National Priorities

CFUW encourages its members to use their expertise to bring about change, with particular reference to our national priorities on violence against women and girls, Indigenous peoples’ rights, early learning and child care, long-term care, and climate change.

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 advocates 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

Read CFUW’s March 2023 brief (ici en Français) on Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) for the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development, and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. 

Indigenous Peoples

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. 

Gender-Based Violence

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 gender-based violence with the goal of providing increased support to victims 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, 2SLGTBQIAS+ 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

Long-Term Care

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.

On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, CFUW held a day of action & National Town Hall meeting on Long-Term Care & Elder Rights in Canada! Available here on our Facebook page.

➡️ Check out all of the photos & quotes of CFUW members who took action on LTC: Click here to view the testimonials!

➡️Want to learn more about CFUW’s LTC campaign? Check out our toolkit here: 

2 national policies on LTC were adopted at the 2020 Annual General Meeting. Find out more information below:

Want to get involved with CFUW’s LTC initiatives? Click here to learn more!

Environment & Climate Change

Environment & Climate Change

“CFUW has long advocated for the preservation and stewardship of the environment. We believe that the responsibility for environmental protection must occur on both a personal and collective level. This is why CFUW has called on various levels of governments to develop and support programs to educate adults and children about the gravity of environmental problems by clearly outlining the consequences of resource depletion, the degradation of natural systems, the dangers of pollution and the destruction of fragile ecosystems.

CFUW is concerned with the gendered impacts of environmental degradation and climate change. We believe that gender sensitive approaches and women’s participation are essential to address environmental problems. Click here to access a CFUW infographic on women & climate change.

Over the years our environmental advocacy efforts have focused on a variety of issues, including, Climate Change & Green House Gas Emissions, Endangered ecosystem protection (e.g. wetland preservation), Mining and more.”