The development of this toolkit was lead by delegates Cristina Mazza, Ruhee Ismail-Teja, and Katarina Milicic, but is the collective effort of dozens of Daughters with the encouragement dozens more.
A sincere thank you to all of the Daughters of the Vote who contributed and supported this project with their commentions, questions, suggestions, personal and professional experience, expertise, and encouragement. Special thanks to Danvy Tran, Samantha MacKenzie, Mary Gao, Simran Virk, Sabrina Andrews, Megan Young, Emma Fischer-Cobb, Taylor MacPherson.
Engaging Canadian women in environment and energy issues is imperative to ensure that we meet the current generation's needs without reducing the ability for future generations to meet their needs. From empowering women to take part in STEM disciplines, to preventing environmental degradation, women’s participation is critical to Canada’s energy and environment future.
This toolkit has three main objectives:
- To engage and educate women in environmental, energy, and climate change issues that affect their daily lives in work and in day-to-day
- To enable women across Canada to explore different pathways to make change and engage in politics and policy on these issues
- To provide policy options, strategies for engagement, and tools of empowerment to allow women to participate in the political and policy process in Canada
The deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources, the destruction of ecosystems, habitat destruction, the extinction of wildlife, and pollution.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
Education that students learn by studying science, technology, engineering, and math - collectively known as STEM.
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2008) http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action (2015) http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/File/2015/Findings/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf
Metis Nation of Ontario. Land Resources Consultation. http://www.metisnation.org/programs/lands-resources-consultations/duty-to-consult/
Statistics Canada. Study: Women in Canada: Women and Paid Work (2017) https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/170308/dq170308b-eng.htm
Against the grain: female students dominate environmental engineering (2016)
These are the industries doing the most hiring in Canada (2017) https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/08/30/these-are-the-industries-doing-the-most-hiring-in-canada_a_23190965/
Canada’s science minister speaks out on women in STEM (2017) https://www.macleans.ca/society/canadas-science-minister-speaks-out-on-women-in-stem/
Robots are coming for women’s jobs: Teitel (2016) https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/06/13/robots-are-coming-for-womens-jobs-teitel.html
Government of Canada. Campaign to encourage young women to choose science (2017) https://www.canada.ca/en/innovation-science-economic-development/news/2017/02/government_of_canadalaunchescampaigntoencourageyoungwomentochoos.html
Canada leading due to innovation, says minister (2016) https://www.therecord.com/news-story/6860400-canada-leading-due-to-innovation-says-minister/
Stevens, C. Are women the key to sustainable development? (2010) http://www.un.org/esa/dsd
United Nations Climate Change. Introduction to Gender and Climate Change https://unfccc.int/topics/gender/the-big-picture/introduction-to-gender-and-climate-change
United Nations Women. Why is climate change a gender issue? https://www.uncclearn.org/sites/default/files/inventory/unwomen704.pdf
Carbon Pricing is Expanding. World Bank, 2015.
Ecofiscal Commission. Choose Wisely: Options and Trade-offs in Recycling Carbon Pricing Revenues. (2016)
How Climate Change impacts women the most (2015) https://news.vice.com/article/how-climate-change-impacts-women-the-most
NRDC. How climate change impacts women (2017) https://www.nrdc.org/stories/how-climate-change-impacts-women
Natural Resources Canada. Canadian Forest Service Publications (2013). https://cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/publications?id=35314
Government of Canada. Achieving a Sustainable Future. http://www.fsds-sfdd.ca/index.html#/en/vision/our-principles#tabs
Energy Efficiency and Energy Affordability for Low-Income Households (2008) http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2009/ec/En4-100-6-2008E.pdf
The Conference Board of Canada. Canadians Living in Remote Communities Lack Access to Affordable and Reliable Electricity (2016). https://www.conferenceboard.ca/(X(1)S(3hm1srujsm4xauj34sn5scvm))/press/newsrelease/16-09-27/canadians_living_in_remote_communities_lack_access_to_affordable_and_reliable_electricity.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. Off-Grid Communities. https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1314295992771/1314296121126
National Energy Board. Market Snapshot: Explaining the high cost of power in Northern Canada (2017) https://www.neb-one.gc.ca/nrg/ntgrtd/mrkt/snpsht/2017/02-03hghcstpwr-eng.html?=undefined&wbdisable=true
Push to end energy poverty in indigenous communities underway https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/the-push-to-end-energy-poverty-in-indigenous-communities/article33012480/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&
Federal Budget money earmarked to help Indigenous Communities get off diesel (2017). http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/indigenous-remote-federal-budget-1.3975022
Government offers incentives for innovation (2017). http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/federal-budget-2017-ottawa-1.4035656
This toolkit outlines five key issue areas; each highlights the key stakeholders, party platforms, and current policies, and government strategies.This toolkit does not provide policy recommendations; rather, it provides an overview of relevant environmental and energy issues, while showcasing potential policy innovations and strategies for engagement.
Engaging Canadian women in environment and energy issues is imperative to ensure that we meet the current generation's needs without reducing the ability of future generations. From empowering women to take part in STEM disciplines, to preventing environmental degradation, women’s participation is critical to Canada’s energy and environment future.
Canada’s energy industry makes up $187 billion of our economy, and is responsible for over 5% of Canada’s jobs. Given the importance of this sector, it is absolutely critical that women are involved in shaping the future of this industry, from both within the industry, as well as through informed advocacy positions.
Each of us is affected by climate issues, every person living on this planet has a shared responsibility to find solutions for a sustainable future. The interconnectedness between environmental issues, economic growth, and gender inequality becomes more important to address within sustainable development.
Some people are disproportionately affected by environmental concerns:
- Those who reside in remote northern communities in Canada
- People who rely on ecosystem services for food or cultural purposes
- Coastal communities who are impacted by sea level rise
- Industries that rely on fisheries
- Workers in the oil and gas industry
- The Global South
- Women or Indigenous Women
This is a result of the imbalance in power and traditional roles of engaging with the land. In addition, gender issues are apparent in areas of STEM. Specifically, there is an underrepresentation of women in tech-related fields, which should be addressed to enhance the education and job opportunities in this field. These women working in STEM have an important ability to further the progress of environment and industry, and we should encourage women to consider these roles.
Women of all backgrounds and socio-economic status are impacted differently by policy decisions, resource development, and climate mitigation measures, which makes this toolkit critical for awareness and engagement on these issues.
Climate Mitigation (or Climate Change Mitigation)
Consists of actions to limit the magnitude or rates of long-term climate change. Generally involves reductions in human (anthropogenic) emissions of greenhouse gases.
There are several organizations that advocate for various issues. It can be helpful to look at what these organizations are doing, and you might be interested in joining them.
The federal, provincial, and territorial governments include policies and strategies directed towards environment and energy issues across Canada.
Federal Government Policies
Each of the sections includes the main mechanisms, policies, frameworks, actions, and initiatives that is utilized by the federal government to guide its sustainable development mandate.
Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change
This framework is a collective plan to work towards climate change goals including all provinces and territories. Here are the main pillars of the Pan-Canadian Framework:
Pricing Carbon Pollution
- Allows for provincial and territorial flexibility in designing and developing policies to meet GHG reduction targets.
- Addresses the federal government’s commitment to work with each province and territory to address their own circumstances regarding food security, costs of living, collaboration with Indigenous Peoples, and emerging economies.
- Contains principles to address carbon pricing policies including introducing carbon pricing in a timely manner and increasing carbon prices with predictability.
Complementary Actions to Reduce Emissions
- Focuses on electricity generation by increasing renewable sources of energy, providing clean power, and modernizing electricity systems
- Provides framework for the built environment from making more energy efficient buildings and supporting energy efficient housing within Indigenous communities
- Determines actions for the transportation sector including setting emissions standards and utilization of cleaner fuels
- Illustrates actions to increase energy efficiency and technology investments for industries
- Provides initiatives for forestry and agriculture from generation of bioenergy to increasing carbon storage
Adaptation and Climate Resilience
- Promotes building regional capacity and adaptation mechanisms through transforming traditional knowledge into action
- Determines opportunities to invest in infrastructure for climate resilience
- Establishes actions for protection and improvement of human health related to climate change risks
- Includes actions to increase climate resilience in Northern Canada
Clean Technology, Innovation, and Jobs
- Supports mission-oriented research and development and early stage tech development
- Provides initiatives to help accelerate growth and commercialization through the enhancement of skills development and innovation
Environmental & Energy Acts
Here is a brief overview of some of the federal acts in place
Weather Modification Information Act
- Sets out requirements for reporting activities related to atmospheric changes influencing weather conditions
Water Governance and Legislation
- Includes two main acts - the International Rivers Improvement Act (IRIA) and the Canada Water Act to protect and determine responsibilities for Canada’s coastal and inland water sources
Biodiversity and Conservation
The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) identified priority areas for sustainable development planning, in which it actions to meet its goals and targets. In addition, the FSDS spans three years from 2016 to 2019.
Provincial Government Policies
A brief overview of current climate policies in each province and territory. Updated January 2018.
Canada is home to a number of diverse Indigenous groups including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit nations (FNMI).
Indigenous peoples in Canada can be considered status or non-status but this concept is a colonial structure. Indigenous peoples include all FNMI groups regardless of status
Canada has committed to a Nation-to-Nation relationship with Indigenous peoples, the implementation the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and consulting Indigenous peoples on issues that affect them.
The duty to consult with Indigenous peoples is already part of protocol in place, but there is increased push for further legislation involving consultation and engagement with Indigenous peoples.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls for Canada to implement UNDRIP and to:
“Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the
free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects.” (Call to Action 92.i)
UNDRIP which is intended to be implemented in Canada (Bill C-262 is currently being referred to the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs as of Feb. 7, 2018) states that:
“States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples [...] to
obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources” (article 32.2)
UNDRIP also states that:
“Indigenous peoples have the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources” (Article 29.1).
Indigenous communities must be consulted in ANY projects within their territories. However, Canada can not consult with just one broad Indigenous governing group for every project. Although, these groups do speak for some Indigenous peoples, it does not speak for all Indigenous peoples. Indigenous nations in Canada vary greatly in their perspectives on the environment and development. There is not a pan-indigenous perspective on what is the right or wrong course of action. Any energy or development projects that affect Indigenous communities or occur within their territories must first engage and consult with the affected Indigenous nations in that area.
Canada’s best way forward is to truly consult with any Indigenous community that may be affected by energy or resource projects if Canada is truly committed to reconciling with Indigenous communities and moving past a colonial structure to a true Nation-to-Nation relationship.
The involvement of women in STEM and technical fields is essential for the advancement of energy and environmental sustainability. There is evidence that suggests more women involved in STEM and “green collar” jobs would lead to greater advancements for sustainable development overall.
With diverse perspectives at the table, women stand to gain valuable experience and employment, and they are able to contribute to developing more robust policies and technologies. In order to ensure future equality of opportunity, it is imperative that we invest in women, and ensure they have access to resources allowing them to be successful in rapidly growing fields. More women in STEM is likely to reduce the gender wage gap ($0.87 on the dollar); we cannot continue pushing women into lower income careers.
What is being done now?
- There is currently a gender-balanced Federal cabinet
- Current Federal Ministers of Science, and Environment and Climate Change are female.
- Several women across the country hold similar positions at a provincial level
- As STEM fields are growing, there is opportunity for women to engage through employment and research.
- In February 2017, the government launched a campaign called “Choose Science” to encourage young women to pursue science
There’s a growing focus on women, gender equality, and climate change. The United Nations (UN) has been at the forefront of including and empowering women internationally when addressing mitigation and adaptation initiatives for climate change. UN found that women face greater risks and burdens from climate change impacts.
As Canadians with significant influence on the global stage, we have a responsibility to assist in improving the quality of life, and mitigating the impacts of climate change for women around the world.
Extreme Weather Events
Women in rural communities are affected most by environmental problems due to the need to complete domestic tasks
- Lingering impacts on women in rural communities
- Ranging from the increased difficulty to completing daily tasks to increased costs in goods
- Notably, when a natural disaster occurs, consequences persist long after with increases in cases of sexual and gender-based violence.
Women in the Global South because of the adverse impact on infrastructure and supply of food
- Results in higher food and health care costs
Reliance on the natural environment (Agriculture & Water)
The disproportionate impacts of climate change are felt more strongly in the Global South
- Women produce much of agricultural yields
- Responsible for tasks that are increasingly difficult in a warmer climate
- With climate change, women become more vulnerable as extreme weather events, droughts, and changing weather patterns will affect the daily lives of many women in the Global South
Women as change agents for climate change
- Empowering women to reach highly influential roles, particularly within government, is likely to facilitate the commitment of governments to combat climate change
- In a study of 130 countries, it was found when women are in government positions, countries are more likely to sign on to international treaties to take action against climate change
Who is affected?
- Women, particularly in rural areas in the Global South
- Rural communities and communities that have a greater dependency on the land
- Indigenous communities
Who can make change?
- Minister of Environment and Climate Change
- Minister of International Development
- Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs
- Minister of Indigenous Services
- Local and International Indigenous communities
- United Nations - Sustainable Development Goals
- United Nations Women
What are the political parties saying?
Party Platforms and Positions:
- No political policies or platforms discussed women, gender equality, and climate change in the 2015 federal election
- Provincial/Territorial Parties
What is being done now?
- The federal government focuses on helping to achieve gender equality internationally and committing to mitigating impacts of climate change.
The Government of Canada has included the following priorities for the Minister of International Development in relation to climate change:
- Supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a global set of development goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015
- In collaboration with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of Finance, providing assistance to countries that are vulnerable to the destabilizing affects of climate change, including through climate finance
In Canada, there is vast resource and economic potential from energy to mineral extraction. Consequently, many of these resource development projects have both negative and positive social and environmental consequences to its surrounding communities.
The variety of species in the world or in a particular habitat or ecosystem.
- Risk of losing biodiversity
- Risk of species loss - from indicator species to endangered species
- Loss of land diversity
- Degradation of land due to erosion - may result in decrease agricultural output, changes in irrigation systems for crops, changes in diet for animals and humans due to implications on native plants, increase in salinity in soils
- Risk of losing aquatic species
- Chemicals/by-products spillage into canals, reservoirs, and waterways
- Thermal pollution from processes in lakes and rivers
- Decline in air quality due to pollution
- Contribution to climate change due to increase of greenhouse gases
- Loss of Indigenous way of life
- Environmental racism
- Increase in health issues
- Cost of treating illnesses increases
- Boom and bust economy
- Economic development in Indigenous communities
- Disportionate impacts on woman, as discussed in Issue 2
Who is affected?
- Everyone - a low carbon future affects all of us!
- Indigenous communities
- At risk northern communities
- Local, provincial, and federal governments
- Private companies seeking economic opportunities
Decision Makers and Responsibilities:
- Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs,
- Minister of Environment and Climate Change
- Minister of Natural Resources
- Environmental Assessment commissioners
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
- David Suzuki Foundation
- Nature Canada
- Canada Action
- Canada's Energy Citizens
- Canadian Nuclear Association
What are Parties saying?
- Liberal Party of Canada
- Conservative Party of Canada
- NDP of Canada
- Green Party of Canada
- Provincial/Territorial Parties
What is being done now?
The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy
Several other government acts are relevant to impacts of resource development:
- Species at Risk Act (SARA)
- Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999)
- Water Governance and Legislation
Natural Resources Canada also provides access to a wide variety of publications on natural resources and their impacts, to assist with transparency and risk mitigation of firms. More information on sustainability related to natural resources.