CFUW encourages its members to use their expertise to bring about change, with particular reference to our national initiatives on violence against women and girls, Indigenous peoples’ rights and early learning and child care.
Early Learning and Child Care
Childcare has long been an issue of concern for CFUW. Since 1972 we have been advocating for further investment, structure and support for a national child care system. CFUW strongly believes that education is a public responsibility and a social investment that must start in the earliest years of children’s lives.
During the last election Early Learning and Childcare was on the agenda of all the major parties. Prime Minister Trudeau and the Liberal Party promised to develop a National Early Learning and Child Care Framework to deliver affordable, high-quality and flexible child care for Canadians. Now, post-election, is the time to make sure that accessible and affordable early learning and childcare is available for our youngest Canadians!
CFUW launched the campaign Grandparents for Childcare to advocate for publicly funded child care that is high quality, accessible, affordable, flexible and inclusive across Canada. CFUW supports Universal Child Care as an essential public policy to fulfill children’s rights and gender equality as well as to generate economic growth that is beneficial to all Canadians.
CFUW works closely with other organizations including Child Care Now to advocate for the child care sector. CFUW and our partners urge the Canadian Government to implement a sound policy framework, substantial financial commitments to licensed child care, and strong leadership on the issue.
Take Action to Address Early Learning and Child Care
CFUW recognizes past and ongoing forms of colonialism experienced by First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. We aim, through research, learning projects, calls to action, events and partnerships, to support Indigenous Peoples’ rights. CFUW’s has a designated scholarship that aims to support Indigenous women undertaking graduate studies. CFUW is committed to learning more about the issues facing Indigenous Peoples and how we can offer support.
What does Reconciliation mean for CFUW?
For CFUW, reconciliation means learning about the historical discrimination and dispossession faced by Indigenous Peoples. Our organization is committed to building relationships with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. CFUW is listening to the recommendations of Indigenous community members and activists on how we can show support and solidarity in fostering relationships and respect between non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples.
Gender Based-Violence and MMIWG
CFUW is engaged in advocacy on ending violence against Indigenous women and girls. CFUW is concerned with the federal government’s slow response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) final report and 231 calls for action. It is imperative that the federal government works with Indigenous organizations and communities to discuss concrete actions that must be taken to address the calls to action. This includes addressing Indigenous women and girls’ immediate needs for housing, income, water and waste water and food security.
Access to Clean Drinking Water
CFUW recognizes the lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation in Indigenous Communities across Canada as a human rights violation. CFUW President Grace Hollett, wrote to the former Minister of Indigenous Services, Jane Philpott, on funding for water and waste water management infrastructure as well as in support of Indigenous-led initiatives. Click here to read the letter. CFUW clubs and members are actively involved in letter writing campaigns directed at their local representatives, as well as other actions within their communities and in partnership with local groups.
Violence against Women
Gender-based violence is a persistent and pervasive issue in Canada, affecting approximately half of all women over the course of their lives. The mental, physical, social, and financial impacts of violence are devastating and cannot be ignored.
CFUW launched the national initiative on violence against women with the goal of providing increased support to women and girls who experience all forms of violence. Our collective efforts help raise public awareness about gender-based violence, improve support and prevention, and put pressure on all levels of government to take stronger action.
Gender-Based Violence on Post-Secondary Campuses
One in five women will experience sexual assault while studying at post-secondary institutions according to the Canadian Federation of Students. Women with intersecting identities including Indigenous women, women of colour, LGBTQ2S+ and women with disabilities face higher rates of violence.
CFUW has conducted multiple surveys of universities and colleges in Canada to evaluate the status of female faculty and students at those institutions. For example, CFUW surveyed Canadian universities and colleges in 2017 to compare current policies on gender-based violence. The findings of the research were published in the Sexual Violence and Harassment Policies in Post-Secondary Institutions in Canada Final Report in 2020. The report asserts that universities must continue to improve their sexual violence and harassment policies to ensure a safe post-secondary campus environment. CFUW advocates for post-secondary Institutions to update their policies to support survivors of sexual violence and harassment.
Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Indigenous women and girls experience four times the amount of violence that non-indigenous women experience. The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) concluded in June of 2019 with the publication of a final report and 231 calls for action. Despite the clear recommendations listed in the report, Indigenous women and girls are still waiting for the federal government to launch a national action plan. CFUW advocates for the federal government to take substantive measures to implement the inquiry’s recommendations.
Gun Control in Canada
Gun violence in Canada disproportionately impacts women and girls. Stringent gun control, including prohibiting citizen ownership of military assault weapons, will help make the lives of all women and girls safer. CFUW supports the important work being done by Doctors for the Protection from Guns and the Coalition for Gun Control to end gun violence in Canada. CFUW supports a ban on assault rifles and handguns in order to prevent the tragic deaths of many women and girls.
CFUW clubs have demonstrated leadership by organizing vigils to commemorate the victims of gun violence. CFUW established the École Polytechnique Commemorative Fellowship Awards to honour the fourteen women murdered during the École Polytechnique Massacre in Montreal. CFUW stands against anti-feminism and gender-based violence by supporting survivors, challenging negative or inaccurate stereotypes and spreading awareness.
National Action Plan on Violence against Women
The federal government has yet to fulfill their promise to fund a National Action Plan on Violence against Women and Girls. CFUW joined with the Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters and Transition Houses and other gender rights organizations to publish a Blueprint for the National Action Plan. The blueprint outlines concise recommendations for the Government of Canada to address gender-based violence.
Take Action to Address Gender-Based Violence
- Review CFUW’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign toolkit that details actions to help end violence against women and girls.
- Read the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Final Report and calls to action.
- Donate to the Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters & Transition Houses and support their work in ending violence in Canada.
- Volunteer with Women Against Violence against Women they need volunteers in several capacities and can always use support.
In October 2020, the National Board approved “Long-Term Care” as CFUW’s fourth National Initiative.
The COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 exposed long-standing, negligence, inadequate care and a lack of preparation in many Canadian long-term care (LTC) residences. These deficits resulted in high rates of infection and death in LTC residents. More than 80% of all COVID-19 deaths in Canada were in LTC facilities, as of June 2020.
CFUW’s work on LTC identifies decisive actions to prevent future infections and improve care in the congregate settings of LTC facilities. The global pandemic has revealed the shocking vulnerability of people living in LTC facilities. As a society, we have ignored the care of these vulnerable citizens who need assistance and depend on the shamefully undervalued work of personal support workers and LTC nurses.
2 national policies on LTC were adopted at the 2020 Annual General Meeting. Find out more information below:
- Long-Term Care and the Canada Health Act
- More information from the resolution’s presenters: CFUW Stratford & South Shore University Women’s Club (Montreal)
- Long-Term Care: Protect the Vulnerable
- More information from the resolution’s presenters: CFUW Oakville
Want to get involved with CFUW’s LTC initiatives? Click here to learn more!