Minister Leitch challenges leaders to become champions for women

Harper Government launches It Starts with One Be her Champion campaign

TORONTO, April 16, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, announced a new initiative entitled It Starts with One — Be Her Champion.  This campaign challenges leaders in all fields to make a difference in a woman's career by becoming her champion.  The Minister was accompanied by Stella Ambler, Member of Parliament for Mississauga—South; Isabelle Hudon, Executive Chair for Quebec and Senior Vice-President of Client Solutions for Sun Life Financial; and numerous executives, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and professionals for the announcement at TMX Broadcast Centre in Toronto.

Minister Leitch highlighted the enormous benefits that championing can have—both for champions and their mentees. The It Starts with One campaign is designed to engage leaders in both the private and public sectors as champions for women by taking a pledge to participate in formal or informal mentoring efforts. Canadians can take the It Starts with One pledge at The website also provides information on the benefits of championing, links to formal mentorship programs in Canada, and a toolkit for initiating championing relationships.

Quick Facts

  • Research suggests that 88% of entrepreneurs with mentors survive in business, compared with a 50% failure rate for those without a mentor.
  • In 2011, women held majority ownership of 15.6% of small and medium-sized businesses in Canada.
  • Economic Action Plan 2014 outlined the Government of Canada's commitment to increasing mentorship among women entrepreneurs.
  • According to BMO Financial Group, women-owned businesses employ over 1.5 million Canadians. 
  • RBC Economics reports that as of 2011, the contribution of majority-owned women's businesses to the Canadian economy was an estimated $148 billion.
  • Since 2007, the Government of Canada has invested over $153 million through Status of Women Canada in support of more than 750 community-based projects across Canada. Of this amount, more than $60 million has gone to projects that promote women's economic security and prosperity, including more than $12 million for projects that support women's entrepreneurship.



"Our Government knows that when women succeed Canada succeeds. This initiative is an extraordinary opportunity for accomplished Canadians to share their experience and expertise, to champion a young woman and to join the movement for increasing women's economic prosperity in Canada."
The Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, P.C., O.Ont., M.P.
Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women

"The Government of Canada recognizes that women are key to Canada's economic success and is taking action to create opportunities for women that will also strengthen the economy. By urging leaders across the country to make a difference in a woman's career, this new campaign will help women reach the highest levels achievement in many different sectors."
Stella Ambler
Member of Parliament for Mississauga—South

" It has long been my personal commitment to support women in achieving their goals and realizing their potential. Not only is this good for women, it also makes good economic sense. I am pleased to see the Government of Canada working with the private sector to support the advancement of women with It Starts with One: Be her Champion. Sponsoring and mentoring are two important ways we can all commit to helping women succeed."
Isabelle Hudon
Executive Chair, Quebec; Senior Vice-President, Client Solutions
Sun Life Financial

Additional Links


SOURCE Status of Women Canada

For further information: For media inquiries only: Andrew McGrath, Director of Communications, Office of the Hon. Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, P.C., O.Ont., M.P., Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, Tel: 819-953-5646,; For all other inquiries: Nanci-Jean Waugh, Director General, Communications and Public Affairs, Status of Women Canada, Tel: 819-420-6810

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