Statement by Minister Marci Ien on the Fifth Anniversary of the Department for Women and Gender Equality


December 13, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario — Women and Gender Equality Canada

The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, issued the following statement today on the fifth anniversary of the Department for Women and Gender Equality:

“On this day in December 2018, new legislation created the Department for Women and Gender Equality (WAGE), Canada’s first stand-alone federal department dedicated to advancing equality. Five years later, we reflect on where we started, the progress we’ve achieved together, and the work that remains.

As the women’s movement gained momentum in the 1970s, activists were at the heart of calling for the government to address the gender pay gap, dismantle barriers to women’s employment and education, improve access to birth control, and address disproportionate rates of gender-based violence (GBV).

I’m thankful for the advocacy that has paved the way for important milestones such as the tabling of the Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada in 1970, and the establishment of Status of Women Canada in 1976. These achievements have led to important gains for women and 2SLGBTQI+ people, including legislation to protect workers’ rights, decriminalize abortion, and make same-sex marriage legal across Canada. 

In the years since becoming a department, WAGE has picked up the torch alongside advocates and, under an expanded mandate, continues to build on past progress for women, girls, gender diverse people, and members of 2SLGBTQI+ communities. Highlights include:

  • Investing more than $400 million since 2018 to support women's and equality-seeking organizations who are working on the frontlines to improve women’s economic security and leadership, support 2SLGBTQI+ communities, tackle GBV, and support at-risk populations.
  • Prioritizing programs to prevent and address GBV, investing $290 million since 2018 as part of different funding initiatives to address gaps in supports for survivors and their families, bolster the capacity of Indigenous women’s and 2SLGBTQI+ organizations, prevent and address human trafficking, support crisis hotlines, engage men and boys, and commemorate Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
  • Investing $60 million since 2019 to support 116 projects under the Community Capacity Fund to protect 2SLGBTQI+ rights and amplify the 2SLGBTQI+ movement in Canada.
  • Working with partners to deliver action plans to address critical issues impacting women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ people including the National Action Plan to End Gender Based Violence and the Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan.  

WAGE plays an important role in our all-of-government approach to end gender-based violence and support victims and survivors. Over the years, in our role as a convenor, WAGE has facilitated collaboration among other government departments, to drive initiatives aimed at promoting the full inclusion of all people in Canada's economic, social, and political spheres. This includes initiatives to help make life more affordable with investments in early learning and child care, Canada’s homelessness strategy, menstrual equity, women’s health research and the promotion of healthy relationships.

I’m incredibly proud of this progress, and the people behind this work – our WAGE team works closely with Indigenous partners, colleagues in federal, provincial, and territorial governments, civil society organizations, equality-seeking organizations, and experts. I cannot thank these partners enough for their work.

While we have achieved much together, the gains we have made have not been enjoyed equally among all women in Canada. There is much more to be done: women are still paid less than men in similar roles, they still bear a disproportionate load of family care along with paid work, and they still receive less financing as a businessperson than others in similar circumstances. We must go further, faster.

We all benefit when everyone has equal opportunities to succeed. Today, let’s celebrate how far we’ve come, but also focus on the work left to do, and take action, together, to build a more equitable and inclusive Canada for everyone.”


Nanki Singh
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

Media Relations
Women and Gender Equality Canada

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