Skip to main content

e-4006 (Parliament and politics)

Initiated by Sidney Coles from Oakville, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

  • Women represent 50% of Canada’s population yet only represent 30% of the legislators in the House of Commons;
  • Canada will not meet the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal No. 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), which calls for the equitable treatment of women in societies and institutions;
  • Not all official parties of Canada have, underwritten in their constitutions, policies that that directly work to eliminate barriers to women’s participation in politics; and
  • According to the Interparliamentary Union, Canada places 59th on the gender parity ranking against a host of other nations that have achieved far greater equity in their parliaments.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to ensure that:
1. Official party status only be recognized for those parties whose constitutions reflect a firm and practical commitment to achieving full gender parity among their member representatives and candidates by the next federal election in 2025;
2. A non-partisan working group or House of Commons committee be formed to aid and support parties in the creation and implementation of nomination, election, and ongoing workplace policies and protocols, that will help them achieve gender parity achieving gender parity and equitable representation from all other equity deserving groups among their ranks; and
3. The government confirms publicly the goal of reaching gender parity in the House of Commons by 2030.

Response by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): JENNIFER O’CONNELL

The Government of Canada is committed to improving and strengthening our democracy.  Our electoral system (i.e., the fundamental rules determining how votes are translated into seats in the House of Commons) is one of the most foundational pieces of our democracy – at its core is a question of how we, as Canadians, govern ourselves. Women’s participation in our parliamentary institutions is essential to improving the representative nature of our democratic systems and more broadly to strengthening trust in our democracy.

Women candidates’ representation in federal general elections, as well as the percentage of women in the House of Commons, has continued to increase over the past decade. In the 2021 federal General Election, Canadians elected over 100 women to Parliament. This election marked the first time that women’s representation in the House of Commons surpassed 30%.

While it remains ultimately the prerogative of parties to select candidates and of Canadians to determine who represents them for public office as nominees, the Government has taken action to increase the number of women in the House of Commons and is proud of the progress made in the advancement of women in public life. Canada had its first gender-balanced federal Cabinet in 2015. This parity has continued since then and today 19 women hold a Cabinet position in the Government.

As of October 19, 2022, women occupied 45 of the 89 occupied seats in the Senate, representing 50.6% of senators currently in office. With the introduction of an independent Senate appointment process, the Government included merit-based criteria, one of which in considering candidates is achieving gender balance and ensuring representation of Indigenous peoples and linguistic, minority and ethnic communities. Both in the House of Commons and the Senate, women represent communities and constituents from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities all across our country.

The Government of Canada recognizes, however, that much more still needs to be done to ensure better representation of women, as well as racialized individuals, Indigenous peoples, and other groups in our public institutions.

In June 2019, the Government of Canada released the Towards Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy, which recognizes, among others, commitments to gender equality, a healthy environment, peace, justice and human rights. This is an important commitment to ensure that we continue to build a more inclusive and resilient Canada.

Open for signature
May 20, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
September 17, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
October 5, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00736)
Government response tabled
November 18, 2022
Photo - Elizabeth May
Saanich—Gulf Islands
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia