Women’s History Month: Canadian Women’s Accomplishments
When Canada turned 150 years-old in 2017, we created a timeline of Canadian women’s major accomplishments Click here to view the 150 Years of Canadian Women's Accomplishments blog. Fast forward to 2021, an unanticipated future where everyone is enduring a pandemic, and we felt our timeline was due for a refresh. In honour of Women’s History Month, we’ve updated our timeline to highlight the incredible milestones that Canadian women have achieved between 2017 and now. We’ve also decided to take a different approach to the milestones that we’re spotlighting, ensuring that more milestones from Canadian women of colour and Indigenous women are represented.
June 2017 - Canada creates its first-ever federal strategy against gender-based violence.
Oct 2017 – The #MeToo movement goes viral. Several high-profile Canadians such as Elliot Page, Sarah Polley, and Rachel McAdams, along with thousands of other women across Canada, voiced their experiences with sexual assault and harassment. These acts prompted the Canadian government to table Bill C-65, which has since passed and changes the regulatory structure for sexual harassment in all federally-regulated workplaces.
Feb 2018 – Karena Evans, a 22-year-old Black woman, becomes the first woman to win the Prism Prize Lipsett Award, an award that recognizes innovation and uniqueness in Canadian music video art
March 2018 – Marlene Poitras becomes the first female Alberta regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations
March 2018 – Viola Desmond, a civil rights activist and Black Nova Scotian businesswoman, is the first woman’s face to grace Canadian banknotes. Specifically, her face is featured on $10 notes.
November 2018 – Ontario, Alberta, and Newfoundland & Labrador enact laws offering leave for domestic violence survivors and victims. The trade union Unifor made a significant contribution to the push to pass family leave legislature.
March 2019 – Vinessa Antoine, star of CBC’s primetime legal drama Diggstown, makes television history as the first Black Canadian woman to star in an hour-long Canadian series.
June 2019 – The final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is released after three years of extensive research, hearings, and community consultations. While the report was mired in controversies such as peripheral discourse over its use of the term “genocide,” its findings and recommendations created a clear roadmap for the Canadian government to address Indigenous femicide and reconciliation.
October 2019 – Karen Jensen becomes Canada’s first-ever Pay Equity Commissioner. She is tasked with educating and enforcing new legislation around pay equity in the workplace, as well as assisting Canadians in understanding their rights and obligations under the new Pay Equity Act.