As Canada’s national elected body, the House of Commons is a place where all Canadians should feel represented. For many, an ideal election would be one where the portrait of the House directly reflects a portrait of all Canadians.

The Public Policy Forum sought to discover what such a portrait looks like after the recent federal election. Our research covers the age, gender, ethnic, educational and professional histories of the Class of 2011. For added analysis, we have compared the Members of the 41stParliament with those of the 40th Parliament, the 112th House of Representatives in the United States, and the 55th British Parliament.

We believe that the portrait we have uncovered is one of a House that is edging towards diversity – that is, one increasingly reflecting the backgrounds of a wider number of Canadians. Members of the 41st Parliament are:

  • Younger – at just under 50 years of age
  • More female – women now comprise one quarter all MPs, the largest number in history
  • More diverse – the number of members of ethnic minorities in the House of Commons is increasing

These are just some of the findings of our study.