Ottawa – On International Women’s Day, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) issues a resounding call to all orders of government to unite against the pervasive harassment culture, urgently addressing the toxic environment disproportionately affecting elected officials—particularly women, BIPOC, and 2SLGBTQI+ representatives.

The prevailing situation is alarming and hinders the retention of municipal officials, as exemplified by the recent resignation of France Bélisle as Mayor of Gatineau, QC. In Québec alone, an estimated 800 elected officials have stepped down since the 2021 election, citing threats and intimidation from both online and offline sources.

“On a daily basis, dedicated women contribute to the quality of life of Canadians with passion, excellence, and courage. And every day, I hear from women colleagues and friends in elected office across the country about the alarming, disgusting, and dangerous levels of hate and vitriol they face—death threats, harassment, being targeted in their homes and relentlessly online. This is unacceptable. We must unite with a strong, unified voice and take immediate action to end this abuse that has persisted for far too long and is intensifying,” emphasized FCM’s CEO, Carole Saab.

FCM has been at the forefront of advocating for change, with the issue prominently discussed during the recent Big City Mayors’ Caucus and the FCM Board of Directors meeting. Urging immediate action, FCM's 2024 Budget recommendation stresses the vital support for women in local leadership, highlighting the need to renew the federal commitment to successful programs like CanWILL.

“Depriving ourselves of the talents of elected women diminishes the quality of life for Canadians. We cannot tolerate this destructive climate”, asserted FCM’s President, Scott Pearce. FCM encourages continued collaboration with the federal government and stakeholders to build upon the progress achieved with the CanWILL program.

Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal, explains: "We urgently need to foster an environment in which all elected officials in our cities and municipalities feel they can work with respect and dignity. To ensure this is to support democracy. It's unacceptable for women in politics to face such challenges in their efforts to better their communities.” 

As a united front against harassment, FCM and its members are committed to combatting this alarming trend. Ongoing efforts will be discussed extensively at the upcoming 2024 Annual Conference and Trade Show in Calgary, Alberta in June.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities unites more than 2,100 local governments at the national level, representing more than 92 per cent of Canadians in every province and territory.

For more information: FCM Media Relations, (613) 907-6395,

© 2024 Federation of Canadian Municipalities