Status of Women Canada Ministerial Transition Book
Introduction: Status of Women Canada

Status of Women Canada was established in 1976 to “coordinate policy with respect to the Status of Women and administer related programs”. It was created in response to the recommendations released in 1970 by the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, which included among its 167 recommendations the need for a federal representative for women.

Given the ongoing challenges facing women and girls in Canada, including high rates of violence against women and girls, the gender wage gap, a greater burden of child care and other forms of care, and a lack of women in leadership positions, the need for a federal agency dedicated solely to issues affecting women is as relevant today as it was 40 years ago.

While Status of Women Canada is not governed by specific legislation or regulations, the Agency works within the context of a number of federal and international legal instruments that support the principle of gender equality such as: the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Status of Women Canada is within the Canadian Heritage portfolio and is a separate departmental agency headed by a Deputy Head appointed by the Prime Minister.

The Agency’s goal is to advance equality for women by promoting their full participation in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada. Status of Women Canada works to eliminate barriers to women’s participation, currently focusing its efforts in three priority areas:

To deliver on its mandate, the Agency leads key policy initiatives on issues affecting women and girls, such as missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. It also provides expert advice across the federal government and in international fora on longstanding and emerging gender equality issues. SWC leads the Government’s implementation of Gender-Based Analysis (GBA) and builds capacity among federal organizations through the development and delivery of GBA tools and training.

Through the Women’s Program, Status of Women Canada provides financial support for projects proposed by women’s and other Canadian organizations to advance gender equality. The Agency also promotes a number of commemorative events that celebrate women’s historical milestones and raise awareness of specific issues facing women and girls in Canada.

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