Right Hon. L. B. Pearson (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, I should like to inform the house that the government has decided to establish a royal commission on the status of women. The chairman of the commission will be Mrs. John Bird. Other members of the commission will be announced when their appointments have been completed, which I hope will be over the week end.
The royal commission will be asked to inquire into and report on the status of women in Canada and to recommend what steps might be taken by the federal government to ensure their equality with men in all aspects of Canadian society. Its findings will, of course, have to take into account the division of legislative powers between the federal and provincial governments under the constitution.
The commissioners will be free to look into such matters as they feel are relevant, and in particular the following areas: Laws and
practices under federal jurisdiction concerning the political rights of women; the present and potential role of women in the Canadian labour force, including the special problems of married women in employment and measures that might be taken under federal jurisdiction to help in meeting them; measures that rftight be taken under federal jurisdiction to permit the better use of the skills and education of women, including the special retraining requirements of married women who wish to re-enter professional or skilled employment; federal labour laws and regulations in their application to women; laws,
practices and policies concerning the employment and promotion of women in the federal civil service, by federal crown corporations and by federal agencies; federal taxation pertaining to women; marriage and divorce; the position of women under the criminal law; and immigration and citizenship laws, policies and practices with respect to women.