Canada shares its vision on policies that benefit the middle class and those working hard to join it as it hosts the first OECD Social Policy Forum held outside Paris

News release

May 12, 2018                Gatineau, Quebec           

The Canadian Government is committed to creating a growing economy that leaves no one behind. Canada’s effort to advance innovative social policies that help the middle class and those working hard to join it, including the Canada Child Benefit and the National Housing Strategy, is attracting international attention. For the first time ever, the OECD is convening Social Policy Ministers outside of Paris to explore the future of progressive public policy.

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, on behalf of the Government of Canada, is pleased to host and chair the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Social Policy Forum and Ministerial Meeting in Montréal, Canada, on May 14–15, 2018.

Along with the OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría and vice-chairs from Sweden, Portugal and Greece, Minister Duclos will welcome social policy ministers and representatives from over 35 OECD and partner countries. Together they will discuss and share views on their countries’ challenges and accomplishments in social protection to ensure everyone can fully participate in society. The theme for this event is Social Policy for Shared Prosperity: Embracing the Future.

As a leader in social policy, the Government of Canada has the responsibility and pleasure of hosting such an important discussion. It is clear that the challenges of some are the challenges of many. By sharing through whole-of-government approaches and partnership with all OECD countries, the Forum and Ministerial Meeting allow for the best opportunity to learn from one and other, share best practices and move social policies that provide support to all citizens, including those who are more vulnerable.

On May 14, the Social Policy Forum will bring together over 300 participants, including ministers responsible for their respective countries' social policy, and Canadian and international representatives from the business sector, trade unions, academia and civil society. Together, they will examine how rapidly changing economic and social environments present both challenges and opportunities for the design and implementation of social policy.  This means developing social policies that promote diversity, social inclusion and equality.  

On May 15, ministers from the 35 OECD countries will meet to discuss how they can work together to ensure all citizens, including people from vulnerable groups, like youth, people with disabilities, seniors, Indigenous people, people from the LGBTQ2 community and women can succeed and fully participate in society. The Ministerial Meeting plays a key role in guiding future OECD work on social policy and helps governments lay a foundation for inclusive societies with growth that benefits everyone.

Governments face immense economic and social opportunities and challenges caused by technological changes, globalization and population aging. In this context, the Forum and Ministerial Meeting represent an important opportunity for all levels of government, businesses, civil society and citizens to work collaboratively to provide a better future for all.


“Providing our citizens with the opportunity to reach their full potential is not only the right thing to do; it is also the smart thing to do to create a growing economy that benefits everyone. In Canada, like many other countries, this means ensuring that our policies and programs are forward-looking and designed to leave no one behind. A prosperous society is one in which diversity is a strength and in which everyone has a real and fair chance to succeed. It is the society we want, it is the society of the future. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I look forward to welcoming the OECD’s countries to Montréal and to share with them the important work Canada has been doing to help the middle class and those working hard to join it. ”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

“The digital transformation, globalization and changing demographics are testing traditional models of social protection. It’s more important than ever that ministers come together to discuss how to adapt social policy systems for the future – for example, to make sure that gig workers have social protection if they lose their job or that everyone can retire with a sufficient pension. The 2018 OECD Social Policy Forum and Ministerial Meeting in Montréal are premier opportunities to address these challenges.  Together, we can embrace the future and continue to build strong and inclusive social protection systems for our citizens.”
– Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary General

Quick facts

  • The OECD is a global economic forum working with 35 member countries and more than 100 emerging and developing economies to make better policies for better lives. Its mission is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. The organization provides a unique forum in which governments work together to share experiences on what drives economic, social and environmental change, seeking solutions to common problems.

  • The objectives of the discussions during the Ministerial Meeting are:

    ·        modernizing social protection systems to better incorporate workers in non-standard jobs;

    ·        promoting diversity and social inclusion for all people;

    ·        coping with the challenges of population ageing;

    ·        ensuring that children and youth have equal opportunities to succeed in life in addition to mainstreaming gender equality; and

    ·        citizen engagement.

  • Canada participated in the previous Social Policy Ministerial held in 2011 under the overarching theme Building a Fairer Future: the Role of Social Policy, which examined how effectively social policies were adapted to respond to crisis.

Associated links


Émilie Gauduchon-Campbell
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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