MeToo first went viral (October to December 2017) compared with an average three-month period leading up to #MeToo (January 2016 to September 2017).
The average number of police-reported sexual assault victims went from 59 per day before #MeToo to 74 per day after #MeToo.
Visit the Statistics Canada website for more information.
Clean drinking water on reserves
Everyone in Canada should have access to safe, clean drinking water. The Government of Canada is working with First Nations communities to:
- improve water infrastructure on reserve
- end long-term drinking water advisories of a year or more on public systems on reserve
- prevent short-term advisories from becoming long-term
Budget 2018 proposed to invest an additional $172.6 million over three years, starting in 2018-2019, to improve access to clean and safe drinking water on reserve and accelerate the pace of construction and renovation of affected water systems.
For more information, visit the Indigenous Services Canada’s website.
The 36th annual meeting of the FPT Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women was held October 16-19, 2018. The Ministers met in Whitehorse, Yukon and worked collaboratively to advance key priorities affecting women and girls in Canada.
Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) meetings offer an important opportunity for leadership from coast to coast to coast to discuss shared priorities, strengthen collaboration, work together to make life better for all Canadians and build on our ongoing work.
Going forward, the Ministers agreed to address human trafficking as an immediate issue and priority area of concern. They discussed the gender pay gap and efforts to prevent and address gender-based violence. They also agreed to a common set of gender equality indicators to measure progress. They discussed skills-training and education in preparation for jobs for the future. Ministers shared information about co-funding solutions for women’s organizations that continue to lead advancements in gender equality work across the country. Ministers also took part in a discussion about women’s participation in the economy and leadership, and how to overcome systemic barriers, such as cyberviolence.
Apology Delivered on Behalf of the Government of Canada
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a formal apology in the House of Commons to individuals harmed by federal legislation, policies and practices that led to the oppression of and discrimination against LGBTQ2 people in Canada.
The Prime Minister apologized specifically for the historical unjust treatment of LGBTQ2 federal public servants, including those in the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP, and of LGBTQ2 Indigenous Peoples.
LGBTQ2 Advisor & Secretariat
The Prime Minister appointed MP Randy Boissonnault as Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGTBQ2 issues in late 2016.
In addition, Budget 2017 announced the creation of a new Secretariat in Privy Council Office to coordinate the Government of Canada approach to LGBTQ2 issues.
Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act
To address the wrongs experienced by those who were unfairly criminalized by unjust laws and actions, Bill C-66, the Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act became law on June 21, 2018– it puts into place a process to permanently destroy the records of convictions for offences involving consensual sexual activity between same-sex partners that would be lawful today.
Over the summer 2018, Minister Monsef announced funding for projects that were successful in last fall’s calls for proposals:
- Support for Women’s Economic Security
- Addressing the Economic Security and Prosperity of Indigenous Women
Daughters of the Vote
Founded in 2001, Equal Voice is a national, bilingual, multi-partisan organization dedicated to electing more women to all levels of political office in Canada.
Equal Voice believes the equal representation of women in all levels of government is a fundamental question of fairness for women in terms of their access to Canada’s democratic institutions.
Equal Voice will receive $3.8 million from the Department for Women and Gender Equality for Daughters of the Vote, a 36-month project that will provide guided, meaningful leadership opportunities for young women to increase their participation in formal political arenas through engagement with a diverse array of elected officials and the political institutions in which they serve.
Funding Two National Events
Through the project, young women will be engaged in two national events – the first cohort in 2019 and the second cohort in 2021 – in the House of Commons, for each of the 338 federal ridings across Canada.
For each event, Equal Voice will be inviting young women, ages 18 to 23, to be one of 338 representatives, who will take their seats in Parliament. A young woman will be chosen from every federal riding in Canada to represent her community and to communicate her vision for Canada.
GBV Funding Results
In January 2018, organizations were invited to apply for the Program’s first call for concepts as part of It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence.
On December 3, Minister Monsef announced more than $50 million in funding for nearly 60 concepts to support survivors of gender-based violence and their families in communities across Canada. Funding will support organizations that work on gender-based violence to develop and implement promising practices to address gaps in supports for underserved groups of survivors of gender-based violence, including Indigenous women, LGBTQ2 communities and gender non-binary people, non-status/refugee/immigrant women, seniors, women living in northern, rural and remote communities, and women living with disabilities.
You can consult our news releases for information on funded project announcements.
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