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Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Canada

FGM/C is a traditional harmful practice that involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. 

FGM/C is internationally recognized as a serious human rights violation that can cause life-long physical and psychological trauma and, in some cases, death. Rooted in gender inequality, it jeopardizes the health and well-being of millions of women and girls.Research shows that FGM/C is a global issue, as are the efforts to end it. FGM/C is found on every continent except Antarctica and is known to occur in over 90 countries across the globe, including Canada. It is performed by various ethnic, religious, and socio-economic groups, although it is not mandated by any major religion.

  • Looking at the 2021 Census, we see that Canada has immigrants from 59 countries where there is evidence that FGM is practiced. The End FGM Canada Network estimates there are more than 100,000 survivors of FGM/C in Canada.
  • Canada is one of the few Western countries where FGM/C is prevalent which do not have publicly available indirect data estimating the scale of the problem within the country.
  • Under the Canadian Criminal Code section 268(3), any person conducting FGM/C for non-medical reasons faces up to 14 years imprisonment. There has not been a single criminal prosecution or conviction for FGM/C in Canada since the legislation was enacted.
  • We have evidence of vacation cutting taking place in Canada.

This factsheet provides helpful information for media professionals and others who are interested in communicating about female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in Canada.

Explore our full range of resources for journalists reporting on FGM