Governor General of Canada recognizes Great Contribution of Canadians to gender equality

News Release

October 10, 2017 – Ottawa, ON – Status of Women Canada

Today, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, announced the recipients of the Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case for 2017. These outstanding Canadian women are:

  • Betsy Bury (Saskatoon, SK)
  • Micheline Dumont (Sherbrooke, QC)
  • Dr. Ramona Lumpkin (Halifax, NS)
  • Elizabeth Sheehy (Ottawa, ON)
  • Linda Slanina (Kitimat, BC)
  • Melissa Sariffodeen (youth recipient) (Toronto, ON)

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 Youth Award was introduced in 2000.


“It is an honour to acknowledge the immeasurable contributions of Canadians towards gender equality with the 29th Governor General of Canada, Julie Payette, a woman who has herself shown great determination and broke many barriers for gender equality in her career. In order to claim their place in history, this year’s recipients of the Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case have repeatedly demonstrated ambition, defied stereotypes, and challenged conventions. I congratulate these six women for their constant dedication, passion, and commitment in making a difference in the lives of women and girls in Canada. These amazing women are reminders that together, we can make gender equality a reality.”

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

Quick Facts

  • This year’s Persons Case Awards will take place at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on October 19. 

  • The 2017 recipients are being announced during Women’s History Month, a time of year when Canadians celebrate women’s contributions to our country. This year’s theme, “#ClaimYourPlace”, shines a spotlight on how women have harnessed their power, found their voice, and claimed their place in Canada.

  • 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.

Associated Links


Célia Canon
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Status of Women

Léonie Roux
Public Affairs Officer 
Status of Women Canada

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