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Ontario Collaborating with Sri Lanka's Northern Province on Women's Empowerment

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Ontario Collaborating with Sri Lanka's Northern Province on Women's Empowerment

Planned Partnership to Encourage Economic Opportunities and Prevention of Violence

Ministry of the Status of Women

As part of Ontario's commitment to aiding global efforts to empower women and end gender-based violence, the province is exploring opportunities to collaborate with Sri Lanka's Northern Province to improve the lives of women and girls and advance gender equality and equity.

Ontario and Northern Province are working towards a Memorandum of Understanding that would offer opportunities to exchange best practices in designing and delivering programs, including capacity building and strengthening institutions in support of women's empowerment. Both Ontario and Northern Province are committed to promoting women's economic empowerment and reducing their vulnerability to poverty and abuse, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

This collaboration builds on a series of successful missions to Ontario by government officials from the Northern Province aimed at enhancing and strengthening Ontario-Northern Province bilateral relations.

Encouraging women's economic empowerment and forging ties with global partners is part of the government's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and free preschool child care from 2 ½ to kindergarten.

Quick Facts

  • In January 2017, the Chief Minister of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, the Honourable Justice C.V. Wigneswaran, met with Premier Wynne to discuss public sector capacity building, collaborative federalism, women’s empowerment, agriculture, and education. A subsequent visit by the Chief Minister’s Office was undertaken in late 2017 to advance discussions.
  • The Northern Province has cultural and linguistic ties to Canada and Ontario, as Canada is home to one of the largest Sri Lankan Tamil communities in the world.
  • In 2016, there were more than 124,000 people of Sri Lankan origin living in Ontario and 157,700 people with knowledge of the Tamil language.
  • Two-way trade between Ontario and Sri Lanka totalled more than $235 million in 2017.
  • In March 2018, Ontario unveiled Then Now Next: Ontario’s Strategy for Women’s Economic Empowerment, a multifaceted strategy to help remove long-standing barriers that have kept women from benefitting equally in Ontario’s rapidly changing economy.

Additional Resources


““Economic equality and gender-based violence are inextricably linked. When it comes to achieving real economic equality for women and girls, we have to make sure they can live in a safe and respectful society free of gender-based violence. Through It’s Never Okay: Ontario’s Gender-Based Violence Strategy, we are working with community partners to support survivors and end all forms of gender-based violence in every part of the province. We will use what we’ve learned and accomplished so far and work with our partners in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province to improve women’s economic outcomes and stop gender-based violence. Together we will build a safer and more caring society for all.””

Kathleen Wynne

Premier of Ontario

“We have made great strides toward improving economic outcomes for women and addressing gender-based violence, but our work is far from over. We welcome this partnership with Sri Lanka’s Northern Province as an opportunity to share ideas and work together to advance gender equality.”

Harinder Malhi

Minister of the Status of Women

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