Gender Quotas Database

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Canada (Canada)

Canada (Canada) has a Bicameral parliament with the use of voluntary party quotas. 90 of 338 (27%) seats in the House of Commons are held by women.

At a glance

Structure of Parliament: Bicameral

Are there legislated quotas...

  • For the Single/Lower House? No
  • For the Upper House? No
  • For the Sub-National Level? No

Are there voluntary quotas...

  • Adopted by political parties? Yes

Is there additional information?...

  • Yes

Last updated: Apr 16, 2019

Single/Lower House

House of Commons

Total seats 338
Total Women 90
% Women 27%
Election Year 2015
Electoral System FPTP
Quota Type No legislated
Election details IDEA Voter Turnout - IPU Parline

Voluntary Political Party Quotas*

Party Official name Details, Quota provisions
New Democratic Party [NDP] In 1985 the NDP adopted a target of 50 percent women among its candidates at federal elections. It has also adopted (and is enforcing) a policy whereby, in each federal riding, at least one woman must be in the running at the nomination stage.
Liberal Party of Canada [LPC] In 1993 the LPC set a target to elect 25 percent women.

* Only political parties represented in parliament are included. When a country has legislated quotas in place, only political parties that have voluntary quotas that exceed the percentage/number of the national quota legislation are presented in this table.

Additional Information

The 2015 elections meant a 1,1 % increase of women compared to the last elections in 2011. NDP, the Green Party and the Liberal Party increased their numbers of female candidates, however the Conservative Party and Bloc Québéqoise dropped by 20 % and 28 % respectively. The political parties vary in their policies on women's representation, where the NDP, the Liberal Party and the Green Party have structures in place to promote and support women's participation, and the Conservative Party lacks any such policies (OSCE/ODIHR Election Misson Assessment Final Report 2015).

 

In 1997 a proposal on electoral gender parity went to referendum in Nunavut, a self-governing region in the Northwest Territories. Voters were asked to vote "yes" or "no" to the question: "Should the first Nunavut Legislative Assembly have equal numbers of men and women MLAs, with one man and one woman elected to represent each electoral district?" The proposal, however, was rejected by 57 percent of Nunavut voters.

If the proposal had passed, one woman from a women's list and one man from a men's list would be elected from each of the 10 or 11 electoral districts. Each voter would then mark two boxes: one from the women's list and one from the men's list.

Additional reading

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