Human Trafficking

BPW Ontario
February 22, 2019

#ProjectMapleLeaf's Launch Date and Canada's Human Trafficking Awareness Day

On February 22, 2019, across the province, BPW Ontario members met with MPP's and their staff to introduce the #ProjectMapleLeaf Human Sex Trafficking Awareness Campaign and request that they Save the Date of July 30th.

Photo Gallery

Highlights of these meetings included:

  • A personal invitation to join BPW Ontario members and friends for the Project's finale at ONroutes across Ontario on July 30 at 9:20 a.m., World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
  • Sharing the Save the Date "postcard" and RSVP to the July 30th finale.
  • Encouraged the MPP's and their staff to invite colleagues, co-workers, agencies and constituents to join the campaign.

February 22 to July 30, 2019

From February 22 to July 30, 2019, BPW Ontario members have been spreading the #ProjectMapleLeaf message across the province, country and world by encouraging people to Save the Date: July 30 and to attend the awareness campaign's finale celebration at one of the 20 ONroute's in Ontario.

In March 2019, #ProjectMapleLeaf Project Lead and BPW London member Kelly Franklin attended the BPW International Leaders' Summit in New York City. Photos below include BPW members from across the globe in support of the #ProjectMapleLeaf.


At the July 30th Celebration Finale of the 2019 Campaign, Kelly Franklin, Executive Director, Courage for Freedom introduced the next step: a nation-wide project. Click here to view July 30th Celebration Day photos.

Project Report 2019-2020

February 22 - July 29, 2019 Photo Gallery

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"On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at a historic UN Summit — officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind."

 Click on an SDG Goal icon to learn about the SDG and its progress.

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BPW International



A partner of BPW Canada, the Canadian Coalition to Empower Women (CCEW) exists to advance gender equality and the economic empowerment of women in Canada; recognizing it is essential to build strong economies, establish more stable and just societies, and improve the quality of life for all Canadians and their families in communities across Canada.

Leveraging the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to bring together our innovative private sector dedicated to engaging, developing and promoting women in the workplace, marketplace, and community with visionary organizations and governmental leaders to achieve gender equality and inclusive diversity in Canada.

  • CCEW Introductory Letter and CCEW Statement of Support: Visit the resource section of the CCEW website.

  • Host a Women's Economic Empowerment Community Event!  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to plan your event.

  • Like CCEW on Facebook

  • Questions: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Learn About the 7 WEP Principles

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#ProjectMapleLeaf #ProjectMapleLeaf 2019 Gallery July 30 2019 Gallery

February 22, 2021 - Ontario Announces new Legislation in the Fight Against Human Trafficking

February 22nd was Canada’s National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. 60% of all of Canada’s human trafficking can be linked in some way to activities that occur along the 401 corridor. The 401 corridor is considered the ‘gateway’ to communities. Many girls have often recounted how they have been escorted to an ONroute station. Because of the transitory nature of the 401, criminal activity in the form of sex trafficking has largely been unenforced. Traffickers are able to ‘hop’ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction with ease, taking advantage of the lack of provincial coordination to tackle this issue. 
It is appropriate that on that day the Government of Ontario introduced legislation to fight against human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Ontario. Business and Professional of Women of Ontario, partnered with Courage for Freedom and other organizations to advocate for this legislation with the Government of Ontario. It is a step forward; one of many required to eradicate this practice.
Two acts have been introduced: the Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy Act, 2021 and the Accommodation Sector Registration of Guests Act, 2021 - as well as amendments to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 and the Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking Act, 2017. 
Please join BPW in celebrating these landmark legislation proposals and to our mutual ongoing work continuing to advocate with the Government of Ontario to put in place all the measures required in response to these issues.



BPW Canada and Courage for Freedom are working on this national campaign along with other concerned people. The campaign follows last year's huge success of the #ProjectMapleLeaf campaign in Ontario. Over 1600 Ontarians celebrated with us on July 30, 2019. This historic event caught the attention of politicians and Ontario now has an Anti-human Trafficking Strategy. The success of the campaign is dependent on getting the word out. This is part of what BPW Canada members can help with. Just think what can happen in Canada.

The Facts

  1. Evidence suggests over 90% of Canada’s trafficking victims come from within Canada’s borders.
  2. Canada has become a hotbed for human sex trafficking of minor-aged children. 60% of all of Canada’s human trafficking can be linked in some way to activities that occur along the 401 corridor. The 401 corridor is considered the ‘gateway’ to communities. In 2016, the rate of human trafficking in Ontario was more than one and a half times the national rate.
  3. According to police-reported data collected between 2009 and 2016, 72% of victims of human trafficking were under 25 years of age.
  4. In Canada, a 2013 RCMP study reported the victims of all domestic sex trafficking cases prosecuted in Canada between 2007 and 2013 have been female.
  5. On February 22, 2019, Human Trafficking Awareness Day, #ProjectONroute was launched, a historic provincial human trafficking awareness campaign. #ProjectONroute was inspired by a 16-year-old survivor of sex trafficking who wanted to change the way victims of trafficking were portrayed in the media. In 2020, the campaign expanded across the Nation and rebranded as #ProjectMapleLeaf.

#ProjectONRoute 2019 - 2020 Report

Join the #EradicateChallenge


Add your voice to ours by joining the #EradicateChallenge.

  1. Click here to download and print the instructions and sign (colour and black and white).
  2. Follow the instructions and/or watch this short demo video by Johanna Downey, Peel Region Councillor.
  3. Create your photo, video or both and wear your organizational scarfs, hats, t-shirts, etc.
  4. Include #CanadaBPW, #BPWOntario and your club/organization hashtag and tag @canadabpw, @bpwontario and Courage for Freedom.

Save the Dates - February 22 and July 30

February 22:

On February 22, Canada's National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, we asked all Canadians to join together coast to coast to coast to spread the virtual #EradicateChallenge and send a strong polarized message that we want to "end the buying and selling of girls and boys, children in Canada”.

Heather Ellis, President, BPW Ontario joining the #EradicateChallenge

July 30:

July 30 is the UN World Day Against Trafficking in Persons and in Canada we will celebrate #ProjectMapleLeaf and the #EradicateChallenge. Courage for Freedom will disclose the party location to each Province and participant closer to the date. Until then, BPW Canada and Courage for Freedom will work on research, building the movement, training industry sectors and communities and creating greater awareness and comradery.

Join the movement. Together we can raise awareness and eradicate human trafficking.
Join the #ProjectMapleLeaf Campaign: Click here and this will make sure you stay informed.

As you can well imagine this is an exciting undertaking. We are still recruiting volunteers to help with various parts of the campaign. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., if you can help in any way. Many hands make for light work.

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#ProjectMapleLeaf Chair
BPW Canada Human Trafficking Ad-Hoc Committee Chair

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
#ProjectMapleLeaf Project Lead
President, BPW Ontario




Close the Gap

Ontario's Equal Pay Day 2021: April 7
#EqualPay Day #CloseTheGap #Always Essential #PayTransparency

What is Equal Pay Day? Equal Pay Day ON 2021 Equal Pay Coalition Ontario EPC News Wage Gap News & Reports Past Equal Pay Days Canadian Coalition (CCEW) Canada's Equal Pay Day

Equal Pay Day

What is Equal Pay Day?

Equal Pay Day illustrates how far into the next year a woman, on average, must work to earn the same amount a man-made in the previous year. They are marked around the world.

On Equal Pay Day, WEAR RED to show how women are in the red! Post your messages of what reforms are needed to build real economic security that leaves no one behind!

The Gap

Ontario's gap is close to 30%. This gender wage gap in Ontario is one of the largest in the world! Pay discrimination is not limited to one career or demographic, it affects women of all ages, races, and education levels – regardless of their family decisions.

The Equal Pay Coalition's goal is a 0% gender wage by 2025. The coalition has outlined the 12 steps to achieve this goal.

#EqualPayDay Ontario 2021: April 7

Equal Pay Day 2021 Message from BPW Ontario President, Heather Ellis:

It’s time to #DemandBetter because equality is #AlwaysEssential.

Women are essential to Ontario's economy.

"Equal Pay Day, April 7, 2021 marks how long into the year, on average, women must work to earn the same amount that men on average earned by December 31 last year. But this is just an average. Women who face multiple forms of discrimination must work even longer into the year to hit their Equal Pay Days. Systemic discrimination in the economy means that women with disabilities face a 56% gender pay gap; immigrant women: a 55% gender pay gap; Indigenous women: a 45% gender pay gap; and racialized women: a 40% gender pay gap." ~ Source

The pay gap affects women differently

"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how crucial women’s paid and unpaid work is to keeping our communities functioning.

Without women’s work, the economy doesn’t work.

But the pandemic has had a disproportionately negative impact on women, non-binary and trans people in a way that deepens intersecting forms of discrimination.

Women, and in particular Indigenous, Black and racialized women, and women with disabilities have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Women have dominated the high risk jobs that don’t allow for physical distancing – such as nursing, care work, cleaning, food services and more. At the same time, women have suffered the greatest job losses as female-dominated industries like travel, hospitality, restaurants, arts & culture, and retail, shut down earliest and remain largely closed.

Women have borne the largest share of unpaid care work and home schooling required by the pandemic. And they have faced skyrocketing rates of gender-based violence during the lockdowns.

The pandemic has exposed the cracks in our social safety nets.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has also shown that we can do things differently.

We need an intersectional feminist economic recovery plan that leaves no one behind." ~ Source

Open Letter to Premier Doug Ford, April 6, 2021

Click here or on the image below to read the complete letter.

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Trans and non binary wage gap

Past Equal Pay Day Photos

Equal Pay Coalition Ontario

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BPW Ontario is a founding member of the Equal Pay Coalition.

The Equal Pay Coalition was formed in 1976 as a coalition of organizations to seek the implementation of equal pay for work of equal value both through legislation and collective bargaining. The Coalition has over 39 constituent and partner groups which represent Ontario women and men who support equal pay for work of equal value."

Equal Pay Coalition EPD News/Updates

Equal Pay Coalition Webinar: Rising Together for a Just Economy: April 3, 2020

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Webinar conducted on April 3, 2020 with the focus on Bringing a Gender Lens to the COVID-19 Crisis.

Download Webinar Slide Show

Equal Pay Coalition Consultation on Pay Transparency Regulations: 2019

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Gender Wage Gap News/Reports

April 18, 2018: Submission to Standing Committee on Social Policy Legislative Assembly of Ontario: Bill 3, An Act respecting transparency of pay in employment Bill 3 


BPWO President - Pay Equity Summit

BPWO President, Maide Yazar at Pay Equity Summit, Feb 28, 2018
MacLean's February 2018 Issue: Men Pay 26% More!

February 28, 2018: BPW Ontario President, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., attended a Pay Equity Workshop in Ottawa. Maide's Report: Participated at the Pay Equity Summit, a Federal Pay Equity Networking Meeting, held with 30 other organizations who are prominent advocates of eliminating the gender wage gap. Very excited as the federal work is launched on making sure the Government of Canada gets the proposed Pay Equity legislation right. Many learned lessons were shared. The sisterhood rocks. "We are here because most women cannot be here today". Many thanks to the Atkinson Foundation for funding the workshop and to Canadian Women's Foundation for organizing the event. 

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BPWO President, Maide Yazar attending
Pay Equity Summit, February 2018

November 2017: Pay Equity Commission 2016-2017 Annual Report, marking the 30th anniversary of the Pay Equity Act and the establishment of the Commission. Research tells us that cultural and social biases continue to negatively influence how women are perceived at work. This includes how their work may be undervalued and thus underpaid as compared to their male co-workers, contributing to an unacceptably wide gender wage gap. Closing this gap is both a human right and an economic necessity for inclusive economic growth, especially given Ontario women’s educational attainments and labour force participation rates. 

August 25, 2016: News Release: Ontario Moving Forward to Close the Gender Wage Gap. "The Ontario government has released the final report from the Gender Wage Gap Steering Committee and will immediately start work on a plan to close the gap, create equal opportunities for prosperity and strengthen the economy by eliminating barriers that prevent women's full participation in the workforce." Thank you to BPW Ontario Past President/First VP BPW Canada, Linda Davis, for all her efforts on the Gender Wage Gap Steering Committee.

April 2016: Report: Every Step You Take: Ontario's Gender Pay Gap Ladder. Published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Ontario Office (CCPA - Ontario Office), author Mary Cornish, Research Associate for CCPA - Ontario Office and Chair of the Equal Pay Coalition.

October 8, 2015: Toronto Star, Editorial: We need action, not just talk, to close wage gap between men and women: "...Gender Wage Gap Steering Committee that will soon begin holding province-wide public hearings and consultations with businesses to find ways to close the gap...The committee includes some high-powered, highly-qualified people including ...Linda Davis, past-president of the Business and Professional Women’s Clubs of Ontario and a current board member of the Equal Pay Coalition. That alone speaks to the government’s seriousness to move on this issue." Complete Article.

April 20, 2015: Linda Davis, BPW Ontario's Past President, was appointed to Ontario's government new Gender Wage Gap Steering Committee. Click here to read the announcement.

April 2014: BPW spreads the news about the wage gap - click here to read the article about an Equal Pay 2014 gathering in London, Ontario.

Past Ontario Equal Pay Days

#EqualPayDay Ontario 2020: April 4

EPD 2020 virtualrally

BPW members and allies from Canada's coast to coast joined the Equal Pay Coalition's first Equal Pay Day Virtual Rally on Saturday 4 April.

Rally MCs:

Fay Faraday & Jan Borowy, Co-Chairs, Equal Pay Coalition

Speakers included:

#EqualPayDay Ontario 2019: April 9

#EqualPayDay Ontario 2018: April 10

Equal Pay Day Ontario 2017: April 11

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