Introducing Bill C-581: Status of Women Canada Act
October 19th, 2010 - 3:06pm
Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP): moved for leave to introduce Bill C-581, An Act respecting Status of Women Canada.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to bring forward by my private member's bill, an act to establish the office of Status of Women Canada. My goal is to legislate the office and mandate of Status of Women Canada, whose function it is to coordinate policy with respect to the Status of Women and administer related programs.
In 1967, a Royal Commission on the Status of Women made significant recommendations regarding the steps to be taken by the federal government to ensure equal opportunities for women with men in all aspects of Canadian society having regard for distribution of legislative powers under the Constitution of Canada, particularly with reference to federal statutes, regulations and policies that concern or affect the rights and activities of women.
Status of Women Canada is a vital agency that should work to advance women's human rights in Canada. The current mandate needs to be replaced by one that follows the spirit of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and Canada's own Royal Commission on the Status of Women report, and then be enshrined in Canadian law.
It is most certainly in the interest of Canadians to identify and raise awareness on issues that affect the social, economic and democratic rights of women. Canada has one of the largest wage gaps between men and women among developed countries. Women's political participation has stagnated at 20% and they make up a disproportionate number of Canadians living in poverty. Women in Canada are still far from reaching full equality.
Status of Women Canada should not just provide band-aid solutions to the serious systemic problems facing women. My bill would give Status of Women Canada the authority to address systemic inequality issues through research, advocacy, gender-based analysis and ongoing reviews of the status of women in Canada.
I am convinced that the Famous Five would support this bill and I call upon my colleagues in the House of Commons to give it the careful consideration and support it merits.
There needs to be a senior and equal minister for Status of Women Canada sitting at the cabinet table of this and future governments. Anything less relegates women to the inequality they continue to suffer in this country.