STANDING COMMITTEE ON STATUS OF WOMEN
AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Chair: Cheryl Ambrose
The Ontario Status of Women and Human Rights Committee seeks to assist local members in bringing forth discussion and activism in their Clubs and communities by focusing on the many issues and concerns of women across the province. The three meetings held throughout the year provide Ontario members with the opportunity to speak with a collective voice for the current concerns of women. Recent topics have been electoral reform, women in politics, and women in violence.
2012 / 2013 Meeting Dates
September 29, 2012 - January 19, 2013 - March 16, 2013
NEXT JOINT MORNING MEETING
Yorkminster Park Baptist Church
1585 Yonge Street
Topic: To be announced
Check In 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.
Meeting Begins at 10:00 a.m.
Catering requires pre-registration
Topic: To be announced
Report on Building a Future for Women in Trades Conference
Before continuing the discussion on Human Trafficking, Cheryl Hayles, Regional Director Ontario South introduced Linda Gill, CFUW Hamilton to present her report on the Building a Future for Women in Trades Conference held at Mohawk College on February 28, 2013. An invitation to attend was sent to Ms. Gill and CFUW Hamilton Past President Ethel MacDonald following their club’s letter to Mohawk College about their CFUW resolution regarding Women in Skilled Trades.
The keynote speaker at the conference was Karen Walsh, Executive Director of the Office to Advance Women Apprenticeships, Newfoundland. The program headed by Ms. Walsh is an excellent model for other provinces working on initiatives to encourage women to enter the trades.
Three other speakers offered a variety of points of view on the subject. Cheryl Jensen, Vice-President Academic of Mohawk College, sited disappointing statistics for women in science, technology and the skilled trades: only 3% of students in the STARRT programs offered by Mohawk College are women. A workshop by Jennifer Green, an industrial millwright mechanic at Linamar in Guelph provided an overview of her personal experiences made positive by the commitment of Linamar to encouraging women in trades. Finally Edi Slovin from the Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science in the U.S. discussed the value of girls as young as seven and eight being introduced to careers in the trades.
Cheryl Ambrose, Ontario Council CFUW representative for Status of Women and Human Rights and member of CFUW Guelph, was a member of the afternoon panel discussing the work of various groups to encourage more women in non-traditional careers. Ms. Ambrose did an excellent job outlining the leadership role CFUW has taken in its resolution and advocacy work.
Submitted by Sandra A. McCormick PhD, CFUW Guelph
Continuing Discussion on Human Trafficking:
Karlee Sapoznik, Loly Rico, Aura Burditt and Stan Burditt
The afternoon session offered more opportunity for questions and discussion between the panel and attending members. The presentations by all speakers were of a more personal and anecdotal nature, offering case studies and ongoing individual stories. Stan Burditt is the founder of Men Against Sexual Trafficking (MAST) and works in conjunction with The Salvation Army Correctional and Justice Services in speaking to organizations with the goal of raising awareness to the problem of Human Trafficking and the need to take individual responsibility to eradicate it.
Karlee Sapoznik’s afternoon session discussions focussed on best practices and current strategies. Joyce Smith, MP for Winnipeg South, and the B.C. and Manitoba provincial governments were used as models of active provincial strategies that work in co-ordination with law enforcement, health, housing and children’s services and employment agencies in their attempts to alleviate Human Trafficking within their provinces.
- NGO’s / Front Line Groups
- Law Enforcement
- Vulnerable Communities
She added that all of the following are needed for effective strategies against human trafficking:
Ms. Sapoznik was open to questions as she discussed strategies. Several members expressed concern about focus on strategies dealing with victims of human trafficking rather than strategies to stop and catch human trafficking, increasing efforts at the stages of prevention, especially in areas of law enforcement and border control.
- Trust-based relationships between the above partners
- Training (specifically for law enforcement, social workers, front-line service providers, employment agencies, medical personnel and health providers and teachers)
- Co-ordination and regular meetings to prevent duplication
- Research including data collection, case studies and analysis.
Loly Rico shared her personal experiences working with survivors of trafficking, specifically with her work with the crown attorney from Sudbury. Ms. Rico talked about the challenges of social assistance, language barriers, employment difficulties which make refugees in Canada susceptible to exploitation. She also stressed that Mental Health must be a part of the equation in helping those most vulnerable.
Stan Burditt was introduced as the final speaker of the day. He shared his personal story, describing how up until 3 ½ years ago he considered human trafficking as a problem in third world countries until he read an article about human trafficking as it exists in Canada. He said that he decided to do some personal research, discovering that less than 5% of the population in Canada are aware that this is a human rights problem in our own country. He emphasized what we all realize, that this is not a women’s issue or a man’s issue but a societal issue.
Through his work with MAST, Mr. Burditt talks to men’s groups about the need to change how our boys and young men view and understand human trafficking and sexual exploitation of women. He is working with the Truck Stop Campaign with the motto “Stop the Demand”. As Mr. Burditt explained, if we view human trafficking as a supply and demand interaction, it is our responsibility to educate men to rethink their role.
Mr. Burditt talked about his experience in the “Walk for Freedom” between London and Toronto last fall and he mentioned a number of events and grass roots groups including Rising Angels and Walk With Me. Aura Burditt mentioned the Women’s Support Network of York Region as another group working towards the prevention of Human Trafficking.
In the pamphlet used by the London, Ontario organization Men Against Sexual Trafficking http://www.mast-canada.com, the link between gender and poverty and the “push factors” that lead to human trafficking for sexual exploitation are listed as poverty, high unemployment, domestic violence, childhood abuse, discrimination against women and the desire for a way to help their families as the factors that make women and girls vulnerable to entry into the global sex trade.
The other side of the issue is the “pull factor” of demand for sex. Stan Burditt addressed the need for societal changes--starting with our sons, brothers, husbands, male friends—to view all forms of sexual exploitation within our society including things such as pornography, strip clubs, massage parlors, and prostitution as socially reprehensible with direct links to human trafficking.
The afternoon session ended with Karlee Sapoznik reminding us of the importance of awareness and, for Ontario, the need for a provincial strategy.
The afternoon session began with the film “Standing on Her Shoulders”, which was researched and produced by CFUW Guelph member Margie Taylor for Rural Women Making Change, a community-university research alliance at the University of Guelph. Financial support for the film was through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences at the University of Guelph.
The film featured women members of CAW from the CAMI Automotive Plant in Ingersoll ON, including Cathy Austin, the first woman President of a CAW auto industry union (2006-2009, Local 88). It is narrated by Belinda Leach, Professor, Rural Women Making Change, University of Guelph.
“This film looks at the challenges and opportunities for women working in assembly and trade jobs in the auto industry. How they have supported, encouraged and mentored each other in preparing for and taking leadership.” The film emphasises the fact that women in leadership roles set the tone for women mentoring women. Women leaders reach back and pull others along with them. Traditionally, jobs in the auto sector have been carried out by men, and it’s difficult for both women and men to make the adjustment.
Canadian Labour Congress and the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters have created a guide that details “promising practices” on recruiting and retaining women in occupations in trades, technology and sciences. Mary Ferguson of Eko Nomos presented an overview of this guide and related it to women working in trades. She also pointed us in the direction of online resources that describe opportunities for organizations such as ours who wish to move things along a little faster. Mary was joined by Joanna Belajac (Simcoe County Women in Trades) and Lorraine McDowell, both of whom work as carpenters.
These resources can be found on the Promising Practices website, Why Hire Women?
For more information see Full Report
We heard from two women’s networking groups:
• Women’s Group Network of Kitchener Waterloo and Area (Liz Simpson and Barb Spronk)
• Advancement of Women Halton (Anne Douglas)
Women’s Group Network of Kitchener Waterloo and Area
The Women’s Group Network of Kitchener Waterloo and Area started by talking to the local Social Planning Council, which took the lead in inviting groups to join. Initially 71 groups were contacted. A notice for an organizing breakfast was posted in the K-W record. It was attended by 51 people representing 40 organizations. The Networking Group is loosely structured. It is mostly a virtual group through Groups.google.com. The Networking Group holds three in-person meetings/year with a focus on showcasing one organization at each meeting. The Steering Committee is co-chaired by CFUW K-W and the Muslim Women K-W. CFUW K-W’s link to the Network is the chair of their Advocacy Group. The focus of the network is to address women’s issues, connect with each other, share information, plan joint activities and support advocacy efforts. The group also serves as a source for speakers and idea exchange. More details
Advancement of Women Halton
The Advancement for Women Halton started in 2007 by three women, two from CFUW Oakville and the third, a woman very involved in a local organization called WHAM (Women of Halton Action Movement). They started with a base of groups brought together thanks to a local politician. The first meeting of started of 8 groups, meeting at City Hall, has now grown to 23 organizations with diverse interests. The network is an ad-hoc, non-partisan, issue oriented umbrella coalition of groups promoting the advancement of women. They meet once a month in the early afternoon. Many members are paid employees representing their organizations. There are three CFUW groups as members with the past president acting as liaison. The organizational structure includes a chair, agenda and minutes and an annual report. Each organization can make announcements at the meetings. There are no fees and no funding. Space is donated by one of the organizations. Key to success is having a high profile leader with credibility in the community and a consistent secretary to keep the group informed. More details
Cheryl Ambrose, Chair
The meeting began with a discussion about the morning presentation from the Commissioner of the Pay Equity Commission of Ontario, Emanuela Heyninck on the issue of pay equity from the enlarged view of wage gaps.
The point was made that maybe some women don't want to do "non-traditional" jobs and perhaps we could ask 'why should we?' Instead, valuing the traditional female jobs such as day-care, social services, etc. is a way of addressing pay-equity. As such, child care is mechanism for addressing the gender wage gap.
It was noted that the Toronto Caucus is working with the Honourable Margaret McCain to promote her new Early Years Report. The Committee has undertaken to revisit the topic of child care next year.
Some members feel that we have made progress and that the next 50 years would bring more progress. It was noted that in the 1960's newspapers had separate columns for female/male jobs ads, and women got the vote only in 1920. There is a false perception of pay equity among young women; however, 5 years after graduation they will feel the effects when they do not receive promotions in their jobs.
The Commissioner's message was a wake-up call that progress for women's rights has been made but we must keep up the fight, or risk losing our hard fought rights!
Christine Cooper, executive director of FAME (Family Association for Mental Health Everywhere), talked to us about “the elephant in the room”, mental illness. It is the number one health problem in Canada. It affects everyone, either directly (1 in 5) or through association with someone who is suffering from a mental illness. Several large corporations and well-known Canadians are raising awareness of the problem. Christine cited the Bell campaign with Clara Hughes. BMO also has a campaign. Yet mental illness still has a stigma attached to it and is not spoken about openly.
She spoke of the systemic issues around mental illness. Four out of ten people in prison suffer from mental illness. The police tend to use tasers more on mentally ill people. They often don’t know how to de-escalate a domestic situation involving a mentally ill person, too often resulting in death. Many of the homeless suffer from mental illnesses. It can take an individual a long time to be diagnosed properly and to receive drugs that work effectively for that individual. Many provinces do not cover newer more effective drugs in their drug plans or may require a person to try less effective drugs first. It may take eight years to get to a point where a patient is being effectively treated. There is a shortage of psychiatrists and many plans will not cover therapists. The recent federal legislation providing compassionate leave for family members to take care of a very ill person does not include mental illnesses.
Seventy percent of people who are mentally ill live with family member(s). If family are involved in care there is less chance of police involvement or hospitalization and more adherence to treatment. FAME provides support to families and caregivers where any mental illness is an issue. They are almost entirely funded by the Ministry of Health, the only organization in Ontario funded by MOH, whose primary programming is focused entirely on family support. They deliver services across the GTA, in North York, Scarborough, Etobicoke, Peel Region (Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon) and Halton Region (Georgetown & Milton).
As well as providing confidential one-on-one support by telephone or in person, they have resource material, educational speaker series, family socials, newsletters and support programs. One very innovative program is fameKids for children 7-12 who have a family member with a mental illness. It educates and equips children with coping skills through artwork, discussion and games in a safe, kid-friendly environment. For more information see the FAME website www.fameforfamilies.com.
FAME has an annual fundraising event called SIMPLY DIVAS which sounds like a lot of fun. It will be Sunday April 29, 2012 in The Great Hall, 1087 Queen St. W, Toronto from 1:00 to 5:00. Students from the Etobicoke School of the Arts channel their divas (e.g. Barbra Streisand, Tina Turner, Edith Piaf) in wonderful performances, combined with food and drinks. A perfect girly afternoon out! Tickets are $50. Go to the website www.simplydivas.ca for information or to order tickets
Topic: Equal Voice
Dr. Byrne, a founding member and President of the Toronto Chapter of Equal Voice, explained to us how Equal Voice came into being ten years ago. A group of well connected women, including the late Doris Anderson, saw the need to have more women elected to political office. If women represented half the population, then why were there not more women represented at all levels of government?
When shown a picture of Stephen Harper, most people easily recognize him but when shown a photo Kathy Dunderdale, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, hardly anyone can think of her name!
When Equal Voice was founded in 2001, 23.7% of federal MPs were women and in 2011, the figure is 25% (76 of 308 elected MPs)
At the provincial level, the numbers are very similar: with a range of 11% for NWT to a high of 32% for Manitoba, the average is about 25%.
At the municipal level, mayors and city councilors fare no better than between 16 and 25 % women.
In Ontario’s current election, 30% of candidates running are women, which is the same as in the 2007 election. The fact that Ontario has a woman leader of the NDP has not driven the numbers up.
What is it that seems to get in the way at every single level that lets this long standing gap between the numbers of males vs. females elected prevail?
All parties encourage women to run and fundraising events are held to help women but the problem is at the nomination level, where winning is the most important issue. Parties are driven to find the highest profile candidate, with the most money, and that is typically the male candidate.
Another factor is that the culture of politics is not very appealing to women, especially the “nasty theatre” that is displayed during debate in the legislature. Elizabeth Witmer (a PC MPP for over 20 years) stands out as one who doesn’t play the game and is true to her principles.
The media appears to be harder in their criticism of female politicians with respect to complimentary phrases. What a woman looks like is often mentioned by journalists.
The Premier of BC, a woman, was asked how she would handle her child care situation. Would a male Premier be asked this?
What effect would more women in government have? With more women in the room we would probably see a change in decision making, as women tend to work more towards consensus. Women are able to take an issue and apply it to real life and this might influence the type of policy that is created and its implication.
What can we do to encourage women to enter political life? Equal Voice has articulated this problem and has developed a free tool called “Getting to the Gate”, which is a primer that interested women can read to see if they are prepared to take on the challenge of running for political office. It is a “101” on what a campaign involves. There is also a web site - www.fundher.ca which is an on-line donation site where women candidates’ names are listed and money can be directed to their campaigns.
It was noted that not much has changed since the founding of Equal Voice and that it may take a generation to have an impact on the number of women elected.
Even so, the media calls upon Equal Voice for numbers and comments.
In the October 2011 election, in Ontario’s 107 ridings, there are 42 women running for the Liberals, 38 for the NDP, 24 for the PCs and 25 for the Green Party.
Equal Voice receives money from Status of Women Canada and it runs a programme called “Experiences”. This programme pairs high school girls with a woman in politics who then takes them to Ottawa to see the proceedings in the Legislature.
Equal Voice was involved in the issue of Proportional Representation in 2005 but its own membership was split on the issue. With chapters across Canada, Equal Voice is multi-partisan. The head office in Ottawa has corporate funding to pay a staff of 1.5 and also has an Executive Director and Board of Directors.
Dr Byrne asked us to consider the following: Should Equal Voice work harder to get funding or should it focus on advocacy? How should it try to increase membership? At the moment the membership is mixed age groups, with the older “academics” and the younger members more focused on advocacy. How to survive?
Discussion went around the room and comments were as follows.
It was concluded that it is “burning” public policy issues that move women to enter the political arena, and that it is Equal Voice’s mission to cultivate the next generation!
- CFUW has problems with declining membership
- CFUW is a self-funded organization and thus not in “ the back pocket “ of any political party
- CFUW is non-partisan
- Equal Voice should perhaps focus on advocacy, continue to run events for female politicians
Chair: Rhea Pretsell
Secretary: Joanne Jamieson
The Equal Voice speaker for the Status of Women Standing Committee was unfortunately unavailable. Instead, Chair Rhea Pretsell spoke to us about her experience attending the Equal Voice conference, which took place at the Ottawa Conference Centre March 10 &11, 2011.
The conference was attended by more than 200 women from all parties; The women in attendance ranged from Senator (Ret) Pat Carney to a member from a feminist Quebec separatist group. There were also many aboriginal women representatives.
The event coincided with the 10th anniversary of the founding of Equal Voice and the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. The theme of the conference was Leveraging Women's Leadership in the 21st Century: Changing the Game in Ottawa. Even though women represent 52% of the population only 22% of the MPs in Canada are women (and only speak 7% of the time).
By the United Nations standards to be a "critical mass" women should hold 33 % of a governments’ seats. When Equal Voice was formed 10 years ago there were 20% women MPs, at this rate it would take many years to hit the 33% threshold that Equal Voice has as its next 10 year goal.
What can we do to ensure that this is an attainable goal ?
We can support women who do run for election by fundraising, canvassing for the candidate. Help must come from women.
We can encourage women to vote by offering to take them out to vote. We can help immigrant women to understand their voting rights.
There are many obstacles for women who have the desire to enter public life, many have no child care options and the money it takes to run for office. There are many domestic reasons and women have different priorities in their lives.
Sixteen hour days are very difficult for women who have a family.
When Pat Carney was asked how to have a political life and a family life, she responded “ Don’t even try “.
It is often difficult for women to win a riding as they are often put up against a strong incumbent.
We were asked to consider whether CFUW was a good fit with Equal Voice.
The Federation of Municipalities has undertaken a goal of 33% women in municipal governments, however the provincial and federal governments have no goal. Some countries in the world have it constitutionally. Do we have or want policy to this effect?
Do we want to urge the governments to set a goal?
The Chair gave us an update on our January 2011 speaker Sabina Ali from the Thorncliffe Park Neighbourhood Women's Group. She has accepted an invitation from CFUW Orillia member Dorothy Macdonald to be her guest at the Canadian Club’s April 27th Equal Voice Award celebration. Isabel Bassett, Dorothy Macdonald’s sister-in-law will be the recipient.
We also heard an update on the province’s Sexual Violence Action Plan which has been ongoing for 5 or 6 years. Ontario Council made recommendations the end of August 2010 and the final report came out early March. http://www.citizenship.gov.on.ca/owd/english/women/svapdoc_2011.shtml
Critics of the report say that it is fixing the problem after the fact. Jane Doe has said that the responsibility of males has not been sufficiently addressed.
The government wants to concentrate on younger women, but as we know sexual violence does not discriminate: infants and the very elderly are victims too.
Rape crisis centres are not happy with the report as they only receive 5% of the budgeted $ 15 million, which does not make up for the loss to these centres during the Harris government.
Chair: Rhea Pretsell, Secretary: Joanne Jamieson
At the request of the committee, a speaker was sought to share her experiences of being an immigrant woman. Somehow, most of us were expecting to hear of insurmountable challenges, painful struggles and multiple barriers. Instead, what we learned from Sabina Ali, Program Coordinator for the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Women’s Committee was quite inspiring.
Originally from India, Sabina followed her husband to Saudi Arabia, where she worked as a teacher in the British school before arriving in Canada in June 2008. As new immigrants, Sabina and her family settled in the Thorncliffe Park area of Toronto: a 1.5 km crescent shaped area in the north east part of the city, with many high rise and low rise apartment buildings housing approximately 30,000 people (90% of whom are from South Asia).
On her second day after arriving, she went to the park with her children and was saddened to see that there was no greenery, very few swings, not enough trash cans, no water fountains and most importantly, no lights, which was not safe. Eager to make friends, she approached a few other women she saw in the park and together they began to work as a group to improve things. They came up with a list of priorities, approached city councilors, wrote letters and within 2 months they had a meeting with one of the councilors!
This small group of committed women later became the Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee and gained the support of staff at the Thorncliffe Neighourhood Office (a social and multi-cultural development centre). Sabina recounted how it is the people in the community who are “making things happen”.
With 25% of the Thorncliffe Park population under the age of 6 (700 kindergarten students) and only one park, there was not much for young children to do. The Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee wanted to enrich their neighbourhood. The recreation centre had been closed since 2007 due to renovations so they contacted local performers, and began to entertain the children on Friday evenings with activities in the park: storytelling, jugglers, etc. This event led to a Bazaar, where people could rent tables to sell food and crafts. In 2009, 450 people attended the Bazaar and all this during a strike of city workers!
Up to this point all was done through donations; the Executive Director of the Thorncliffe Park Neighbourhood Office encouraged the Women’s Committee to apply for funding to be able to have art supplies and tables for their art programme offered to 7-12 year olds. In March 2010, they were awarded a 3 year Trillium grant, which will help to carry on their successful programmes.
Sabina is passionate about developing her community and committed to civic engagement and helping people to make a meaningful change. She successfully completed a college course in Community Leadership and Development, and as of last year, she has taken over the position of Program Coordinator. She believes that all people possess valuable skills, assets and knowledge that can be contributed towards mobilizing community vision into action.
Community events, such as art programs, performances and community bazaars not only enhance the quality of life by providing an opportunity for community engagement, but also by providing economic opportunities for women to become local entrepreneurs. Some of the connections to the greater Toronto community that have been made include the “Fresh Food Market” for locally produced foods at their events, Doors Open Toronto, Evergreen Brickworks and the Nuit Blanche art festival.
Thorncliffe Park has proved to be a successful urban model by engaging the people who live in the community.
Chair: Rhea Pretsell, Secretary: Joanne Jamieson
The discussion focused on the importance of making connections in the community. Members of the group were asked to share ideas on how they are advocating on women’s issues in their local communities. Some of the activities mentioned are as follows:
- Partnerships with women’s shelter, sexual assault centre, immigrant services group, and local branch of Amnesty International;
- Proceeds from a Fashion Show to support classes and workshops offered at the local Women’s Centre, and offer a bursary for women at this centre to go on to College;
- Give gifts to women in a women’s shelter on Mothers’ Day;
- TEAM project (Teen Education and Mothers), club members volunteer their time with these young mothers to help them stay in school;
- Holding a silent auction for a Family Transition place;
- Hosting a FLEW presentation; and
- Supporting The Refuge, a shelter for youth ages 14 to 19.
In addition, Ardith Toogood (CIR for CFUW National) briefed the group on CFUW international partnerships, most notably CARE Canada. The group was also interested to learn about the Friends of Advocacy initiative by CFUW Burlington: eliciting the support of club members who are not available to do hands-on advocacy. The following dates were suggested for clubs when considering events to connect with community partners.
October 18th – Person’s Day
October - Women’s History Month
December 6th - National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
March 8th - International Women’s Day
More information and promotional materials can be found on the Status of Women website - http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/index-eng.html
25 Members from the following 18 Clubs attended the afternoon session of the Committee: Aurora-Newmarket, Belleville & District, Brampton, Burlington, Etobicoke, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, Leaside-East, York, Mississauga, North Bay, North Toronto, North York, Oakville, Orangeville & District, Orillia, Ottawa (Chair), Scarborough.
This CFUW Ontario Council Standing Committee has been grappling with the various types and aspects of violence and violence against women. Committee members were were made aware of and provided with some material on the May 2009 Report ‘ Transforming our Communities” from the Domestic Violence Advisory Council for the Ontario Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues. Members were also made aware of the subsequent, December 2009, Ontario Attorney General family court process reform initiative to improve access to justice in the interest of women and children. Because 79% of the domestic violence homicides occur at the point of actual or pending separation, the legal response recommendations of the Domestic Violence Advisory Council Report asked for the removal of barriers at the “front door services of the family court system”. These barriers are encountered by all, but have particularly severe consequences for abused women. The December 2009 Ontario Attorney General’s “Four Pillars” of family court process reforms address some of these barriers. CFUW Ontario Council supported a brief to the Ontario Attorney General by the Luke’s Place Support and Resource Centre to ask for necessary further improvements to the reforms. The Joint Morning Session of the March Standing Committee Meetings will explore and explain these issues with a speaker who is a legal expert on (domestic) violence against women and on how abused and all women are treated currently in the court system.
Members were pleased that Bill-168, the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace) received Royal Assent in December 2009.
The Stop - Violence - Against -Women Sub-Committee handed out and explained a simple small awareness brochure about the Family Law Education for Women material (FLEW) that Clubs could take to various public institutions. Thank you to the members of the Sub-Committee.
Members of the committee viewed and discussed the video “Survivor’s Guide to Freedom from Violence” which was produced by several front-line women’s advocacy and direct services groups. Our Committee members were moved by the directness of the video. An interesting point made in the discussion afterwards was a questioning of the Western punitive public approach to men who abuse women and the lack of support for the abusers so that they can reform. This support is apparently given in some other cultures where the issue is dealt with within the family. We were reminded that it has taken women in Canada a century to be able to move into the public spere and have equal access to public justice in all matters.
The video made some of the following points:
The message to an abused woman is: “You are not alone, make little changes step by step. You will survive, if you don’t leave you may not!”
- According to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights on Violence against Women” Violence against Women constitutes “a violation of basic human rights, and is an obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of equality, development and peace. of the objectives”
- Violence against women means “any act of gender based violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty whether occuring in public or in private life.”
- One in four (4 ) women is affected by intimate partner abuse (Statistics Canada 2006) Abuse does not discriminate it affects women of all ethnicities and social backgrounds
- Many kinds of abuse emotional, verbal, psychological and physical
- Abuse escalates, woman is enmeshed in a ‘cycle of violence” : incident of violence --> guiltà contritionà “honeymoon phase”à woman tries desperately to extend the calm phase à next incident of violence
- To overcome the feeling of being trapped women are advised to engage in activities that build self esteem, not to give up their social networks, overcome the shame and tell friends about their situation.
- Only 36% of female victims of spousal violence reported the crime to police (Statistics Canada 2006)
- Spousal abuse occurs behind closed doors, often friends and neighbours don’t know about it. women do not document injuries, this makes it difficult for them to get a remedy in the evidence based legal system. See a physician and document injuries.
- Women need to get right accurate legal information, need to research and inform themselves with material from organisations such as CLEO and Ontario Women’s Justice Network.
- Likelihood of repeat violence and victims are known in advance. Women need to develop a safety plan. Know layout of the house, know where exits are in each room , always stand close to the exit or with the door directly behind. Always know where the children are, share a code word with children that means “get out” , teach children the home address and what to say for a 911 call, such as ” Someone is hurting my mommy”.
- Pack safety bag with important documents, passport, drivers licence, credit cards, bank account info, lease, mortgage, medicines, house and car keys etc.
- Leaving may be a protracted long term process, may take several attempts. For many women it is overwhelming. Break it down into small steps. Go to a women’s centre speak to a councillor who can direct the woman to resources, to links online, to legal information and information on how to access other resources and helping agencies such as shelters.
- In one year 58,486 women and 36,840 children sought shelter in the 473 shelters in Canada (Statistics Canada)
- www.shelternet.ca provides on-line counselling and also helps to access government and other resources.
- Most dangerous time for woman is at the time of separation.
One in 5 women reported that violence occurred during separation. In one third of these cases violence increased at the time of separation. (Statistics Canada)
- Women are terrified after leaving. They may have to obtain a no contact order, or a restraining order or peace bond.
- Abuse destroys trust in other people, abused person feels less than human. There are ways to recover from the trauma, to regain self worth, independence with art & music and other therapy, with education.
30 Members from the following 22 Clubs attended the afternoon session of the Committee: Aurora-Newmarket, Belleville & District, Brampton, Burlington, Etobicoke, Guelph, Hamilton, Kitchener -Waterloo, Leaside-East York, London, Mississauga, North Bay, North Toronto, North York, Oakville, Orangeville & District, Orillia, Oshawa & District, Ottawa (Chair), Scarborough, Southport, St. Catharines
In an introductory round, members shared the Club issues of concerns in their home community and Club action taken or planned. This information lead to further questions, comments and discussion of particular issues of concern:
- The Stop Violence against Women Sub-Committee provided a descriptive listing of the upcoming Dec 6 National Day of Remembrance and Violence against Women events put on by CFUW Clubs in Ontario. The Committee is researching elder abuse and asked for experience with the issue. Wendy Schrama, CFUW Hamilton, made available her paper on the issue.
- The Toronto Caucus (Toronto Area Clubs) designed a flow chart entitled “What one letter can do” which described their advocacy action with the 23 Toronto MPs with regard to Employment Insurance, which resulted in meetings and invitations to meet to discuss the issues with some of the MPs, also being invited to participate in a Town Hall with MPs.
- Aurora/Newmarket, action against the abuse of women. Is involved with local women’s shelter and the training and dignity of these women. Offers three (3) free memberships to shelter women university graduates. Gives an aboriginal award on Georgina Reserve. Involved in Sutton after school program teaching bridge to native students.
- Belleville & District, concerns are violence against women and the LHINs; has a Social Action Group that will be hosting a Dec. 6 National Day of Remembrance Dinner “A Taste of Social Justice”
- Brampton, has an issues group and keeps in contact with an e-mail newsletter.
- Burlington, resolutions, at election times holds public “meet the candidate” meetings, women shelters
- Etobicoke, perseveres with environmental sustainability of “ garbage” . It is interested in FLEW, LHINs and long term care. The Club writes many advocacy letters.
- Guelph, Pascal Commission and all day learning and child care. Will hold a Famous Five Person’s Day Reception; again , the Club will be involved in a Dec. 6 Ecole Polytechnique event with an aboriginal speaker.
- Hamilton, concerns are poverty, homecare, particularly resources in homecare
- Kitchener – Waterloo, looking at structural changes to their advocacy, Club is known for a number of books on women’s role and achievements in Ontario. Of interest also Pathways to Education.
- Leaside –East York puts its emphasis on childcare, poverty, water and the topical gun control. The Club is writing letters on these issues. Pat Price writes: “ Our group is called Issues & Action.We held our 6th annual pot luck dinner this year & raised $1225.00 in aid of teachers in Afghanistan.Joan Briant attends the Toronto Caucus poverty meetings reporting their progress.We take responsibility for the study & presentation of the Resolutions.We write the letters to the MPs&MPPs.We are very interested in water & members recently attended a "Town Hall" meeting held by our local MP&MPP to discuss water.”
- London, is concerned about the education of women and girls in Afghanistan.
- Mississauga, interest lies in full day learning
- North Bay, is planning a Community Forum on “one family law for all women” (FLEW) in April. It also finds that its LHIN is very secretive. Members volunteer at the local Children’s Treatment Centre
- North York, interests lie with government finances, education, child care , poverty and human rights, violence against women. Club supports a local women’s shelter with toiletries
- Oakville, is interested in holding an information event with regard to one family law for women.(FLEW) education materials. Also advocacy and the role of persuasion vs. suation in advocacy, scholarships is allied with other women’s groups in Halton region.
- Orillia, the whole Club is issues group. is following Bill C-268 on the trafficking of women and is in contact with local MPs on this issue. Held workshop on human trafficking. Plans action on FLEW. One Orillia Club member is on the board of the local LHIN.
- Oshawa is trying to monitor their LHIN but finds information difficult to come by. The Club’s involvement with Luke’s Place, a local shelter, made it evident that there were not enough lawyer with the appropriate training to represent clients from places such as Luke’s. They look with hope to a new law degree at the University of Windsor.
- Scarborough, is involved with MAD (Making a difference)
- Southport, will have an open meeting with women- in -sports advocate Laura Robinson speaking on the Pan American Games . Gardisil for young women is of concern. Awards a scholarship for aboriginal students
- St. Catherines, is looking at accessibility in the various contexts.
With notes by Ann Gilbert, UWC North York. Thank you Ann.
The main speaker was Pamela Mank, M.S.W., R.S.W. who is coordinator of the Family Violence Project of Waterloo Region (www.fvpwaterloo.ca). This project is three years old, started in March 2006. It is a one stop service for victims of family violence, including thirteen services in one physical location. The services included are Medical/Emergency Response (Waterloo Region Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre), Shelters/ Community Outreach (Women’s Crisis Services, Community Action Program for Children, Pathways to Education), Child Welfare (Family and Children’s Services, Domestic Violence Team), Counselling (Catholic Family Counselling Centre (where Pamela Mank is also Assistant Clinical Director), Credit Counselling Services), and Justice Partners (Crown Attorney’s Office, Victim/Witness Assistance Program, Waterloo Regional Police Service – Domestic Violence Investigations Branch, Elder Abuse Response Team, Waterloo Regional Police Service – Victim Services Unit).
This project was designed to best serve the client, reducing barriers and obstacles that women and family members in crisis face. We were told of an instance where a Canadian woman and her daughter fleeing from spousal abuse in the US were connected with thirteen different agencies to meet their needs.
Pamela spoke of the importance of cooperation between ministries to make this work successful and of the importance of relationships between people in the various agencies. A sense of trust is critical.
The Family Violence Project of Waterloo Region was modeled on the San Diego Family Justice Center. Other communities are looking at a similar model, including Edmonton, Brantford, Peel, Scarborough.
Pamela Mank believes that coordination/co-location is not the entire solution but it is a critical and fundamental part of the solution to family violence. The Family Violence Project is successful. Not only are clients’ needs being met but statistics show that the incidence of homicide arising from family violence has decreased.
The members of the Ontario Council Sub-Committee on Violence against Women, Judie Arrowood (Leaside-East York), Ann McElhinney (Etobicoke) and Wendy Schrama (Hamilton) spoke to the METRAC paper No cherries grow on our trees. (more complete sub-committee comments on the No cherries report will be found on the Issues page, Violence Against Women.) This report indicates that "women’s poverty often traps women in abusive relationships (intimate, employment, care-giving and dependency) and violence and poverty are seriously impacting women’s mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health". Ann felt it was time for action rather than issuing another report. Wendy found that the "us" vs. "them" (poor vs. wealthy) stance of the report was very frustrating. Sub-committee member Rhea Pretsel, CFUW Belleville & District, prepared a sample letter that was provided at the meeting for Clubs to request the Ontario government to support the inclusion of women’s poverty and violence against women in the Ontario poverty reduction strategy.
In light of the No Cherries report and the presentation on the Family Violence Project the meeting ended with a brief discussion of the provincial poverty reduction plan as it affects women. Some expressed that the poverty of single women (especially elderly) and the disabled need to be addressed. Others expressed that they felt that the focus of the Ontario Government effort should continue to be children.
Since September 2008, throughout much of the clamor about the federal and provincial budgets and the shocking economic downturn, our Committee has been looking at ways in which poverty and violence against women can be alleviated. Unfortunately, we know only too well that we can only dream about eradication. Our concerns and hopes were shared by the members in the Legislation and Education Committees who met at the same time and looked at the manifestations of poverty through their respective lenses. The Ontario Government Poverty Reduction Strategy with a firm target of poverty reduction of 25% in 5 years seemed like a ray of hope. But recent budget predictions have dashed much of the expectations. Let’s see what the March 26 provincial budget will bring.
This having been the last meeting for the 2008/09 Ontario Council Standing Committees, I want to thank the members from the Clubs for giving up a weekend in September, January and March and coming to Toronto and sharing their concerns, thoughts and suggestions for solutions with us all. It was important to find out directly from our members from across the province about the complexities of women’s economic and personal security situations as they exist in their region and about the resources that are available to them. The Clubs represented in the Status of Women & Human Rights Committee were: Ajax-Pickering, Aurora- Newmarket, Barrie and District , Brampton, Burlington, Etobicoke, Guelph, Hamilton, Kanata, Kitchener-Waterloo, Leaside-East York, Mississauga, Muskoka, North Bay, North Toronto, North York, Northumberland, Oakville, Orangeville & District, Orillia, Oshawa & District, Ottawa, Peterborough, Scarborough, Southport, St. Catharines, Stratford, Windsor. I wish everyone a very good summer and I hope that we can all meet again next September same place, same time.
Our March 14 meeting was attended by 33 members from 21 Clubs. We appreciate the efforts of the members of the Sub-committee on Violence Against Women for digesting the No cherries grow on our trees report for us. Thank you to Margaret Binek, CFUW Kitchener – Waterloo, for arranging for and also for bringing our afternoon speaker to Toronto, and to Anne Gilbert, University Women’s Club North York, for writing today's report.
Edeltraud Neal, Chair
With notes by Diane Adamson, CFUW Muskoka. Thanks Diane.
The joint morning session with The Hon. Deb Matthews, Ontario Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, and Jacquie Maund from Campaign 2000 explored Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. This morning program provided much food for thought and discussion for the afternoon session which was attended by 33 members representing 23 Clubs.
Members introduced themselves and the priorities that they brought to the meeting. It was established that an anti-poverty strategy is a crucial topic to be discussed in the context of the status of women. Many single and senior women are poor and poverty underlies many social problems and aggravates violence against women and crime. Poverty determines a life cycle of poor or no housing, poor physical and mental health, poor growth, poor education and training, poor job opportunities, poor quality of life.
The Ontario Government proposes the hard target of reducing poverty by 25% in 5 years. It wants to break the cycle of poverty starting with children and youths, whereby it recognizes that poor children live in poor families.
In our discussion, it was, however, evident that Minister Deb Matthews had left us with many questions, particularly as far as the implementation of the poverty reduction strategy in the 2009 budget was concerned. While on the surface this poverty reduction strategy answers our prayers, we need to look at the government's plan more in depth. The SW & HR Committee felt that, members of the Committee should visit their local MPP office and obtain a hard copy of the provincial document Breaking the Cycle, Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. To view the report, see
There may be many more questions once we have examined the proposed strategy more closely. Some of the questions can be put to our local MPPs and MPs.
- In order to make a difference the government will rely on many public and private and volunteer sector partners, and the financial participation of the federal government in particular. This is true for instance for a child care and early learning program, or for the planned extension to all-day senior and junior kindergarten.
- Will these partners, school boards, churches, parent councils etc. work together in a flexible manner?
- Efficient use of space, busing of children in rural areas were concerns
- Questions of accountability with church and charitable groups?
- We look forward to some answers in the provincial Pascal Report which is to be released this spring.
- In view of the worsening financial and economic situation, the Toronto Caucus (=Toronto Region CFUW Clubs) is looking at both provincial and federal budgetary measures as far as Employment Insurance (EI) is concerned.
- What direction will infrastructure spending take, will it include sufficient funding of social infrastructure which favours women?
- Questions were raised about the transparency of the direction of federal-provincial transfer funds and the distribution of the social transfer.
- Increased funds needed for the impending ever greater healthcare cost for seniors
- What happened to the funds that were earmarked for the federal Corporate Daycare Initiative and that have been transferred to the provinces?
In the short time available, we only skimmed the surface of the issues. As the initial government poverty reduction agenda is to span over five years, the Ontario Council SW&HR Committee will have ample opportunity to study and deal with this initiative and its broad implications for women and their families.
Family Law Education for Women Resource Kit:
At the morning session some thirty, All Women. One Family Law, Resource Kits were issued , one copy per Club. Resource Kits will be mailed to the remainder of the Clubs as soon as they are available. This family law education material was launched in December 2008 and developed as an answer to our 2005 CFUW resolution : ” to make all residents of Canada cognizant of their rights and responsibilities under family law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”
The kit contains 12 information brochures in French and English on important areas of Ontario family law. These brochures can also be ordered or downloaded in 11 languages from www.onefamilylaw.ca. Clubs are invited to familiarize themselves with the material in the kit. We encourage Clubs to undertake an event in their community to facilitate discussion about these family law issues and spread information about the availability of the material. The target audience for an event could be teachers, social and immigrant agencies, family lawyers, health care professionals, social workers, libraries, school boards, adult LINC/ESL teachers, professional associations, church and other women’s groups. Further material in different media and for special religious groups is still in development.
As not all Clubs are able to send a representative to the Ontario Council Standing Committee Meetings in Toronto, here is some information on useful current material for (anti-poverty) advocacy.
- Our CFUW/Ontario Council 2009 Provincial Budget Brief.
This contains pertinent CFUW policy on the issues related poverty. Go to http://www.cfuwontcouncil.ca/Pre-Budget%20brief,%20for%20web,%20Jan.16,2009.pdf We recommend you take this brief to your MPP(s) office when you pick up a copy of Breaking the Cycle.( As mentioned above, and again below.)
- As the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy mentions, social justice cannot be solved by one level of government alone, so do visit or write to your local MP too. CFUW National 2009 Federal Budget Brief is excellent. Your Club may have already received it. www.cfuw.org under Policy in Action
- Released in December 2008: The current government’s anti-poverty strategy is documented in the report Breaking the Cycle. This is a well laid out, easily digestible document of 42 pages. Executive summary 4 pages. Go to http://www.growingstronger.ca/english/poverty_report_access.asp You’ll find that much of this government strategy is consistent with what we all in CFUW have been advocating for years, and in some instances for decades. So we commend the government for this first step.
- Released in December 2008: METRAC and its Take Action Project has, together with a number of women’s groups and individuals from across the province, put together a research paper on women’s poverty and violence against women with the title No Cherries Grow On Our Trees The executive summary is 14 pages. Full report 58 pages.(includes executive summary) Go to: http://www.metrac.org/programs/info/take.action.report.dec08.pdf. Definitely food for thought.
- Released in November 2008: One of the measures to help to lift women out of poverty is raising the minimum wage and paying women equal to men. In November, the Ontario Equal Pay Coalition issued its 20th Anniversary Report entitled A Framework For Action on Pay Equity in Ontario Just click on www.equalpaycoalition.org Executive summary 6 pages. Full report 46 + pages. CFUW Ontario Council is a member of this Equal Pay Coalition.
- Report by Monica Townson & Kevin Hayes 2007: Women and the Employment Insurance Program speaks to the reforms necessary to meet the needs of women. http://www.policyalternatives.ca/documents/National_Office_Pubs/2007/Women_and_the_EI_Program.pdf
Thirty-four members from 24 Clubs from Windsor to North Bay, to Ottawa attended this afternoon meeting.
Elizabeth Haynes, CFUW Windsor, presented ways to
CFUW has policy on the issue. The Windsor Club is particularly engaged as its community experienced an extreme case of workplace violence when nurse Lori Dupont was killed by her colleague and ex-boyfriend.
- get involved in legislative process around Bill 29, a private member’s Bill to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act to protect workers from harassment and violence in the workplace.
- take part in an Ontario Ministry of Labour consultation on Workplace Violence Prevention
- to complete a petition
- write a letter to MPPs, sample letter and all MPP addresses were supplied
Stop Violence against Women
A lively discussion was initiated with cards with fact and opinion quotes from various sources about violence against women. The cards had been produced by the Stop Violence against Women Sub- Committee and had been displayed on the lunch tables. We found out that many Clubs support in very practical ways women’s shelters and groups that help victims of violence. One club even donates Club memberships. One troubling issue that came up in the discussion was domestic and family violence against elderly women, which may be resulting from mental deterioration of the spouse. The group recommended that the sub-committee look at this issue. Thanks to Judie Arrowood, Leaside- East York, Rhea Pretsel, Belleville, Ann McElhinney, Etobicoke, and Arleen Midriak, Burlington for facilitating this part of the meeting. The Stop Violence against Women Sub-Committee will gladly welcome more members. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
At our January 2009 meeting we hope to have a resource person who works in a setting that makes positive changes in the lives of women victims of violence and their children. We shall also look further at the recommendations of our Ontario Council Violence against Women survey and see where we can act in a concerted manner.
Report on House of Commons Committee Gender Budgeting Study
From November 2007 to May 2008 the House of Commons Status of Women Committee conducted a ground breaking study of gender budgeting by federal departments. The study was like a condensed mini university course on how government budgeting works. The Committee called an impressive list of government and NGO and expert witnesses from Canada and abroad, who mostly showed that our federal departments had only been paying lip service to gender-based analysis and certainly have not implemented measures according to GBA, for instance when contemplating income tax deductions, which result in inequalities for women who profit less because on average they earn less income. The study resulted in 26 very useful recommendations to the House of Commons, one of which was the creation of Commissioner for Gender Equality, and what I found even more promising, that "the Auditor General of Canada regularly conduct audits to review Canada’s implementation of gender- based analysis in the federal government…:" The involvement of the Auditor General is necessary for accountability of departments with regard to the effectiveness of government policy and programs and budgets for the benefit of Canadian women and children. The principles established in the Commons Status of Women study can be made applicable to other levels of government. Federal budgetary measures have provincial and municipal implications.
It was notable that, compared to the fractious Committee hearings on the Status of Women Canada cuts, during the gender budgeting study, all political parties seemed serious and interested in learning how to do things better and come up with reasonable recommendations to the House of Commons. With the election and a possible Harper majority government, however, this forward looking report may never see the light of day again. It is up to us as educated women to see that it will not be forgotten, but rather implemented.
Report 11 - Towards Gender Responsive Budgeting: Rising to the Challenge of Achieving Gender Equality (Adopted by the Committee on June 5, 2008; Presented to the House on June 12, 2008)
To find out more about the gender budgeting, browse through the report the minutes of the hearing sessions make good, very informative reading. (See report table of content and click on relevant parts)
Ask your MP about the Status of Women Report on Gender Budgeting, s/he may not have a clue about it. Make sure s/he knows you know about it and that you do not want to see it forgotten.
Edeltraud Neal, Chair
Because our afternoon meeting was cancelled, let me thank all the SW&HR committee members for their participation these last two years. I hope to see many of you at the AGM in North Bay. After that, there will be a new Chair.
If we had met on the 8th, we would have discussed the Provincial Conference "Communities Working Together to End Violence Against Women" attended by Arleen Midriak and me. The reports from Arleen and Judie are available on the website: www.cfuwontcouncil.ca/issues%20violence%20women.html dated Feb. 25th, 2008.
Our End Violence Against Women Sub-Committee will meet again April 5. We hope to continue meeting for a few months (or longer) to be able to recommend actions you and your Clubs might take on this subject.
I would encourage you all to read CFUW OC's Pre-budget Brief at the web site listed on the first page of News from January 30. It is an excellent brief and will help you and your issues group understand where we are all going. I especially recommend pages 11-12 Violence Against Women & Girls" - I would have handed out a copy of those pages last Saturday afternoon.
The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care is asking our support to work further against big box daycare. See www.childcareontario.org then to "Its time for public child care campaign" and read about the issue and consider printing the available petition at "It's Time for Public Child Care Petition and Flyer." If you are interested, print the petition, copy more and have them for your next Club meeting.
Happy reading to all of you.
Judie Arrowood, Chair
Cookbook for Women’s Equality was available. Everyone was encouraged to purchase a copy. If you wish more copies, please contact Judie Arrowood and she will place an order at a bulk price. Each Club’s Issues or Current Events group should have a copy. National is mailing a copy to each Club president. You may wish to include the website in your next newsletter. www.womensequality.ca
Announcements and Business arising from the previous meeting:
Margaret McGovern, North York CFUW spoke of the formation of the Toronto Caucus Committee on Poverty. The Mayor of Toronto has declared poverty a major issue. Four areas of concern have been identified: unemployment insurance, housing, daycare and low income. The Province of Ontario has promised universal senior and junior kindergarten. This may relieve some of the stress on daycare spaces.
Hamilton CFUW in conjunction with that city’s Round Table on Poverty is also studying the problem. One in five Hamiltonians is below the poverty level and health care is a major concern.
Margaret McGovern provided an update on the HPV vaccination which was discussed at our September meeting. (Human Papilloma Virus immunization program) There is a reported rate of approximately 50% participation. The vaccine will be accessible later through your local health authorities. See: www.cmaj.ca www.cwhn.ca www.health.gov.on.ca
We still need to collect feedback and information on this issue. Will the government sponsor the program in future years? There was concern that there was no information and education to recipients around relationships and sex. How much education is being done about Gardasil? Guidelines on sex education in schools is available through the Ministry of Education on line in Health & Physical Education. www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/secondary and www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/primary
During December, 2007 the Committee had a flood of email correspondence about the killing of a teenager by her father. This is still before the courts and therefore we will not work on that specific case. It is still another instance of Violence Against Women . It was notable that the press did not use the term "honour killing". It is murder. CFUW has policy on murder and violence against women.
ACTION –A sub-committee will work on action we might take focusing on Violence against Women. We need a narrow focus and an achievable/measurable target. The committee members are Judie Arrowood (Leaside-East York), Arleen Midriak (Hamilton), Rhea Pretsell (Belleville), Ann McElhinney (Etobicoke) and Leslie Jeanneret (Aurora/Newmarket).
Much work has already been done. War On Women by Brian Vallee is well researched. Also check out a book entitled Flapper . Deb Matthews, MPP and assistant to the Minister responsible for Women’s Issues, will be contacted.
Clubs can contact other community groups and ask "How may we help?". Clubs could work together with local immigrant groups to educate on the topic. We can support our local women’s shelters, the white ribbon campaign; support men against –violence against women; participate in "Take Back the Night"; support all educational initiatives against violence and bullying. We can work to incorporate Women’s Studies at a young age and get it into the curriculum. Everyone should be collecting statistics and information for the sub-committee on violence.
As when we fought religious arbitration in Family Law, we should speak out, lobby, write letters and educate wherever and whenever possible. Some of our Clubs already hold Dec. 6th Dinners/Events. We can all hold or attend our local Dec. 6th event.
It would be especially helpful to work with men to educate other males of all ages. Educate both genders early. Such behaviour is not acceptable and will NOT be tolerated. Strategies to modify such behaviour and respond to such behaviour are needed.
The Report on Violence in Toronto Education System has received wide publicity. We can each question our local school boards on their policy and response to violence against women. We can ask how prevalent is violence against women? What is the reported incidence of violence? What is the response of the principal? Of the Board? We need to use the our policy effectively!
Members of the group asked that the Sub-Committee : give specifics, concrete action suggestions, solutions, responses to the ‘controlling male’.
Edeltraud Neal was unable to attend the meeting. She sent some comments. Family Law Education for Women (FLEW) is a Project of the Ontario Government to educate women on their legal rights. Lisa Cirillo, Legal and Project Coordinator for FLEW will be one of the speakers at the Ontario AGM in North Bay (May 9-10/08). Perhaps each Club could use this as a Program/Speaker idea next year!
BIG BOX DAYCARE This program is coming from an Australian company, ABC Learning Centres. We do not want "for-profit" big-box daycare centres in Ontario. We support quality early learning and child care. A Draft letter was distributed to use to communicate with a Club's MP and MPP.
Please indicate your interest in being considered for Chair of the Standing Committee Status of Women and Human Rights.
TASERS – There are now small personal tasers available for women in the USA. They are being sold at parties similar to Tupperware parties. More than 300 people have been killed by Police using tasers in North America since their introduction in 2003. This may be a Human Rights issue; but, it was decided after some discussion that we should focus on Violence against women.
ECHO, the new women’s health agency. Linda McGregor wrote to the Premier congratulating him on establishing ECHO and asking for CFUW representation. Although there was an enthusiastic response, the outcome is not yet certain.
Gwen Williamson for
Judie Arrowood, Chair
Status of Women & Human Rights Committee
Judie Arrowood welcomed all members of the Standing Committee and asked that everyone sign-in. Judie would like to include names and email addresses for all members of the Standing Committee in future e-mails.
Margaret McGovern & HPV Immunization Program
Margaret McGovern, a former Public Health Nurse, Chair of the North York University Women's Club's Status of Women Committee and former Chair of the National SW & HR committee, led a discussion about the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) immunization program for Grade 8 girls in Ontario. HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
The federal government is sponsoring ($300 million) for the proposed vaccination of young Canadian girls. The Canadian Medical Association journal has published the results of a study of the efficacy of this vaccine - see www.cmaj.ca. Also check the Canadian Women’s Health Network for information - www.cwhn.ca and www.health.gov.on.ca. There was a recent article in McLean’s magazine about Gardasil® and in the September 16th, 2007 issue of the Globe & Mail (pages 1, 16, 17 of section A). The provinces have to opt in now to receive federal funding otherwise the cost is $400 per girl to receive the vaccine privately.
The vaccination is in 3 shots over 6 months and needs to start soon to be completed within the school year. The vaccine is said to protect against cervical cancer - only 400 Canadian women die from this type of cancer each year in Canada. In 2006, about 1,350 Canadian women were diagnosed with cervical cancer. The vaccination needs to be given before sexual activity starts to be effective. There are 84,000 girls in Grade 8 in Ontario. Quebec and Nova Scotia are proposing to give the vaccine to girls in grade 7. Several provinces have not opted in yet. Newfoundland and PEI have chosen Grade 6 girls to receive it. In Ontario, when they reach the age of 14 can sign their own consent forms for this.
Several questions arose: the only study has been conducted over a 5 year period; Is this long enough? How large was the sample? The trials were conducted on women age 16 and 23. Do we know the long-term effects? Could there be complications? What will the impact be on pre-pubescent girls? Will the girls need booster shots? Do we know? How often? Why the rush? Is this the only pharmaceutical company with a vaccine ready? How was this company selected? Was there lobbying done by Merck Frosst Canada Ltd.? By whom? To whom? Who has this kind of pull?
Finally, there is an ethical issue around forced immunization in the schools, e.g. measles and mumps. Margaret wanted us to know that autism is NOT caused by immunization!!
Margaret informed us that Mr. McGuinty has formed a new health care agency called ECHO which will receive $7.6 million per annum and will replace The Premier’s Women’s Health Council. The Chair will be Caroline Andrew, professor at the School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa. Click on www.health.gov.on.ca. and scroll down to August 24th for more information.
ACTION: Margaret will ask Linda MacGregor, OC President, to send a letter congratulating the Premier and asking that CFUW OC be made a member of the Echo Board to represent women.
Vivien Green & Woman Abuse
Vivien Green, who was the Director of Toronto Woman Abuse Council for 16 years and is now with the School of Social Work at Ryerson University, spoke to us about violence against women. She quoted H.L. Mencken, “For every complex issue there is an easy answer and it is wrong.” The complex issue is Women Abuse or Intimate Partner Abuse. The number of women abused is 1 in 4 and it has not declined despite all our campaigns and education programs.
Woman abuse ranges from verbal threats to physical force to death. The object is to create fear and to control the woman’s actions. The spectrum goes from emotional, negligence, harassment, and the full variety of physical injuries.
Vivien Green serves on the Domestic Violence Death Review Committee and she was most affected by two major inquests. Arlene May’s inquest resulted in 250 recommendations. A joint community and government committee was set up to see that those recommendations were implemented. Gillian Hadley’s inquest in Pickering resulted in another 50 recommendations. Almost none were implemented. The government’s Domestic Violence Action Plan has received poor marks for its implementation.
Family Doctors and other health care workers are supposed to ask if a woman with suspicious injuries has any worries. Are there any problems at home? Is there any concern about safety? The registered Nurses Association has a policy on asking about abuse.
Suggestions: Doctors could wear a “No Abuse” lapel button which could encourage some patients to discuss their abusive relationships. Buttons could also be used raise awareness or as a fund-raiser. We need to remember that yes/no questions will not always elicit an open response. Elder Abuse also factors into partner abuse.
Most woman abuse is not a crime of passion, but is premeditated and all about control. Highest Risk indicators: When victim says:“I’m going to leave you”; threat of suicide by perpetrator; when the perpetrator is depressed, jealous, unemployed, owns a gun. Educating around risk factors may be an opportunity for CFUW. Where can new Canadian women disclose safely? Is it more taboo for immigrants?
A wide variety of suggestions for improvement were made, ranging all the way from expansion of specialized domestic courts, to posters in fitting rooms and washrooms. In between, a number of suggestions called for changes in attitude – e.g., call it what it is (woman abuse); know the signs and offer suggestions; focus on the abuser (he's the one with the problem); campaign for men to challenge other men. Suggested reading: The Woman Who Walked Into Doors a novel by Roddy Doyle, which deals very well with the subject.
For further information on two ideas suggested: a community broadsheet - see www.wact.womanabuse.ca and to learn more about an information program in beauty salons in the U.S. go to www.cutitout.org
Assaulted Women’s Helpline 1-866-863-0511 (24 hour) TTY 1-866-863-7868
Please send ideas for new issues and areas where the Status of Women and Human Rights committee might actively advocate to Judie Arrowood at email@example.com
Gwen Williamson for
Judie Arrowood, Chair
Status of Women & Human Rights
Rape Crisis Centres:
Our speaker was Marilyn Oladimeji, who is President of the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres and a teacher at George Brown College in the “Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counsellor/Advocate” program.
Marilyn described the work of the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre (TRCC), including not only work with rape victims but also with victims of other forms of abuse and women prisoners. Among other things, such women tend to be bereft of self-esteem and lack the tools to change their lives for the better.
One particularly exciting program speaks to both of these needs by training abused women for well-paying technical jobs. It is a special six month trial project at George Brown College to train participants as heating and air conditioning technicians which pays $20-$25 per hour. The project is supported by a $400,000 grant from the Ontario Women’s Directorate and other partner agencies including George Brown College, Direct Energy, Nelly’s Shelter, TRCC and Project READ. Fees, books, transportation, and child care are paid for while the women retain their social assistance.
After 6 months training, the women will work with Direct Energy for two months’ practice. Each women is supported by one agency e.g., Nelly’s. The managers of the project hope for a long-term program. George Brown College may pick up the program and find subsidies from the Ministry of Education and student loans.
Marilyn spoke of other work being done by the TRCC and the Coalition for Ontario Rape Crisis Centres such as the “Make My Community Safe” program. The Coalition is pressing Premier Dalton McGuinty to carry out the campaign promises to curb violence against women and children through its “Step It Up Ontario” campaign. This campaign includes the demand for affordable housing.
LEAF: Margaret McGovern, Co-Chair of the UWC North York Issues Committee, described the work of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF).
LEAF works in challenging court decisions and acting as intervenor in appealing cases under the Charter of Rights & Freedoms. She pointed out that LEAF will no longer receive money from the Court Challenges Program since it was eliminated. One recent victory, Dickie vs Dickie ruled that defaulters of family support were in contempt of court and could be arrested. In addition, the court can refuse to hear appeals where someone is in default. 97% of defaulters are men.
LEAF will intervene soon in a case testing the constitutionality of the “safe third country” term for those requesting refugee status. The term is part of the international agreement regarding refugees.
Questions for candidates at the next provincial election:
There were a series of questions relating to those on social assistance or the working poor.
- “How would you work to assist persons to leave social assistance to become employed?” (The cost of training is more difficult as they cannot accept student loans/gifts/scholarships and remain on social assistance.)
- “How will you work to end the clawback of the Child Tax Benefit Supplement from families on social assistance?”
- “Will you support an increase to $10 of the minimum wage?”
- “What is the role of Food Banks in our society? Why are more people asking them for food? Why are many of the working poor clients of the food banks?”
- In addition we wish to have questions about affordable child care, affordable housing similar to issues included in CFUW Ontario Council’s brief on poverty.
- “Where is the $300,000 for child care spaces promised by the current Liberal government?”
- Further possible questions were suggested on how parties encourage more women candidates and our food supply in Ontario.
- “How would your government protect farmland, keep food costs moderate and pay attention to pollution involved in imports?”
A series of questions and background will be issued by Ontario Council to the Clubs. Questions may be asked at candidates’ meeting, by e-mail and of candidate’s reps at the door.
Judie Arrowood, Chair
Status of Women & Human Rights Committee
Anne Smith, Secretary pro tem
Funding Cuts: Federal Department of the Status of Women
Linda MacGregor and Judie Arrowood joined others on a bus trip to Ottawa on December 10 to attend a rally and march for International Human Rights Day. They joined with Ottawa CFUW members and women from other organizations to protest the cuts to the Status of Women department.
Edeltraud Neal provided some background on the Status of Women Canada (SWC) cuts and the implications that were made under the Harper government last September.
The cuts are to the federal department, which oversees all legislation and programs to ensure women’s interests are taken into account. The department also provides funding to women’s groups for research and programs. Their former role of advocacy has been disabled i.e., organizations that advocate will not be funded. In summary, the changes result in the silencing of women, taking away women’s power to influence in such key areas as family law and pay equity.
The Hon. Bev Oda, the minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women, was dismissive of the issue when she met with her provincial cohorts recently in Moncton. The provincial ministers with this portfolio now plan to meet without the federal minister. Unfortunately, the effects of the cuts will filter down to the provincial arena. Our job is to let our MPs know how we feel about the impact of these cuts on issues such as childcare, literacy, pay equity and advocacy work.
The Ottawa club hosted a local forum to which MPs were invited. (Maria Minna and Marlene Jennings attended.) There were House of Commons hearings held December 6 and 13.
Andrea Levan reminded us that the Mulroney government cut funding to the NAC in 1988. Andrea, as a new NAC Board member, wondered if women should be getting funding. The answer was that funding for women’s groups was especially difficult for small groups in small towns. The creative programs for women and children are the basis for many of the advancements for women.
Linda MacGregor reported that Carolyn Day, CFUW Southport, on a visit to her local MPP, was advised that the Liberal Women’s Caucus is not prepared to deal with the Status of Women cuts as it is a federal issue. Linda advised that, when dealing with our MPPs, we must be prepared for this reaction with solid arguments. The cuts will affect volunteer organizations working at provincial and local levels. Ontario Council members should be pressuring our women MPPs to speak out against SWC cuts and guideline changes to Minister Oda and their counterparts in the Women’s Federal Caucus.
Further discussion on the topic raised other important points:
- The government should be funding organizations that have no voice.
- Grants didn’t go to just high profile organizations like the NAC, but to many smaller grassroots organizations.
- The grants provided strength by supporting a diverse range of organizations.
- This emphasizes the strength and autonomy that self-funding brings to our organization.
Early Learning and Childcare was discussed. The Harper government has not come through with the promised funding of $10,000 per space tax credit or payment to employers or community organizations to create up to 125,000 childcare spaces over five years.
Violence Against Women Project, Andrea Levan
Andrea provided a handout with a summary of responses from the survey, categorized under nine headings.
The aim is to provide a comprehensive picture of problems encountered in policy and services to women who are victims of violence.
The final report will include statistics reflecting the extent of the problem, a history of policy, and systemic problems. It will not provide recommendations.
Andrea would like to show the document to the respondents for feedback. She emphasized that the responses about CFUW and our interest in services to women were very positive. To “listen” is so important, as many of these workers feel silenced. The original goal was to make contacts and hear the concerns.
The final question “What can groups like CFUW do?” was discussed.
- The issue of violence against refugee and immigrant women was raised. Do these women know their rights? Perhaps we can collaborate with other groups.
- Judie Arrowood mentioned a project in Thorncliffe Park, Toronto.
- Edeltraud Neal mentioned a $1.3 million project that has involved the development of public information materials on women’s rights. CFUW will be requested to help with the dissemination and placement of the literature. Our effectiveness is a result of our presence in all types of communities as well as our independence.
It was mentioned that MPs/MPPs might be interested in the report. In terms of being used for the development of resolutions, it was pointed out that many past resolutions should be examined because many of the elements within the data collected could possibly relate to previous resolutions.
Andrea prefers that the draft report go back to the respondents before going to the executive for final approval, as she wants their approval before it is publicized. She would like to have a draft ready for the Executive for March, but realistically, it will probably be May 2007.
Registered Nurses Association of Ontario Response to the SARS Report
Margaret McGovern highlighted the issue of better communication, such as ministry to ministry (the Ministry of Labour was not in the loop) and between Public Health and hospitals. Also, include other organizations, such as school boards, in the communication plan. One positive outcome since the SARS outbreak is the increase in full time nurses to 60%, as part time and contract nurses moving from institution to institution increased the risk of spreading the virus.
There will undoubtedly be a pandemic. Margaret’s advice is:
- Get a flu shot
- Look after yourself
- Wash your hands more often, rub while you sing Row, Row, Row your boat . . .
- Use the Health Information Line rather that visiting medical centres and hospital emergency services.
Fairness For Us All: Income Security for the 21st Century< br />
There was discussion of the North York UWC forum last fall: Fairness For Us All: Income Security for the 21st Century. See the Issues page of the Ontario Council website www.cfuwontcouncil.ca/issues.html for a report. It will be found under Family Poverty
Joanne Jamieson alerted us to a Toronto Star editorial on the topic.
CFUW Women in Action was available as a handout. This special issue entitled CFUW Policy and Action – Advocacy is not a Spectator Sport is a detailed primer prepared by the CFUW Advocacy Directors for CFUW members to use to effectively take action on specific CFUW policy priorities.
Make use of the Ontario Council website
Judie Arrowood, Chair
Status of Women & Human Rights Committee
Judie Arrowood, Chair of the Status of Women & Human Rights Committee attended a the Securing the Future of Our Children, University of Toronto/RBC conference. The Report
The Status of Women and Human Rights afternoon session provided a wonderful opportunity for all present to meet each other and discuss a number of topics.
First we discussed the morning session of Early Childhood Education and Child Care. It was suggested that the Ontario Council strategize an approach and that a plan of action be developed to ease the current childcare crisis. We wondered if we might develop a coalition of various groups, such as parents, grandparents, women from the working poor, immigrants, community organizations, day care providers, etc. This could become a powerful lobby in dealing with government bureaucracies.
Andrea Levan, RD Ontario North and Professor of Women’s Studies at Laurentian University summarized the work to date of the "Violence Against Women Project" she designed and twenty clubs administered to front-line workers such as social service agencies and police. Those who were interviewed were happy to be involved in the project and the ‘one on one’ nature of the interviews ensured the validity of the project. Andrea said the report would be ready once all interview summaries have been received. Several members took the information necessary to participate in gathering answers to the questionnaire.
Margaret McGovern of the North York club spoke about their upcoming public forum on November 1st, 7:30 pm, St. Bonaventure Parish Centre, 1300 Leslie Street. The evening will be devoted to a speaker and discussion of the working poor. A report has been written about the great need for income security for working-age adults, and it will be available just before the November municipal elections. The Women’s Caucus of the Liberal Government is currently studying the document.
A theme of the afternoon was the importance of reminding MP’s, MPP’s and City Councillors about the mandate of CFUW – one of the foremost women’s organizations in Canada. It is critical that we make politicians aware of our position on various women’s issues. Our elected officials need to hear not only from professional women, but also from women in the ranks of the working poor. As CFUW members, we are in a good position to lobby for women and to support local organizations providing assistance to women and girls.
Judie Arrowood, Chair
Status of Women & Human Rights Committee
There were 30 members in attendance with representatives from the following Clubs: Toronto, Leaside/East York, Oshawa, Northumberland, Etobicoke, St. Catharines, Burlington, Perth, Oakville, Niagara Falls, North York, Aurora/Newmarket, Orillia, Brantford, Stratford, Scarborough, North Toronto, Mississauga, Muskoka, Sudbury.
Annual Evaluation and Survey.
Members completed an evaluation/survey to identify issues of major concern, and comments on what works and what would make the meetings better (both morning and afternoon sessions).
The top issues in order of number of times identified:1. Violence against women 2. Women in politics/elected office 3. Early childhood education/child care 4. Poverty, Housing, Health Care ranked equally as 4th. The other issue that was mentioned by several members (5) was to not spend so much time on round-table discussion of what clubs are doing, and an equal number indicated that that is of great value and learning for them.
In terms of the format of meetings, members who commented, said they like the morning sessions, which give everyone an in-depth look at a topic which is helpful in taking issues back to their clubs. Afternoon meetings, it was suggested, were too short. More time for dialogue and discussion on the topic presented would be useful. Finally, worth noting, five members suggested a better, larger and more comfortable venue would improve the meetings for them.
Violence Against Women Project
Andrea Levan, Regional Director Ontario North, gave an update and clarification of the project that the Status of Women and Human Rights is undertaking, through Clubs at the local level.
We also heard updates from Leaside/East York, Oakville, Ajax/Pickering and North Toronto on their progress on conducting the study. There were several helpful suggestions eg: using e-mail and telephone to conduct the interviews rather than face-to-face meetings.
Darla Campbell announced the launch of Equal Voice's on-line campaign school called Getting to the Gate. The website is www.gettingtothegate.com. The training is available in both English and French. There is no cost for the training, just the requirement to register. As a member of the Advisory Committee for this project, Darla submitted her speech from the CFUW Ontario Council Standing Committee presentation in September 2004 to the project and she is quoted in the training material! Please encourage any members and friends who could be interest in seeking public office to participate in the on-line training. With the Ontario municipal elections this fall, and provincial election in October 2007, there are lots of opportunities for more women to be elected!
FREEDOM TO READ
Gabriele Lundeen, former CEO of the Toronto Public Library and CEO of the Southern Ontario Library System was the guest speaker at our January 14th afternoon session. She is a board member of Freedom to Read and is also Chair of the Freedom of _Expression Committee which Margaret Laurence and Margaret Atwood started in the late ‘70s. The parent organization is the Book and Periodical Council.
The afternoon session was a dialogue with Ms. Lundeen answering questions from members.
The discussion revolved around the role of Freedom to Read. We learned that they produce teaching aids and posters for distribution to schools and libraries and that Freedom to Read Week is February 26 to March 4, 2006.
Their website has all the kits on it except for the most recent which is sold for 6 months first. Website: http://www.freedomtoread.ca.
As well, Ms Lundeen pointed out that:
- Libraries receive requests each year to remove books from the shelves. In the Toronto system about 30 to 40 such requests per year are received. Many more are suggested, but to be seriously considered one must complete a form to request removal of a book and most people do not comply. Most requests are rejected.
- Common reasons for requesting removal of books are obscenity or political correctness
- Examples of some books are the Babar and Dr. Seuss series (read these with a new consciousness), also books dealing with same sex relationships
- A library has only so much money and has to buy for the community, they choose not to buy for the edges of the community
- A library has a large area of true crime books (this came in response to a question regarding the Mahaffy/French murders); Karla fits into this category. A library has be to sensitive to the community, on the other hand if a sensitive book is in the library one could choose not to read it or one could choose to buy it themselves in a bookstore. The Burlington library chose to pull this book from the shelves.
- The Toronto Public Library system has a policy that 15% has to be Canadian material; many communities don't have a similar policy
- Your Public Library: Something to Offend Everyone
- Corporations are censoring; they hold a strict point of view and are not open to an exchange of ideas.
- Laws covering hate literature are open to interpretation
- Where freedom of _expression conflicts with protecting people's rights, where do you draw the line?
The Freedom to Read annual review’s topic this year is self-censorship. Ms Lundeen pointed out that it is important that we struggle with issues; there shouldn’t be an easy solution: who sets our standard? Who has the right to censor? Where? In what country? Freedom of speech vs. community standards; what community? What is in the constitution? In the Charter? How do we interpret?
Issues to be considered:
- Political correctness has an impact on freedom of _expression, e.g.; a school board has a list of 300 expressions that are not allowed to be used.
- There is a gender issue as well in freedom of _expression; Little Sisters Bookstore was censored, but Penthouse was exported the next month with no problems. Little Sisters Bookstore has been in court for 15 years.
- Border crossing guards can stop anything they feel is inappropriate.
- The media set their own standards. In addition, the telecommunications company, Telus, cut off a union web site when they were in a strike position. It was up again in 3 days with excuses.
- Internet filtering is being used by more organizations; some libraries filter computers in the children's department and not in the adult's; others do all computers. Most filtering is done by IT departments, not by librarians.
- People want warning stickers on books now, similar to the movie ratings. It was suggested by the Status of Women committee members in attendance that it is better to have stickers than to remove books from the shelf. Gabriele Lundeen gave an example of books in the gay-lesbian section at the Toronto Public Library that were identified with rainbow stickers and because they were easily identifiable that section of books was defaced.
"Censorship is alive and well"
The afternoon session was attended by twenty-four members representing eleven Clubs. Following introductions, the group considered the project proposal of local information gathering by Clubs on issues related to violence against women, presented by Dr. Andrea Levan, RD Ontario North.
Andrea pointed out that much of our current lobbying is reactive, and she suggested we should be proactive on the issue of violence against women. Club members across the province would find out what is going on in their communities around this issue by talking to those involved in working in this area: police, transition houses, lawyers in family law etc.
Clubs shared a brief update on projects, advocacy initiates, and letters written this year. The update was followed by a discussion of resolutions which have been proposed and will be voted on at the National Annual General meeting this Summer.
At the January Standing Committee, Hon. Marion Boyd, Chair of the Arbitration Act Review Committee, Nuzhat Jafri of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women and Annie Bunting, Professor in the Law and Society Program at York University gave their views on the proposed revisions to Ontario's Arbitration Act to a joint session of the Committees.
In the afternoon, Andrea Levan, Phd, Chair, Women's Studies, Laurentian University, CFUW Regional Director for Ontario North, spoke about the founding and growth of Women's Studies at the University. She reflected upon her own experiences as a teacher of Women's Studies, and discussed how the discipline, the students, and central issues in feminism have changed and are changing since she began twenty years ago.
For a full report on the panel discussion and the afternoon sessions see the newsletter: Dates & Data, January 2005
In the morning, the speakers, Chi Nguyen of Young Women Vote and Peggy Nash of Canadian Automobile Workers Union, spoke about women and politics. In the afternoon session of the committee, Darla Campbell, a young woman, who is establishing her own company, ran for the Liberal nomination in her riding and is currently National President of the Business and Professional Women's Organization of Canada, spoke to the group about her experiences.
Electoral reform was the topic when all three committees met together to hear Nathalie DesRosiers, a professor of law at the University of Ottawa and president of the Law Commission of Canada.