Edmonton, Alberta – Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers responsible for the Status of Women concluded their 22nd annual meeting today reaffirming their commitment to advancing equality for women. The Government of Canada, represented by the Honourable Jean Augustine, Secretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women) and the Government of Alberta, represented by the Honourable Gene Zwozdesky, Minister of Community Development, co-chaired the meeting.
Since their first meeting in 1981, Ministers have met annually to examine ways to advance equality for women and to exchange information on important issues affecting women in Canada, specifically in the area of health, economic security, violence and human rights. This year, Ministers placed priority attention on the circumstances of Aboriginal women both on and off reserve. Accordingly, Ministers established a working group to develop a plan of action to guide their work in this important area.
The Ministers’ Forum completed a key economic project, the results of which were released to the public at the conclusion of the meeting. “Workplaces that Work”, highlights bottom-line business reasons for making changes to workplace cultures to increase the recruitment, retention and promotion of skilled women workers. Noting that traditional labour pools will not fully satisfy all future needs for skilled workers, and that all employees benefit from workplace cultures that are women friendly, the business case offers ideas and examples of things employers can do to ensure their workplace is inviting for all employees. It also provides a quick self-assessment tool.
The business case adds to other work from the Forum such as “Economic Gender Equality Indicators” and their statistical report, “Assessing Violence Against Women: A Statistical Profile”. Quebec was an observer on the working groups on economic issues (including the one that produced the Workplaces that Work document). While not taking part in the work concerning these issues, Quebec indicated that it looked forward to being involved in future discussions on economic issues affecting women primarily by sharing information about initiatives it has already undertaken in that regard.
Earlier this year, Canada reported to the United Nations on its progress in implementing the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). At this FPT meeting, Ministers discussed women’s issues addressed within CEDAW and recognized there is still work to do on the continuing economic inequalities and violence that many women experience, particularly Aboriginal women, and the new challenges facing Canadians such as an aging society and changing labour market.
The next meeting of Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers responsible for the Status of Women will be held in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2004.
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For more information, contact:
|Kathy Telfer||Anne Schroder|
|Department of Community Development||Status of Women Canada|
|(780) 427-2395||(613) 943-1729|