Canada Needs a National Action Plan on Violence against Women

OTTAWA – December 5, 2013 – On Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) will be commemorating the 14 young women who were senselessly murdered at École Polytechnique on December 6, 1989 and calling for stronger federal measures to address gender-based violence.

“As we take pause to reflect on the inequality and beliefs that caused the École Polytechnique tragedy twenty-four years ago, we are reminded that violence continues to be a reality for far too many women and girls across Canada every day”, said Susan Murphy, President of CFUW.

 One in 3 women in Canada will experience some form of gender-based violence in their lifetime.

Not only does violence jeopardize the security and wellbeing of women and girls, it also has a large economic impact on survivors and Canada as a whole. Statistics Canada and others have estimated the cost of intimate partner violence and sexual violence at $7.4 and $1.9 billion respectively, including the costs of social services, healthcare, the justice system, and lost productivity.

“Ending violence against women is priority for CFUW,” said Ms. Murphy. “Our members across the country are working on a diversity of projects to prevent and respond to violence against women in their communities, and at the national level we continue to advocate for more effective responses from government. While there are many worthwhile initiatives current underway in our communities, Canada must adopt a comprehensive and coordinated approach to help address the root causes of gender-based violence. This is why we are calling on all federal political parties to support the creation of a National Action Plan on Violence against Women and Girls”.

The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon has called on all member states to develop National Action Plans on Violence Against Women and Girls by the year 2015. Several countries including Australia already have national plans underway. A recent report released by the Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters and Transition Houses, “The Case for a National Action Plan on Violence against Women”, clearly demonstrates Canada could be doing much more. The Government of Canada however, continues to deny the need.

Each year, the CFUW Fellowships Program also offers two École Polytechnique Commemorative Awards, totaling $12,000, to outstanding graduate students whose research or area of study is related to women.

CFUW is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded organization with over 100 CFUW Clubs, located in every province across Canada. Since its founding in 1919, CFUW has been working to improve the status of women, and to promote human rights, public education, social justice, and peace.


For more information, contact: Tara Fischer, Advocacy Coordinator, 613-234.8252 ext. 106 or


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