New federal funding will help more women enter the manufacturing sector

News release

Funding will support and promote women in manufacturing industries to advance gender equality in the sector

September 6, 2018 – Peterborough, Ontario – Status of Women Canada         

The Government of Canada 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 Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, today announced that Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) will receive $498,000 in federal funding for a project that will increase women’s participation in Canada’s manufacturing sector. “Untapped Potential: Attracting and Engaging Women in Canadian Manufacturing” is a three-year project that will work to attract and inspire more women and youth to pursue a career in manufacturing. 

CME will create regional networks to work with a national working group to attract more women into Canadian manufacturing professions and create more inclusive and diverse workplaces. The project will also develop a best practices toolkit for manufacturers to adopt and report on progress.

The CME 2016 Management Issues Survey indicated that nearly 40% of respondents are currently facing labour and/or skills shortages while 16% of businesses stated that ongoing shortages may force them to shift production and investment outside of Canada.

Canadian women make up 48% of our workforce, but only 28% of manufacturing jobs. Attracting women to the manufacturing sector is critical to helping these companies grow, filling job vacancies and replacing the existing aging workforce.


“Our government recognizes that one of the keys to growing the economy is attracting more women to the manufacturing sector. By funding projects that aim to support and improve women's access to good, well-paid manufacturing careers, we are helping address immediate labour shortages, build a contemporary workplace where there are no gender barriers to success, and strengthen our economy for the benefit of all Canadians.”

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

“Generating sustainable economic growth and helping ensure all Canadians are full participants in the innovation economy is a priority for our government. We are taking real action to increase the representation of women in the labour force, while also taking concrete steps to provide women with the skills needed to succeed in tomorrow’s economy.  This will grow our economy while also providing women with good middle class jobs in all sectors, including the manufacturing sector.” 

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“CME is grateful to the Government of Canada for supporting our Women in Manufacturing initiative. Our collaboration will help our members attract and retain women in manufacturing careers. Creating more inclusive and diverse workplaces is critical to supporting economic prosperity – for Canadian women and, for our manufacturing industries.”

Rhonda Barnet
Chair, National Board of Directors, CME and COO, Steelworks Design

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.

  • There has been no increase in the share of manufacturing jobs held by women over the last 15 years.

  • Only 5.6% of employed women in Canada have a job in manufacturing compared to 13.1% of all men.

  • 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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Justine Villeneuve
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Status of Women

Valérie Haché
Communications Officer
Status of Women Canada

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