New federal funding will help improve women’s economic security in Northern Ontario

News release

Project will help women entrepreneurs get financing to grow and expand

August 14, 2018 – Thunder Bay, Ontario – Status of Women Canada

The Government is committed to advancing gender equality and understands the important role that creating more opportunities for women in all aspects of Canadian life can play in promoting women’s empowerment. By investing in projects that improve women’s economic security, we are helping to ensure that women, their families and communities can prosper.

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North, on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, today announced Government of Canada funding for a project that will increase women’s economic security in Northern Ontario.

The PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise will receive $280,061 in funding for their project, “Collaborating for Transformation: Advancing Women’s Economic Security”. In this 36-month project, the organization will focus on understanding the gaps to the growth experienced by women-led businesses in Northern Ontario and will help better understand why many women-led enterprises start off well, but are unable to expand and grow. These barriers include women’s unequal access to growth capital, attitudes of investors, existing and potential market opportunities, as well as improving business networks and other small business “connectors” that can make a difference to success or failure. The project will also address the role that other factors such as sexism, rural isolation and ageism play in hindering the growth of women-led enterprises.

Women continue to be disproportionately affected by economic insecurity. In 2015, women in Canada earned just 87 cents for every dollar earned by men. They are also much more likely to work on a part-time basis, making up 76% of all part-time workers, with 25% of women reporting child care responsibilities as their reason for working part-time.

In October 2017, Status of Women Canada invited organizations to propose projects that support women’s economic security across Canada by addressing some of the root causes of inequality, including barriers such as access to childcare, unequal pay and the gender wage gap. Through this call for proposals, entitled Support for Women’s Economic Security, more than 30 projects have been approved for a total of $10 million in funding. These projects will unfold over a period of three years, and funding builds on our ongoing efforts to support women’s economic empowerment and advance gender equality for all Canadians.


“Our government knows that when we invest in women, we strengthen the economy for everyone, and that’s why these projects are so important: they are creating the right conditions for women to thrive in their careers – and their lives. By funding organizations like the PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise, whose important work target the barriers holding women back, we are ensuring that all Canadians – regardless of gender – have a real and fair chance at success.”

The Honourable Maryam Monsef, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Status of Women

Addressing barriers to women entrepreneurs in our rural areas will mean more participation and economic development in Northwestern Ontario. I look forward to seeing the results of this project and increased economic diversity in our region.

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Superior North

“The PARO Centre does amazing work across Northern Ontario to break down barriers affecting women entrepreneurs in our communities. I am pleased that this funding will enable them to provide support and increased economic security to even more business women across Northern Ontario, and I look forward to seeing the positive impacts this investment will have.” 

Don Rusnak
Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay—Rainy River
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services

“We are thrilled that the Government of Canada is supporting our project to help more women entrepreneurs find the right financing and other supports to help grow and expand their businesses. We hope that our efforts over the next three years will see many more women-led businesses in Northern Ontario succeed and continue to grow.”

Rosalind Lockyer, Executive Director
PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise

Quick facts

  • RBC Economics estimates that adding more women to the workforce could boost the level of Canada’s GDP by as much as 4 per cent.

  • McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by taking steps to advance equality for women—such as employing more women in technology and boosting women’s participation in the workforce—Canada could add $150 billion to its economy by 2026.

  • Projects are being funded through the call for proposals, Support for Women’s Economic Security, which was announced in October 2017.

  • Economic security is composed of basic social security, defined by access to basic needs such as health, education and housing.  

  • More than 30 projects will receive a total of approximately $10 million in funding under this call for proposals.

  • Funded projects address institutional barriers to women’s economic security including access to childcare, pay inequity and the gender wage gap.

  • The Women’s Program at Status of Women Canada supports eligible organizations to carry out projects to advance equality by addressing systemic barriers. 

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Rosalyn Stevens
Special Assistant: Communications
Office of the Minister of Status of Women

Nanci-Jean Waugh
Director General, Communications and Public Affairs
Status of Women Canada

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