Sorry, but I'm going to go a little off script here. I actually compare the Status of Women agency to running a homeless shelter. It's in the same category, it really is, in terms of funding. We do an incredible amount with very little money, and I want to acknowledge the incredible work they do on such a small budget.
Before I expand on the priorities set out in the RPP, I would like to highlight the fact that the government is reviewing its reporting framework to ensure that it meaningfully allows Parliament and Canadians to monitor our progress in meeting our commitments.
The five priorities in the RPP support the government's agenda for advancing equality between women and men and also my mandate commitments, which are preventing and addressing violence against women and girls, preventing and addressing violence against indigenous women and girls, strengthening the gender-based analysis plus implementation, increasing the representation of women in leadership roles, and promoting women's economic security and prosperity. These are all goals that I'm sure you're very familiar with.
I'd now like to highlight some of our work in each of these areas.
Let's talk about addressing violence against women and girls.
As you know, I've been mandated to lead the development of a comprehensive federal strategy on gender-based violence, aligned with existing provincial and territorial strategies. I'm currently engaging with my colleagues across federal portfolios and with key stakeholders across the country, including provincial and territorial ministers responsible for the status of women, as well as experts and advocates. I will be meeting with my international counterparts next week at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women—some of you are attending—to get a better sense of their violence prevention strategies and what works and what doesn't work across the globe. This engagement process we're undergoing will be used to identify key gaps and opportunities for action to develop a federal strategy on violence against women and girls.
We're also working on ending violence against indigenous women and girls. As you are aware, the agency is playing a key role in supporting the national inquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women and girls and is working closely with the Minister of Indigenous Affairs and the Minister of Justice and their departments.
I was part of the pre-inquiry design process, and the level of engagement across Canada was incredibly encouraging. We heard from nearly 2,000 individuals in the 18 pre-inquiry design meetings that were held from coast to coast to coast, but we also heard from well over 4,000 other individuals, both on social media and through the inquiry website, where they provided their input via an online survey. We were really encouraged by the tremendous passion both of the people coming in person and of those submitting their thoughts online.
What we've heard very clearly is that we need to act now and not wait until the inquiry is completed. There are a number of things that we can do now and things that we have been doing that we can sustain. Over the coming year, the agency will provide funding and professional assistance to organizations for projects designed to support indigenous women and girls in engaging with their communities to address the root causes of violence. We will continue to act by investing in promising practices that can help prevent violence against indigenous women and girls.
We are also looking at advancing women in leadership roles. We're going to invest resources strategically to support projects that help increase women's representation in leadership positions. I am very passionate about this particular aspect of my mandate, because I believe that when we have women who are determining the faces and structures of our governance, our organizations, and our businesses, it in fact leads to more equality.
A few weeks ago, I announced a new call for proposals, inviting organizations to propose projects that will empower women in two different ways. The first will identify projects that engage indigenous women and strengthen the role they play in their communities, and the second involves projects to empower women for political or community action. We've heard a lot incidentally from civic partners, municipalities, that really want to work on engaging more women at the municipal level of politics, so this is an example.
We will continue to work closely with our federal partners toward diversity in Governor in Council appointments, and continue efforts to advance gender balance on Canadian boards.
The government has just announced a new, rigorous approach for selecting high-quality candidates to fill 1,500 Governor in Council appointments on commissions, boards, crown corporations, agencies, and tribunals across the country, and this new merit-based selection process will result in candidates who truly reflect Canada's diversity. Again, that will strengthen the organizations and the divisions that determine what Canada's policies look like.
The third priority supports women's economic security and prosperity. The agency will continue to explore economic opportunities for women by engaging key stakeholders to address women's under-representation in key sectors, such as the skilled trades, which is very important. As you know, we have extremely low rates of women participating in sometimes quite lucrative careers. I see one women right there who could speak quite eloquently about that.
The Government of Canada is also committed to addressing the issue of the wage gap, which as you know is worsening. While women have made significant progress on a number of fronts, including educational attainment and labour force participation, there is definitely room for improvement. We will work with the provinces, territories, and others to use all the levers to address the wage gap in Canada.
We are also working at implementing gender-based analysis, and you know that we saw the Auditor General's report in February, which indicated that although we had made some progress, we had a long way to go in applying GBA. We're continuing to collaborate with our federal partners to improve implementation of GBA, and we're exploring ways that we can better monitor and report on its implementation, and recognize that departments are accountable for using this.
Status of Women Canada will also continue supporting our federal organizations across various sectors to ensure that gender considerations are being integrated into decisions on federal initiatives through training, tools, and support.
Status of Women Canada will also continue to work internationally. Next week, I'll be leading Canada's delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York, where Canada will be promoting the need to support women and girls globally, and advance women's rights as human rights.
Within Canada, we'll continue to engage very actively with the federal-provincial-territorial forum of ministers responsible for the status of women, and I really look forward to our meeting this June, where we will be discussing violence against women, including violence against indigenous women and girls, the gender wage gap, and gender-based analysis.
As you can see, we're planning to target our $31.7 million to clearly advance gender equality in Canada, and I know that I can count on your support toward our mutual goal.
Madam Chair, as you can see from the initiatives I have described today, we are very much looking forward to the year ahead and the progress we can make for women and girls in Canada.
Thank you, merci, and I'll add meegwetch.
I will now be happy to answer your questions, and by the way, meegwetch for those of you who are not from Ontario is thank you in Ojibwa.