OREANDA-NEWS. September 14, 2016. The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade, today hosted a round-table discussion in Ottawa with Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The discussion focused on economic growth for the middle class and the important contribution of women entrepreneurs.

During the round table, the Minister highlighted Canada’s commitment to diversity, including gender equality, and to women’s empowerment as leaders in business and international trade. Ms. Lagarde, the first woman to be elected head of the IMF, is a leading global advocate for women’s role in building strong economies.

The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Government House Leader and Minister of Small Business and Tourism; the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change; and the Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, as well as Celina Caesar-Chavannes, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister; Karen McCrimmon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence; and Kim Rudd, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, also attended the round table.


“Women must play a greater role in our economic prosperity and our government is committed to helping woman-led Canadian small businesses expand their reach into international markets. Women are an integral part of Canada’s progressive trade agenda.”

- Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of International Trade

Quick facts

  • Women-owned businesses comprise 36.4 percent of the total self-employed workforce in Canada and employ over 1.5 million Canadians.
  • According to a 2013 Royal Bank of Canada report, majority women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) contributed almost \\$150 billion in economic activity in Canada in 2011.
  • Women in Canada are increasingly well educated. The proportion of women aged 25 to 64 with a university certificate or degree has grown at a faster pace than that of men, more than doubling between 1991 and 2015, from 15 to 35 percent.
  • Since its inception in 1997, the government’s Canadian Business Women in International Trade program has been providing targeted support to Canadian women entrepreneurs, helping them seize opportunities in international markets and expand their global footprints.
  • As of July 1, 2014, Canada’s population comprised slightly more females than males, at 17.9 million and 17.6 million, respectively.