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Minister for Women and Gender Equality's appearance at the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women (FEWO) - June 15, 2021

The Deputy Minister was also present and received the binder for this parliamentary committee appearance.

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Speaking Notes for the Honourable Maryam Monsef, P.C., M.P. Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development for an appearance before the Standing Committee on the Status of Women (FEWO) on the Supplementary Estimates A

Opening remarks

Madam Chair and Honourable members:

Thank you for the invitation to be here today to update you on Supplementary Estimates A and how they will allow Women and Gender Equality Canada to continue advancing our important mandate.

Before we begin, I would like to acknowledge that I'm speaking with you from Michi Saagiig, Anishinabek Territory.

All of us here know that when we create the right conditions for women, girls and gender diverse people to succeed in all aspects of their lives, we create a brighter future for everyone.

The focus of our work at Women and Gender Equality Canada is on advancing equality with respect to sex, sexual orientation and gender identity through the inclusion of people of all gender identities and expressions in Canada's economic, social and democratic life.

It is my honour to be entrusted with overseeing progress on this portfolio. The work currently underway helps promote a safer, more inclusive and more productive society for all of us.


In the past few years, we've seen women and girls take amazing and unprecedented strides to drive positive change in their schools, workplaces and communities. 

Unfortunately, as we are all aware, this past year has been a very difficult time for women and girls. The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified gaps in our systems and has amplified existing inequalities. COVID-19 is the most serious public health crisis Canada has ever faced and it has the potential to roll back hard-won gains on gender equality.

My department delivered $90 million in emergency COVID-19 aid to over 1,200 organizations across the country providing critical supports and services to those experiencing gender-based violence. Since April 2020, nearly 800,000 women and children experiencing violence had a place to turn to because of this funding.

Women, particularly Indigenous women, Black women, women of colour, members of Two-Spirit and LGBTQ communities, and women living with disabilities or in rural or remote communities are among those hardest hit by the pandemic.

Women suffered job losses at almost double the rate of men. They have also faced reduced hours of work and have had to take on additional unpaid care responsibilities at home.

This April, as certain parts of the country experienced economic shutdowns due to the third wave, women once again lost jobs at nearly double the rate of men.

Young women have been particularly impacted by job losses. Latest data tells us that their employment is still about one eighth below pre-COVID levels. Immigrants, persons belonging to groups designated as visible minorities and Indigenous peoples have also been hard hit by job losses during the pandemic.

In a time of greater isolation, there have also been widespread reports of an increase in intimate partner and other forms of violence, as well as unprecedented barriers for those seeking help. For example, Vancouver's Battered Women's Support Services saw a 400% increase in calls between April and May of last year.

Government actions

We know that we can't let the pandemic roll back the clock on women's participation in the workforce, nor backtrack on the social, economic, political and cultural gains women and allies have fought so hard to secure.

The Government of Canada is taking strong action to ensure that women and girls are safe, working, thriving and present at decision making tables at this critical moment in our history.

To help parents, and especially mothers, return to work, we're investing $30 billion towards a Canada-wide early learning and childcare system – building on the over 40,000 new childcare spaces we've created to date. The Government is working on making childcare more affordable, reducing parents' fees by 50% by the end of 2022, and targeting an average of $10 a day by 2026. The Government has also made an important commitment to support the childcare workforce, who are predominantly women.

Affordable housing is essential for economic fairness and sustainable, inclusive growth. To ensure that housing remains affordable to those most vulnerable to the pandemic, the Government is providing an additional $2.5 billion over seven years to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and $1.3 billion in reallocated funding to support affordable housing.

To help women entrepreneurs grow and adapt their businesses, Budget 2021 commits $146.9 million to strengthen the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy.

This funding will provide women entrepreneurs with access to financing, mentorship and training. The Government will also work with financial institutions to develop a voluntary code to help support the inclusion of women and other underrepresented entrepreneurs as clients in the financial sector.

To ensure that everyone, no matter who they are or who they love, is treated with respect and dignity, is safe, and has equal opportunities to succeed, Budget 2021 invests $15 million over 3 years for a new LGBTQ2 Projects Fund. This funding will support community-informed initiatives to overcome key issues facing LGBTQ2 communities.

The Government of Canada remains strongly committed to the ongoing work to prevent and address gender-based violence. We know that women's safety is the foundation from which all progress must be built and have made historic investments to address the root causes and systemic issues that perpetuate gender-based violence in our country.

To further this objective, we are investing $601.3 million over five years to advance the development of our first-ever National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence. In doing so, we will work collaboratively with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous partners, as well as civil society, frontline service providers, researchers, the private sector and, most importantly, survivors of gender-based violence.

As part of this investment, Women and Gender Equality Canada will receive $103 million through Supplementary Estimates (A) to:

The Government's funding for the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence will also support several additional federal efforts at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the Department of Justice Canada (DOJ), The RCMP and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This work will include support for interventions to prevent family violence, legal advice and legal representation for victims and survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence, enhanced investigations of online child sexual exploitation, and increased support for new Canadians facing family and gender-based violence.


Madam Chair, we are fulfilling our mandate to drive systemic change that promotes a fairer and more productive society, not only for women and girls, but for people of all gender identities and expressions.

I hope to continue our productive collaboration and to carry on benefiting from your recommendations to build on this momentum.

I will be happy to take your questions.

Issue: Gendered impacts of COVID-19

Government of Canada response to COVID:


GBA Plus and the COVID-19 response

Gendered impact on employment

Response measures

Gender-Based Violence

GBV response measures

Intergovernmental work on COVID-19 recovery

Issue: COVID-19 funding for women's shelters, and sexual assault centres


Initial $50 million:
On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy and help Canadians affected by the impacts of this challenging period.

These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada's COVID‑19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses, plus $55 billion to meet liquidity needs of Canadian businesses and households through tax deferrals to help stabilize the economy. Combined, this $82 billion in support represents more than 3 per cent of Canada's GDP. This wide-ranging support helps ensure that Canadians can pay for rent and groceries, and helps businesses continue to pay their employees and their bills during this period of uncertainty.

This support included up to $50 million to women's shelters, sexual assault centres and organizations providing gender-based violence supports and services to increase their capacity as first responders during the current health crisis, as well as to prevent outbreaks or manage them should they occur in their facilities. This included funding for facilities in Indigenous communities.

Of this amount, $10 million was provided to Indigenous Services Canada's (ISC) existing network of 46 emergency shelters on reserve and in Yukon to support Indigenous women and children experiencing violence.

Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) received $40 million. The funds were distributed as follows:

Due to high demand, a supplement of $2.3 million from WAGE's Gs&Cs program budget was provided to the Government of Quebec to distribute funds to additional eligible organizations within the province.

Additional $50 Million:
On October 2, 2020, an additional $50 million investment to fund organizations providing supports and services to those experiencing gender-based violence was announced, bringing the total investment to $100 million. The funding, provided through WAGE, includes:

Due to high demand, a supplement of $7.2 million from WAGE's Gs&Cs program budget was provided to CWF to distribute funds to additional eligible women's organizations and other organizations delivering GBV support outside of Quebec.

Total Funding Amounts through WAGE
  Funding Allocated
WSC   $36.24M
CWF   $40.83M
Québec   $17.46M
Grassroots and other organizations $5.0M
Total $99.53M 

Organizations receiving funding provide a range of GBV supports and services, such as emergency helplines, crisis and resource centres, counselling support, crisis intervention, drop-in services and support groups, as well as organizations supporting people who have experienced sexual exploitation.

The range of activities supported with funding includes increasing safety and emergency preparedness, and supporting the business continuity of these organizations. Funding is being used, for example, for protective equipment, child care, helping women find alternative housing, overtime of employees and additional staff coverage and capacity.


Saskatoon Interval House, SK
Tanya Wiggins, Executive Director

"Every year our shelter needs to fundraise well over $100,000 to keep our doors open. We all know COVID-19 has affected our economy and this causes concern for our shelter. We have already been notified that a few of our major fundraisers have been cancelled. The federal dollars we received will help to close the gap and allow us to continue to offer our programming to families in need.

Another example is in regards to capacity. We have limited the number of families we can accommodate in shelter due to COVID-19. With the federal dollars, we are able to support families in hotels for a short period of time while we work to find affordable, safe accommodations for them.

Finally, we are now able to purchase equipment and programming to support our clients online. Doing our work differently."

Erin Griver, Director of Women's Services
Inasmuch House, ON

"This time is unprecedented for women's shelters and the violence against women sector. During the COVID crisis, staying at home is not a safe option for everyone. The requirements to stay in place as a Public Health measure unfortunately creates conditions where abusive partners exert greater control, and incidents of violence and threats are escalating. At Inasmuch House, Violence against Women Services and Shelters continue to be available to support women and their children. Crisis lines and emergency shelter services are open 24/7, and we are working hard to ensure that we can continue to offer a safe space and services to women and children. The extra funding to cover the additional costs of running a shelter during a pandemic has been life saving for these women. As a result of this funding we are able to continue to provide the same supports for women and children experiencing abuse, even during a pandemic."

Issue: Gender-based analysis Plus


GBA Plus is an analytical tool to support the development of responsive and inclusive initiatives, including policies, programs, legislation, regulations, and other initiatives. It is a process for understanding who is impacted by an issue and/or initiative and how; identifying how the initiative could be tailored to meet diverse needs of the people most impacted; and anticipating and mitigating any barriers to accessing or benefitting from the initiative. Applying GBA Plus to initiatives ensures that diversity considerations are embedded throughout the decision-making process, allowing for responsive and inclusive initiatives that meet the needs of diverse groups of people. GBA plus considers many factors, including age, economic status, education, ethnicity, gender, geography, language, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.

As a centre for expertise for GBA Plus, Women and Gender Equality Canada works to:

Federal departments and agencies are currently required to integrate GBA Plus into all Memoranda to Cabinet, Treasury Board submissions, legislation, regulations, and budget proposals. Furthermore, GBA Plus is now included in key legislation, including the Impact Assessment Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Accessible Canada Act.

In their January 2021 mandate letters, Ministers were instructed to "apply Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus) in the decisions that you make and consider public policies through an intersectional lens in order to address systemic inequities including: systemic racism; unconscious bias; Gender-based discrimination; barriers for persons with disabilities; discrimination against LGBTQ2 communities; and inequities faced by all vulnerable populations. Whenever possible, you will work to improve the quality and availability of disaggregated data to ensure that policy decisions benefit all communities."

Minister Monsef's 2019 and 2021 mandate letters included specific commitments to strengthen GBA Plus and its application, calling on the Minister to:

Budget 2021 included more than 300 GBA Plus summaries and analyses were more sophisticated than previously seen. Amongst the improvements:

In addition to improvements made to the analysis of individual initiatives, the overall Budget was informed by GBA Plus, which led to important and strategic investments to advance equality, including:

The Office of the Auditor General recently released its planned Performance Audits of Government Services and Programs. Among the areas proposed for review is "Gender-Based Analysis Plus and Inclusivity," with a report anticipated in 2022. The OAG has launched the audit and WAGE, along with Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS), Privy Council Office (PCO) and Finance Canada, is currently supporting auditors in the planning phase of the audit. The insights and recommendations will provide valuable input into how the Government of Canada can continue to strengthen its approach to GBA Plus, which in turn can help the government deliver on its equality, diversity and inclusion objectives.

Meanwhile, WAGE, in collaboration with TBS and PCO, has worked to advance GBA Plus through the 2016-2020 Action Plan on GBA Plus, which responded to the 2015 audit on GBA+ implementation by the Auditor General. WAGE, TBS and PCO made progress on all recommendations made by the Auditor General; however, notable achievements include:

The coming year will provide important opportunities to continue to assess the implementation of GBA Plus and to promote a greater understanding of GBA Plus as an intersectional analysis. WAGE has been developing new tools to strengthen the understanding and application of GBA Plus as an intersectional analysis, including a Step-by-Step Guide for doing GBA Plus, and a set of documents to provide further information on considering various factors in GBA Plus. Over the next year, WAGE will work with other departments on additional initiatives to strengthen GBA Plus, including: a plan to improve access to disaggregated data to inform GBA Plus; enhanced training for public servants through the School; additional tools to promote a greater understanding of GBA Plus as an intersectional analysis; and collective work to design and implement frameworks and approaches to measure the impacts of GBA Plus on government initiatives.

Issue: Women's economic security

COVID specific measures:

WAGE specific investments to date:


Responding to economic impacts of COVID-19

Essential workers:

Response measures include:

Budget 2021 commitments

Ongoing government initiatives

Other initiatives supporting women's economic security, including:

WAGE initiatives

Issue: Senior women


Data on senior women

Impacts of COVID-19

Other government initiatives

Issue: Feminist response and recovery fund


 Women's program

Through the Women's Program, the Department for Women and Gender Equality invests in projects across Canada that address systemic barriers to women's equality. The objective of the Women's Program is to achieve the full participation of women in the economic, social, and democratic life of Canada.

Budget 2019 announced $160M over five years for the Women's Program to enable further community action to tackle systemic barriers impeding women's progress, while recognizing and addressing the diverse experiences of gender and inequality across the country.

Feminist response and recovery fund

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, women have faced increased job losses and reduced hours of work, have shouldered the majority of additional unpaid care responsibilities at home, and continue to be on the frontlines of the pandemic. There is also widespread evidence that incidences and severity of some forms of gender-based violence (GBV) may be increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic; particularly intimate partner violence (IPV). These impacts have been even more pronounced amongst women with intersecting marginal identity factors.

In February 2021, the Department launched the $100M Feminist Response and Recovery Fund call for proposals, which will fund eligible organizations to support a feminist response and recovery from the current impacts of COVID-19, particularly for underrepresented women, through systemic change projects. Systemic change projects seek to modify one or more elements within a system in a way that will allow for women and girls to fully participate in the economic, social, democratic and political life of Canada. This may include improving policies and practices; resource distribution; networks and collaborations; distribution of authority, voices and decision-making power; and gender norms and attitudes.

This call for proposals provides the flexibility for organizations to be responsive to the broad and diverse systemic issues that need to be tackled to build back better, support a feminist a response and recovery from the pandemic, and advance gender equality across Canada.

Funding will prioritize proposals which address barriers for underrepresented women, including those who are Indigenous, racialized, newcomers, members of official language minority communities, seniors, young women and girls, women who are members of LGBTQ2 Communities, low-income, living with a disability, and living in a rural, remote, or northern community.

The call for proposals closed on March 25, 2021, and assessment of applications is currently underway with an aim to flow funding as quickly as possible to organizations. Approximately 900 applications were received, representing an ask of over $375M.

Issue: Rural women


WAGE initiatives

COVID-19 response


On November 9, 2020, the Government of Canada announced additional funding of $750 million for the Universal Broadband Fund, bringing the total investment to $1.75 billion. With Budget 2021, this amount grew to $2.75 billion in total funding.

The Government will work with partners to connect Canadian households and businesses in rural and remote communities over the next six years, starting in 2021-22, with additional investments supporting a more rapid rollout of broadband projects. These investments will make a difference in the lives of women and girls living in rural, remote, and northern communities, allowing them to better run their businesses and have better access to information, resources and support online.


A significant barrier to rural women's access to employment and education opportunities is the lack of early learning and child care options in rural areas.

WAGE has been working closely with ESDC on the early learning and childcare (ELCC) system and will ensure that the particular challenges faced by rural women are taken into account.

Budget 2021 proposes new investments totaling up to $30 billion over the next 5 years, and $8.3 billion ongoing for ELCC and Indigenous ELCC to reduce fees for parents with children in regulated child care by an average of 50% by 2022, with a goal of $10/day by 2026.

Issue: GBV and rural broadband


COVID-19, national action plan to end GBV, and broadband

Issue: Preventing and addressing gender-based violence


Canada's strategy to prevent and address gender-based violence

COVID-19 impacts on gender-based violence

National action plan to end gender-based violence

Other Government of Canada efforts related to GBV

Issue: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women And Girls (MMIWG)


Commemoration fund

National action plan re: MMIWG

National action plan re: gender-based violence

Issue: Human trafficking


Human trafficking, also referred to as "trafficking in persons," involves recruiting, transporting, transferring, receiving, holding, concealing, harbouring, or exercising control, direction, or influence over a person, for the purpose of exploitation, generally for sexual exploitation or forced labour.

Canada has been identified as a source, destination, and transit country for human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labour. Human trafficking is a highly gendered crime and a form of gender-based violence as women and girls accounted for 97% of police-identified victims in Canada between 2009 and 2018; with 45% of all victims between the ages of 18 and 24 and 28% being girls under the age of 18. 
In September 2019, the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking (National Strategy) was launched by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, with investments of over $57 million over five years and $10 million per year ongoing. It takes a whole-of-government approach that will:

The National Strategy builds on the investment to establish the National Human Trafficking Hotline and advances a number of new and expanded initiatives implemented by Public Safety, the Canada Border Services Agency, the Department for Women and Gender Equality (WAGE), Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada, and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.

Through the National Strategy, WAGE received $10 million over 5 years and $2 million per year ongoing (redacted) to develop the Continuum of Care – Prevention and Interventions for Vulnerable Populations initiative. The initiative provides funding to eligible organizations to develop and implement promising practices to enhance empowerment supports for at-risk populations and victims/survivors of human trafficking, including women and girls, Indigenous women and girls, LGBTQ2 and gender diverse people. Following a July 2020 call for proposals, on December 15, 2020, the Government of Canada announced $22.4 million in funding to 63 organizations for projects designed to prevent and address human trafficking and support at-risk populations and survivors. Of these 63 projects, WAGE will be funding 43 projects, for a total of $14M. This brings WAGE's investment in addressing human trafficking to $17M since 2017.

Budget 2021 includes $105 million over 5 years for WAGE to enhance its GBV Program, with funding going to initiatives that engage men and boys, combat human trafficking, and provide support for at-risk populations and survivors. 

Issue: Gender wage gap


 A number of factors may contribute to the gender wage gap:

A report released by Statistics Canada showed that the largest factors explaining the gender wage gap were the uneven distribution of men and women across industries and women's overrepresentation in part-time work. Similar to other studies, a large part of the gap remained unexplained. The study also found the narrowing of the gap between 1998 and 2018 was largely explained by changes in the distribution of men and women across occupations and women's increased educational attainment.

According to Statistics Canada:

In Canada, women, Indigenous people, racialized people, LGBTQ2 people, and people with disabilities, continue to be under-represented in higher wage positions of influence, which contributes to the wage gap.

Budget 2021: The Government proposes a public consultation to adapt and apply the Canada Business Corporations Act diversity disclosure requirements to federally regulated financial institutions. These requirements currently apply to federally incorporated organizations.

Fall Economic Statement 2020: The Government proposes to provide $33M over three years, starting in 2021-22, to support the 50-30 Challenge – a call to action to businesses across Canada to increase diverse representation on corporate boards and in senior management. The Government also announced it will invest $6.6M to support a task force on modernizing the Employment Equity Act to ensure Canada's economic recovery is equitable, inclusive, and fair.

Existing supports

Proactive Pay Equity legislation creates a regime that will ensure that women and men working in federally regulated workplaces, including the federal private sector, the federal public service, parliamentary workplaces, and Ministers' offices, receive equal pay for work of equal value.

Pay Transparency measures will provide Canadians with more information on pay practices of employers in the federally regulated sector, including converting existing pay information filed by federally regulated employers under the Employment Equity Act into more user-friendly online content, making existing wage gaps more evident.

Issue: Women in STEM and non-traditional employment


Government of Canada initiatives: STEM and skilled trades

WAGE-specific supports:

Issue: Women in leadership and decision-making positions


In 1990 and 1995 the United Nations Economic and Social Council passed a resolution calling on governments, political parties, trade unions, as well as professional and other representative groups to adopt a 30% minimum proportion of women in leadership positions, with a view to achieving equal representation. Canada has yet to achieve this goal in most forms of leadership, whether in elected office, or the private or public sectors.

On May 1, 2018, Bill C-25 received Royal Assent. This Bill amends the Canada Business Corporations Act to require corporations to disclose diversity information to their shareholders, including representation of women, Indigenous Peoples, visible minorities, and persons with disabilities on their boards of directors and senior management teams.

In Canada's business community, women, Indigenous people, racialized people, LGBTQ2 people, and people with disabilities are under-represented in positions of influence. The Government has proposed a number of investments to rectify this:

The current Governor in Council population is made up of over 50% women, 6% Indigenous Peoples, 4% persons with a disability, and over 10% persons who identify as a visible minority.

The Department for Women and Gender Equality (WAGE), through its Women's Program, supports projects that address systemic barriers impeding women's progress and advancement, including increasing women's representation in leadership and decision-making roles.

Since 2015, Department for Women and Gender Equality has invested over $32 million through its Women's Program in more than 65 projects to advance women's representation in leadership and decision-making roles, including over $18 million to fund roughly 50 projects that engage some 150 women leaders from across the country working to advance gender equality locally and as part of a pan-Canadian network.

Issue: Government of Canada's gender equality accomplishments


Key government achievements

Key women and gender equality investments


Issue: Mandates Of Ministers responsible for Women And Gender Equality & diversity and women and youth


Minister for Women and Gender Equality

Issue: WAGE funding


Women's program: summary of funding

Equality for sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression program (LGBTQ2)

Gender-based violence program

Human trafficking initiative

COVID-19 Emergency funding for shelters and sexual assault centres

Budget 2021 proposed investments for WAGE programming

Impact of women's program investments

Improving women's and girls' economic security and prosperity

Ending violence against women and girls

Encouraging women and girls in leadership and decision-making roles


LGBTQ2 program project examples:

GBV Program project examples:

COVID-19 Emergency funding for shelters and sexual assault centres testimonials:

Envision Counselling & Support Centre Inc., SK – Christa Daku, Executive Director

"The Safer and Stronger funding has enabled Envision Counseling and Support Centre to accommodate more counsellors in our rural office locations in Southeast Saskatchewan. The organization has responded to the COVID-19 crisis by adding counselling programs with greater accessibility for clients experiencing gender based violence and other mental health struggles, becoming more relevant in our communities, and more able to reach a greater number of women, girls and individuals who are struggling with GBV.

This surge in clients has resulted in inadequate office space for counsellors. There is a lack of privacy to hold in-person sessions or remote sessions. With this funding, Envision Counselling was able to reconfigure office space to respond to the increased need in our communities, adding privacy and functionality for video or telephone counselling."

Islanders Working Against Violence, BC - Kisae Petersen, Executive Director

"The COVID funding has made such a difference to our residents at the Transition House and Second Stage House. At our transition house, these funds have been used to purchase toys, art materials, books for each child to use in their own room. This has provided additional childcare staffing which has supported the mothers during school closures and allowed them to attend important legal and health appointments.

At our Second Stage House, we helped a mom and son with technology so that he could participate with his online learning when the schools were closed. We've also created a garden program so that women can be outside and experiencing the joy of growing food and flowers.

Lastly, Women Shelters Canada's distribution of WAGE funds was very skillful at making these funds available quickly and professionally."

Hope Haven, NL - Nicole Young, Executive Director

"COVID-19 has taken its toll on all facets of society and created many barriers for women experiencing violence. The quick response of funds for Women's Transition houses across Canada gave our Transition House in Labrador the ability to address our specific needs quickly and effectively. A major barrier for our area was that initially there was no transportation in our community as taxis came off the road and we do not have public transportation. The funding helped us address this major gap and allowed us to safely arrange transportation for women seeking our services. It also helped us address PPE needs, supporting women in isolation, additional staffing when needed and aided in ramping up cleaning protocols. We were able to address concerns and barriers for women in our community as the needs came up."

Ganohkwasra Family Assault Support Services, ON - Sandra Montour, Executive Director

"Ganohkwasra Family Assault Support Services is extremely grateful to WAGE for their financial support. First of all, thank you for remembering that shelters are indeed congregate living settings. I have been listening to the media and it is only recently that I have heard anything recognizing shelters as congregate living environments. Our staff and residents are at an increased level of risk for COVID-19, simply because of the shared living arrangements of our facilities. Secondly, I would like to mention that Ganohkwasra, as an on-reserve facility, has continued to provide services to women and families throughout the pandemic, on site, at our facility.

As a rural service, we are not privileged with having hotel accommodations close by so families can isolate for 14 days. We have had to figure out how to provide residents with a safe living environment, inclusive of providing basic and personal needs; isolation, quarantine, COVID-19 testing, as well as providing vital VAW programs and services. Therefore, the financial support provided by WAGE has been absolutely KEY in purchasing items that we are not funded to purchase, such as safe PPE; electronics for the bedrooms so we can continue to provide support and programming to our women and families who are in isolation and/or quarantine; as well as plexiglass barriers and thermal cameras that immediately take people's temperatures as they pass. Also, we can now provide weekly deep cleaning and sanitizing for everyone's safety. Therefore, on behalf of our staff and residents, Niawen:kowa (Big Thank You) for all you have done and all you are doing for the shelters!"

Issue: Canada's position on gender indexes


Across the world, countries are taking steps to advance gender equality, understanding that gender equality is not only a human right, it grows economies and benefits everyone.

Many international bodies and civil society organizations use gender indexes to rank countries' progress towards gender equality. This allows countries to see how they are faring compared to others, and where there is room for improvement.

Overall, Canada performs well in global rankings on gender equality, with consistently high scores in the areas of education, and equality under law.
For instance, the World Economic Forum's 2021 Global Gender Gap Report ranked Canada 24th out of 156 countries. The report, now in its 15th year, benchmarks the evolution of gender-based gaps in four areas: economic participation and opportunity; educational attainment; health and survival; and political empowerment.

Canada ranked five places lower in this year's report than in the 2020 Report, however Canada's gender parity score in 2021 was the same as in 2020. This signals that the drop is due to the relative improvement of other countries  – not because we are doing worse. For example, countries such as Lithuania and Belgium, whose rankings have increased 25 and 14 places since 2020, respectively, have experienced improvements in political representation, which has played a critical role in their advancement in the rankings.

Equal Measures' Global Report in 2019 introduced the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Gender Index. This tool examines the state of gender equality based on 51 indicators across the SDGs. Canada ranked 8th out of 129 countries, with highest scores obtained in areas such as health and strong institutions, and lower scores in areas such as climate action and partnerships for the SDG goals.

In 2019, the OECD's Social Institutions and Gender Index classified Canada as having a "very low level of discrimination" stemming from formal and informal laws, attitudes and practices that restrict access to rights, justice and empowerment based on gender. Equal rights under law have a notable impact on gender equality in educational attainment—an area where Canada shines.

Like most countries, Canada has more to do in the areas of equal representation in business and politics, ending gender-based violence, and addressing the gender-wage gap. Other pressing concerns include unequal access to housing, child care and reproductive health care services.

The Government of Canada is taking concrete actions to address these concerns, including: appointing the first gender-balanced federal Cabinet, passing pay equity legislation, helping women create and grow their businesses, investing in affordable childcare, making it easier for families to share child care responsibilities, and launching Canada's first ever strategy to prevent and address gender-based violence. It is also providing stable, predictable and flexible funding to women's organizations; expanding shelters and transition houses; and providing employment support and newcomer integration supports.

Issue: Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Forum of ministers responsible for the status of women – ongoing and future engagement


FPT Forum of Ministers responsible for the Status of Women

FPT Collaboration in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic

38th annual FPT Meeting of Minister responsible for the Status of Women

Engagement with National Indigenous Leaders and Representatives

Issue: United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW)


Issue: Canada's role in the generation equality forum


To keep the momentum on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 25 years following its adoption (Beijing +25), UN Women, France and Mexico (also known as the "Core Group"), convened the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) to reaffirm the importance of multilateralism in uncertain times for women's rights, strengthen the women's movement, and support youth and multi-stakeholder engagement for gender equality.

Launched at the Mexico Forum held virtually in March 2021, the GEF agenda focuses on action and accountability in six (6) areas to address key challenges and emerging issues for gender equality including: feminist movements and leadership; gender-based violence; economic justice and rights; feminist model of climate justice; bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights; and technology and innovation.

Six Action Coalitions reflecting these key areas are intended to be innovative partnerships among civil society, Member States, international organizations and the private sector. Each Action Coalition is expected to develop and implement a set of transformative and measurable actions over a five (5) year period.

In 2020, Canada became a leader of the Action Coalition on Feminist Movements and Leadership along with the Netherlands and a number of non-government partners, including a youth organization. In February 2021, Malawi and Gucci also joined the Action Coalition as leaders.

As an Action Coalition leader, Canada is expected to make concrete commitments to advance priority areas identified by the Action Coalition. Canada is represented on this Action Coalition by the Minister for Women and Gender Equality on domestic commitments and the Minister for International Development on international commitments.

At the Mexico Forum, a blueprint for each Action Coalition was made public. These six blueprints are the result of international public consultations led by UN Women and the work of all Action Coalition leads to develop these actions and identify potential commitments. They form the basis for the GEF's 2026 vision and action plan. At the Mexico Forum, Canada announced the launch of the Global Alliance on Feminist Movements and Leadership, which the Ford Foundation is supporting by investing $15 million in the Equality Fund. Canada also announced a $10 million investment in the UN Women Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women.

Domestically, consultations were held in spring 2021 with provinces and territories, national Indigenous leaders and representatives, as well as civil society on Canada's overall approach in the GEF, including in its role an Action Coalition leader. In particular, Canadian youth were consulted via Plan International Canada's annual Youth Summit (May 15-16, 2021) and a broad range of stakeholders were consulted during a Joint Ministerial Dialogue co-hosted by Ministers Monsef and Gould (May 18, 2021). Additionally, WAGE has funded five CSO-led initiatives: two multi-year projects as part of the department's Beijing +25 engagement strategy (Canadian Partnership for Women and Children's Health and Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women) as well as three Town Halls on Beijing +25 priorities held in early 2021 by Dr. Betsy McGregor and the DisAbled Women's Network Canada.

Issue: Recent evidence on the state of gender equality


Issue: Gender results framework


Issue: 2021-22 Departmental financial overview


2021-22 Funding
  Main Estimates Supps A Total
Operating Expenditures $45.4M $12.0M  $57.4M
Grants and Contributions $75.5M $88.6M $164.1M
Statutory - EBP & Salary and Car Allowance $4.7M $2.4M  $7.1M
Total Funding $125.6M $103.0M $228.6M*

*Total amounts have been rounded.

In 2015-16, compared to Main Estimates, the Department's Grants and Contributions budget was $19.5M. Through a number of investments, it has increased each year, reaching $164.1 in 2021-22. Some investments are ongoing, such as for the Gender-Based Violence Program and the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, while others are time-limited, such as investments under the Women's Program, the LGBTQ2 Community Capacity Fund and Budget 2021

Issue: 2021-22 Main estimates


The Main Estimates are part of the normal parliamentary approval process to ensure that previously planned Government initiatives receive the necessary funding to move them forward.

The Main Estimates confirm requests for resources that have already been approved by the Treasury Board.

The Department will receive $125.6M in total funding for 2021-22:

The following table indicates the variance in the funding received from the previous Main Estimates:

Main Estimates 2020-21 2021-22 Variance
Operating Expenditures $45.9M $45.4M ($0.5M)
Grants and Contributions $79.4M $75.5M ($3.9M)
Statutory Authorities $4.5M $4.7M $0.2M
Total $129.8M $125.5M ($4.2M)

The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Commemoration Fund was funded over three years, starting in 2018-19. The end of the Fund in 2020-21 accounts for most of the $4.2M variance.

Issue: Main estimates from 2015-16 to 2021-22

WAGE's budget since 2015-16 (in millions of dollars)
WAGE's budget since 2015-16
Text version
Women and gender equality budgets from 2015-16 to 2021-22
  2021-22Table note * 2020-21 2019-20 2018-19 2017-18 2016-17 2015-16
Operating 57.4 49.0 47.4 41.6 22.1 14.2 10.4
Grants & Contributions 164.1 79.4 65.8 29.3 20.8 20.6 19.5
Grants & Contributions - COVID-19 0 18.7 0 0 0 0 0
Statutory 7.1 4.5 4.2 2.8 1.7 1.5 1.3
Statutory - COVID-19 0 71.3 0 0 0 0 0
Total Budgetary 228.6 222.9 117.4 73.7 44.7 36.3 31.2
Variance Operating % 17% 3% 14% 88% 55% 38%  
Variance G&C % 107% 21% 125% 41% 1% 6%  
Variance Statutory % 58% 7% 48% 62% 20% 15%  
Variance Total % (w/o COVID-19) 72% 13% 59% 65% 23% 17%  

Issue: 2021-22 Supplementary estimates (A)


Issue: 2021-22 Departmental Plan


The House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women (FEWO)

Group of women

The Standing Committee on the Status of Women's mandate gives it the broad authority to study the policies, programs, expenditures (budgetary estimates) and legislation of departments and agencies, including the Department for Women and Gender Equality, that conduct work related to the status of women and gender equality.

In the 43rd Parliament, the committee has studied:

During their first meeting of the second session of the 43rd parliament, members agreed that witnesses who appear before the committee would have five minutes to make opening statements. Whenever possible, these opening statements should be submitted to the committee seventy-two hours in advance. This is followed by a question and answer period. Questions will proceed in the following order:

Round 1 - 6 minutes each, CPC, LPC, BQ, NDP
Round 2 - 5 minutes each, CPC, LPC, then 2.5 minutes each, BQ, NDP, and subsequently another 5 minutes each CPC, LPC

The committee also elected Ms. Marilyn Gladu (CPC) as Chair, Ms. Sonia Sidhu (LPC) as Vice Chair and Ms. Andréanne Larouche (BQ) as Second Vice Chair.

FEWO Members

Liberal Party of Canada:

Salma Zahid: Returning Member (Liberal)

Photo - Salma Zahid: returning member (Liberal)

Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre, Salma Zahid was first elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2019. 

She holds a Masters in Educational Management and Administration from the University of London's Institute of Education, and an MBA from Quaid e Azam University in Pakistan. A Pakistani Canadian, Ms. Zahid has resided in Scarborough since 2000 and has worked to bring people of different communities together through initiatives such as the Scarborough Centre Multi-faith Council. Prior to being elected to Parliament, Ms. Zahid worked as a senior advisor to the Government of Ontario in a number of portfolios from Health and Long Term Care, Infrastructure, Citizenship and Immigration, and Tourism, Culture and Sports. She is also a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Since entering Parliament, Ms. Zahid has worked to raise awareness of the oppression of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar and other oppressed persons around the world, and pressed the government to take a leadership role in providing humanitarian assistance. In the 42nd Parliament, she was a member of the Standing Committee on Immigration and Citizenship. Through that committee, interventions in the House, and on her social media platforms, she continues to advocate for cultural and religious diversity. Ms. Zahid was elected chair of that committee in the 43rd parliament. Her private members motion M-155, designating June as Filipino Heritage Month across Canada, was unanimously passed by the House of Commons. Following treatment for Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma that brought her closer to her Islamic faith, she became the first Member to wear a hijab in the House of Commons.

Ms. Zahid served as the Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women during the 42nd Parliament. She is a strong advocate for gender equality and focuses specifically on racialized and newcomer women. She has stated that the response to COVID-19 must be intersectional, as the pandemic does not affect all Canadians equally.

Anju Dhillon: Returning Member (Liberal)

Photo - Anju Dhillon: returning member (Liberal)

First elected in 2015, Anju Dhillon was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for the Quebec riding Dorval-Lachine-LaSalle in 2019.

Born and raised in Montreal, Ms. Dhillon began her political career volunteering for Paul Martin's campaigns at age thirteen. She sat on the Executive Council of the LaSalle-Emard Federal Liberal Electoral District Association in various positions such as Youth Vice-President, Vice-President Female, Secretary, and Policy Officer. Before joining the House of Commons,  Ms. Dhillon earned an Honours Bachelor Degree in Political Science from Concordia University, a Bachelor of Law from Université de Montréal, a Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Laws Degrees from Université de Sherbrooke. She was the first Canadian Sikh to practice law in Quebec.

From 2015 to 2017, Ms. Dhillon was the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Status of Women. She has taken a strong stance against gender-based violence and intimate partner violence. She also studied Gender Parity on the Boards and Senior Leadership Levels of Canadian Artistic and Cultural Organizations with the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. At these meetings, she stressed the need for intersectionality and consideration of marginalized women.

In the House of Commons, Ms. Dhillon was a member of several Standing Committees, including Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, Scrutiny of Regulations, and Canadian Heritage. She also belonged to the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association, the Canada-United Kingdom Inter‑Parliamentary Association and the Canada-China Legislative Association. In these roles, in the House of Commons, and through her social media presence, she has spoken several times on sustainable communities and affordable housing. Since the 2019 election, she has become a member of the Status of Women Committee and the Citizenship and Immigration Committee; she remains a member of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association.

Marc Serré: Returning Member (Liberal)

Photo - Marc Serré: returning member (Liberal)

Member of Parliament for Nickel Belt, Ontario, Marc G. Serré was elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2019.

Son of former Liberal Member of Parliament Gaetan Serré and nephew of former Liberal Member of Parliament Ben Serré, Marc Serré was born into a family tradition of politics. He is a proud member of the Algonquin First Nation in Mattawa/North Bay and a proud francophone. Before joining the House of Commons, Mr. Serré graduated from Laurentian University with an Honours Bachelor in Commerce with a specialization in Human Resources and Marketing. He is an award-winning telecom technologist specializing in research and development who founded the family-run internet provider PhoneNet and received the Canadian CANARIE IWAY Award in recognition of his innovative and outstanding achievements in Internet adaptive technology. He was also the Northern Eastern Ontario Regional Director of the Canadian Hearing Society, a staff and faculty member at College Boreal and Cambrian College, and the North Eastern Ontario Managing Director at Eastlink. Mr. Serré served as a trustee at the Conseil scolaire catholique du Nouvel-Ontario (CSCNO) and was also a Municipal Counsellor in West Nipissing.

In Parliament, he has been involved in several Standing Committees, Caucus and Parliamentary Associations including: the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Chair of the National Rural Liberal Caucus, and Chair of Northern Ontario Liberal Caucus. Mr. Serré has demonstrated his advocacy for increased rural infrastructure, affordable housing, accessibility, and seniors in and outside the House of Commons. His motion M-106, calling on the federal government to develop Canada's first National Senior Strategy, was successfully passed in the House of Commons in May 2017.

Mr. Serré was a member of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women during the 42nd parliament. Corresponding to his previous career and the riding he represents, Mr. Serré has expressed interest in women in STEM, Indigenous women, senior women, and rural women.

Sonia Sidhu: Vice-Chair and Returning Member (Liberal)

Photo - Sonia Sidhu: Vice-Chair and returning member (Liberal)

Satinderpal "Sonia" Sidhu, Member of Parliament for Brampton South, was elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2019.

Born in India, Ms. Sidhu immigrated to Winnipeg in 1992, where she worked as small business owner, entrepreneur, and Cardiac Technologist in Victoria Hospital. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a certificate in Diabetes Education from The Michener Institute. Ms. Sidhu worked in the healthcare profession in Brampton South for fifteen years, focusing on diabetes research and education.

Since entering the House in 2015, Ms. Sidhu has strongly advocated for healthcare. She was a member of the Standing Committee on Health and advised on eighteen different reports, including the report recommending the implementation of a national pharmacare plan and the report on drinking water standards. Her report "Defeating Diabetes," for which she crossed the country to consult with experts, was presented to the Minister of Health in 2019. Ms. Sidhu also frequently speaks about the issues faced by seniors and has worked to improve the infrastructure and employment rates in her riding.

In the 42nd parliament, Ms. Sidhu sat on the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. She was also a member of the Special Committee on Pay Equity. In Committee meetings, in the House of Commons, and through her social media, Ms. Sidhu has expressed particular interest in senior women, women in politics, pay equity, and women's health. She has highlighted the need for intersectionality when discussing women's issues and empowerment.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Sidhu has continued to focus on health, including long-term care homes and healthcare accessibility. She has also spoken about investments in organizations that support the homeless, specifically women fleeing domestic violence who are now being housed in hotels.

Gudie Hutchings: Parliamentary Secretary (Non-Voting member)

Photo - Gudie Hutchings: Parliamentary Secretary (non-voting member)

Gudrid "Gudie" Hutchings was elected as the Member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains, Newfoundland in 2015 and re-elected in 2019. She is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development.

The daughter of Arthur Lundrigan, a Canadian businessman and political adviser, Ms. Hutchings was raised in the Humber Valley. She attended Acadia University and built her career as a small-business owner in the tourism industry. She spent more than ten years on the board of the Newfoundland and Labrador Outfitters Association – rising to the position of president, and served on the inaugural national board of the Canadian Federation of Outfitting Associations. She is also a former president of the Corner Brook Chamber of Commerce.

Since joining the House of Commons, Ms. Hutchings has prioritized the needs of her constituents. She is proud to hail from the Atlantic Provinces and frequently speaks about issues that affect Eastern Canada. She has advocated for investments in the fishing industry, rural infrastructure projects, and highlighted the national parks and historic sites in her riding. Ms. Hutchings was also the Parliamentary Secretary for Small Businesses and Tourism from 2015 to 2017. She utilized her experience as a business owner to highlight the work that has been done to lower taxes, invest in, and promote small businesses.

In the previous parliament, Ms. Hutchings spoke several times on the subject of women and gender equality. The two issues she highlights most frequently are women entrepreneurs and Indigenous women. She often promotes the work of women's organizations in her riding and frequently meets with Indigenous organizations and leaders in Atlantic Canada. As Parliamentary Secretary, Ms. Hutchings brings a rural perspective. She has stressed the importance of preventing violence against women, especially through connecting rural areas.

Conservative Party of Canada:

Marilyn Gladu: Chair and Returning Member (Conservative)

Photo - Marilyn Gladu: Chair and returning member (Conservative)

Prior to her 2015 election as the Member of Parliament for Sarnia-Lambton, Marilyn Gladu was a professional engineer who worked in a variety of roles locally, nationally and globally.

Following a 21-year career with Dow Chemical, Ms. Gladu served as Engineering Manager and subsequently as the Director of Engineering at Suncor before taking a consulting and business development role at Worley Parsons. During her career, Ms. Gladu was the chair for the Canadian Society of Chemical Engineers locally, and the National Director of Science and Industrial Policy for the same organization. She has been on the Dean's Advisory Council for the Faculty of Engineering at Queen's University, as well as the Bluewater Sustainability Initiative, and the Bluewater Technology Access Centre Advisory Council providing guidance on government funding for research. She was recently named as a prestigious "Fellow" by the Canadian Academy of Engineers.

Since her election in 2015, Ms. Gladu has become an active parliamentarian, known for her collegiality and work across party lines. This earned her the 2016 Maclean's award for most collegial MP. In the same year, she sponsored a private member's bill (C-277), "An Act providing for the development of a framework on palliative care in Canada" which became law in December 2017. She served as the Opposition Critic for Health and has sat on several committees, including the Standing Committee on Health, the Special Committee on Pay Equity and the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. Recurring themes in Ms. Gladu's remarks in the House and Committee include: mental health, the carbon tax, and diabetes.

In the 2020 Conservative leadership race, Ms. Gladu declared her intention to run for leader, but ultimately dropped out. Following the election of Erin O'Toole as Leader of the Opposition, Ms. Gladu was named the critic to the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and Privy Council Critic. She was also recently elected as the Chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women.

Jag Sahota: Conservative Critic and Returning Member

Jag Sahota: Conservative critic and returning member

Conservative Member of Parliament Jagdeep Sahota was elected to represent the riding of Calgary Skyview in the 2019 federal election. She previously ran in the 2015 Alberta provincial election for the riding of Calgary-McCall, losing to New Democrat Irfan Sabir.

Born and raised in a Sikh family in Calgary, Alberta, Ms. Sahota attended Lester B. Pearson High School and is described as "a longstanding pillar of the Calgary community." In 2003 she graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and psychology, then completed her Juris Doctor, again at the University of Calgary, in 2007. Since being called to the Alberta Bar in 2008, she has gained extensive legal experience, especially in immigration law, while operating her own law practice in Calgary's north-east area.

Ms. Sahota has also been actively involved in many different organizations in the Calgary community such as Calgary Peter Lougheed Hospital and Renfrew Educational Services, focusing specifically on bridging the gap between younger and older generations. She has also volunteered at organizations supporting women, such as the Calgary Immigrant Women's Association, and the Elizabeth Fry Society.

First named Deputy Critic for Women and Gender Equality, she was subsequently promoted to Primary Critic following the election of Mr. O'Toole as Leader of the Opposition. In the House, Ms. Sahota speaks frequently about women's economic participation and violence against women. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has also advocated for pregnant women who are experiencing difficulty with EI or CERB benefits and for the use of GBA+ analysis on all government programs.

Nelly Shin: Returning Member (Conservative)

Nelly Shin: new member (Conservative)

Elected in 2019 as the Member of Parliament for Port Moody-Coquitlam, Nelly Shin is the first Korean-Canadian to be elected to the House of Commons.

Ms. Shin and her family immigrated to Canada in the late 1970s to escape political tension. Her family then opened a floral store, which they have developed into an award-winning floral design studio. Following the completion of a B. Mus and B. Ed., Ms. Shin worked as an English and Music teacher. She went on to serve the school board for seven years. Ms. Shin is also a professionally trained classical pianist, singer, composer, and conductor.

As a result of her upbringing and work, she developed an aspiration for social innovation. This led her to participate in literacy improvement initiatives, mentoring new teachers, and music education.

Following her election to the House of Commons, Ms. Shin has continued her social advocacy. She frequently mentions issues such as: mental health care, protections for ethnic media, and domestic violence. She is a member of several Parliamentary Associations. Ms. Shin was also a member of the Canadian Heritage Committee during the first session of the 43rd parliament. Currently, she is a member of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women.

Alice Wong: Returning Member (Conservative)

Photo - Alice Wong: returning member (Conservative)

Previous Opposition Critic for Seniors, and previous Minister of State for Seniors, The Honourable Alice Wong has served as the Member of Parliament for Richmond and Richmond-Centre since 2008.

After immigrating to Canada from Hong Kong in 1980, Mrs. Wong taught English as a Second Language and Entrepreneurship at Vancouver Community College. She also started the Centre for Small Business at Vancouver Community College, which offered the first bilingual small business management classes for immigrants. Mrs. Wong then completed her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of British Columbia in 1993 and joined Kwantlen Polytechnic University, becoming the Manager of International Programs. She has also aided her husband in running his family business and operated a consulting firm specializing in research and education.

In Parliament, Alice Wong has been a member of several Standing Committees and Interparliamentary Groups, this includes: the Library of Parliament Committee, the Citizenship and Immigration Committee, the Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and Status of Persons with Disabilities Committee and the Canada-China Legislative Association. Her priorities in and outside the House of Commons have included elder abuse, fraud against seniors, illegal border crossers, and birth tourism.

Mrs. Wong sat on the Standing Committee on the Status of Women during the 40th parliament. During this time, the Committee studied Maternal and Child Health, Increasing the Participation of Women in Non-Traditional Occupations, and Violence against Aboriginal Women. Mrs. Wong also frequently speaks about immigrant women and women who are small-business owners in the House of Commons.

New Democratic Party:

Lindsay Mathyssen: NDP critic and Returning Member

Photo - Lindsay Mathyssen: NDP critic and returning member

Lindsay Mathyssen, Member of Parliament for London-Fanshawe, Ontario, was elected in the 2019 federal election and subsequently named NDP Critic for Women and Gender Equality.

As the daughter of former NDP Member of Parliament Irene Mathyssen, who held the same seat in parliament from 2006 to 2019, Lindsay Mathyssen has been involved in politics since the 1990 federal election. She has worked as a political staffer since 2007, most recently for former MP Tracey Ramsey. She therefore has experience drafting legislation, navigating federal programs and departments, and working on files such as International Human Rights, Seniors Issues, Indigenous Affairs, and Anti-harassment protocol. Ms. Mathyssen also holds a Bachelor's Degree and Professional Certificate in Non-For-Profit Management. As a union leader, she has helped to negotiate a collective agreement and has been involved in conflict management.

Following her election, Ms. Mathyssen was given the profiles of Critic for Women and Gender Equality, Deputy Whip, Critic for Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, and Deputy Critic for Export Promotion and International Trade, and Small Business. Ms. Mathyssen has aligned her speeches with New Democratic priorities of pharmacare, affordable cell phone and internet fees, and stronger public services. She also frequently speaks about increasing help for students and affordable housing.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Mathyssen has stressed the importance of consistent and reliable funding for women's organizations instead of project-based funding. She has also asked questions and made statements on: affordable childcare, paid domestic violence leave, pay inequality and safety for front line female-dominated occupations, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and support for rural women and women with disabilities.

Bloc Quebecois:

Andréanne Larouche: Vice-Chair, BQ critic, and Returning Member

Photo - Andréanne Larouche: Vice-Chair, BQ critic, and returning member

Bloc Quebecois Member of Parliament for the riding of Shefford, Andréanne Larouche, was elected in the 2019 federal election.

Ms. Larouche studied art and media technology at Cégep de Jonquiére and has always been engaged locally, sitting on the board of directors for the Ecosphere Group and the Sutton Museum of Communications and History. While this is her first time in the House of Commons, Ms. Larouche holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Sherbrooke in applied politics, and worked for the former Member of Parliament for Brome-Missisquoi, Christian Ouellet and Member of Quebec's National Assembly, Marie Bouillé. She was also a project manager for Alternative Justice and Mediation, raising awareness on elder abuse.

Ms. Larouche was appointed as the Bloc Quebecois Critic for Women and Gender Equality and Critic for Seniors. Ms. Larouche's first speech in the House of Commons was on the topic of the anti-feminist attack at École Polytechnique, advocating for stricter gun control to protect women against such violence.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Larouche has focused on senior women, women in essential services, and the ability for women to access help. Like other members of the Bloc Quebecois, she has advocated for increased health and social transfers to Quebec as she believes many of these issues are best resolved by the province. She has also advocated for an increase to GIS/OAS for seniors under seventy-five.

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