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Minister’s Message

The Honourable Helena Guergis, Minister of State (Status of Women) The Canadian Heritage portfolio gives Canadians the opportunity to participate in society and to achieve their full potential. As a Canadian Heritage portfolio agency, Status of Women Canada is working to achieve these goals.

In recognition of the important roles women play in Canada—and of the need to build opportunities for women in every area of federal investment—the Prime Minister took the step of creating a distinctive Minister of State position. I am pleased to have been asked to assume this key role on behalf of Canadians.

Canada has made significant progress in enhancing women’s participation in the life of the country. Women have made gains in higher education, workforce representation, income, political participation and others.

With their increased participation in the labour force, women are making significant contributions to Canada’s economy. For example, Canada’s business sector is benefiting from the influx of women who comprise a significant proportion of those involved in leading small and medium-sized enterprises. Women’s participation in the economy is vitally important since Canada already faces challenges brought on by an ageing population and increasing labour shortages. These challenges are greatest in sectors that call for skilled trades people and knowledge workers—areas where women are starting to play an ever more significant role.

With the appointment of 11 women, we have achieved the highest representation of women ministers in Cabinet.

In spite of these gains, gender equality gaps remain in key areas. We need, therefore, to continue our efforts to promote women’s full and active participation in all aspects of Canadian society.

Canadian families, including women are experiencing the effects of the cur-rent global financial crises. If we are to emerge from this period of global economic turbulence successfully, Canada needs the contributions of every citizen more than ever before, and, the full participation of women.

In 2009–2010, Status of Women Canada will lay the groundwork for a federal Action Plan for Women to implement its strategic direction through partnerships spanning governments, civil society and private sector leaders, working with women to create the conditions for women to succeed. To that end, the agency has identified the following three-pillar strategic direction:

  • improving women’s economic security and prosperity through partnerships and by promoting women’s labour force participation;
  • enhancing women’s personal safety and security, particularly addressing violence against women and girls by working with a wide-range of partners, such as the Native Women’s Association of Canada on the Sisters in Spirit initiative; and
  • encouraging women in leadership and decision-making roles, including in the democratic process.

I invite you to read the Report on Plans and Priorities for 2009–2010 prepared by Status of Women Canada. This report shows Status of Women Canada’s commitment to ensuring continued progress in addressing gender equality and enhancing women’s participation in the country’s economy and in Canadian society, so that Canada can benefit from the contributions of all of its citizens, women and men alike.

The Honourable Helena Guergis
Minister of State (Status of Women)

Section I—Departmental Overview

1.1 Summary information

Raison d’être and responsibilities

In 1976, the Government of Canada established the Office of the Coordinator, Status of Women, with the mandate to coordinate policy with respect to the status of women and to administer related programs (Order in Council 1976-779).

Status of Women Canada (SWC) is the primary federal organization entrusted with the mandate to advance the status of women. It fulfills its mandate by working with a wide range of partners such as federal departments and agencies, provincial/territorial governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. In so doing, the agency seeks to achieve an enduring outcome for Canadians, i.e., equality for women and their full participation in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada. To achieve this strategic outcome, SWC uses its Program Activity Architecture to allocate and manage resources, to carry out two Program Activities, to achieve expected results and contribute to the long-term planned outcome.

The first Program Activity—strategic policy analysis, planning and development—involves training and tool development, policy analysis; and provision of advice and support to federal departments and agencies. It contributes to one of the Government of Canada outcomes: Government Affairs (

  • In carrying out this activity, SWC delivers training, develops tool and provides support in order to enable departments and agencies to integrate gender considerations in public policies, programs and initiatives. This process is known as gender-based analysis (GBA) (
  • By working with central agencies, SWC also seeks to embed gender considerations in existing accountability mechanisms so that public institutions develop policies and programs that integrate the needs and realities of women. (
  • SWC seeks to influence decision-making processes so that the impact of these decisions on women and their ability to participate fully in all spheres of Canadian life are taken into consideration and are reflected in domestic initiatives and international instruments affecting women.

The second Program Activity—women’s participation in Canadian society—is carried out through two sub-activities: supporting women’s empowerment and building strategic partnerships. This Program Activity contributes to the Government of Canada outcome: Economic Affairs (income security and employment for Canadians).

  • This Program Activity provides financial and professional assistance to eligible Canadian organizations to carry out projects at local, regional and national levels. Through these projects, women are empowered with information, tools and enhanced abilities to participate in their communities.
  • This Program Activity also facilitates the engagement of Canadian public, private and voluntary sector organizations in creating opportunities for women, and, in changing systems to promote women’s economic security and prosperity, to encourage women’s leadership in key decision-making institutions and in working to eliminate violence against women. The Program assists in leveraging resources through partnership projects designed to engage Canadians in advancing equality for women.

Organizational information

The SWC Executive Committee, a corporate decision-making body, is composed of the Coordinator, the Deputy Coordinator and senior managers (i.e. Directors General of the Policy, Women’s Program, and Communications and Strategic Planning Directorates, the Director of Corporate Services, the Chief of Ministerial Services and Audit and Evaluation and Senior Advisor, Women and Economic Prosperity). The Executive Committee is supported by advisory and operational committees that undertake various tasks.

The SWC head office is located in the National Capital Region. SWC’s four regional offices are located in: Montreal (serving Quebec and Nunavut), Moncton (serving New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador), Edmonton (serving Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, Yukon) and the National Capital Region (serving Ontario and national organizations).

Strategic outcome and program activity architecture

Strategic Outcome: Equality for women and their full participation in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada


The chart below illustrates SWC’s Program Activity Architecture (PAA) as approved by Treasury Board and as displayed in the 2009–2010 Main Estimates.

Program Activity Architecture chart

The PAA serves as a basic structure through which SWC allocates and manages resources for the purpose of achieving expected results, as well as for reporting on results in Estimates and Public Accounts. This framework identifies SWC’s strategic outcome: Equality for women and their full participation in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada. As indicated in its Management Resources and Results Structure (MRRS), SWC seeks to contribute to this long-term outcome through two Program Activities: Strategic policy analysis, planning and development, and Women’s participation in Canadian society. The results from these Program Activities show the extent to which SWC influences its strategic outcome and serve as indicators of progress toward the planned result.

PAA crosswalk

In 2008, SWC received Treasury Board approval for a revised PAA which will take effect in 2009–2010. The new PAA will affect Estimates and Public Accounts reporting starting next fiscal year and will establish reference levels for 2009–2010 and future years.

The two Program Activities were also amended to ensure that they are consistent with the Management, Resources and Results Structure of the agency.


1.2 Planning summary

The tables below show the summary of planned spending and planned human resources for the next three fiscal years.

Financial Resources ($ millions)
2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012
31.4 30.4 29.4


Human resources (FTEs)
2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012
94 94 94


Linkages between strategic outcome, program activities, priorities and Government of Canada outcomes
Strategic Outcome: Equality for women and their full participation in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada
Performance indicators Targets
Representation of women in senior decision-making positions in public and private sectors 1% increase per year
Representation of women in the labour market, including access to support programs and services for entrepreneurship 1% increase per year
Participation of women in political processes/systems at the local, provincial and federal levels 1% increase per year

Program activity  
  Forecast Planned spending Align-
  spending ($ millions) ment to
  ($ millions) 2009–2010 2010–2011 2011–2012 Govern-
      ment of
1.1 Strategic policy analysis, planning and development  
  1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 Government Affairs
1.2 Women’s participation in Canadian society  
  27.8 25.9 24.9 23.9 Income security and employment for Canadians
1.3  Internal servicesa  
  3.5 3.8 3.8 3.8  
Total planned spending  
  33.0 31.4 30.4 29.4  

a  Budget 2007 provided additional $10 million annually to SWC as a proactive measure to achieve concrete outcomes in key areas, such as combating violence against women and girls and to enhance women’s economic security.


Contribution of priorities to strategic outcome
Type Links to
strategic outcome
Develop an Action Plan to Advance Equality for Women, in line with the three strategic objectives of SWC. New Equality for women and their full participation in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada The Action Plan to Advance Equality for Women will consist of a range of initiatives consistent with the strategic objectives of SWC.
Continue to invest in projects that address: women’s economic security and prosperity; women’s personal safety and security (ending violence against women); and women in leadership and decision-making roles. Previously committed Equality for women and their full participation in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada This priority will be implemented by using the following approaches:
Strategic Investment:  By determining funding priorities, SWC will invest strategically in areas where the need is the greatest and where the potential to achieve results is the strongest.
SWC will develop new partnerships and strengthen existing partnerships with public, non-profit and private sector organizations so that they may play a role in facilitating equality for women and their full participation in the Canadian economy and in society.
Professional Assistance:  SWC will deliver information/training sessions to applicants to help them develop high quality proposals, to ensure alignment between SWC direction and funding requests and to achieve expected results. SWC will also facilitate networking among groups with common goals and help organizations to work more effectively.
Enhance Program Management and Accountability:  SWC will continue to streamline the management of the Women’s Program and strengthen accountability through active project monitoring. To assist in developing SWC’s capacity in this domain, the agency has agreed to form part of the Committee led by the TBS for the federal Grants and Contributions reforms and Action Plan.
Develop and implement a Corporate Risk Profile. New Equality for women and their full participation in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada A corporate risk profile will enable SWC to use coherent, systematic and integrated risk management practices. Work is underway to develop the Corporate Risk Profile which will facilitate ongoing integrated risk management within SWC.
Continue work on the Values and Ethics Framework. Previously committed   SWC will develop further its Values and Ethics Framework.
Enhance areas for improvement identified through the Management Accountability Framework (MAF) assessment. New Equality for women and their full participation in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada In an effort to enhance management excellence within the agency, SWC will follow up on the MAF assessment to identify areas that require improvement.


1.3 Risk analysis

In determining its plans and priorities for 2009–2010, SWC examined its planning context and operational environment in order to identify opportunities and potential risks and to develop effective mitigation strategies.

Planning context

SWC fulfills its mandate within a context where progress has been made on the overall status of women, on the one hand, and gender equality gaps persist on the other. According to various studies, including Women in Canada, 5th Edition (2006), women have made gains in academic achievement,1 workplace representation,2 income3 and others. The economic returns of this progress could be substantial.

In spite of this progress, economic, social and other gaps between women and men persist. For example, women across all occupations continue to earn less than men. In 2007, women earned 84 cents for every 1 dollar per hour earned by men.4 In some cases, this gap is even wider and more persistent. Aboriginal women as well as immigrant women, senior women and women with disabilities remain disproportionately below the poverty line in Canada.

Gaps also persist with regard to women in leadership and decision-making roles.5 Women account for only 4.2 per cent of company heads, 7.3 per cent of senior executives and 12 per cent of board directors. Among Canada’s biggest companies, 75 per cent are run by men-only boards, men make up 94 per cent of the highest-paid Canadian executives and 97 of the top 100 public-owned companies have male chief executive officers.

In the public sector, women make up only about 22.4 per cent of the Members of Parliament in the House of Commons, about 34 per cent of members of the Senate, 41 per cent of federal deputy ministers and about 30 per cent of federally appointed judges. Women represented 33 per cent of Government in Council appointments between 2004 and 2007. This under-representation means considerable challenges to Canadian institutions as they develop policies, implement programs and deliver services that respond to citizen needs.

Canadian women also experience a disproportionate level of violence.6 Women and girls form the majority of victims of domestic abuse and violent crimes such as spousal homicide and criminal harassment. In particular, Aboriginal women in Canada face the highest rates of violence, including racialized and sexualized violence.

Operating environment


In 2009–2010, having completed the key aspects of its organizational change, SWC will be looking beyond the transition period to solidify gains for women in Canada in specific areas of priority. The results achieved through the transformation of the organization include enhanced accountability on gender equality, better tools to meet the Federal Accountability Act requirements, a wider program reach, improved ability to develop strategic partnerships and to leverage resources and new strategic directions that are fully aligned with Government of Canada priorities. These results provide opportunities to further improve SWC’s performance, to strengthen its expected results and to make progress toward its strategic outcome. The lessons learned from the transition period will also be used to address gaps that affect the fulfillment of SWC’s mandate.

In Budget 2008, the Government announced “ Action Plan that will advance the equality of women across Canada,” demonstrating further its commitment to achieving the full participation of women. In support of the Federal Action Plan for Women, SWC has already initiated strategic partnerships to advance women’s economic security and prosperity, to address violence against women and to increase the participation of women and girls in leadership roles across society.

The appointment of a Minister of State responsible exclusively for the status of women represents a unique opportunity for SWC. With this position, SWC will have not only an increased visibility but also a stronger voice for ensuring that women’s needs are given appropriate attention across the government’s agenda. With a position dedicated to the status of women, there is a greater possibility for collaboration with federal and provincial/territorial partners. The designation is intended to ensure that issues affecting women receive greater consideration in decision-making processes.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Status of Women continues to provide an opportunity for SWC to engage in a sustained dialogue on gender equality. This dialogue is important in that it not only keeps government abreast of evolving issues but facilitates government action on challenges that impede the full participation of women in Canadian society.


Risk assessment and mitigation strategies are performed routinely on an informal basis throughout the organization. Moreover, SWC officials are working to ensure that risk management is an integral factor applied in formal corporate decision-making processes. As such, SWC has started to develop a Corporate Risk Profile using a multi-phased assessment process, as described below:

  • In 2009–2010, SWC will start implementing its Corporate Risk Profile which will be renewed on a yearly basis and a training plan will be developed for all staff to build risk management capacity throughout the organization.
  • Using the Program Activity Architecture, risks were identified through meetings with staff from each directorate and by using a standardized Corporate Risk Profile Worksheet. The first phase involves the identification of risk exposure at the level of the strategic outcome, namely “Equality for women and their full participation in the economic, social, and democratic life of Canada”.
  • Risk exposure and possible mitigation strategies were identified for activities around staff abilities, the creation of tools, outreach ability and learning. The risks were then validated and assessed by the Audit and Evaluation staff and by the Deputy Coordinator and Chief Operating Officer. The next phase will involve the validation of the identified and assessed risks and the proposed mitigation strategies by the Executive Committee.
  • SWC has joined the TBS-led initiative on Grants and Contributions Reform and will have an opportunity to contribute to the three-year Action Plan in the small departments and agencies category. ( This leadership forum will involve the Coordinator in the Deputy Ministers’ Committee, the Deputy Coordinator in the Assistant Deputy Ministers’ Committee and the Director General of the Women’s Program in key committees.

Voted and statutory items

This table illustrates the way in which Parliament approved resources for the Office of the Coordinator, Status of Women.

Voted and Statutory Items
displayed in the Main Estimates ($ millions)
Vote # or Truncated vote Main estimates
statutory item(s) or statutory wording 2008–2009 2009–2010
85 Operating expenditures 7.5 8.6
90 Grants and contributions 16.3 19.9
(S) Contributions to employee benefit plans 1.0 1.1
  Total 24.8 29.6


Budget 2007 provided additional funding to SWC as a proactive measure to achieve concrete results in key areas, such as combating violence against women and girls and to enhance women’s economic security. These figures do not include additional, re-profiled funding expected through the supplementary estimates. Also, the figures do not include the budget for the Minister of State (Status of Women), expected through the supplementary estimates.