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In Canada, despite less women experiencing unemployment (5.3% of women compared to 6% of men) (1), women still make, on average, only 70,4% of what men do (4). This pay gap can be witnessed in the fact that in 2011, the average yearly earnings for a woman were £32,100 whereas for a man, they were £48,100 (5). Women hold only 35.5% of all managerial positions (1), and in 2019, only 19.1% of seats on boards of directors were held by women (5). Women are much more likely to work part-time (7) and spend a more significant amount of time on unpaid household labour than men do; men spend 9.6% of their time on housework compared to women who spend 14.6% of their time on these tasks (1). 12.5% of women still do not have a stable access to food (this figure is 0.4% less for men) (1) reflecting a need for increased state support and employment opportunities for women. Positively, 100% of women eligible for a pension are receiving one (1).

Political representation

29.6% of seats in the national parliament are held by women and 26.6% of seats in local government are held by women (1). In 2016, 32.5% of legislators were women (6).


100% of mothers with newborns are in receipt of a maternity cash benefit (1), which is extremely positive. Additionally, only 46% of women are expected to be meeting the recommended amount of exercise per week (5). Per 100,000 live births, there are 10 maternal deaths (1) and per 1,000 mothers giving birth, 6.6 are expected to be minors (1).


Women in Canada are often better educated than their male counterparts and whilst only 46% of men aged 25-64 have a tertiary degree, 55% of women do (7). As is the trend globally, women are less likely to pursue certain fields of study and in Canada, women make up only 18% of computer science graduates and 24% of engineering graduates were women (7).

Gender-Based Violence

2.6% of all Canadian women have experienced violence at the hands of a partner in the last year (1) and 34% have been victims of harassment (5). Whilst all women in Canada are vulnerable to gendered violence, indigenous women are disproportionately affected (2). 4 in 10 non-indigenous women report experiencing assault, however this figure rises to 6 in 10 when considering indigenous women (3). Furthermore, indigenous women are 4 times more likely to be murdered (2) and of all LGBTQ indigenous women, 83% have suffered from violence at the hands of a partner (3)- this is an extremely large number and shows the extent of the violence indigenous women face, especially if they are part of the LGBTQ community. Forced marriage is also a problem in Canada with this affecting 2% of women (5) as well as human trafficking which affects 3% of women (5).

Number of People Experiencing Domestic Abuse Each Year:

Since the age of 16, 50% of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence.

Women are at greater risk of experiencing abuse from a family member, with this accounting for 60% of senior survivors of family violence (8)

67% of Canadians report having personally known at least 1 woman who has experienced physical and/ or sexual abuse.

Approximately every 6 days, 1 woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. Out of the 83 police-reported intimate partner homicides in 2014, 67 of the victims, over 80%, were women.

On any given night in Canada, 3,491 women and their 2,724 children will sleep in shelters because it is not safe at home, while 300 women and children will be turned away because shelters are already full.

1980-2012: In this period, there were 1,181 cases of missing or murdered Aboriginal women in Canada, according to the RCMP (9). However, according to grassroots organisations and the Minister of the Status of Women the number is much higher, closer to 4,000 (10). Indigenous women are killed at 6 times the rate of non-Indigenous women.

No research on male victims or other gender identities.

Cost of Domestic Abuse to the Economy Each Year

Annual costs of intimate partner violence were calculated at $CAN 1.16 billion in Canada (11).

Estimated % Change due to COVID-19

Researchers at the University of Toronto uncovered a 20%-30% increase in rates of gender-based violence and domestic violence in some regions of the country (12).

One shelter in the Greater Toronto Area reported a 400% increase in the number of calls (13).

York Regional Police reported a 22% increase in domestic incidents since stay-at-home measures came into effect on 17th March 2020 (14).

Current Law and Policy:

Canada is committed to ending violence against women and girls. It has taken nationwide measures, including passing new legislation, to combat human trafficking, prevent violence against aboriginal and immigrant women and engage men and boys in prevention efforts.

The Canadian government is taking action to protect the most vulnerable women in Canadian society: women in immigrant communities, women living in poverty and aboriginal women and girls.

On the basis that aboriginal women and girls are most at risk of violence, the Canadian government has announced a further 5-year strategy aimed at enhancing the response of law enforcement and the justice system to cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.

The Canadian government believes that violence against women is an issue for all Canadians to address and, for the first time, it is taking an innovative approach by directly funding projects that engage men and boys to end violence against women and girls.

Recognising that girls are our future, Canada successfully championed the International Day of the Girl through the UN, celebrating the first annual day on 11th October 2012. The Canadian government has made its position clear on the topic of violence committed in the name of so-called "honour", by clearly condemning the practice in its new Citizenship Guide and in being the first country to provide nationwide funding specifically for immigrant women's organisations in order to address this highly complex issue.

To ensure the safety of women and girls, Canada has passed various new laws, which addresses issues such as ending house arrest for sexual assault involving serious personal injury and aggravated sexual assault, strengthening sentences for child sexual abuses and toughening penalties for those who import, produce and/or traffic in date rape drugs.

Canada has actively collected and analysed evidence and data on the nature, extent and impact of violence against women and girls, including the economic costs.

Canada will continue to support a range of projects to prevent and respond to the issue.

Public spending - Violence against women costs the Canadian government and taxpayers billions of dollars every year. Canadians collectively spend $7.4 billion to deal with the aftermath of spousal violence alone (15).

Frontline Services:



  1. Country Fact Sheet | UN Women Data Hub

  2. Indigenous Women’s Rights Are Human Rights | Cultural Survival

  3. 6 in 10 Indigenous women experience physical or sexual abuse: Statistics Canada | CTV News


  5. Sex, gender and sexual orientation statistics (



  8. Canadian Women’s Foundation, “The Facts about Gender-Based Violence”, (

  9. Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

  10. The Guardian, September 2020.

  11. UN Women, “The Economic Costs of Violence Against Women”, (, 21 September 2016).

  12. S. Anderson, “COVID-19: University of Toronto Researchers Seek to Protect Women from Abuse with Re-Tooled Safety App”, (,26 May 2020).

  13. CBC Canada, 27 April 2020.

  14. R. Patel, “Minister Says COVID-19 is Empowering Domestic Violence Abusers as Rates Rise in Parts of Canada”, (, 27 April 2020).

  15. Canadian Women’s Foundation, (235).

Further Reading

[1] UN Women, (10).



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