Assented to 2018-12-13
An Act to establish the Department for Women and Gender Equality
Whereas section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides that every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and benefit of the law without discrimination based on sex;
Whereas the Canadian Human Rights Act provides that all individuals should have an opportunity equal with other individuals to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have and to have their needs accommodated, consistent with their duties and obligations as members of society, without being hindered in or prevented from doing so by discriminatory practices based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression;
Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes the systemic and historical inequalities faced by women and girls, and gender-diverse people or those people of diverse sexual orientation;
Whereas the Government of Canada is committed to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which provides that the rights and freedoms recognized in that declaration are guaranteed equally to Indigenous individuals, regardless of sex;
Whereas Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, in which the state parties condemn all discrimination against women, meaning any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex and Canada recognizes United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 32/2 which reaffirms protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity;
Whereas the Government of Canada is committed to advancing gender equality through policies and programs that are compatible with Canada’s international obligations and take into account sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression;
And whereas the Government of Canada is committed to assessing the impact of those policies and programs on groups of women, men and gender-diverse people by taking into consideration the intersection of sex and gender with other identity factors and to taking actions that contribute to an inclusive and democratic society and allow all Canadians to participate fully in all spheres of their lives;
Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
Marginal note:Short title
Establishment of Department
Marginal note:Department established
2 (1) There is established a department of the Government of Canada called the Department for Women and Gender Equality over which the Minister for Women and Gender Equality, appointed by commission under the Great Seal, presides.
(2) The Minister holds office during pleasure and has the management and direction of the Department.
Marginal note:Deputy head
3 The Governor in Council may appoint an officer called the Deputy Minister for Women and Gender Equality to hold office during pleasure and to be the deputy head of the Department.
Powers, Duties and Functions of Minister
Marginal note:Powers, duties and functions
4 (1) The powers, duties and functions of the Minister extend to and include all matters over which Parliament has jurisdiction, not by law assigned to any other department, board or agency of the Government of Canada, relating to women and gender equality.
(2) Without restricting the generality of subsection (1), the Minister’s powers, duties and functions include
(a) the advancement of equality, including social, economic and political equality, with respect to sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression; and
(b) the promotion of a greater understanding of the intersection of sex and gender with other identity factors that include race, national and ethnic origin, Indigenous origin or identity, age, sexual orientation, socio-economic condition, place of residence and disability.
Marginal note:General duties and powers
(3) In exercising the powers and performing the duties and functions under this Act, the Minister
(a) is to initiate, recommend, coordinate, implement and promote policies and programs;
(b) is to undertake or promote research related to those policies and programs; and
(c) may, in accordance with terms and conditions approved by the Treasury Board, make grants and contributions in support of programs undertaken by the Minister.
5 The Minister may, with the approval of the Governor in Council, enter into agreements with the government of any province or any agency of a province for the purpose of coordinating policies relating to women and gender equality.
6 (1) The Minister may establish advisory and other committees and provide for their membership, duties, functions and operation.
(2) The Governor in Council may fix the remuneration to be paid to the members of those committees in connection with their work.
Marginal note:Travel, living and other expenses
(3) Members of those committees are entitled to be reimbursed, in accordance with Treasury Board directives, for the travel, living and other expenses incurred in connection with their work for the committee while absent, in the case of full-time members, from their ordinary place of work or, in the case of part-time members, from their ordinary place of residence.
Marginal note:Minister and Deputy Minister
7 (1) Any person who holds, immediately before the day on which this Act comes into force, the office of the Minister of Status of Women or the Co-ordinator, Status of Women is deemed to have been appointed under this Act as the Minister for Women and Gender Equality or Deputy Minister for Women and Gender Equality, respectively, on that day.
Marginal note:Persons who occupy a position
(2) Nothing in this Act is to be construed as affecting the status of any person who, immediately before the day on which this Act comes into force, occupies a position within the Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women, except that the person, as of that coming into force, occupies their position in the Department for Women and Gender Equality.
Marginal note:Managerial or confidential position
(3) For greater certainty, a person’s status includes whether or not they occupy a managerial or confidential position.
8 Every reference to the Minister of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada designated to co-ordinate policy with respect to the status of women and administer related programs or to the Minister of Status of Women in any contract, instrument or act or other document is to be read as a reference to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality, unless the context otherwise requires.
Marginal note:Transfer of appropriation
9 Any amount that is appropriated by an Act of Parliament for the fiscal year in which this Act comes into force to defray the expenditures of the Office of the Co-ordinator, Status of Women and that is unexpended on that day is deemed to be an amount appropriated to defray the expenditures of the Department for Women and Gender Equality.
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