Status of Women ministers advance key priorities
By working together, ministers responsible for the Status of Women have the opportunity to help advance gender equality across Canada.
This was the main theme of the 35th annual meeting of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women held November 8 to 10 in Toronto.
“It is great to see jurisdictions across Canada come together to support our common goal of advancing key priorities that affect women and girls. If we are going to see significant change, we need the perspectives of all sides,” said Prince Edward Island Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Paula Biggar. “Together we will help build a stronger and brighter future for all Canadians built on equality and fairness for all.”
The ministers had the opportunity to discuss many issues of importance, including the low reporting rates of sexual assaults across Canada. Ministers recognized the efforts taken by law enforcement and community groups to find ways of working together to better support survivors of sexual violence.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Waterloo Regional Police, representing the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Ending Violence Association of British Columbia were invited to present on best practices for supporting survivors to report sexual assault. The RCMP is committed to working with interested jurisdictions and communities to explore expanding third party reporting.
Third-party reporting is a process where a survivor may anonymously report a sexual assault through a community-based organization.
The Government of Canada also shared details on It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence and a proposed survey on gender-based violence. Ministers will continue to monitor trends in supporting survivors of sexual violence.
Ministers discussed some key priorities that this Forum has undertaken over the last year. This included research to close the gender wage gap, and promising practices to applying Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+). In Prince Edward Island, this has meant the creation of a Gender and Diversity Guide for provincial government as well as two new gender and diversity guides to specifically support community groups as well as agencies, boards and commissions. In the same context, ministers also agreed to further explore various models of parental leave and the impact of quotas or targets for women in leadership.
Minister Biggar also informed the meeting of new provincial funding for Violence Against Women Prevention Grants for not-for-profit groups. Grant recipients will be announced on November 24.
During a separate pre-meeting, for the first time, ministers held discussions with national Indigenous leaders and representatives. The discussions provided an opportunity to constructively address some of the most important issues facing First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women.
At the conclusion of their meeting, ministers agreed to work together to address their shared challenges and help advance gender equality from coast to coast to coast.