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Many of these new treaties include self-government provisions. Since 1995, Canada has
recognized that Aboriginal peoples have the right to govern themselves in relation to matters internal to their communities, integral to their unique cultures, identities, traditions, languages
and institutions and with respect to their special relationship to their lands and their resources. To
date, 17 self-government agreements affecting 36 communities have been concluded.
Canada works to advance women’s equality through international commitments such as
the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and domestic commitments to gender mainstreaming. Using an accountability-based approach, Canada has made extensive progress on the implementation of gender-based analysis (GBA) across governments, including, for example, the application of GBA to measures in the national budget.
Employment and education
Women in Canada have made significant strides in the areas of employment and education.
The unemployment rate for Canadian women is at a 30-year low and is below the unemployment rate for Canadian men. As of 2007, the unemployment rate for women was 5.6 per cent (6.4 per cent for men). Governments are working to facilitate women’s labour market participation through programs such as the Aboriginal Human Resources Development Strategy, the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers, the Youth Employment Strategy and the Trades and Apprenticeship Strategy.
Canadian women have the highest rate of post-secondary educational attainment in OECD
countries. In 2005, 59.7 per cent of Canadian university qualifications were awarded to women, compared to 40.3 per cent for men. While the incidence of low income is somewhat higher for women compared to men (10.9 per cent vs. 10.1 per cent in 2006), significant progress has been made in recent years in improving the low-income situation of women in Canada. For example, overall, the low-income rate among females in Canada has been steadily declining since the mid- 1990s, from 16.5 per cent in 1996 to 10.9 per cent in 2006. In addition, the low-income rate for female lone-parent families decreased significantly from a high of 52.7 per cent in 1996 to
per cent in 2006.
Governments are also taking steps to break down barriers in the skilled trades, a sector
traditionally dominated by men. For example, several new initiatives introduced in recent years in Newfoundland and Labrador have led to a 35 per cent increase in the number of women registering for apprenticeship programs in non-traditional trades.
Measures to address violence against women
Women in Canada, particularly Aboriginal women, are more likely than men to be victims
of violence, including the most severe and frequent forms of spousal assault. However, in general, the prevalence of spousal violence is showing signs of a decline and spousal homicide rates have also decreased in recent years. The decline in the prevalence of spousal assault suggested by victimization surveys, together with the decrease in spousal homicide, may be a result of improved social interventions and the increased use of services by abused women.
Addressing violent crime remains a priority for all governments in Canada. The
Government of Canada has introduced numerous criminal law reform packages that will serve to
better protect women and all Canadians from violence. In addition, federal, provincial and territorial governments have strategies and programs in place to eliminate violence against