National Council of Women of Canada - Blog

A Blog gives you current information and items of inerest. The National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC) has done two blogs on the meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women, 2010, and 2011. We are continuing now with a blog, on a range of topics of interst to members and the public. The NCWC has a very complete web site where you can learn more about the history and members of Council.

A blog (a blend of the term web log) is a type of or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order.

Most blogs (including this one) are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other via widgets on the blogs and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pates, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs.

As of 16 February 2011 (2011 -02-16), there were over 156 million public blogs in existence.

The above from Wikipedia!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Child care takes centre stage

Child care takes centre stage

‘My agenda is to see child care in Orillia addressed’

By MIRANDA MINASSIAN Special to The Packet & Times

A 37-year veteran of the child-care industry went to bat for families
at an all candidates' debate held at the West Ridge Early Education
Centre Tuesday night.

Despite the moderator's attempt to halt her, centre director Lucille
Desjardins took centre stage in an attempt to get all five North
Simcoe candidates to focus on early education.

"I may not be a Harper supporter. I may not be an Ignatieff supporter.
I may not be a Layton supporter… What I am a supporter of is someone
who is going to speak about this issue for this area in Ottawa," she

With 125 clients on a year-long waiting list, Desjardins is passionate
about this country's child-care strategy.

"There are 20 spaces in all of Orillia for babies — kids from zero to
18 months old.  That is shameful," she said.

Recognizing that education falls under the provincial government's
jurisdiction, Desjardins believes it is up to the feds to ensure that
quality child-care spaces are available countrywide.

"It is the federal government that can make conditions attached to the
money they give to provinces," she said, vocalizing her support of a
national child-care strategy. "High-quality care should be available
to all children, regardless of where they come from or move to in this

The Liberal, NDP and Green candidates were in agreement with
Desjardins' vision for a federal solution to the child-care issue.

Calling Stephen Harper's current Universal Child Care Benefit — which
provides families with $100 a month per child — grossly inadequate,
Liberal candidate Steve Clarke supports Desjardins's stance regarding
a nationwide strategy.

"This election, I believe, is a referendum on values. Do we need to be
spending $13 billion on mega-prisons or should we be investing in a
national child-care strategy?" Clarke asked. "Politicians and
political parties need to understand the differences between
investments and expenditures."

Valerie Powell sees early childhood issues as part of the larger issue
of sustainability — something she believes the Green Party addresses.

"You have to look at everything, the entire environment of supporting
people that can lead to ecologically sustainable lifestyle," she said.
"We need to build strong communities so that needs are met throughout

Integrated policies that meet the Green's six core values — ecological
wisdom, non-violence, social justices, sustainability, participatory
democracy and respect for diversity — is the approach best suited to
meet community needs, Powell said.

"It shouldn't be a matter of how wealthy or educated your family is,"
said New Democrat Richard Banigan. "All children should have

The two parties against a national child-care strategy had differing
views on how the federal government should deal with the issue of
early education.

"Provinces have the lead in child care," said Conservative candidate
Bruce Stanton

As a provincial responsibility, Stanton remained heavily critical of
the Ontario's child-care spending record.

"The ongoing frustration with us is that any kind of agreements we
have with the province is that the accountability isn't there, " he
said. "There are set dollars earmarked for programs within the
province. We just can't find where the spending is happening. The last
report they did on day-care spots was 2006."

Christian Heritage Party candidate Adrian Kooger sees women staying
home to take care of children as a win-win scenario for families. Core
family values would be retained while job opportunities would be
created when working mothers vacate their current positions, he said.

"We would redirect money spent on unemployment and welfare to
strengthen families," said Kooger, whose party pledges $1,000 a month
for a stay-at-home parent. "Our position is that kids should be raised
by their parents and not by day-care employees."

Though vocal about her criticisms of the Harper government's move away
from the national health-care strategy before the meeting, organizer
Desjardins insists that the debate was a non-partisan event.

"I know that Bruce Stanton supports us. He is as capable as anyone to
take this issue to Ottawa," she said. "My agenda is to see child care
in Orillia addressed. Period."

Friday, April 29, 2011

Don’t Play Politics with Women’s Lives Says Equality Coalition

Don’t Play Politics with Women’s Lives Says Equality Coalition

Women Tell Leaders to Support the Gun Registry and Women’s Safety

Ottawa, April 28, 2011 ­ Women across Canada are endorsing an open
letter to party leaders urging them to preserve the long gun registry
to prevent an increase in gun deaths of women and children. The Ad Hoc
Coalition for Women’s Equality and Human Rights, representing 42
women’s groups, unions and human rights organizations, is calling on
women to sign on to support the long gun registry as a tool for
women’s safety.

“We issued this letter to say to party leaders, don’t play politics
with women’s lives,” said Paulette Senior, CEO of YWCA Canada, the
nation’s single largest provider of shelter for women and children
fleeing violence, “the registry is here to stay. That was confirmed
when Bill C-391 failed. And it failed because Canadians understand the
long gun registry is a modern database that police use every day for
their own safety and always before they go on a domestic violence
call. People got the message that ending the registry is not in the
best interests of women living with violence.”

 “Women across Canada know the gun registry works,” said Barb Byers,
Executive Vice President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “Women know
it makes our communities and our workplaces safer. It’s that simple.
Doing away with it would make women less safe. It would make our
workplaces less safe, and it would make the jobs of police officers
and first responders less safe.”

Long guns are the guns most commonly used in spousal homicides,
especially when women are the victim. The Domestic Violence Death
Review Committee found firearms to be present in 47% of domestic
homicides in 2007. Since the registry’s creation, gun deaths in Canada
have fallen significantly. In 1995, 1125 Canadians were killed with
guns. In 2007, the latest year for which figures are available,
Statistics Canada reported 723 deaths due to firearms. By 2009, the
rate of murders with rifles and shotguns had dropped by more than 62%
from 1995.

Police and physicians on the public record in support of the long gun
registry include the Canadian Association of Police Boards, the
Canadian Police Association, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of
Police, the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians and the
Canadian Paediatric Society.

Supporters are invited to sign on to the Open Letter at

Right to Water

Assembly of First Nations, Amnesty International and Council of Canadians urge political leaders to recognize the human right to water

OTTAWA, April 28 /CNW/ - The Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Amnesty International Canada and the Council of Canadians are calling on all political parties to recognize explicitly the human right to water and sanitation and to commit to ensuring that Canada meets its obligations in upholding these rights for people in Canada.  
On July 28, 2010, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution recognizing the right to clean and safe drinking water and sanitation. Canada and a small number of other countries abstained from the vote while the resolution was strongly supported by African, Asian and Latin American countries. On September 30, 2010, the UN Human Rights Council affirmed that the right to water and sanitation is already established in international law under legally-binding UN human rights covenants.  Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians chairperson and former Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the UN General Assembly, says, "The United Nations has already recognized water and sanitation as a human right, which means that every government must now come up with a plan of action based on the 'obligation to respect, protect and fulfill' these rights. I call on the next federal government to explicitly recognize these rights and for all political parties to outline what they will do to ensure that Canada meets its obligations." 
AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo stated, "We have made health and safety one of our priorities in this federal election with access to safe and potable water as a basic human right. Unfortunately, we still have over a hundred communities operating under boil-water advisories. First Nations have inherent rights to water in their traditional territories and these rights were never given up. First Nation leaders have called for Canada to respect the Aboriginal and Treaty right to clean drinking water and want to work in partnership with the next government on this priority, consistent with the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.''  
Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve says, "Canada has lost its standing as a world leader in pressing for human rights. One of the most blatant failings has been in respect to the situation of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Canada should recognize that clean, drinkable water and sanitation are basic human rights. Canada should also act to ensure that these rights are respected, protected and fulfilled in Canada by working with First Nations communities to address their urgent water and sanitation needs."  
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  
Follow AFN and National Chief Atleo on Twitter @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms and @NCAtleo.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Media Release - Campaign 2000

Three out of four cross-Canada parties commit to reduce poverty; Conservatives ignore poverty reduction and inequality

Toronto - Citing the persistence of poverty and growing gap between the rich and poor across Canada, national anti-poverty coalition Campaign 2000 today expressed satisfaction that three out of four parties have committed to a poverty reduction plan.

Reducing poverty and inequality is not just a moral issue, but an essential element in managing the economy. Poverty and inequality drive health care and crime control expenditures, lead to skilled labour shortages through poor educational attainment, and generate social conflict.

Poverty persists across Canada with nearly one in ten people, including
610,000 low-income children and their mothers, living in poverty (2008 LICO after-tax). These most recent statistics do not reflect the current situation or the full impact of the recession and continuing economic disruption. These families still feel the double burden of job loss at the workplace and increased economic stress at home.

"We've analyzed the party platforms and found that all parties except for the Conservative Party have plans for poverty reduction in their platforms. The Liberals, New Democrats and Greens have all agreed to develop a plan to address poverty, to establish a system of universally accessible, high quality early childhood education and care services and to develop a national strategy for affordable housing including funds for social housing. The Bloc Québécois also supports a plan to make poverty history in Canada that recognizes Québec's particular role in social policy," said Laurel Rothman, National Coordinator of Campaign 2000. "These commitments are essential to an effective strategy to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty in Canada."

"We do know how to reduce and eradicate poverty - northern European countries have child and family poverty rates below 5%, without sacrificing vibrant economic growth or prosperity. Those countries invest in people throughout the life cycle and everyone in society benefits. In Canada, the majority of provinces have adopted or are all working on poverty reduction plans. But the missing link is an active federal government role," said Sid Frankel, University of Manitoba and Social Planning Council of Winnipeg. "That's why this federal election is so important - we need Canada's next federal government to commit to a plan to reduce poverty levels by at least 25% over the next 5 years and enshrine that in legislation."

To view a full copy of the Campaign 2000 Election Statement and the grid summarizing party platforms on poverty, visit <> .

Campaign 2000 is a non-partisan cross Canada coalition of over 120 organizations committed to ending child & family poverty in Canada.


For further comment please contact:

Laurel Rothman, National Coordinator, Campaign 2000.Tel: 416-595-9230 x 228 or 416-575-9230

Sid Frankel, University of Manitoba and Social Planning Council of Winnipeg.
Tel 204-295-3749

or 204-474-9706.

National Council of Women of Canada Urges Women to Vote May 2nd

Media Release

Thursday April 28th, 2011

For Immediate Release: National Council of Women of Canada Urges Women to Vote May 2nd

It has never been more important than right now for women in Canada to vote and make their voices heard according to Mary Scott, President of the National Council of Women of Canada.  The Council represents over 500,000 women and more than 40 organizations across the country.    With 21 percent of women undecided as reported by a Nik Nanos poll, women’s votes matter in deciding this election. 

Women’s votes are crucial if they are to show their impatience with the lack of a clear plan for poverty reduction;  a system of accessible, affordable and quality early childhood education and child care; affordable housing; equal pay for work of equal value; funding to support advocacy; defense of  the long gun registry; neglect of the environment; elimination of violence against women and otherwise encourage factors  that  promote the equal participation of all women in Canadian society.  Disregard for issues that matter to women must be stopped.

 It’s time to follow in the footsteps of women like the Famous Five and those who insisted that women be included in the Constitution and let everyone know we will not be silenced says Scott.

Women must think for themselves and ensure that they make the best use of their vote.  Every vote matters.  There’s no time like the present to give those in power a strong message. Women count. 

Get out to vote and organize your friends and family to join you.

- 30 -
For further information:
Mary Scott, President
1 204 888 2996


Monica Cullum, Vice President
1 613 567 0958 or 416-250-7575

National Council of Women of Canada
Election Blog:

Aboriginal Women and Girls

Aboriginal Women and Girls

Aboriginal Women (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) in Canada experience multiple layers of discrimination and hardships. These include the impact of Canada's historic government policies (especially residential schools), and double discrimination based on race and gender. The undermining of Aboriginal culture and social fabric has taken a high toll on Aboriginal women.


Aboriginal women experience alarming rates of violence. Aboriginal women are eight times more likely to be murdered, and three times more likely to be abused by their partner than non-Aboriginal women. For Inuit women, the rate of violence is 14 times the national average. Symptomatic of this is the high number of missing or murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Racism, sexism, poverty, historic government policies, substance abuse and marginalization contribute to this violence.


Aboriginal women experience high levels of unemployment, low wages and receipt of social assistance. As a result, they experience high rates of poverty-related diseases such as diabetes, obesity and poor nutrition. The unemployment rate for Aboriginal women is 13.5%, compared to 6.4% for non-Aboriginal women. In 2005, Aboriginal women received a median income of $15,600 - $3,600 less than non-Aboriginal women. Aboriginal women are concentrated in low-paid jobs. 59% work in sales, service, finance or administration jobs. Adding to the marginalization of Aboriginal women and children is the underfunding of child welfare services on reserves.


Despite multiple challenges, Aboriginal women are strong and resilient. This is reflected in Aboriginal women's education levels. Aboriginal women attend school at higher rates than both non-Aboriginal women and Aboriginal men. Aboriginal women are nearly twice as likely as Aboriginal men (7.1% versus 4.5% respectively) to have a University certificate, degree or diploma. This is despite the fact that many Aboriginal women are raising children alone and in poverty. High fertility rates (2.6 children versus 1.5 for non-Aboriginal women) mean Aboriginal women require family, social and economic supports to achieve education and career goals.

Consider asking your candidate the following questions:

Q. Does your party support policies that will recognize and restore the role of aboriginal women and girls in society?

Q. Will you party stop the persistent underfunding of programming and services delivered to First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and girls?

Law and Order Agenda -

Despite media attention and Government claims to the contrary, crime rates have fallen. In 2009 nearly 2.2 million crimes were reported to police, which is 17% lower than ten years ago. The law reforms introduced recently will not prevent crime, and they will cost tens of billions of dollars.

Women are the fastest-growing prison population. The so-called "Law and Order Agenda" will not make women safer, and it will drain resources from services necessary for women's substantive equality. Depending upon the prison and the needs of women, it costs anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000 per year to keep a woman in prison. If she has mental health issues, she will likely be held in segregation and subject to high security.

Under-protected Women in Canada are under-protected. Women experience the highest rates of poverty in Canada. This is compounded by victimization, substance use, mental health issues, racialization and disabilities. Women commit crime, in many cases, to survive.

Over-policed Crime rates are down, yet women are the fastest- growing prison population. Aboriginal women are overrepresented in the prison system. An expensive prison complex will not address the economic and social issues that women in Canada face. Prisons do not guarantee rehabilitation or health care and education programs that meet women's needs.

Unaffordable The "Law and Order Agenda" is expensive compared to alternatives. The planned changes to the prison system will cost taxpayers an estimated $9.5 billion by 2015-2016. It costs on average $185,000 per year to imprison a woman in Canada.

The "Law and Order Agenda" Displaces Children When you imprison women, you imprison mothers. 60% of children whose mothers are in prison live with grandparents, 17% with other relatives, and 25% live in foster care or group homes. Interestingly, almost 90% of children whose fathers are in prison continue to live with their mothers.

The inaccessibility of social programs, combined with increased imprisonment, are not resulting in any increased safety or equality for Canadian women and children. Women in prison experience high rates of depression and self-injury. 80-90% have survived sexual and/or physical abuse. 34% of women in federal prisons are Aboriginal. When they leave, they deal with trauma, violence, poverty, and lack of access to good jobs, health care and mental health services.

The Government of Canada needs to make Canada safer for women and girls by:

* Ensuring access to participation in a knowledge-based society.
* Creating access to decent work.
* Increasing rehabilitation programs and supports in prison and the community.
* Implementing a national strategy with specific policies and resources dedicated to ending violence against women and girls.
* Creating equal access to health, mental health and education programs.

Implementing the recommendations of the Arbour Report to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

To find out where your candidate stands on the "Law and Order Agenda" consider asking the following questions:

Q. If elected will you work to repeal the unnecessary criminal justice reforms and reallocate resources to develop social, educational and health services?
Q. Will you reinstate the Court Challenges Program?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Petition in support of the long gun registry

Please visit to sign this petition in support of the long gun registry.

Stephen Harper, Leader, Conservative Party
Michael Ignatieff, Leader, Liberal Party
Gilles Duceppe, Leader, Bloc Québécois
Jack Layton, Leader, NDP
Elizabeth May, Leader, Green Party

Violence against women is a $4 billion problem in this country. Every year, 100,000 women and children leave their homes fleeing violence and abuse. Almost 20,000 of those come through the doors of the 31 shelters operated by YWCAs across Canada looking for safety, for a roof over their heads, for care and support.
As the nation's largest single provider of shelter to women and children fleeing violence, YWCA Canada knows the long gun registry is a public safety tool that makes women’s lives safer. Across the country, our shelters tell us the long gun registry is useful and needed. Our rural shelters tell us police consult the long gun registry every time they go to a domestic violence incident. These are not automatic checks, but deliberate and specific searches for the presence of firearms in the home, especially long guns.
Among service providers working in violence against women there is no rural-urban divide on the registry. YWCA Canada's national network of shelters is urban and rural, and includes Sudbury, Niagara Region, Brandon, Prince Albert, Lethbridge, Peterborough, St. Thomas-Elgin, Saskatoon, Banff, Yellowknife and Iqaluit, where shot guns and rifles are part of the culture. In every province and territory, the shelter and transition house associations support the long gun registry.
Why? Because shot guns and rifles are the guns most commonly used in spousal homicides, and especially when women are the victims. Not handguns. Shot guns and rifles. In the last decade, 71% of spousal homicides committed with a firearm involved a shot gun or a rifle.
Women's voices from rural Canada tell the tale. Lyda Fuller, Executive Director of YWCA Yellowknife, which operates shelters in Yellowknife and Fort Smith for women and children fleeing violence, reports that, “Women have told us that the guns used here in the North predominantly for hunting – that is, llong guns – are also used to intimidate, subdue and control them. Wee hear this over and over again, in small communities without RCMP and in larger communities with RCMP. Women do not want these guns to be unregistered, but do not feel safe expressing this opinion other than in whispers to people who may be able to voice these "unpopular" opinions and who may be heard.
When YWCA Canada addressed the House Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, Lyda Fuller said, "Please make it clear that it is not city-born, city living folks who are asking for this registry to continue; it is the voices of northern women who fear for their lives and their mental health who are asking for protection. We see women who have experienced years of brutal intimidation. These women cannot safely express their need for protection themselves, and it is up to Canada to understand this and respond in an appropriate way."
Dismantling the long gun registry would not serve the interests of women and children vulnerable to violence. It would put them and the police services who respond to domestic violence at greater risk.
As a nation, it's time to listen.
Paulette Senior, CEO YWCA Canada

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Access to Education on Reserves

Students march for First Nations equality; Children will take to Parliament Hill to push for better access to education on reserves, writes Matthew Pearson
Ottawa Citizen
Sat Apr 23 2011
Page: C6
Section: City
Byline: Matthew Pearson

Inspired by a Cree teen who dreamed of attending a safe, comfortable school in her isolated James Bay community, hundreds of Ottawa students will march on Parliament Hill Wednesday to demand the federal government provide First Nations children on reserves with equal access to education.
"It makes no sense to them that there's such an inequality in Canada," said Danielle Fontaine, the Grade 3 and 4 teacher at Lady Evelyn Alternative School.
The Parliament Hill rally is part of a national day of action in memory of Shannen Koostachin, an aboriginal teen killed in a car crash last May.
For years, the children of her hometown of Attawapiskat, a fly-in First Nations community, have waited for the federal government to rebuild the elementary school, which was closed in 2000 after a large diesel spill contaminated the ground beneath it. A smattering of portables were installed as a temporary solution, but years of neglect have not been kind to them. Some have no heat, forcing students to wear winter coats inside. Others have fire doors that are warped or frozen shut in winter.
Frustrated and feeling abandoned, the children launched a letter-writing campaign, calling on the government to build them a new school. They also turned to Facebook and YouTube to reach non-aboriginal students across the country, urging them to support the cause.
In 2008, the Grade 8 class cancelled a trip to Niagara Falls and used the money to send three representatives to Ottawa to meet face-to-face with Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl.
"They decided, rather than go on a class trip, they were going to go confront the government," said Charlie Angus, the Member of Parliament for Timmins-James Bay.
Koostachin was one of them. The 13-year-old demanded action from Strahl, convened a news conference with national media and later gave a raw and rousing speech at a conference in Toronto. She was soon nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize and the campaign is the subject of a documentary produced by Heartspeak, a youth engagement organization.
Koostachin eventually moved south, where she lived with Angus's family, to attend a non-native high school. She was living with another family in New Liskeard when she died.
"I cry every day about Shannen," Angus said.
In the days following her death -amid waves of grief -individuals and organizations from across the country began connecting. No one could let Koostachin's message die with her, so Shannen's Dream was born. The campaign's goal is to raise public awareness about the plight of reserve schools and address the lack of funding.
"People need to realize what's been happening," Angus said.
Like many, Fontaine said she was shocked when she learned more about the situation. "I haven't been able to sleep since I heard about Shannen's Dream," she said.
Learning about the dire conditions in Attawapiskat has given 11-year-old Zoe Bevan a whole new appreciation for her school and its stocked library shelves, bright gymnasium and warm classrooms.
"The children in Attawapiskat should be the ones complaining, not us," she said.
Her classmate, Ian Bourrie, said he worried it might be hard for young people from the community to find jobs if they don't get a proper education.
Madeline Cuillerier, another Grade 6 student, added the government has continually broken its promise to fix the school.
"They have enough money to build a school, but they just choose to spend it on other things that aren't as important," she said.
More than 50 schools on First Nation reserves across Canada have been closed or condemned or are operating in substandard condition, Angus said. He introduced a motion in the House of Commons last fall calling on the government to close the funding gap for the schools and says it will be his first order of business if he's re-elected May 2.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Interesting comments to voters on Middle East Issues

Elections Guide gives recommendations to voters on Middle East Issues   
For Immediate Release 

Montreal, April 18, 2011 -- On April 15, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) released its Elections Guide for the 2011 Federal elections. The guide provides useful resources and information to enable CJPME's 33,000 adherents to participate actively in Canada's electoral process. It also carefully compares the performance of the different federal parties on issues affecting peace and justice in the Middle East, as well as on the rights of Canadians of Middle East origin.

The full Guide can be found at: While the full guide does not yet exist in French, CJPME has packaged its write-up on the Bloc Quebecois in a separate document which can be found here:

In addition to summarizing party platforms on the Middle East, the Guide reviews the performance of dozens of individual MPs on these issues, identifying "swing" ridings across the country.  It suggests alternatives for those parties and candidates who do not have a strong Middle East record.  The Guide reflects the urgency felt by CJPME and many Canadians to salvage Canada's values and international reputation, to help ensure that principled and balanced parliamentary leaders are elected.

"If the current Conservative administration strengthens its position through this election, Canada's international stature and humanitarian institutions will suffer irreparable damage," says CJPME President Thomas Woodley.  CJPME believes that the Guide will enable people to play an active role in shaping the outcome of the election, no matter where they may live.

CJPME notes that Canadians have become much more aware since the 2008 election of Canada's role in propping up less-than-legitimate regimes in the Middle East. CJPME's Election Guide will enable people concerned about justice and peace in the Middle East to speak up confidently in this crucial election.  "We can shape Canada's role in the world.  Getting active in this decisive election is an opportunity no Canadian should pass up," concludes Woodley.


Violence Against Women and Girls in Canada

Violence Against Women and Girls in Canada
Canada urgently needs a national strategy to end violence against women and girls. Male violence affects all women and girls in Canada, but racialized women, Aboriginal women, women living with disabilities, and recent immigrant women are more vulnerable, as a result of poverty, marginalization and discrimination. 

  • Between 2002 and 2009, 1 in 5 murders in Canada were spousal homicides, 83% of which were murders of women.S
  • Spousal homicides of women declined for three decades, until 2006-2009 when they stopped declining and remained stable. 
  • 76% of victims of criminal harassment (stalking) are women, and over half of these were harassed by a former or current intimate male partner. 
  • Women are over 6 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than men. Men are the assailants in 97% of sexual assaults. 
  • Less than 1 in 10 sexual assaults are reported to the police.
        Disproportionate Reality: 

      There are 582 documented cases of murdered or missing Aboriginal women and girls. This represents approximately 10% of female homicides in Canada, despite the fact that Aboriginal women make up only 3% of the total female population in Canada.

      Violence against women affects children: 

      Nearly 360,000 Canadian children witness domestic violence every year.  88% of the missing and murdered Aboriginal women were mothers, whose children are left behind.

      Effective gun control under attack:

      Canada’s gun control laws, enacted after the 1989 École Polytechnique Massacre, reduced gun-related spousal homicide by 50%. Long guns are the guns most likely to be used to murder women. Despite this, the Conservatives have introduced bills to abolish the long gun registry. Canada needs strong gun control to disarm violence against women.

      Urgently needed:

      To escape violence, women need:
      • free or low-cost family law legal aid;
      • adequate and affordable housing;
      • a national, non-profit child care system
      • a guaranteed liveable income, and economic parity with men
      • supports and resources provided by the autonomous women’s movement which prioritizes women’s liberty and equality;
      • culturally-relevant resources and policies dedicated to ending violence against Aboriginal women and girls
      • immigration policy that protects women, both with status and undocumented, who are escaping violence to and/or within Canada.

      It is not acceptable for various levels of government to hide behind jurisdictional arguments in defence of their own inaction.
      Male violence maintains women’s inequality in Canada. Government inaction to stop means women’s and girls’ fundamental freedoms enshrined in Canada’s constitution continue to be violated.

      Consider asking your candidate the following questions:

      Q: How will your party work with grassroots feminist and Aboriginal anti-violence groups to develop a national strategy to end violence against women?

      Q: How will you party ensure that federal funds flow to grassroots supports and services, such as shelters and rape crisis centres, and culturally-specific violence against women programs?

      Canada Pension Plan

      Pensions must be expanded: expert
      The Leader-Post (Regina)
      Thu Apr 21 2011
      Page: B1 / Front
      Section: Business & Agriculture
      Byline: Neil Scott

      Expansion of the Canada Pension Plan is the best way to solve the looming problem of providing good retirement income for Canadians, according to a featured speaker at a pension conference in Regina.
      Sylvain Schetagne, a senior economist with the Canadian Labour Congress, said many workers are facing an uncertain future, as they try to cobble together enough income from government pension plans, company pension plans and personal savings to retire in comfort.
      Expansion of the existing Canada Pension benefits, so the benefits would ultimately double, is the best solution, Schetagne said.
      "It's something that works; why not expand it?" Schetagne asked.
      He made his comment in an interview Wednesday, prior to participating in a panel discussion today at a regional pensions and benefits conference being held by the Canadian Benefits & Pensions Institute, at the Hotel Saskatchewan Radisson Plaza.
      Another possible solution to retirement problems would be improving the company pension plans that are available to some but not all Canadian workers.
      But Schetagne said there are problems with company pension plans, including that about two thirds of Canadian workers aren't covered by a company plan.
      Schetagne said an increasing trend has been for many pension plans to be "defined contribution" - plans where both the employer and employees contribute a set amount to the plan on a regular basis.
      But Schetagne said there is a problem with defined contribution plans because the amount of money received is not guaranteed, with the amount varying depending on the return received on the invested money.
      The retirement nest eggs of many Canadians were sharply reduced about two years ago when the recession hit and stock markets tumbled. While the markets have substantially recovered, Schetagne said the risk will always exist that drops in the stock markets and other financial markets could wreck the retirements of many Canadians involved in defined contribution plans.
      The other main type of pension plan is the defined benefits plan, which gives workers a guaranteed amount of monthly pension, usually based on how many years they worked and how much money they made while they were working.
      But many defined benefit plans have been facing problems in having enough money, long-term, to pay all the pensions that have been promised.
      Schetagne said many employers are becoming increasingly reluctant to offer defined benefit plans because of liability issues they could face in providing the promised pensions if the pension plan doesn't have enough money.
      There is also a potential problem for workers, to the extent that a guaranteed pension might not be so guaranteed if the pension plan goes broke.
      The best solution for resolving those issues would be to expand the Canada Pension Plan, Schetagne said.
      While the existing Canada Pension Plan pays a pension of up to 25 per cent of a worker's earnings when they are working, a doubling of the benefit could increase the benefit to 50 per cent.
      That increase could be accomplished by increasing both employer and employee contributions to the Canada Pension Plan from 4.95 per cent each to 7.95 per cent each, Schetagne said.
      Those increase premiums could be phased in over several years, to help ease the burden for workers and employees, he said.