The Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada

The Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada was established in February 1967 by the Liberal Pearson government in response to pressure from national women’s groups, especially the Committee on Equality for Women (1966-1971). The Commission toured the country in 1967-68 and it reported in 1970. Its mandate was “to inquire and report upon the status of women in Canada, and to recommend what steps might be taken by the Federal Government to ensure for women equal opportunities with men in all aspects of Canadian Society”. It held public hearings in 14 cities in all provinces and territories, most of which were broadcast on the CBC. It received 469 briefs and about 1000 letters, and commissioned 34 studies.

It fostered widespread public debate about women’s issues, produced the first studies of the situation of women in Canada, made 167 recommendations to the federal government. It resulted in significant changes for women, including the formation of the highly successful Nation Action Committee on the Status of Women (1971-2000-06), and the creation of Status of Women councils in the federal and most provincial/territorial governments.


Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women. (Hull: Information Canada, 1970).

Arscott, Jane. “Twenty-Five Years and Sixty-Five Minutes After the Royal Commission on the Status of Women,” International Journal of Canadian Studies 11 (1995):30-56.

Bégin, Monique “The Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada: Twenty Years Later,” in Challenging Times: The Women’s Movement in Canada and the United States (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1992), 21-38.

Joan Sangster. “Invoking Experience as Evidence.” Canadian Historical Review 92, 1 (2011).