FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Atlantic ministers responsible for the Status of Women met in New Brunswick this week and launched the Guide to Gender Diversity in Employment.

“Advancing the status of women is important for the region’s economy and social fabric,” said Premier Brian Gallant, who is minister responsible for women’s equality in New Brunswick. “Our progress is greater by working together and learning from each other. Today’s meeting provided a platform for us to collectively share best practices and discuss challenges we can address on a common front. Through collaboration we will advance gender equality and improve the status of women across Atlantic Canada.”

Gallant said that it was an honour to host the forum for Atlantic ministers to discuss the status of women and to launch the guide.

The publication, two years in the making, will be a tool for employers to support gender diversity in their workplaces. The guide was originally created by the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial government. Recognizing the value of this resource to employers, it was revised and adopted by the forum. The guide will be available to enhance work proceeding in each province.

“More women becoming involved and taking on decision-making roles across our region will help drive job creation,” said Gallant. “Together, the four Atlantic provinces are committed to increasing the presence of women in positions of influence.”

“It is a privilege to have the opportunity to meet with my Atlantic colleagues on initiatives that impact the lives of women and girls in Atlantic Canada,” said Joanne Bernard, minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women Act for Nova Scotia.

“There is great value in working together as a region to collaborate on initiatives that will benefit women and girls in the Atlantic provinces,” said Paula Biggar, the minister responsible for the Status of Women for Prince Edward Island.

“Newfoundland and Labrador is proud of the contribution we have made to the development of the Guide to Gender Diversity in Employment. Evidence shows that organizations that respect and value diversity are more successful at attracting and retaining high-performers and improving operational performance. This guide is a straightforward, informative tool designed to assist employers and employees take action to ensure gender diversity in the workplace‎," said Cathy Bennett, minister responsible for status of women for Newfoundland and Labrador.

In addition to the launch of the guide, the ministers reiterated their intent to work with the federal government in advancing gender equality. They agreed to direct senior officials to share best practices, tools and resources on the issue of women in leadership, and they discussed their ongoing commitment to the Outcomes and Priorities for Action to Prevent and Address Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls.

Currently, regional collaboration plans to address gender-based violence, as well as violence against Aboriginal women and girls are being developed in each of the provinces. The ministers will continue to engage with the newly formed Eastern Door Indigenous Women’s Association, a regional coalition of Atlantic Native Women’s associations.

Newfoundland and Labrador will host the 2018 Atlantic Ministers Forum on the Status of Women.