Today, the Government of Canada released its ministerial mandate letters, which outline commitments that each minister will work to accomplish. We’re thrilled to see clear mentions of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in several mandate letters, including those to the Health Minister, Ministers of Women and Gender Equality, Foreign Affairs, and International Development. We are excited to say that we are seeing some of the strongest references to SRHR in mandate letters to date.
SRHR is featured because of the years of hard work and relentless advocacy we have done alongside our partners to ensure SRHR is prioritized at the federal level.
We look forward to working with ministers and their teams to continue to increase access to sexual and reproductive health services for people in Canada, support the funding of feminist and women’s rights organizations, and to combat disinformation and the undermining of human rights. We are pleased to see that the government has a clear mandate to support and champion human rights here and abroad.
Our work continues! We would have loved to see a mention of sex-ed as a key upstream intervention for gender-based violence, to address STI outbreaks, and for general health outcomes. There is strong support among Canadians for a national strategy to ensure access to comprehensive sexuality education for all youth, and it is long overdue that this is prioritized by the federal government. The need to improve access to contraceptives continues to be crucial. There was also no mention of sex work decriminalization--an issue that needs to be urgently addressed.
While we look forward to continuing to work together in the new year to ensure that the SRHR commitments in the mandate letters are met, we know there is still a long road ahead. These rights don't fight for themselves. Join us in making change and help continue to fight for better sexual and reproductive health and rights for all!