Government of Canada announces new federal investment to strengthen the economic security and prosperity of Indigenous women in Southern Alberta

News release

May 10, 2019 – Lethbridge, Alberta – Department for Women and Gender Equality

Indigenous women hold important places as leaders in their families and communities, as givers and caretakers of life, as peacemakers, peacekeepers, and protectors. By creating the conditions for Indigenous women to succeed, we are supporting their families and communities, which will help improve their economic well-being and strengthen Canada's economy.

Today the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, announced an important investment to help advance the economic security and prosperity of Indigenous women in southern Alberta.

Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society, based in Lethbridge, is receiving $350,000 for a three-year project entitled Blackfoot Women's Empowerment from Security to Prosperity that will empower Blackfoot women to overcome the social, economic, and geographic barriers to their prosperity, whether they live on or off reserve. Opokaa’sin will encourage Indigenous women in Blackfoot confederacies to participate in leadership roles, conduct a Gender-based Analysis Plus on the role of women in cultural and community practices, and develop and implement a strategy to advance the economic security of women in all Blackfoot confederacies.

This is one of 15 projects receiving funding through the Department for Women and Gender Equality’s call for proposals Addressing the Economic Security and Prosperity of Indigenous Women


“When we invest in women, we strengthen the economy and our communities for everyone. By funding organizations like Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society, that address the very real barriers that Indigenous women face, we are ensuring that all women have an equal and fair chance at success. It’s not just the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do. Indigenous women have the talent, leadership, and ingenuity to inspire positive change and that is why the Government of Canada is proud to support projects like this.”

The Honourable Maryam Monsef, P.C., M.P.
Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality

“Since our inception, Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society’s mission has been to nurture and support the strengths and resilience of Indigenous families, children, and youth. With this investment, we will empower Indigenous women with culturally appropriate community responses about economic prosperity for the benefit of all nations within the Blackfoot Confederacy.”

Tanya Pace-Crosschild, C.E.O
Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society

Quick facts

  • McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by taking steps to advance equality for all 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.

  • The Indigenous population is growing at four times the rate of non-Indigenous Canadians and represents an enormous pool of talent. As part of this cohort, Indigenous women play a vital role in our economy and have outstanding potential for growth.

  • The 2016 Census indicated that there were 860,265 Indigenous women and girls in Canada. These women were more likely than Indigenous men to have a university degree. They were also the majority owners of more than one quarter of all Indigenous small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada according to the 2014 Survey on Financing and Growth of Small and Medium Enterprises.

  • Economic security and prosperity are composed of basic social security, defined by access to basic needs such as health, education and housing on a long-term basis. 

  • The Women’s Program at the Department for Women and Gender Equality supports eligible organizations to carry out projects to advance equality by addressing systemic barriers. 

  • The Government of Canada is committed to advancing reconciliation with Inuit, First Nations, and the Métis Nation. The focus is on building a renewed relationship with Indigenous Peoples, one based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

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Braeson Holland
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality

Valérie Haché
Senior Communications Advisor
Department for Women and Gender Equality

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