OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has shuffled Thunder Bay-Superior North MP Patty Hajdu into a cabinet position that's likely to give her a higher profile than she had as Minister of Status of Women.
The 50-year-old rookie member of parliament is now the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, succeeding Marianne Mihychuk.
Hajdu's appointment was one of several cabinet changes that Trudeau announced today.
The new Minister of Status of Women is Maryam Monsef, formerly the Minister of Democratic Institutions.
Hajdu was appointed to Trudeau's first cabinet after the federal election in October, 2015, and at the time called her post her "dream portfolio."
She was the former executive-director at Shelter House Thunder Bay, and had played an active role in the community dealing with social issues such as homelessness, mental health and addictions.
As Minister of Status of Women, Hajdu was one of the cabinet ministers most directly involved in preparations for the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.
In an interview just hours after her appointment, Hajdu noted that the inquiry has been launched and is now in the hands of a commissioner, so at the present time there is no role for the federal government. She said the government will be waiting for the recommendations that come out of the inquiry.
She added that she is proud of the work she was able to do as Minister of Status of Women, including a gender-based violence strategy and the contributions she made to gender equality.
As for her new responsibilities, Hajdu said she is excited and honoured to have Trudeau's confidence, and grateful that he considers her "a valuable addition to the file."
Asked if she sees her new role as a promotion, she said Status of Women is equally important, although it doesn't have the same resources as the Labour portfolio.
"It's a different kind of work... and a new challenge that I'm looking forward to getting started on," Hajdu said.
She expects to be briefed soon by her deputy ministers on the urgent issues in the portfolio and on the department's strategic plans.