In 1967, the federal government set up a Royal Commission on the Status of Women (popularly known as the Bird Commission, after its chair, the broadcaster Florence Bird) to examine the social and economic problems faced by women in Canada. As a result of its recommendations, in 1971 the government set up an office for the status of women in Canada in the Privy Council Office. Status of Women Canada became an independent departmental agency in 1976, first reporting to the Department of Communications, then to the Department of Canadian Heritage in 1993 before being moved to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (since renamed Employment and Social Development Canada) in 2008.
The cabinet minister in charge of Status of Women Canada is known as the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, except between 2006 and 2008 when it was under the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Status of Women. The Minister Responsible for the Status of women has always been a woman since 1981; the first four ministers (from 1971 to 1981) were men.
The bureaucratic official in charge of Status of Women Canada has the title of Coordinator, which is equal in rank to an Assistant Deputy Minister.
The Coordinators of Status of Women Canada have been:
Freda L. Paltiel, 1971-73.
Martha Hynna, 1973-76.
Julie Loranger, 1976-78.
Maureen O’Neil, 1978-87.
Kathleen L. “Kay” Stanley, 1987-94.
Louise A. Bergeron-de Villiers, 1994-97.
Florence Ievers, 1997-2007.
Clare Beckton, 2007-09.
Suzanne Clément, 2009-14.
Meena Ballantyne, 2014-now.