2017 Budget in Brief: Empowering women and girls
Learn more about the initiatives and programs that help empower women and girls.
Women’s issues are everyone’s issues — that’s why we're playing a leadership role in empowering women and girls and striving to ensure equal opportunity. Whether as entrepreneurs, small-business owners or corporate leaders, women are key contributors to our economic prosperity.
We're working to provide women with the skills and training needed for professions that drive the economy. We’re increasing support for families — such as more affordable, quality child care — which will help women who wish to enter and remain in the workforce. To push this progress further, we’re developing and implementing strategies to build an Ontario where every woman and girl is empowered to succeed with equal access to economic and social opportunities.
Championing Women’s Empowerment
First-ever stand-alone ministry
In January 2017, we announced Ontario’s first stand-alone Ministry of the Status of Women, dedicated to the security, equality and empowerment of women in the province.
Gender Wage Gap Strategy
We're working on a plan to close the gender wage gap, create equal opportunities and eliminate barriers that prevent women’s full participation in the workforce. Our Gender Wage Gap Strategy will build on progress we’re already making to support broader gender equality in the province, including increasing wages in female-dominated professions in the broader public sector.
Women in corporate leadership
We'll help ensure that more women have the opportunity to reach top leadership positions at provincial agencies and other government organizations. We’ve set a target for women to make up at least 40% of all appointments to every provincial board and agency by 2019.
We’re also encouraging businesses to set a target, by the end of 2017, of appointing 30% women to their boards of directors and achieve it within 3 to 5 years. Working with our steering committee, we’re developing a plan to accelerate greater representation of women on boards.
Women’s economic empowerment
We understand the value of women in the workforce. These initiatives will be part of a new women’s economic empowerment strategy — a roadmap designed to help women reach their full potential in today’s technology-driven and knowledge-based economy. We'll engage key stakeholder groups to help shape the plan.
Ensuring Security for Women
Addressing human trafficking
Everyone should be able to live without fear of exploitation and violence. Vastly underreported, human trafficking is a largely hidden problem that results in severe long-term trauma for survivors and their families. Our anti-human trafficking strategy improves access to services for survivors, increases awareness and supports Indigenous-led initiatives.
We're also looking for ways to partner with governments across the country on a national hotline to support survivors of human trafficking. We're providing funding to 47 community-based service partners delivering programs to provide better supports for survivors.
Ending violence against Indigenous women
We remain committed to ending the cycle of violence against Indigenous girls and women. Working with Indigenous partners, we released Walking Together: Ontario’s Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women, which focuses on:
- raising awareness and preventing violence against Indigenous women
- providing more effective community services
- improving socioeconomic conditions that support healing and keeping communities safe
Stopping sexual violence and harassment
Building a province where everyone is free from the threat of sexual violence and harassment is our priority. In March 2016, we passed the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act, part of It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment, to make workplaces, campuses and communities safer and more responsive to the needs of survivors. We're also piloting a program that provides free independent legal advice to survivors of sexual assault.
Supporting domestic violence survivors
We're increasing access to affordable housing for up to 3,000 survivors of domestic violence across the province through the Survivors of Domestic Violence Portable Housing Benefit Pilot. The pilot will provide survivors with the flexibility to choose where they want to live.