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CFUW applauds federal budget’s historic investments into national child care program, gender-based violence
Ottawa, ON – April 21, 2020
The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) welcomes the historic federal budget tabled by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland in the House of Commons on April 19, 2021.
CFUW applauds the feminist and intersectional investments targeted at those who have been hardest hit by this pandemic – women, Indigenous People, racialized Canadians, and youth. CFUW is particularly pleased to see significant investments into early learning and child care, the National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence, the implementation of the Calls for Justice and Calls to Action of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, helping seniors age at home, and climate action.
Over 50 years since the Royal Commission on the Status of Women urged Canada to establish a universal system of early learning and child care, feminists and child care advocates agree that this five-year C$30 billion investment is a pivotal moment for women’s social and economic equality. A nation-wide, affordable, accessible, well-regulated, high-quality system of early learning and child care will markedly increase women’s labour market participation and help all parents be effective contributors to the national economy. After decades of tireless activism and commitment, CFUW celebrates with other child care advocates on this historic announcement that will transform families and communities for years to come.
CFUW is additionally pleased at the $600 million investment to advance the development and implementation of a new National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence. The implementation of this plan is especially urgent given the upticks of Gender-Based Violence throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds earmarked for eliminating human trafficking, healthy relationship interventions, and programs that engage men and boys in eliminating Gender-Based Violence are particularly encouraging.
Despite these developments, there is still work to be done. While CFUW is heartened to see support for helping seniors stay in their homes longer, we anxiously await the establishment of national standards for quality-controlled care in Canada’s long-term care facilities. As almost 70% of Canada’s COVID deaths were in long-term care homes, substantive investment and action must be taken to prevent these horrific, yet avoidable, outcomes from ever happening again. CFUW recommends extending the joint federal/provincial jurisdiction already in place under the Canada Health Act to cover long-term care as a way to address the immediate and growing needs of elderly and vulnerable people in Canada.
CFUW is disappointed in the budget’s failure to establish a timeline for the establishment of a Universal Pharmacare program. A publicly funded and financially sustainable drug plan that covers necessary prescription drugs for all Canadians, regardless of their ability to pay, is long-overdue. CFUW is additionally disappointed in the budget’s failure to address a basic income program to ensure that all adult residents of Canada receive an income adequate for the necessities of life as a means of moving people out of poverty.
Nevertheless, the feminist significance of this budget cannot be understated. Over the course of the 725-page document, “women” were mentioned 669 times. Substantial and sustained investment in an early learning and child care program, a National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence, the implementation of the Calls for Justice and Calls to Action of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and helping seniors age at home will drastically improve the lives of many people living in Canada. CFUW is committed to continue our work toward social justice and gender equality to achieve a world where women and girls are educated and empowered to make transformative change in the world.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 26, 2021
Over the past two weeks, twenty-seven delegates from women’s clubs across Canada, joined over 25,000 activists from around the world to participate in this year’s virtual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women is the principal intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. Due to the pandemic, the annual New York City-based conference took place in a hybrid format with mostly virtual meetings.
The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) is a non-partisan women’s organization with Consultative Status with the United Nations (UN). From nearly 100 clubs across Canada, CFUW sends delegates to join official representatives from UN Member States, UN agencies, and other accredited civil society organizations to discuss the progress and gaps in advancing the status of women in all regions of the globe.
Since the Commission was established in 1946, civil society organizations like CFUW have taken a leading role in strengthening political commitment to gender equality and advancing the dialogue on the empowerment of women and girls. CFUW focuses on the prevention of violence against women, mitigating the impacts of climate change, and establishing a public system of child care as strategies to advance the status of women in Canada and abroad.
On March 24, CFUW was proud to host a virtual panel discussion on how to mobilize communities toward positive change which featured Jackie Neapole of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW), Dr. Stephanie Mullen from the University of Ottawa, Shelagh Day of the Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) and Ashwini Selvakumaran, a Youth Ambassador with Plan International Canada.
The two-week conference concluded on March 26 after UN Member States reached an agreement on how countries can work together to accelerate gender equality and ensure that women’s rights are respected and protected.
CFUW delegates look forward to sharing the information they have learned over the past two weeks with other members of CFUW and community leaders in their area. To learn more about joining CFUW and gender equality in Canada, visit www.cfuw.org.
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CFUW works to take action on social issues that impact women and girls in Canada and abroad. CFUW uses this “advocacy scorecard” page to monitor our advocacy efforts. We publish our National advocacy letters to elected officials to identify allies and hold those in positions of power accountable.CFUW also supports the advocacy of partner organizations and aims to amplify the efforts of issue leaders by signing & endorsing their letters.
Early Learning & Child Care
- Create a National Child Care Program Now!
- September 8, 2020. 18 letters, among them, to: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada; The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development; The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development; The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Finance; The Honourable Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity
- Response: September 23, 2020. National President, Kathryn Wilkinson met with Ms. Lindsay Mathyssen, M.P., Deputy Whip of the New Democratic Party. M.P. Mathyssen expressed support for a Universal Child Care program in Canada.
- Follow-up to the Speech from the Throne
- September 29, 2020. To: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada; The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
- School Reopenings & COVID-19 Data Collection
- October 16, 2020. To: Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada. CC: The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health & The Honourable R. J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture & Employment, Council of Ministers of Education
- Response: December 4, 2020. Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada replied with this letter.
- Let all Children Access Canada Child Benefits
- February 15, 2021. To: The Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; The Honourable Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland; The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development; The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue
Violence against Women
- A National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence
- December 7, 2020. To: The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development; The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
- Transparency in the Termination of the Yukon Advocate Case Review project
- February 23, 2021. To: Brenda Lucki, Commissioner, Royal Canadian Mounted Police & Kevin Stringer, Chief Administrative Officer, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- March 9, 2021. Response from RCMP Commissioner Lucki.
Indigenous Peoples’ Rights
- Joint letter on Joyce Echaquan’s death
- October 5, 2020. To: The Honourable François Legault, Premier of Quebec. CC: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada; The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations; The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services; Ms. Sylvie D’Amours, Minister responsible for Indigenous Affairs
Climate Change & Environment
- Coal mining in Alberta
- March 12, 2021. To: Atrum Coal CEO; Benga Mining Limited / Riversdale Resources CEO; Warburton Group CEO; &Montem Resources Alberta Operations Ltd. CEO
- Groups urge feds to ban polluting nuclear technologies from budget’s Clean Power Fund
- April 7, 2021. Press release
*NEW* Long-Term Care
- National Standards & LTC under the Canada Health Act
- May 5, 2021. CFUW joined with 5 other national organizations & 232 individuals in an open letter to the Minister of Seniors & Minister of Health to urge the implementation of common, evidence-based standards for LTC and to place LTC under the Canada Health Act. Click here to read the letter.
- Op-Ed: “‘Building Back Better’ must start with long-term care
- May 4, 2021. CFUW National President, Kathryn Wilkinson, and National Advocacy Coordinator, Charlotte Akin, co-wrote an Op-Ed about ways Canada can improve the safety and dignity of residents and workers in long-term care. Published in the Hamilton Spectator, other Torstor publications. Click here to read the article.
- CFUW’s Written Statement to the United Nations 65th Commission on the Status of Women
- Global Affairs Canada consultation on Feminist Foreign Policy
- CFUW Comments on the Zero Draft Agreed Conclusions for the 65th UNCSW
- Letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs on Turkey’s withdrawal from the “Istanbul Convention”
- Transparency in search for new UN Women Executive Director
- Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan), the Canadian Federation of University Women, and the Women and Peace Studies Organization (Afghanistan) letter on the Intra-Afghan peace talks and the Afghan peace process
- Roundtable with women’s rights and equality-seeking organizations for Federal Budget 2021
- September 18, 2020. To: The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
- Action Plan on Women in the Economy Taskforce
- November 17, 2020. To: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister & The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
- RESPONSE: March 8, 2021 – Government announces members of new Task Force on Women in the Economy. Click here to find out more. Thank you to our partners for their advocacy in the creation of this important task force.
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The 16 Days of Activism (November 25th to December 10th) is an international campaign to generate actions that will put an end to violence against women and girls. From November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to December 10th, International Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign can help put an end to violence against women and girls. CFUW clubs and members can be trailblazers in their communities and across the country, contributing positively to end gender-based violence (GBV).