As a start, I think that ensuring that women, wherever they are in the country, have access to support to create jobs for themselves and for others is tremendous. I often say that in Toronto or in Vancouver or in Ottawa, we're in the land of plenty. There's lots happening. But if you're in Terrace, or in a remote part of Newfoundland, there may not be much there. So providing some foundational support for organizations like ours to be available and to connect those women to resources, I think, is huge.
The second piece is connection building. The federal government, whether through INAC or ISED or the other acronyms, has the ability to draw links between some of the programs that are happening. We have talked a lot this morning about indigenous women. A lot of different departments are supporting or attempting to support indigenous women. The more that connections can be built among those efforts, the better.
The third would be procurement. I think we all know that the Government of Canada and the governments of the provinces are huge procurement bodies. Stating the policy of reaching out to organizations that are led by women, and particularly women from under-represented leadership groups, can make a huge difference as well.
We had a situation in Toronto that some of the companies said they would deal only with law firms that had women on the teams or leading the teams. It just changed things overnight. It's very easy to say, “We're looking for the women. Where are they?”
The final piece would be influencing education. It's not within the federal purview per se, but the federal government is in a position to influence education policy across the country and to ensure that young women are getting access to skill development, whether it's financial literacy or communications. Coding is another example. I happen to think financial literacy is probably the key, because if young women are raised to know that it's on them to figure out that they have to take control and determine their economic future, they are going to be a lot more interested and motivated to do that, I think.
The final thing I'd say is that when you get women leading businesses, they bring up women behind them. We see it every day. One of our businesses in Hamilton—it's a bakery—won the TELUS business of the year award. It won $100,000. One of its things from the get-go was, “We're going to pay everybody on our staff a living wage,” which was huge, because in the bakery business, bakers make next to nothing, and they're all getting paid a living wage. So women, when they lead the businesses, tend to do the right thing by their women.