top of page

An Open Letter and Response to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, Lisa Hepfner in Response to Petition e-4518

The Government's response to Petition e-4518 is a profound disappointment and an utter failure to address the core concerns raised by the petitioners.

The response is riddled with vague platitudes about inclusivity and diversity, which completely sidestep the genuine fears and legitimate issues surrounding the erosion of sex-based protections for women and girls.Whereas the petition addressed biological sex, the words gender and gender-based were employed 35 times in a response of 1 108 words.

The term 2SLGBTQI+, 6.Did you even read the petition and its concerns?

Blurring the Lines Between Gender and Sex

By consistently using the term "gender-based" rather than "sex-based," the Government is effectively annihilating the very meaning of the categories "woman" and "man." This linguistic obfuscation undermines the reality of sex-based differences and erases the specific challenges faced by biological women under patriarchy. It is an insult to the intelligence and lived experiences of women who have fought tirelessly for their rights and protections. 

Bill C-16: A License to Ignore Male Pattern Violence

Bill C-16 allows anyone to claim any gender identity, thus nullifying overwhelming data about male pattern violence and sexual abuse. This legislation denies the statistical reality that men overwhelmingly perpetrate sexually based crimes against women and children. The Government's response fails to acknowledge this critical issue, instead focusing on a hollow celebration of diversity and inclusion. This is not only irresponsible but also dangerously naive.

Governmental Lack of Transparency and Accountability

The extensive redaction of analysis on the impact of Bill C-16 on women is a clear indication that the Government is hiding the truth. What are they so afraid of revealing? This lack of transparency is a betrayal of the trust of the citizens who expect their leaders to protect their rights and safety. The Government's response does not address these concerns, leaving us to question their commitment to genuine equality and justice.

Compromising Women's Spaces

By allowing gender self-identification, the Government has made it legally impossible to deny men who identify as women access to women-only spaces such as changing rooms, shelters, and prisons. This policy compromises the safety and privacy of spaces specifically designed to protect biological women, particularly survivors of male violence. The response from the Government does not provide any concrete measures to safeguard these critical spaces, instead offering empty assurances that do nothing to alleviate the fears of the petitioners.

A Call for True Accountability and Protection

The Government's response to Petition e-4518 is a blurred reality, a complete disregard for the specific needs and protections of biological women. It is an utter disappointment that reflects a profound misunderstanding or willful ignorance of the issues at hand. The petitioners called for clear, sex-based protections and the safeguarding of women's spaces. The Government's response fails to address these needs, instead opting for politically correct rhetoric that does nothing to ensure the safety and dignity of women and girls.

Whereas we sought to have civil conversation and a balanced discussion, we were met with nothing but closed doors. We’ve been left with no other choice: time to petition a repeal of bill C-16. Stay tuned.

The Red Tent Collective's signature: Women Who Care

from inside The Red Tent Collective


Response by the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Lisa Hepfner

Canada is proud of the work we have done to achieve gender equality, on our work to end gender-based violence and our commitment to create an inclusive and prosperous society where women and gender diverse people can thrive. We are a country that is built on the values of diversity, inclusion and respect for human rights. Equality rights are enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and ensure that everyone of every age is treated with the same respect, dignity and consideration, regardless of personal characteristics such as race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, mental or physical disability, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, from coast to coast to coast.  However, as we celebrate the progress we have made when it comes to gender equality, there remains much work ahead of us to truly achieve a society that is equal for all.

Many people in Canada continue to experience violence every day because of their sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or perceived gender. The Government of Canada is committed to applying Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus) in decision-making to ensure that policies and programs are responsive to and inclusive of diverse needs and consider impacts on diverse groups of people. The Government of Canada has also developed and published action plans that address gender-based violence (National action plan to end gender-based violence - Women and Gender Equality Canada), and the advancement of rights and equality for 2SLGBTQI+ people (Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan 2022 - Women and Gender Equality Canada) to create a more inclusive and equitable country.

Provinces and territories control the key levers to reach people experiencing gender-based violence and hate, and to promote prevention and awareness of gender-based violence, such as developing their own policy frameworks and funding; and delivering education, health care, and social services, along with the administration of justice.  This includes funding for transitional homes and shelters, and other critical spaces for women and gender diverse people to seek refuge from when they are escaping violence. While there are limits to the jurisdiction the Federal Government has in terms of control over private spaces or spaces that are provincial jurisdiction, the Federal Government has implemented national plans working with the provinces to address the specific challenges vulnerable demographics face. 

In August 2022, the Government of Canada launched the Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan to advance rights and equality for 2SLBTQI+ people in Canada. The Plan seeks to address and prevent discrimination and stigma based on sexual orientation, sex characteristics, gender identity and expression. The Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan was developed based on the experiences, evidence and voices of 2SLGBTQI+ communities and interested parties through an extensive engagement process.

The National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence was launched in November 2022 by Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women. [1] It was informed by over 1,000 recommendations from Indigenous partners, frontline organizations, experts, victims and survivors. The Plan recognizes that all jurisdictions have different roles to play but share responsibility in changing the attitudes and behaviours that sustain gender-based violence. 

The Plan emphasizes primary prevention approaches that address the root causes of gender-based violence to stop violence before it occurs. The Plan recognizes that prevention work must happen in a range of contexts including private, public and community spaces, workplaces, educational settings and online.  Prevention efforts must be gender-informed/sensitive and inclusive, intersectional, trauma and violence-informed, and culturally appropriate to best meet the needs of diverse populations, including women and gender diverse individuals.  

The National Action Plan to End GBV recognizes that gender-based violence services, including shelters, provide critical, lifesaving supports and safe spaces; and deliver social, health, and community services that protect and empower victims and survivors including, women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ people experiencing violence. Organizations and individuals working in communities have in-depth knowledge about the needs of clients, the systemic barriers clients face, and the solutions needed. The safety and well-being of victims and survivors are at the centre of the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence recognizing that they are the experts in their own personal experiences, with diverse backgrounds and needs.

Women and Gender Equality Canada worked with provincial and territorial governments to establish bilateral funding agreements that support each jurisdictions’ work to end gender-based violence. As of December 2023, bilateral funding agreements have been announced with all provinces and territories.  Through investments like the National Action Plan to End Gender Based Violence and the Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan, the Government of Canada has demonstrated our commitment to end violence against these communities, but we know more work is ahead of us. You can follow the implementation and progress of these two action plans on WAGE’s website Bilateral agreements to end gender-based violence - Women and Gender Equality Canada .


[1] Gender-based violence is a priority for the Government of Québec, which has invested significant funds to end violence against women. However, although it supports the overall objectives of the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, the Government of Québec cannot adhere to it because it intends to retain its full responsibility in this area on its territory. Through an agreement that respects its autonomy, the Government of Québec receives federal funding to support the programs, initiatives, and services to end gender-based violence that it puts in place based on the needs of its territory.


104 views1 comment

1 Yorum

31 May

The government are trying to replace sex based abuse with gender abuse. It is men ,xy, who are harming women,xx. What a person choose to be their gender, political or religious affiliation is not visible. Being a woman is, so abuse is directed at women as they are identifiable.

bottom of page