Monthly Archives: May 2012

Major Federal Government Cuts Impacting Women in Canada Since 2006

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Items in bold are the result of 2012 Budget cuts.

Major Cuts and Changes to Federal Government Ministries and Departments Impacting Women in Canada since 2006

  • Funding for Status of Women Canada was cut significantly in 2006, resulting in the closure of 12 of 16 offices across the country. The mandate of SWC was also changed at that time to exclude “gender equality and political justice” and to ban all advocacy, policy research and lobbying. The Women’s Program of SWC used to fund women’s groups to undertake research and advocacy as a means of promoting women’s active participation in policy development and systemic change, however now the program is primarily focused on training oriented projects, and does not fund any advocacy or research. The cuts and change in focus of SWC have meant that many women’s organizations that once received funding through the Women’s Program either had their funding cut or eliminated completely (see the list of organizations below).
  • Cancelled the introduction of a National Child Care Program in 2006 in favour of the National Child Care Benefit
  • Ended the Court Challenges Program in 2006, which provided an essential source of financial assistance for important court cases that advance equality rights guaranteed under Canada’s Constitution.
  • Statistic Canada has been forced to end the Mandatory Long Form Census, which provided a vital source of data about unpaid work, among other data that was used for social policy development
  • Elimination of the Long Gun Registry in 2012 through Bill C-19
  • Assisted Human Reproduction Canada (Eliminated with 2012 Budget)
  • Federal Contractors Program (2012 Budget will eliminate the Minister’s responsibility to ensure that Employment Equity programs for federal contractors are comparable to those enacted in the federal public service. The outcome is still unclear, but it may also mean that Compliance Reviews for federal contractors will be eliminated)
  • The National Council on Welfare (NWC) has had its funding eliminated in the 2012 Budget.
  • Public service job cuts announced in 2012 budget will disproportionately affect women
  • Statistics Canada has just announced in 2012 that it will discontinue the University and College Academic Staff System (UCASS) from which useful data is gleaned to negotiate salaries and track the progress towards gender equality among faculty and staff in Canadian Universities and Colleges.
  • Women’s Health Contribution Program (WHCP), which provided funding to 6 research programs  (Health Canada has eliminated the program following the 2012 Budget cuts).

 

List of Women’s Organizations and Programs whose funding has been cut or ended by the Government of Canada since 2006

  • Aboriginal Healing Foundation (cuts affected several healing centres that focused on providing support to abused women, such as the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal)
  • Action travail des femmes
  • Alberta Network of Immigrant Women
  • Association féminine d’éducation et d’action sociale (AFEAS)
  • Atlantic Centre of  Excellence for Women’s Health (ACEWH) (WHCP cut with budget 2012)
  • British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health (BCCEWH) (WHCP cut with 2012 Budget)
  • Canadian Child Care Federation
  • Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW)
  • Canadian Women’s Health Network (Funding cut as a result of 2012 Budget and end of Women’s Health Contribution Program)
  • Centre de documentation sur l’éducation des adultes et la condition féminine
  • Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada
  • ChildCare Resource and Research Unit
  • SpeciaLink the National Centre for Child Care Inclusion
  • Conseil d’intervention pour l’accès des femmes au travail (CIAFT)
  • Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women Toronto  (funding cut by CIC in December 2010)
  • Feminists for Just and Equitable Public Policy (FemJEPP) in Nova Scotia
  • First Nations Child and Family Caring Society
  • International Planned Parenthood Federation  •   Kelowna Women’s Resource Centre (KWRC)
  • Marie Stopes International,  a maternal health agency, has received only a promise of “conditional” funding IF it avoids any & all connection with abortion
  • MATCH International
  • National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL)
  • National Network on Environments and Women’s Health (2012 Budget cuts)
  • Native Women’s Association of Canada (Health funding cut as a result of 2012 Budget)
  • New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity (lost funding for advocacy and research)
  • Older Women’s Network
  • Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH)
  • Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care
  • Pauktuutit, Intuit Women of Canada (Health funding cut as a result of 2012 Budget)
  • Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence (WHCP cut with 2012 budget)
  • Réseau action femmes
  • Réseau des Tables régionales de groupes de femmes du Québec
  • Le Réseau québécois d’action pour la santé des femmes (RQASF) (WHCP cut with 2012 budget)
  • Riverdale Immigrant Women’s Centre, Toronto
  • Sisters in Spirit
  • South Asian Women’s Centre
  • Tri-Country Women’s Centre Society
  • Womanspace Resource Centre (Lethbridge, Alberta)
  • Women and Health Protection
  • Women for Community Economic Development in Southwest Nova Scotia (WCEDSN)
  • Women’s Innovative Justice Initiative – Nova Scotia
  • Workplace Equity/Employment Equity Program
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Committee Against Torture (CAT) hears from Canada and CFUW

Officials from the Government of Canada gave a scheduled report to the “Committee Against Torture” (CAT) in Geneva the week of May 18 – 20, 2012. The report outlined the measures that the Canadian Government has taken to implement provisions of the Convention Against Torture, but also asked that the Committee refrain from considering acts of domestic violence under the Convention.

In response, CLAUDIO GROSSMAN, Committee Chairperson, said that the Committee could not discount acts of domestic violence because discriminatory treatment for women or men that could constitute torture is clearly listed in Article 16 of the Convention.

Grossman went on to state that while there are other UN committees dealing with issues of domestic violence under the Conventions on the Rights of the Child, the Prevention of Discrimination Against Women, Racial Discrimination and so on, for the CAT to ignore acts of violence that could constitute torture occurring in the private and domestic spheres would mean that the CAT would end up only considering acts of torture committed against white males.

CFUW’s position paper on Non-State Torture (NST) and on the Convention Against Torture[1] also came before the Committee Against Torture this week. CFUW, represented by Jeanne Sarson and Linda MacDonald, appeared as “expert witnesses.”  They raised the issues of assault towards children and violence against women as forms of torture committed in the private sphere by non-State actors. They stated that this form of torture is not always taken as seriously as it should be.

They stated that NST could include severe violence against women and children such as female genital mutilation, burning, cutting, imprisonment by families, whipping and severe sexual and psychological violence performed in the private or domestic spheres. These crimes share aspects of the definition of torture, as well as the discriminatory effect of torture.   Investigation, protection, prevention and redress are very important. There is a need to raise awareness of torture by non-State actors, as torture does not just happen to one gender – it happens to women and children too.

One of the Committee experts said that the CFUW report will be very important as a legal reference.

A link to the report can be found on the Committee against Torture’s website at http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cat/cats48.htm under Canada and then the Canadian Federation of University Women.

Access the UN news piece here:
http://www.unog.ch/unog/website/news_media.nsf/(httpNewsByYear_en)/9B973CA427BFA0A8C1257A060033219D


[1] Jeanne Sarson, Linda MacDonald, Susan Russell, Brenda Wallace

Stop the Sweeping Changes to Environmental Protections Hidden in the Federal Budget: Act Now!

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The Budget Implementation Act amends more than 70 Acts from a wide range of government portfolios.  In the 425-page document, some 150 pages are dedicated to changes related to the environment.  The bill “streamlines” and limits oversight and participation in the Environmental Review of new projects.  It repeals the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, and weakens several other environmental laws, including laws protecting species at risk and laws protecting water.  The bill also gives the federal cabinet the authority to approve new pipeline projects and overrule the National Energy Board.

By placing so many major environmental changes into a single budget bill, the government is circumventing necessary Parliamentary oversight.  Because they are contained in a  Budget Bill, they will be discussed solely by the Finance Committee – so that changes to Environmental laws will be decided by those who do not have the necessary expertise when it comes to studying complex environmental regulations.

The government has also limited debate on this 425 page bill to seven days.  The vote will be taken on Monday May 14th, so you must act now!

If you are concerned about these changes and the process, you should immediately contact your local Member of Parliament, the Rt. Honourable Stephen Harper at stephen.harper@parl.gc.ca or 613-992-4211, and the Hon Jim Flaherty at jim.flaherty@parl.gc.ca or 613-993-6344 to demand that the Government of Canada remove the proposed changes to various environmental laws found in the Budget Implementation Act, so that they can be presented separately and be properly examined and debated by Parliament.

You can find the email addresses and phone numbers of your MP through Parliaments website by entering your postal code: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/HouseOfCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Menu=HOC

There is also a “Lead Now” website set up to allow people to quickly email your Member of Parliament, and Party leaders.  If you choose to use this method, please remember to reword your response in your own words:   http://www.leadnow.ca/stop-the-sell-out


WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE BUDGET IMPLEMENTATION ACT?

In a press release issued today by Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party, she outlines some of the changes to environmental protections including in the Budget:

  • Canadian Environmental Assessment Act – “Environmental effects” under the new CEAA will be limited to effects on fish, aquatic species under the Species at Risk Act, migratory birds.  A broader view of impacts is limited to:  federal lands, Aboriginal peoples, and changes to the environment “directly linked or necessarily incidental” to federal approval.
  • Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency – The Agency will have 45 days after receiving an application to decide if an assessment is required.  Environmental Assessments are no longer required for projects involving federal money.  The Minister is given wide discretion to decide.  New “substitution” rules allow Ottawa to download EAs to the provinces; “comprehensive” studies are eliminated.  Cabinet will be able to over-rule decisions.  A retroactive section sets the clock at July 2010 for existing projects.
  • Canadian Environmental Protection Act – The present one-year limit to permits for disposing waste at sea can now be renewed four times.   The 3 and 5 year time limits protecting Species at Risk from industrial harm will now be open-ended.
  • Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act – This legislation, which required government accountability and results reporting on climate change policies, is being repealed.
  • Fisheries Act – Fish habitat provisions will be changed to protect only fish of “commercial, Aboriginal, and recreational” value and even those habitat protections are weakened.  The new provisions create an incentive to drain a lake and kill all the fish, if not in a fishery, in order to fill a dry hole with mining tailings.
  •  Navigable Waters Protection Act – Pipelines and power lines will be exempt from the provisions of this Act.  Also, the National Energy Board absorbs the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) whenever a pipeline crosses navigable waters.  The NWPA is amended to say a pipeline is not a “work” within that Act.
  • National Energy Board Act – NEB reviews will be limited to two years – and then its decisions can be reversed by the Cabinet, including the present Northern Gateway Pipeline review.
  • Species at Risk Act – This is being amended to exempt the National Energy Board from having to impose conditions to protect critical habitat on projects it approves.  Also, companies won’t have to renew permits on projects threatening critical habitat.
  • Parks Canada Agency Act – Reporting requirements are being reduced, including the annual report.  638 of the nearly 3000 Parks Canada workers will be cut.  Environmental monitoring and ecological restoration in the Gulf Islands National Park are being cut.
  • Canadian Oil and Gas Operations Act – This will be changed to exempt pipelines from the Navigational Waters Act.
  • Coasting Trade Act – This will be changed to promote seismic testing allowing increased off-shore drilling.
  • Nuclear Safety Control Act – Environmental Assessments will be moved to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, which is a licensing body not an assessing body – so there is a built-in conflict.
  • Canada Seeds Act – This is being revamped so the job of inspecting seed crops is transferred from Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspectors to “authorized service providers” the private sector.
  • Agriculture Affected – Under the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act, publicly owned grasslands have acted as community pastures under federal management, leasing grazing rights to farmers so they could devote their good land to crops, not livestock.  This will end.  Also, the Centre for Plant Health in Sidney, BC, an important site for quarantine and virus-testing on plant stock strategically located across the Salish Sea to protect BC’s primary agricultural regions, will be moved to the heart of BC’s fruit and wine industries.
  • National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy – The NRTEE brought industry leaders, environmentalists, First Nations, labour, and policy makers together to provide non-partisan research and advice on federal policies.  Its demise will leave a policy vacuum in relation to Canada`s economic development.
  • More Attacks on Environmental Groups – The charities sections now preclude gifts which may result in political activity.  The $8 million new money to harass charities is unjustified.
  • Water Programs – Environment Canada is cutting several water-related programs and others will be cut severely, including some aimed at promoting or monitoring water-use efficiency.
  • Wastewater Survey – The Municipal Water and Wastewater Survey, the only national study of water consumption habits, is being cut after being in place since 1983.
  • Monitoring Effluent – Environment Canada’s Environmental Effects Monitoring Program, a systematic method for measuring the quality of effluent discharge, including from mines and pulp mills, will be cut by 20 percent.

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Launch of International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict

We are excited to share news with you about the launch of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict with a Week of Action May 6-13. We at CFUW are thrilled to be a member of the first ever collaboration between Nobel Peace Laureates, international advocacy organizations, and groups working at the regional and community levels in conflict areas to stop rape.

As you may already know, challenges to collecting data on rape in conflict persist, but the numbers are alarming. From Congo and Kenya to Burma and Colombia, everyday rape is used as a weapon to humiliate people and tear apart communities.

The International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict unites us—organizations and individuals—into a powerful and coordinated effort for change. We will demand urgent and bold political leadership to prevent rape in conflict, to protect civilians and rape survivors, and call for justice for all—including effective prosecution of those responsible.

Take the personal pledge today to support the Campaign at www.stoprapeinconflict.org or http://nobelwomensinitiative.org/international-campaign-to-stop-rape-and-gender-violence-in-conflict/join-or-endorse-the-international-campaign-to-stop-rape-gender-violence-in-conflict/

Please help us spread the word : Make sure to connect with the Campaign online during the Week of Action May 6-13.

Visit the website: www.stoprapeinconflict.org

Find the Campaign on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/stoprapecmpgn. Always use the hashtag #IPLEDGE to show your support for the Campaign and share the action you will undertake for the Campaign.

Find the Campaign on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/StopRapeInConflict

Thank you for your support !

Together & united,

Canadian Federation of University Women