Canadians recognized by Governor General for advancing gender equality

News Release

October 18, 2016 – Ottawa, ON – Status of Women Canada

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women, announced the six outstanding Canadian women who are receiving the Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case for 2016. They are:

  • Cecilia Benoit (Victoria, BC) - Academic, mentor, advocate
  • Anna-Louise Crago (Toronto, ON) - Academic, women’s rights advocate
  • Lucia Lorenzi (youth recipient) (Port Coquitlam, BC) - Activist, volunteer, educator and advocate
  • Pascale Navarro (Montréal, QC) – Journalist and author
  • Norma Jean Profitt (Yarmouth, NS) – Academic, community leader, international activist
  • Diane Redsky (Winnipeg, MB) – Community leader, advocate for Indigenous women’s rights 

This year’s Persons Case Awards will take place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on November 15, 2016, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of women first achieving the right to vote in Manitoba in 1916.

Saskatchewan and Alberta followed Manitoba granting women the right to vote in 1916. Ontario extended voting rights to women in 1917. By 1918, federal legislation was passed granting all women 21 years of age and over the right to vote in general elections. The first federal election in which women voted under the universal franchise was in 1921.

Quick Facts

  • This year’s recipients are being announced during Women’s History Month, a time each year when Canadians celebrate women’s contributions to our country. This year’s theme “Because of Her” reminds us of the extraordinary women who have blazed trails throughout Canada’s history.
  • A video entitled “Women. Are. Persons.” can be viewed at describing the Famous Five and the Persons Case, which paved the way for women to participate more fully in all aspects of Canadian life.
  • Persons Day occurs each year on October 18th. This annual celebration marks the pivotal moment in 1929 when five Canadian women – Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby, and Nellie McClung – won the right for women to be legally recognized as ‘persons’ in Canada. The Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case were created in 1979 to mark the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking Persons Case.


“The women we honour today with the Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case are strong leaders and inspiring role models. As professionals, volunteers, and advocates, they have demonstrated how people with passion and commitment can change the lives of women and girls for the better. I congratulate each 2016 award recipient for embodying the determined spirit of the Famous Five and helping to advance equality in our country.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Status of Women

“Manitoba is very proud to have been the first province in Canada to start the process of granting suffrage one hundred years ago and our government is honoured that our province has been selected as the site for the 2016 Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case,” said Status of Women Minister Rochelle Squires who will attend on behalf of Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister. “We offer each of the recipients congratulations and sincere thanks for their dedication to the service of others and offer our commitment to both reflecting on how far we have come as a nation, but also the volume of work to come if we are to ensure true equality for all.”

The Honourable Rochelle Squires
Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage and
Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs and Status of Women for Manitoba

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Matt Pascuzzo
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Status of Women
Nanci-Jean Waugh

Director General, Communications and Public Affairs
Status of Women Canada
Tel: 819-420-6810

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