Minister releases background paper on Canada's progress on implementing 1995
Beijing Platform for Action

NEW YORK, March 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Following her address to the 54th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW), the Honourable Helena Guergis, Minister of State (Status of Women), today released a background paper outlining Canada's progress on implementing the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action.

The bilingual paper, titled Beijing Platform for Action: Government of Canada's Progress / Programme d'Action de Beijing : Progrès du Gouvernement du Canada, addresses Canada's progress in each of the Platform's 12 critical areas of concern: Women and Poverty; Education and Training of Women; Women and Health; Violence Against Women; Women and Armed Conflict; Women and the Economy; Women in Power and Decision-Making; Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women; Human Rights of Women; Women and the Media; Women and the Environment; and the Girl Child.

The paper will be available for download from the Status of Women Canada web site at

The UNCSW/Beijing+15 meeting marks an international milestone, particularly in light of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in December 2009, and the 25th anniversary of the equality provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 2010.

The UNCSW is a commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council and is dedicated to gender equality and advancement of women. The Commission brings together representatives of Member States at UN Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards, and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide. The meeting of the Commission is held each year over a period of 10 working days, normally scheduled in late February and early March.

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    Beijing Platform for Action: Government of Canada's progress

In 1995, the Fourth United Nations (UN) World Conference on Women was held in Beijing, China, where UN Member States adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (PfA). The year 2010 marks the 15-year review and appraisal of commitments made to gender equality in Beijing as well as a review of the outcomes of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly in 2000. The 15-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (Beijing +15) culminates in a high-level meeting taking place March 1 to March 12, 2010, within the context of the 54th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

The Beijing Platform for Action identified strategic objectives and actions in 12 critical areas of concern:

    -   Poverty
    -   Education and Training
    -   Health
    -   Violence against Women
    -   Armed Conflict
    -   Economy
    -   Power and Decision-Making
    -   Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women
    -   Human Rights of Women
    -   Media
    -   Environment
    -   The Girl-Child

Canada has experienced very solid progress in a number of areas, including increasing levels of education, reducing poverty, increasing economic participation and increasing power and decision making.

For example, in 2007 women made up 61 per cent of all university graduates - compared to 55 per cent in 1998.

The high school drop out rate has fallen to 7 per cent, from 9 per cent in 2002.

The decline in poverty rates is even more stunning: in 1998, 42.9 per cent of families headed by lone-parent mothers fell below the after tax Low-Income Cut Off, or LICO.

By 2007, the number had fallen to 23.6 per cent (LICO). We have nearly cut in half the number of these families living below the cut off.

Percentages of Senior women living below the cut off has fallen from 26.7 per cent in 1980, to just 6 per cent in 2007.

We repealed Section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, providing Aboriginal women with protection under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In 2009, Canadian women represented 47.2 percent of the labour force.

Women are starting small businesses at twice the rate of men, and women's average incomes have increased almost 17 per cent since 2002.

Effective January 31 2010, self-employed Canadians will have access to four types of federal employment insurance benefits: maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care. This is a major step forward for women and gender equality in Canada.

When it comes to power and decision making, we continue to make progress. Currently 28.9 per cent of Canada's cabinet is made up of women - the highest rate ever.

Within our federal government bureaucracy, 38.7 per cent of Deputy Ministers are now women, compared to 25 per cent in 2005, an increase of 50 per cent.

Women make up 54.9 per cent of Canada's federal public service, and 43 per cent of executive category positions - up from 33.8 per cent in 2005.

These figures represent many years of work and the development of positive policies including consistent usage of our Gender Based Analysis protocols.

Canada was the first country to ban the act of surfing for child pornography, viewing it on-screen, e-mailing it or exporting it abroad. However, there remain several areas in which progress remains to be made: for example, there were 38,000 police-reported incidents of family violence in 2009, and 83 per cent of victims are women.

Canada recognizes that despite declining rates of violence in many areas, women remain more likely than men to be the victims of violence. All levels of government have worked together to improve our responses to violence against women, including through prevention and criminal law amendments to strengthen our efforts and to better respond to the needs of victims throughout the criminal justice process.

The Government of Canada recognizes the need to improve the situation of Aboriginal women in Canada. We know that their ongoing social and economic challenges makes them more vulnerable to poverty, violence and discrimination.

We also recognize that women and girls continue to experience sexual exploitation. We will continue our efforts to combat the crime of trafficking in persons, which predominantly affects women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and we have renewed a Strategy focused on preventing the sexual exploitation of children on the Internet.

Last year, Canada hosted an inaugural conference to begin development of an international governance structure for Shelter networks. Seventeen nations attended and work on this initiative continues.

Canada is committed to making important contributions to women and girls not just at home but also at the international level. Our efforts in Afghanistan mean thousands of girls are able to go to school in areas where this was previously impossible.

In Haiti, which was showing tangible gains in the areas of security and governance before the earthquake, we are determined to assist in every way possible as that nation rebuilds.

In January, Prime Minister Harper announced that as host of this year's G8 Summit, Canada will show leadership by focusing its international aid efforts on maternal and child health.

    Actions Canada has taken: Poverty

    -   In 2007, a non-refundable child tax credit for each child under age
        18 was introduced. For more than three million Canadian families, the
        credit amount of $2,089 for 2009 reduces federal income taxes by up
        to $313 per child.
    -   The Government of Canada's 2009 Budget included enhancements to the
        National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS) and CCTB worth $230 million.
    -   A Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) was introduced in 2007,
        benefiting low-income Canadians, including many single mothers. It
        supplements earnings through a refundable tax credit, and includes a
        supplement for persons with disabilities. In Budget 2009, the federal
        government announced plans to double its investment in the WITB.
    -   Since 2006, the federal government's Universal Child Care Plan
        provides choice in child care to parents. The Plan has two main
        -  the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) offsets the costs of
           whatever form of child care parents choose, providing Canadian
           families with $100 per month for each child under six. It provides
           1.5 million Canadian families with approximately $2.5 billion
        -  $250 million in new transfers to provinces and territories to
           support the creation of child care spaces, in addition to other
           transfers for early childhood development, and early learning and
           child care. In all, federal transfers in support of families with
           children total over $1.13 billion this year, growing to almost
           $1.3 billion by 2013-2014. Since 2007, many provinces and
           territories announced plans for new child care spaces-over 60,000
           so far. Others are investing in enhancing the quality of their
           spaces, or affordability.

    Actions Canada has taken: Education

    -   The Government of Canada created the Office of Literacy and Essential
        Skills as a centre of expertise for increasing literacy and essential
        skills among adult Canadians. In 2009-2010, the Office will receive
        $36 million in federal funding to help individuals develop the skills
        they need to get jobs and build better futures.
    -   The Office of Literacy and Essential Skills provided support for a
        recent successful career-based training program, Essential Skills for
        Aboriginal Futures, to enhance essential skills among Aboriginal
        peoples in British Columbia.
    -   The Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) and the Canada Student Grants
        Program promote accessibility to post-secondary education for all
        Canadians. In particular, the Canada Student Grants Program provides
        support to needy students, full- and part-time, including those from
        low-income families, those with permanent disabilities and those with
        dependents, such as single mothers.
    -   The Workplace Skills Strategy, which focuses on promoting: workplace
        skills investment; skills recognition and utilization; and
        partnerships, networks and information.
    -   The Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) adds 20% to the first
        $2,500 in contributions to an eligible beneficiary's registered
        education savings plan (RESP) each year. In 2005, the CESG was
        increased for low-income families, many of which are headed by lone
        female parents.
    -   The Canada Learning Bond, a grant to help modest-income families
        start saving for their child's education after high school, is paid
        directly into the RESP of a child whose parent or guardian is
        eligible to receive the National Child Benefit Supplement.
    -   In 2006, the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers was introduced to
        help displaced older workers in vulnerable communities remain active
        and productive participants in the labour market.
    -   In 2007, Labour Market Agreements (LMAs) improved access to training
        opportunities for persons not eligible for training under the
        Employment Insurance program, including under-represented groups such
        as women, recent immigrants, persons with disabilities, and
    -   In 2009, the Government of Canada announced increased support for
        training by extending Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to long-
        tenured workers during periods of training as well as earlier access
        to EI regular income benefits for eligible workers investing in their
        own training using all or part of their severance package. This
        provides increased funds to the provinces and territories for
        training through Labour Market Development Agreements, and targeting
        investments in training for youth, older workers and Aboriginal
    -   In the 2009 Economic Action Plan, the government committed $1.9
        billion for short and long-term skills upgrading, including
        investments in the long-term potential of under-represented groups.

    Actions Canada has taken: Health

    -   The Canada Health Act (1984) ensures all eligible residents of Canada
        have reasonable access to medically necessary insured services on a
        prepaid basis, without direct charges at the point of service.
    -   The Canadian Perinatal Surveillance System was implemented in 1995 to
        improve the health of pregnant women, mothers and infants in Canada
        through health surveillance and research.
    -   In 1999, Health Canada developed the Women's Health Strategy, a
        policy framework aimed at: ensuring policies and programs respond to
        sex and gender differences and women's health needs; increasing
        knowledge and understanding of women's health and health needs;
        supporting effective provision of health services to women and
        promoting good health through prevention and reduction of risk
    -   Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada have
        incorporated gender-based analysis into their research and policy
        development processes.
    -   In collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization and the
        World Health Organization, Canada participated in the development of
        the Sexual Health for the Millennium Declaration in 2006. Canada
        renewed its commitment to support the Millennium Development Goals
        by: (1) recognizing, promoting, ensuring and protecting sexual rights
        for all; (2) advancing toward gender quality and equity; (3)
        providing universal access to comprehensive sexuality education and
        information; and (4) ensuring that reproductive health programs
        recognize the centrality of sexual health.
    -   As announced on January 26, 2010, Canada will champion a major
        initiative to improve maternal and child health in the world's
        poorest regions. As President of the G8 in 2010, Canada will look to
        mobilize G8 governments and non-governmental organizations as well as
        private foundations to address the health of women and children as a
        top priority.

    Actions Canada has taken: Violence

    -   Recent substantive and procedural changes to the Criminal Code of
        Canada to increase the safety of women and children, including:
        -  raising the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16 years to protect
           young people, including girls, from sexual exploitation by adult
           predators (May 2008);
        -  strengthening the peace bond provisions concerning those
           previously convicted of sexual offences against children (May
        -  ending the use of "house arrest" for offences involving serious
           personal injury (December 2007);
        -  increasing mandatory minimum penalties for serious offences where
           a firearm is used (May 2008);
        -  improving availability of testimonial aids for vulnerable adult
           victims/witnesses, including women who have experienced violence
           (January 2006); and
        -  enacting three specific offences that prohibit trafficking of
           persons for any exploitative purpose; receipt of a financial or
           material benefit from the trafficking of persons; and withholding
           or destroying of travel or identity documents to facilitate the
           trafficking of persons (November 2005).
    -   In March 2008, the Government of Canada announced five new shelters
        to be built in five provinces to address violence against First
        Nations women and children.
    -   The Government of Canada's March 2007 Budget included funds to expand
        the New Horizons for Seniors Program. A portion goes to the Elder
        Abuse Awareness program to foster activities to help reduce the
        incidence of abuse of older adults, including women.
    -   In 2008, Canada strongly supported the renewal of the mandate of the
        UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, to collect
        information, recommend measures to eliminate violence and remedy its
    -   In December 2009, Status of Women Canada contributed $1 million to
        Uniting to End Violence Against Women, a project of shelter
        organizations across Canada to facilitate the national exchange of
        best practices, and to design and establish a national network of
        women's shelters across Canada.
    -   Announced on January 15, 2009, Public Safety Canada, the RCMP and the
        Canadian Crime Stoppers Association partnered to develop a national
        media campaign to raise awareness on human trafficking and to access
        the Crime Stoppers 24/7 anonymous national tip-line for reporting
        suspected cases of human trafficking, which includes the domestic
        trafficking of women and girls for the purposes of sexual
    -   Public Safety Canada's National Crime Prevention Centre supports the
        development and dissemination of knowledge and tools for
        practitioners in communities. In the area of violence against women,
        the Guidance on Local Safety Audits: A Compendium of International
        Practice identifies the means to gather relevant data on crime and
        victimization, including human trafficking and other forms of
        violence against women. The tool can be accessed at:

    Actions Canada has taken: Women and Armed Conflict

    -   Under the Glyn Berry Program, Canada supports projects to help women
        achieve full and equal participation and representation at all levels
        of decision-making in the prevention, management and resolution of
        conflicts in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
    -   The Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) of Canada recognizes gender-
        based persecution as grounds for seeking refuge in Canada, and has
        decided many cases in favour of women under threat. The IRB's Women
        at Risk Program assists refugee women in unsafe situations.
    -   Since 2007, Canada has supported the Afghan Ministry of the Interior
        with a Gender Advisor. In that year, the Gender Advisor and other
        internationals organized the First International Islamic Police Women
        Conference to raise awareness and provide role models.
    -   Canada has funded a project with the United Nations Development
        Program in Angola entitled Community Support to Women's
        Reintegration, which works to decrease gender violence and provide
        income-generating activities to women affected by war.
    -   Canada was instrumental in changing the International Criminal Court
        Statute to include a detailed list of gender-based crimes and has
        given financial and political support to the International Criminal
        Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for the
        former Yugoslavia, a Special Tribunal in Kenya on post-election
        violence, and for the creation of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
    -   Canada supported the International Centre for Transitional Justice
        Program on Northern Uganda, the International Criminal Court Darfur
        investigation, the training of Defence Lawyers in the Democratic
        Republic of Congo, Justice for Victims of Crimes of Sexual Violence
        in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Panel of Experts for
        Residual Issues Related to International Criminal Tribunals.
    -   Canada funded the UNICEF project Rehabilitation of Former Child
        Soldiers in Somalia and supports the UN Disarmament, Demobilization
        and Reintegration program in Sudan to assist female former
    -   Since 1997, when 122 states met in Ottawa to sign the Convention on
        the Prohibition of the Use, Production, Transfer and Stockpiling of
        Anti-personnel Mines and their Destruction, Canada has contributed
        over $200 million to support global mine action and remains a leader
        in the international campaign to ban anti-personnel mines in places
        such as Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Colombia,
        Mozambique, Nicaragua, Senegal, Sudan and Tajikistan.

    Actions Canada has taken: The Economy

    -   The federal government and most provincial and territorial
        governments have employment equity and pay equity laws and/or
        policies in place.
    -   Separate rather than joint taxation of spouses has promoted women's
        labour force attachment through lower effective marginal tax rates on
        the lower-earning spouse.
    -   Employment Insurance has several features that benefit women,
        including extending parental benefits to 35 weeks and allowing
        recipients to work.
    -   Self-employed women now have greater access to business financing and
        a full range of supports to launch and expand their businesses.
    -   The federal government is investing over $19 billion in 2009-2010 in
        supports for children and their families. These include approximately
        $5.9 billion for early childhood development and child care.
    -   Carrying on from the Aboriginal Human Resources Development Strategy,
        the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy will focus on
        supporting demand-driven skills development, fostering partnerships
        with the private sector and the provinces and territories, and
        emphasizing accountability and results.
    -   A variety of federal supports, such as the Canada Child Tax Benefit,
        the National Child Benefit Supplement and the Child Disability
        Benefit help women combine earning with caring for their children. In
        addition, the child-rearing provision in the Canada and Quebec
        Pension Plans helps increase women's retirement income.
    -   The Old Age Security benefit is available to all Canadians and does
        not depend on employment history.
    -   The Fairness for the Self-Employed Act extends special employment
        insurance benefits - maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate
        care - to self-employed individuals, a growing number of whom are
        women, on a voluntary basis.
    -   The Aboriginal Skills and Training Strategic Investment Fund supports
        a number of projects that target Aboriginal women, including one to
        increase women's knowledge of business management, financial
        management and small business development, and another to engage
        Aboriginal women in academic and educational activities.
    -   The Universal Child Care Plan provides choice in child care to all
        parents of young children, whether they work in the paid labour force
        or care for their children at home.
    -   The Working Income Tax Benefit supplements the earnings of low-income
        workers, many of whom are women.

    Actions Canada has taken: Power and Decision Making

    -   The 2009 federal Budget introduced the Public Sector Equitable
        Compensation Act. It sets out a new, proactive approach to ensuring
        compensation is equitable in the federal public service.
    -   The Government of Canada has developed a variety of partnerships and
        projects aimed at encouraging leadership among women and girls. For
        example, Canada will host the Women's Worlds Forum 2011. A global
        forum held every three years on a different continent, it connects
        women through gendered research and inter-disciplinary scholarship.
    -   Through its Women's Program, Status of Women Canada (SWC) supports a
        wide variety of initiatives aimed at increasing women's participation
        in decision-making at all levels. For example, in February 2009, SWC
        provided Equal Voice/À voix égales with more than $1.2 million over
        28 months for Experiences, a project to increase the democratic
        participation among girls and young women.
    -   In December 2007, the Government of Canada provided $1.05 million and
        the Government of Quebec, $600,000, both over three years, to
        establish the Centre de développement - femmes et gouvernance (Centre
        for Development of Women in Governance), in collaboration with the
        École nationale d'administration publique, to prepare women for key
        decision-making roles.
    -   Also in 2009, SWC provided over $224,000 to the Women's Executive
        Network for its project entitled: "The Bottom Line: Gender Diversity
        at the Board Level," to advance Canadian women's participation in
        senior leadership roles by increasing the number of women who sit on
        boards and the number of organizations whose boards have seats
        occupied by women.
    -   Through SWC's Community Fund and Women's Partnership Fund,
        initiatives have been funded to provide Aboriginal women across
        Canada with leadership training and knowledge of governance,
        community development and politics.

    Actions Canada has taken: Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of

    -   Established in 2004, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the
        Status of Women continues to serve as an all-party forum for
        sustained dialogue on gender equality, keeping decision-makers
        informed of issues pertaining to women's participation in society and
        facilitating government action on equality for women.
    -   The Minister of State (Status of Women) on behalf of the Government
        of Canada continues to engage women across the country, obtaining
        input on advancing the status of women. In 2008, she signed on to the
        United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) campaign, Say NO
        to Violence Against Women, on behalf of the Government of Canada.
    -   SWC worked with federal institutions, provincial/territorial
        governments and Aboriginal organizations on evidence-based and
        culturally relevant policies and programs, including protection of
        Aboriginal women's human rights.
    -   We repealed Section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, providing
        protection for Aboriginal women under the Human Rights Act, and
        advanced legislation on matrimonial real property rights on reserves.
    -   In 2009, the Government of Canada contributed $1 million to Uniting
        to End Violence Against Women, a project of provincial, territorial
        and First Nations shelter organizations across Canada, to ensure
        higher-quality services at women's shelters for women escaping
    -   Since 2006, Finance Canada has carried out gender-based analysis on
        the federal Budget. This process has continued as the Government of
        Canada implements its Economic Action Plan, a stimulus package
        introduced in January 2009 in response to the recent financial
        downturn. Since 2007, all submissions to Treasury Board require
        evidence of GBA. In 2008, that requirement was extended to all
        Memoranda to Cabinet.
    -   The three central agencies, the Privy Council Office, Finance Canada
        and the Treasury Board Secretariat, have integrated GBA into their
        activities and operations and each has appointed a senior official
        responsible for GBA - a GBA champion - within their organization. SWC
        continues to collaborate with Statistics Canada and other departments
        to develop a national set of gender equality indicators, scheduled
        for release in 2011.
    -   The federal government will use lessons learned in the Beijing+15
        review and appraisal process to continue working with NGOs,
        Parliamentarians and other partners to achieve ongoing progress and
        concrete results on gender equality in the future.

    Actions Canada has taken: Human Rights

    Canada has a comprehensive human rights framework and is committed to
equality for women in all spheres of Canadian society.

    -   Women are entitled to equal rights with men as a matter of social
        justice and in accordance with internationally agreed universal
        values, including those enshrined in the Convention on the
        Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the
        Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on
        Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on
        the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the
        Convention on the Rights of the Child.
    -   Canada has been a party to CEDAW since 1981 and further demonstrated
        its commitment to women's human rights by acceding to its Optional
        Protocol in 2002.
    -   Canada submitted the combined 6th and 7th Reports (April 1999 - March
        2006) for review at the 42nd session of the CEDAW Committee, which
        took place in October 2008, highlighting a number of successes and
        challenges, including the situation of Aboriginal women and women's
        economic security. Canadian reports and the Committee's comments are
        available at
    -   Violence against women and girls, in particular sexual violence,
        continues to increase in conflict situations and has been recognized
        as constituting a threat to international peace and security. In
        2008, Canada was among the first countries to sign onto the UNIFEM
        campaign, Say NO to Violence against Women.
    -   Since 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has provided
        constitutional protection of individual rights. The Charter applies
        to relationships between an individual and government, while
        relationships between individuals are covered in certain areas by the
        Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) and provincial and territorial human
        rights legislation.
    -   All provinces and territories have human rights legislation that
        includes protection against discrimination on the basis of sex or
        gender. Tribunals or similar human rights adjudication bodies exist
        in all Canadian provinces and territories. The provincial and
        territorial human rights systems, therefore, offer a process of
        investigation and adjudication, through a combination of
        commissions and/or adjudicating bodies.
    -   We repealed Section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, providing
        protection for Aboriginal women under the Human Rights Act, and
        advanced legislation on matrimonial real property rights on reserves.
    -   In January 2010, Prime Minister Harper announced that as host of this
        year's G8 Summit, Canada will show leadership by focusing its
        international aid efforts on maternal health.
    -   Through Women's Programs at Status of Women Canada, we continue to
        promote the economic and social well being of girls in Canada.

    Actions Canada has taken: Women and the Media

    -   The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Employment Equity
        Act are the foundations for the voluntary and mandatory measures
        implemented within the communications field that support gender
        equality in the media.
    -   The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission
        (CRTC) is an independent public authority responsible for regulating
        and supervising Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications. The
        Commissioners of the CRTC are appointed by Cabinet; five out of 10
        sitting Commissioners are women (2010). The CRTC reports to
        Parliament via the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official
    -   Canada's national broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting
        Corporation/Société Radio-Canada, has developed its own set of
        guidelines on sex-role portrayal, which are also approved by the
    -   Advertising Standards Canada (ASC), on behalf of the advertising
        industry, administers the Gender Portrayal Guidelines, which are
        applicable to all Canadian paid media. The Guidelines, which deal
        with the representation of women and men in advertisements,
        complement the ASC's Canadian Code of Advertising Standards and set
        the criteria for equitable advertising. They also form the basis upon
        which advertising is evaluated in response to consumer, trade or
        special interest complaints.
    -   The Government of Canada provides funding for projects carried out by
        the Media Awareness Network, a Canadian not-for-profit centre for
        media literacy. The organization works with children, parents and
        educators to raise awareness and develop the necessary critical
        thinking skills and tools to understand and actively engage with

    Actions Canada has taken: Environment

    -   In December 2009, the Government of Canada released draft regulations
        to limit greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles, beginning with
        the 2011 model year.
    -   Canada is developing stringent regulatory requirements to limit
        greenhouse gas emissions through the authority of the Canadian
        Environmental Protection Act (1999), which provides the federal
        government with powers and tools to protect the environment and human
        health, and to contribute to sustainable development through
        pollution prevention. In addition, the Canadian Environmental
        Assessment Act, the Fisheries Act, the Canada Health Act, the Pest
        Control Products Act, the Plant Protection Act and the Animal
        Protection Act are the main government regulations for protecting the
    -   Particulate matter and four other smog-causing pollutants have been
        added to the list of toxic substances under the Canadian
        Environmental Protection Act (CEPA, 1999) committing the Government
        of Canada to take control and action.
    -   In February 2009, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President
        Barack Obama established the Clean Energy Dialogue, designed to
        advance collaboration in clean energy research and development,
        development and deployment of clean energy technology, and building a
        more efficient electricity grid based on clean and renewable energy.
        The work being done under this Dialogue is allowing the two countries
        to work together to build a new clean energy economy.
    -   In March 2009, Canada invested $2.5 million over five years to
        support the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) Global
        Environment Monitoring System GEMS/Water, an international water
        science program aimed at understanding inland quality issues around
        the world. This funding will allow the program to expand, adding data
        quality management activities, water assessments and capacity
    -   Following a 2006 review of about 23,000 chemicals and other
        substances in commercial use, the Government of Canada set up the
        Chemicals Management Plan, to keep toxic substances from endangering
        the health and environment of Canadians.
    -   MIREC (Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals) is a
        five-year study launched in 2007 to measure the extent to which
        pregnant women and their babies are exposed to common environmental

    Actions Canada has taken: The Girl Child

    In Canada, measures affecting girls are often integrated into those geared
towards children or covered in policy areas such as those related to
education, poverty or violence. In recent years, however, a number of
initiatives and partnerships that specifically target girls and young women
have met with considerable success.

    -   The Universal Child Care Benefit is a taxable monthly payment to
        families for each child under the age of six to help cover the cost
        of child care.
    -   The Nobody's Perfect program provides parenting education and support
        to parents of children five years of age and under. It is designed to
        meet the needs of parents who are young, single, socially or
        geographically isolated or who have low income or limited formal
        education. Nobody's Perfect reaches parents less likely to access
        resources or support in the community.
    -   The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program targets vulnerable pregnant
        women, taking a community development approach to reduce the
        incidence of unhealthy birth weights, improve the health of both
        infant and mother and encourage breastfeeding.
    -   The Bold Eagle Program provides Aboriginal youth with summer
        employment that offers a combination of military training and First
        Nations cultural awareness.
    -   The Family Violence Initiative is a long-term, multi-agency
        commitment of the Government of Canada to address violence within
        relationships of kinship, intimacy, dependency or trust.

SOURCE Status of Women Canada

For further information: For further information: Emily Goucher, Senior Special Assistant, Communications, Office of the Minister of State (Status of Women), (819) 956-4000; Nanci-Jean Waugh, Director General, Communications and Strategic Planning, Status of Women Canada, (613) 995-7839

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