Minister for Women and Gender Equality's appearance at the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women (April 1, 2022)

The Deputy Minister was also present and received the binder for this parliamentary committee appearance.

Opening remarks

Before we begin, I want to acknowledge that we are meeting today on the unceded traditional territory of the Algonquin nation.

Thank you, Madam Chair, for the opportunity to add my voice to support the calls for action to end intimate partner violence in our country.

I applaud you and FEWO committee members for undertaking your important study of this form of gender-based violence. Like any form of gender-based violence, intimate partner violence is a horrific human rights violation. These violations take a physical, psychological, emotional, and financial toll on victims and survivors and their families.

You have no doubt been appalled by statistics showing more than 6.2 million women in Canada aged 15 and over have experienced violence from an intimate partner, someone they expect love and support from, someone who they trusted.

It is also extremely disturbing that between 2014 and 2020, 458 women were killed by a current or former intimate partner in Canada. That is one woman every six days.

More recently, the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability reports that 173 women and girls were violently killed in 2021: that’s 13 more than in 2020 and amounts to one every two days.

Behind these abhorrent statistics are the stories of the shattered lives of millions of individuals, predominantly women and girls, whose pain and suffering are unthinkable.

In fact, over the past few years, the incidences of some forms of gender based violence have risen dramatically. It has been called the shadow pandemic of COVID-19.

The Government of Canada is determined to prevent and end gender based violence. We are working with provincial and territorial governments and organizations from coast to coast to coast to end intimate partner violence and other forms of gender-based violence because everyone has the right to live free from violence.

As some forms of gender-based violence soared during the pandemic, the federal government moved swiftly to ensure that those experiencing it continued to have a safe place to turn. Since April 2020, approximately $300 million in emergency COVID-19 funding has been committed to organizations supporting those experiencing gender-based violence. This includes over $122 million that has already been provided to 1,300 women’s shelters, sexual assault centres, and other organizations providing critical support and services to those experiencing GBV. Because of this funding, more than 1.3 million individuals experiencing violence have had a place to go and access to support during the pandemic.

For example, the Saskatoon Interval House was able to continue to offer programs to families in need as other opportunities to raise funds dried up due to the pandemic. The federal emergency funding allowed them to support families in hotels for a short period of time while they worked to find affordable and safe accommodations for them. They were also able to purchase equipment and programs to support their clients online.

In fact, Budget 2021 announced more than $3 billion over five years to advance initiatives that prevent and address gender-based violence. Of that amount, $601.3 million is earmarked to advance the new National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, which Women and Gender Equality Canada is leading.

Madam Chair, while the National Action Plan will be developed around the needs of certain populations, every individual living in Canada, irrespective of their sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, or perceived gender will benefit from it. This sends a clear signal that gender-based violence will not be tolerated in this country. And that victims and survivors of violence can count on the support they need in their darkest hour. The Plan will focus on making sure that anyone facing gender-based violence has reliable and timely access to protection and services no matter where they live.

My Department is currently collaborating with other federal departments and provincial and territorial governments to advance the development of the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence.

In January 2021, at the 38th annual meeting, with my provincial and territorial ministerial counterparts responsible for the status of women, we endorsed the Joint Declaration for a Canada Free of Gender-Based Violence – including a shared vision, principles, and goals for the National Action Plan. This declaration reiterates the longstanding commitments of FPT governments to eliminate gender-based violence and advance gender equality for all Canadians.

As we move forward, it is critical to acknowledge that Indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse peoples, specifically LGBTQ2 individuals, continue to face higher rates of intimate partner violence.

To address the pressing needs of Indigenous peoples, Budget 2021 announced $2.2 billion over five years and $160.9 million ongoing to build a safer, stronger, and more inclusive response to the ongoing tragedy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Budget 2021 also invested $236 million over five years to expand work to eliminate sexual misconduct and gender-based violence in the military and to support victims and survivors.

These latest investments build on previous funding to prevent gender based violence, support victims and survivors and their families, and promote responsive legal and justice systems. You may recall that, in 2017, we launched “It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence.” To date, the Strategy has committed approximately $786 million and more than $44 million per year on an ongoing basis to advance these goals.

Of course, money alone will not put an end to gender-based violence. Including boys and men, we all have a role to play in ending gender-based violence and ensuring a stronger and safer Canada.

I sincerely hope that this Committee’s valuable study will encourage us to move faster on this crucial path.

Intimate Partner Violence

Issue / question:

What is WAGE doing to address intimate partner violence in Canada?

Suggested response:


Key Facts:

National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence

Issue / question:

What is the status of the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence?

Suggested response:


National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence

Federal Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence

Issue / question:

How is the Government of Canada working to end gender-based violence?

Suggested response:


Supporting Women’s Shelters, Sexual Assault Centres, and Other Organizations Providing Gender-Based Violence Supports and Services across Canada during COVID-19


What has the Government done to support women facing gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Suggested response:


2020 COVID-19 Funding for Shelters and Sexual Assault Centres

Budget 2021 Funding for Gender-Based Violence Organizations

Province # of Organizations Total Investment




British Columbia






New Brunswick






Northwest Territories



Nova Scotia









Prince Edwards Island












Grand Total



Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, And Two-Spirit LGBTQQIA+ Peoples

Issue / question:

What action is WAGE taking to address the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit (2S) LGBTQQIA+ people?

Suggested response:


Coercive and Controlling Behaviours

Issue / question:

What work is WAGE undertaking to address coercive and controlling behaviour?

Suggested response:


Gender-Based Violence in the Canadian Armed Forces

Issue / question:

What is the Government doing to address the issue of sexual assault and harassment within the Canadian Armed Forces?

Suggested response:


Gender-Based Violence in the RCMP

Issue / question:

How is WAGE supporting the RCMP to address and prevent gender-based violence?

Suggested response:


Human Trafficking

Issue / question:

How is the Government of Canada working to protect those who are at risk of human trafficking?

Suggested response:


Youth/Teen Dating Violence and Healthy Relationships

Issue / question:

What resources is WAGE putting towards prevention of toxic behaviours, particularly among teens?

Suggested response:


Engaging Men and Boys

Issue / question:

What work are you doing to engage men and boys on the issue of gender-based violence?

Suggested response:


Mandate Overview


What are WAGE's priorities with respect to advancing gender equality?

Suggested response:


Budget 2021 Investments for Women and Gender Equality

Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus)

Issue / question:

What is the government doing to improve the implementation of GBA Plus?

Suggested response:


Advancing LGBTQ2 Equality

Question: How is the Government advancing equality for LGBTQ2 Canadians?

Suggested response:


Federal LGBTQ2 Secretariat

Conversion Therapy

LGBTQ2 Action Plan 

Funding for LGBTQ2 Community Organizations

Ending the blood deferral period for men who have sex with men (MSM)

Other actions to Increase LGBTQ2 Equality

Funding Overview


How does Women and Gender Equality Canada  support communities to advance gender equality?

Suggested response:


Women’s Program

Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Program

Human Trafficking Initiative

LGBTQ2 Funding

COVID-19 Funding for Organizations Providing GBV Supports and Services

WAGE Gender-Based Violence Investments - Examples of Project Impact

Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Forum of Ministers responsible for the Status of Women

Issue / question:

What is the current status of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Forum of Ministers responsible for the Status of Women?

Suggested response: 


National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence

FPT Collaboration on COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Recovery

2021-22 Supplementary Estimates (C)

Issue / question:

2021-22 Supplementary Estimates (C) – Funding to advance LGBTQ2 equality (Budget 2021) and transfer from Operating vote to Grants and Contributions vote

Suggested response:


2022-2023 Departmental Plan

Issue / question:

What are the priorities for Women and Gender Equality as described in the 2022-2023 Departmental Plan?

Suggested response:


2022-2023 Main Estimates

Issue / question:

2022-2023 Main Estimates

Suggested response:


Main Estimates 2021-22 2022-23 Variance
Operating Expenditures




Grants and Contributions












The House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women (FEWO)

The Standing Committee on the Status of Women’s mandate gives it the broad authority to study the policies, programs, expenditures (budgetary estimates) and legislation of departments and agencies, including the Department for Women and Gender Equality, that conduct work related to the status of women and gender equality.

In the 43rd Parliament, the committee has studied:

During their first meeting of the first session of the 44th parliament, members agreed that witnesses who appear before the committee would have five minutes to make opening statements. Whenever possible, these opening statements should be submitted to the committee seventy-two hours in advance. This is followed by a question and answer period. Questions will proceed in the following order:

Round 1 - 6 minutes each, CPC, LPC, BQ, NDP Round 2 - 5 minutes each, CPC, LPC, then 2.5 minutes each, BQ, NDP, and subsequently another 5 minutes each CPC, LPC

The committee also elected Ms. Karen Vecchio (CPC) as Chair, Ms. Sonia Sidhu (LPC) as Vice Chair and Ms. Andréanne Larouche (BQ) as Second Vice Chair.

The committee agreed to undertake the following studies:

Intimate Partner Violence

That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee undertake a study, using an intersectional lens, examining intimate partner and domestic violence, with sub-topics including, but not limited to:

  1. Current support and protection infrastructures for women and girls subject to unsafe environments;
  2. Intimate partner violence specifically regarding teen dating and toxic masculinity, including causation, prevention, and the resources and education available for victims and perpetrators;
  3. Barriers facing women seeking to flee their perpetrators including, but not limited to an examination of the financial, social, coercive abuse, and immigration factors;
  4. The various legislative experiences of states and countries that have created legislation to criminalize coercive and manipulative behaviour, and on any other public policy tools;

That the committee consider additional ways in which the Government can contribute to the prevention of intimate partner violence and the protection of women and children fleeing violence; that the committee hear from witnesses, as well as from department officials, for no less than ten meetings; that the committee report its findings to the House; and that, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the Government table a comprehensive response in the House.

That the committee commence its study of intimate partner and domestic violence in Canada; that each witness hearing meeting take the form of two one-hour panels; that each panel be composed of three witnesses; that the parties send a list of witnesses to the clerk of the committee no later than 3:00 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday, February 2, 2022; that the committee accept briefs on this study; and that members of the public be able to submit briefs directly on the committee’s webpage.

That senior officials from the Department of Women and Gender Equality, the Department of Statistics Canada, the Department of Justice Canada, the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, the Department of Indigenous Services, and the Public Health Agency of Canada be invited to appear in relation to the study of intimate partner and domestic violence in Canada on Friday, February 4, 2022, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (ET).

That the Minister of Women and Gender Equality be invited to appear in relation to the study of intimate partner and domestic violence in Canada.

Resource Development and Violence toward Indigenous Women and Girls

That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee undertake a study on the relationship between resource development and increased violence against Indigenous women and girls, as it relates to Calls for Justice 13.4 and 13.5 of the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls; that the committee dedicate at least four meetings to this issue, report its findings and any recommendations to the House; and that, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests a comprehensive Government response to the report.

Mental Health of Young Women and Girls

That the committee undertake the following study as its third study: That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee undertake a study examining the factors contributing to mental health issues experienced by young women and girls, including but not limited to eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety, and suicide; that the committee provide attention to the impact of online harms and issues regarding self-esteem in young women and girls; that the committee hear from witnesses for six meetings, including the Minister of Women and Gender Equality for one hour and the Minister for Mental Health and Addictions for one hour; that the committee consider ways in which the Government can continue to strengthen mental health supports for young women and girls; that the committee report its findings to the House; and that, pursuant to Standing Order 109, the Government table a comprehensive response to the report.

Human Trafficking

That the committee undertake the following study as its fourth study: That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee undertake a study on human trafficking of women, girls, and gender-diverse individuals for sexual exploitation in Canada, including an examination of how to prevent the trafficking of individuals and ways to improve Canadian law enforcement’s capability to apprehend and prosecute perpetrators; that a minimum of eight and a maximum of ten meetings be held on this study; and that the committee report its findings to the House.

FEWO Members

Liberal Party of Canada:

Conservative Party of Canada:

New Democratic Party:

Bloc Québécois:

Karen Vecchio: Chair, Conservative critic, and returning member

 Karen Vecchio

Karen Vecchio was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Elgin-Middlesex-London in 2015.

She was raised on a turkey and hog farm in Sparta, Ontario and remains connected to her rural roots in Southern Ontario. Prior to entering politics, she owned and operated a small business in London, Ontario and worked alongside MP Joe Preston as his Executive Assistant for 11 years.

Ms. Vecchio is married to Mike and they have 5 children.

She currently serves as the Deputy House Leader for the Official Opposition.She participates regularly in the All-Party Agricultural Caucus, the All-Party Anti-Poverty Caucus, the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Caucus, and the All-Party Parliamentary Group to End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.

In her capacity as Member of Parliament, Ms. Vecchio has served as Critic for Women and Gender Equality (2019-2020); Chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women (2017-2020); Critic for Families, Children and Social Development; Chair of the Conservative Social Development Caucus (2016-2019) and the Conservative Caucus Liaison to the LGBTQ2+ community.


  • Agriculture
  • LGBTQ2+
  • Women’s Issues
  • Human trafficking
Sonia Sidhu: Vice-Chair and Returning Member (Liberal)

Sonia Sidhu

Satinderpal "Sonia" Sidhu was first elected Member of Parliament for Brampton South in 2015.

Born in India, Ms. Sidhu immigrated to Winnipeg in 1992, where she worked as a small business owner, entrepreneur, and Cardiac Technologist in Victoria Hospital. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a certificate in Diabetes Education from The Michener Institute. Ms. Sidhu worked in the healthcare profession in Brampton South for fifteen years, focusing on diabetes research and education.

Since entering the House in 2015, Ms. Sidhu has strongly advocated for healthcare. She was a member of the Standing Committee on Health and advised on eighteen different reports, including the report recommending the implementation of a national pharmacare plan and the report on drinking water standards. Her report “Defeating Diabetes,” for which she crossed the country to consult with experts, was presented to the Minister of Health in 2019. Ms. Sidhu also frequently speaks about the issues faced by seniors and has worked to improve the infrastructure and employment rates in her riding.

In the 42nd parliament, Ms. Sidhu sat on the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. She was also a member of the Special Committee on Pay Equity. In Committee meetings, in the House of Commons, and through her social media, Ms. Sidhu has expressed particular interest in senior women, women in politics, pay equity, and women’s health. She has highlighted the need for intersectionality when discussing women’s issues and empowerment. During the 43rd parliament, Ms. Sidhu worked on the FEWO reports on pay equity and impacts of COVID-19 on women.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Sidhu has continued to focus on health, including long-term care homes and healthcare accessibility. She has also spoken about investments in organizations that support the homeless, specifically women fleeing domestic violence who are now being housed in hotels.

Interests :

  • Communities
  • Infrastructure
  • Youth
Andréanne Larouche: Vice-Chair, BQ critic, and Returning Member

 Andréanne Larouche

Bloc Québécois Member of Parliament for the riding of Shefford, Andréanne Larouche, was elected in the 2019 federal election.

Ms. Larouche studied art and media technology at Cégep de Jonquière and has always been engaged locally, sitting on the board of directors for the Ecosphere Group and the Sutton Museum of Communications and History. While this is her first time in the House of Commons, Ms. Larouche holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Sherbrooke in applied politics, and worked for the former Member of Parliament for Brome-Missisquoi, Christian Ouellet and Member of Quebec’s National Assembly, Marie Bouillé.

She was also a project manager for Alternative Justice and Mediation, raising awareness on elder abuse.

Ms. Larouche was appointed as the Bloc Québécois Critic for Women and Gender Equality and Critic for Seniors. Ms. Larouche’s first speech in the House of Commons was on the topic of the anti-feminist attack at École Polytechnique, advocating for stricter gun control to protect women against such violence.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Larouche has focused on senior women, women in essential services, and the ability for women to access help. Like other members of the Bloc Québécois, she has advocated for increased health and social transfers to Quebec as she believes many of these issues are best resolved by the province. She has also advocated for an increase to GIS/OAS for seniors under seventy-five.

Interests :

  • Seniors
  • Gender Equality
  • Poverty
  • Arts and culture
Dominique Vien – Conservative Critic and New Member

Dominique Vien

Dominique Vien was elected Member of Parliament for the riding of Bellechasse-Les Etchemins-Lévis in 2021.

Ms. Vien was born in Lévis and completed her secondary studies at the Collège de Saint-Damien and the Collège Jésus-Marie in Sillery. She finished her college at Collège de Lévis and subsequently obtained a bachelor's degree in public communication from Laval University.

Recognized for her hard work, determination and results-based management, Ms. Vien has many achievements to her credit, including the construction of a four-lane road between Saint-Henri and Saint- Anselme, the supply of natural gas, the safeguard of Mont-Orignal, the granting of an unprecedented budget to the MRC des Etchemins and the maintenance in Saint-Anselme of the Exceldor plant.

Ms. Vien has worked in many community organizations. She is the mother of a young adult.

A journalist for ten years on community radio Passion FM (Radio-Bellechasse) and on Radio-Canada radio, Ms. Vien was elected Member of Parliament for Bellechasse under the banner of the Liberal Party of Quebec for nearly 15 years.

During this period, Ms. Vien headed 4 ministries including the Ministry of Labor. Until recently, Ms. Vien was the general manager of the MRC des Etchemins.

Interests :

  • Communities
  • Infrastructure
  • Youth
Shelby Kramp-Neuman – New Member (Conservative)

Shelby Kramp-Neuman

Shelby Kramp-Neuman was elected Member of Parliament for Hastings-Lennox and Addington in 2021. She is the critic for Seniors.

Born and raised in Hastings County, Ms. Kramp-Neuman has lived most of her life in Madoc, Ontario. She has been happily married to Tadum Neuman for 15 years. They have two school aged daughters, Tori and Reese.

A graduate of the University of Ottawa, where she studied Communications and Political Science, Shelby Kramp-Neuman has worked in government, public service, and the private sector.

Before being elected to office, Ms. Kramp-Neuman spent 12 years working for Sun Life Financial as an award-winning Financial Advisor.

She has been a parliamentary assistant to the late Jim Prentice and worked for Senator Con Dinino. This experience was followed by employment with Global Affairs Canada where she was selected to become a Canadian representative in Seattle, Washington.

She has spent almost six years as a teacher, including time with the Hastings & Prince Edward District School Board and at Loyalist College. She has served on the Centre Hastings Municipal Council for 15 years, being re-elected three times and serving for four years as Deputy Mayor.


  • Affordable Housing
  • Mental Health
  • Seniors
  • Cost of living
Michelle Ferreri – New Member (Conservative)

Michelle Ferreri

Michelle Ferreri – New Member (Conservative)

Michelle Ferreri was elected Member of Parliament for Peterborough-Kawartha in 2021.

She is a proud mother of three children, between the ages of 12 and 17, and shares her life with her supportive partner, Ryan, and his three daughters.

Prior to being elected, Ms. Ferreri was a well-known community advocate, an award-winning entrepreneur, a committed volunteer, and a sought-after public speaker and social media marketer.

She has over 20 years’ experience in media, marketing and public speaking.

During her time as a reporter, one of Michelle’s most memorable experiences was when she had the opportunity to visit the Canadian Forces Base, Alert and fly to the station on a C-17 Globemaster.

She is a graduate of Trent University (Biology/Anthropology) and Loyalist College (Biotechnology). Her education in science has led her to be a passionate advocate for physical and mental health.


  • Physical and mental health
  • Housing
  • Economy
  • Food security
Jenna Sudds – Parliamentary Secretary and New Member (Liberal - Non-voting member)

Jenna Sudds

Jenna Sudds was elected Member of Parliament for Kanata in 2021. Ms. Sudds is a long-time Kanata resident, economist, former city councillor, and community advocate. She and her husband Tim have raised their three daughters in Kanata—Carleton since moving to the community two decades ago. Since 2013, Ms. Sudds has been an integral part of the development of Kanata North, from serving as a founding director of the Kanata North Business Association to representing the community at City Hall as the City Councillor for Kanata North.

She has been highly engaged in her community since moving to Kanata—Carleton in 2001. She grew up in Niagara Falls, attended Brock University in St. Catharines, and moved to the National Capital Region to complete her Master’s of Economics at Carleton University.

She spent the first twelve years of her career working as an economist in the Federal Government. She left her role in the Federal Government in 2013 to pursue directorship opportunities within Kanata—Carleton’s world-class technology sector.

Ms. Sudds became the founding President and Executive Director of the newly formed Kanata North Business Association in 2013. After four years of supporting Kanata businesses, she became the Executive Director of the CIO Strategy Council, a national technology council.

In 2015, Jenna was named one of “Forty under 40” who would lead Ottawa into the future by the Ottawa Business Journal and Ottawa Chamber of Commerce. Two years later, Jenna was named one of the world’s “Top 40 under 40” International Economic Development Professionals.


  • Economy
  • Food security
  • Small businesses support
  • Employment
Emmanuella Lambropoulos – Returning Member (Liberal)

Emmanuella Lambropoulos

Emmanuella Lambropoulos was first elected Member of Parliament for Saint-Laurent in 2017.

Ms. Lambropoulos was raised in the Saint-Laurent borough of Montréal. She attended Vanier College, where she received the Program Award upon graduation, awarded in recognition of outstanding achievement in the Social Science (Psychology Major) Program. During her time at Vanier, Ms. Lambropoulos was a member of the Vanier Key Society, a group composed of a talented group of students chosen for their high academic standing, strong communication skills and demonstrated leadership abilities. She then graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Education in 2013, where she was the president of the McGill Hellenic Students Association.

She then became a teacher at Rosemount High School, where she taught French and history. Most recently, she completed her Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership from McGill University.

Ms. Lambropoulos has served on the parliamentary committees for Veterans Affairs (May 2017-Sept 2018), Status of Women (Sept 2017-Sept 2019), and Official Languages (Sept 2018-Sept 2019).

As part of her work for the Status of Women committee, she has studied such issues as shelters and transition homes for women who are seeking to escape domestic violence, and barriers to women entering politics.


  • Status of Women
  • Disabilities
Anita Vandenbeld – Returning Member (Liberal)

Anita Vandenbeld

Anita Vandenbeld – Returning Member (Liberal)

Anita Vandenbeld was first elected Member of Parliament for Ottawa-West Nepean in 2015.

Ms. Vandenbeld was the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence.

During her previous mandate, she chaired the House of Commons Subcommittee on International Human Rights and sat on the Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee and the Committee on Access to Information, Privacy, and Ethics.

She also served on the Committee on the Status of Women and the Procedure and House Affairs committee and was chair of the Special Committee on Pay Equity. From 2015 to September 2018, Ms. Vandenbeld chaired the Parliamentary Women’s Caucus.

She also founding chair of the all-party Democracy caucus. Prior to her election to the Canadian House of Commons, she worked for over a decade in international democratic development and women’s political participation, having worked in over 20 countries on inclusive governance and women’s leadership. She managed a global, multi-partner online network to promote women’s political rights and participation, called Ms. Vandenbeld was a parliamentary advisor with the United Nations Development Programme in Bangladesh, and Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of the Central Assembly and Political Parties Section of the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mission in Kosovo. She coordinated an anti-corruption campaign with the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and as the resident director of the National Democratic Institute’s office in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ms. Vandenbeld established a political party program during the 2011 elections. Anita has also led women’s campaign and leadership training in several countries, including Haiti, and she authored a UNDP study on women’s political participation in Vietnam.

She has a Masters Degree in Constitutional and Political History from York University. Shortly after leaving graduate school she spent 6 years as a staff member in the Canadian Parliament, including as a policy analyst in the National Liberal Caucus Research Bureau, as Director of Parliamentary Affairs in the office of the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister Responsible for Democratic Reform, and as Chief of Staff to a Senator.

Ms. Vandenbeld is a recipient of the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal for her work in Kosovo. She has also received the Leading Women, Leading Girls Award for her community service. Vandenbeld is a contributing author to the ‘Oxford Handbook on Transnational Feminist Movements’ and wrote a chapter in a book about Canadian parliamentary democracy called ‘Turning Parliament Inside Out’.


  • Canadian Armed Forces
  • Women
  • International relations
Marc Serré: Returning Member (Liberal)

Marc Serré

Marc Serré was first elected Member of Parliament for Nickel Belt in 2015.

Son of former Liberal Member of Parliament Gaetan Serré and nephew of former Liberal Member of Parliament Ben Serré, Marc Serré was born into a family tradition of politics. He is a proud member of the Algonquin First Nation in Mattawa/North Bay and a proud francophone.

Before joining the House of Commons, Mr. Serré graduated from Laurentian University with an Honours Bachelor in Commerce with a specialization in Human Resources and Marketing. He is an award-winning telecom technologist specializing in research and development who founded the family-run Internet provider PhoneNet and received the Canadian CANARIE IWAY Award in recognition of his innovative and outstanding achievements in Internet adaptive technology.

He was also the Northern Eastern Ontario Regional Director of the Canadian Hearing Society, a staff and faculty member at Collège Boréal and Cambrian College, and the North Eastern Ontario Managing Director at Eastlink. Mr. Serré served as a trustee at the Conseil scolaire catholique du Nouvel-Ontario (CSCNO) and was also a Municipal Counsellor in West Nipissing.

In Parliament, he has been involved in several Standing Committees, Caucus and Parliamentary Associations including: the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Chair of the National Rural Liberal Caucus, and Chair of Northern Ontario Liberal Caucus. Mr. Serré has demonstrated his advocacy for increased rural infrastructure, affordable housing, accessibility, and seniors in and outside the House of Commons. His motion M-106, calling on the federal government to develop Canada’s first National Senior Strategy, was successfully passed in the House of Commons in May 2017.

Mr. Serré was a member of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women during the 42nd and 43rd parliament.


  • Women in STEM
  • Indigenous Women
  • Senior women
  • Rural women
Leah Gazan – New Member (New Democratic Party)

Leah Gazan

Leah Gazan was elected as the Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre in 2019.

As an educator, advisor, and media contributor, Ms. Gazan has been deeply engaged with issues and organizing in Winnipeg’s core for nearly three decades.

She has spent her life working for human rights on the local, national, and international stage. As president of the Social Planning Council between 2011- 2015, she organized and pushed policy in support of an end to poverty, addressing violence against women and girls, finding solutions for housing insecurity and homelessness, ensuring fair wages, community-based actions addressing addictions and proper supports for mental health.

Ms. Gazan was a prominent Winnipeg lead during Idle No More, articulating the movement to the Winnipeg public. She also co-founded the #WeCare campaign aimed at building public will to end violence against Indigenous women and girls. She is a member of Wood Mountain Lakota Nation, located in Saskatchewan, Treaty 4 territory.

She is currently the NDP Critic for Women and Gender Equality; Families, Children and Social Development and Deputy Critic for Housing. In the last session she was a member of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, and the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament.

In 2019, she introduced a private member's bill, Bill C-232, The Climate Emergency Action Act, which recognizes the right to a healthy environment as a human right. In August 2020, she submitted M-46, which calls on the federal government to convert the Canada Emergency Response Benefit into a permanent Guaranteed Livable Basic Income. She was recently named in Maclean's 2021 Power List.


  • Indigenous Affairs
  • Violence against women and girls
  • Poverty
  • Housing
  • Communities
  • Mental health and drug addictions

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