Ministerial Mandate Letters: What you need to know about global health and gender equality

December 16, 2021 – Following the Fall Economic Statement presented earlier this week by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released the Ministerial Mandate Letters for his Cabinet. Mandate Letters are presented to each Cabinet Minister as an outline of the overarching government priorities for the legislative session, as well as specific directives to each Minister on the key work and issues for their individual portfolios. The Mandate Letters build on what was already outlined by the Prime Minister in his Speech from the Throne earlier this year.

Minister of International Development: A continued focus on global COVID-19 recovery and strengthening international assistance

The Government emphasised focus on global COVID-19 recovery as part of its pandemic strategy continuing to stress the importance of meeting Canada’s existing global vaccine commitment “by donating at least 200 million vaccine doses to vulnerable populations around the world through COVAX by the end of 2022 and providing additional funding for enhanced testing and vaccine production capacity in developing countries.”

Some of the other key highlights from the letter included:

  • Continued implementation of the Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) and a commitment to gender equality and a feminist recovery;
  • New funding for the Women’s Voice and Leadership Program;
  • Increased funding to grassroots women’s rights organizations and continue to work to close persistent gaps in sexual and reproductive health and rights services, including in relation to the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence;
  • Delivering on Canada’s landmark funding commitment for stand-alone programming that recognizes, reduces and addresses the unequal distribution of paid and unpaid care work, and supports and protects the rights of paid and unpaid care workers; and
  • Advancing gender equality and LGBTQ2 rights abroad, including support for the work of global feminist initiatives, relevant international institutions and civil society partners, including the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council.

Minister of Women and Gender Equality: integrating gender equality and a feminist recovery across all government work

The Government remains committed to ensuring public policies are informed and developed through an intersectional lens including the application of gender based analysis (GBA+) across government activities, while continuing to enhance the tool with an intersectional lens across other marginalised groups.

Some of the key highlights from the mandate letter included:

  • Moving forward with the development of a 10-year National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence;
  • Creation of a Menstrual Equity Fund for women’s shelters, not-for-profits, charities, community-based organizations and youth-led organizations to make menstrual products available to vulnerable women;
  • Support the Minister of Labour in their work to accelerate the review of the Employment Equity Act and ensure timely implementation of improvements; and
  • Support the Minister of Health in their work to ensure that all Canadians have access to the sexual and reproductive health services they need, no matter where they live, by reinforcing compliance under the Canada Health Act, developing a sexual and reproductive health rights information portal, supporting the establishment of mechanisms to help families cover the costs of in vitro fertilization and supporting youth-led grassroots organizations that respond to the unique sexual and reproductive health needs of young people.

CanWaCH and the Equal Futures Network (EFN) welcome these commitments from the Government and look forward to working with Canada on continuing to activate and expand support for international development and global health and the implementation of a feminist recovery here at home and around the world.


December 16, 2021