Minister Monsef Heads Canadian delegation to advance gender equality at United Nations 

News Release

March 12, 2017 – Ottawa, ON 

Today, Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, announced Canada’s delegation to the 61st session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW), beginning on March 12, 2017 in New York. The delegation includes four federal Ministers, two Parliamentary Secretaries, provincial/territorial Ministers, Parliamentarians, and representatives from non-governmental organizations. The focus of the UNCSW this year is women’s economic empowerment and the changing world of work.

During the UNCSW session, Minister Monsef, as the Head of the Delegation, will underscore Canada’s commitment to achieving gender equality through the empowerment of women and girls from coast to coast to coast. This includes supporting women’s participation in the workforce through a number of actions in areas such as early learning and childcare, flexible work arrangements, and reform of the federal pay equity regime. Making economic gains for women in Canada requires strong federal leadership, as well as a collaborative approach to working with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous Peoples, and non-governmental organizations.

Canada will co-host a series of side event discussions on critical issues affecting women and girls including: gender-based violence and women’s economic empowerment. Ministers will also undertake bilateral discussions with their international counterparts.

Minister Monsef will be joined in the Canadian delegation by her colleagues the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women. A number of Parliamentarians will also join the delegation including Sheila Malcolmson, Marc Serre, Anju Dhillon, Karen Ludwig, Leona Alleslev, Eva Nassif, and Senator Marilou MacPhedran.

The following representatives from non-governmental organizations will be members of the delegation:

  • Rachelle Venne, Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women
  • Rebecca Kudloo, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada
  • Sally Dimachki, Young Diplomats of Canada
  • Anne Delorme, L’Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale
  • Ann Decter, YWCA Canada
  • Ngozi Otti, African Community Investment Cooperative of Canada

The delegation includes representatives of provincial and territorial governments, including:

  • The Honourable Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister of the Status of Women, Ontario
  • The Honourable Joanne Bernard, Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women Act, Nova Scotia
  • The Honourable Jeanie Dendys, Minister responsible for the Women's Directorate, Yukon
  • Lise Thériault, Minister responsible for the Status of Women, Québec
  • The Honourable Stephanie McLean, Minister of Status of Women, Alberta
  • Cathy Bennett, Minister responsible for the Status of Women, Newfoundland and Labrador


“Our government is determined to remain a leader on gender equality, preventing gender-based violence, and developing innovative solutions for women’s economic empowerment, while advocating strongly for women’s rights at home and globally. This year’s UN Commission on the Status of Women provides us with the opportunity to underscore our commitment to advancing these issues. With women’s full participation in every sphere of society, Canada and the world can achieve their full potential.”

Maryam Monsef
Minister of Status of Women

“Women and girls are agents of change here in Canada and in communities around the world. This is why our government is focusing its international assistance to break down barriers and empower women and girls to take on the active role they can and must play in society.”

Marie-Claude Bibeau
Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

“When women have equal opportunities to succeed, our country and our economy are stronger for it. With women now representing nearly 60% of all University graduates, and having the second highest employment rate among G7 countries, we know that our progress has been real, but the systemic barriers that remain are real, too. We must continue to work together to break down these barriers and give women equal opportunities to thrive in the workforce.”

Patty Hajdu
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour

Quick Facts

  • Each year’s UNCSW session includes a review of the progress made on an issue or issues that were the focus of an earlier session of the Commission. This year’s review theme looks at the challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls from the 58th session of UNCSW.

  • Last year, Canada was elected to hold a seat on the UNCSW Commission for the 2017 - 2021 term, which begins following this year’s session. This will provide Canada with a valuable opportunity to shape the Commission’s future work on issues that affect women and girls globally.

  • Canada was a founding member of the United Nations. In times of global uncertainty, it remains an important institution in which Canada can play a vital role, advancing and protecting human rights for everyone, especially women and girls.



Alex Wellstead
Press Secretary
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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