Education | Action | Advocacy

Women Helping Women
For A Better Future

For more information, contact:
Judy Gay
Ontario Council Chair, Standing Committee on Advocacy
CFUW Ontario Council Advocacy
Hello everyone,
 
Welcome to 2021. These dull days of January and February will pass. But the grayness is with us, exacerbated by the lockdown.
 
One of the best benefits of being a CFUW member are the friendships one develops over the years.
 
Friendship is what we need right now, especially since all close contact is forbidden because of Covid-19. We are all suffering from this resulting isolation, particularly our senior members.
 
To brighten our days and those of others, a telephone call, a short, cheery note sent in the mail, or even a pot of daffodils now appearing in the grocery stores, will cheer us.
 
My favourite aunt, of limited means, lived by a Chinese proverb ’spend five yuan on a bowl of rice and five yuan on flowers', food for the body and food for the soul. Not a bad idea. 
 
The Advocacy Committee has met. We reviewed all of the activities in which you are engaged. Keep up the good work. We will be having another meeting in February to discuss the two main types of Advocacy - reactive and proactive.

Please share your thoughts, they are always most helpful in planning Ontario Council's Advocacy agenda.

Judy

Judy Gay
Chair, Standing Committee on Advocacy
 
Standing Committee on Advocacy
Most Recent Meeting
The Standing Committee on Advocacy met Monday, January 11 to exchange and discuss advocacy issues and concerns. The mandate of this Committee is to advocate for the advancement of the status of women, human rights and the common good for Ontario.  Committee projects/initiatives are expected to be aligned with the biennium theme approved by the Ontario Council Board.

The committee acts as a forum for discussion concerning advocacy on behalf of CFUW Ontario Council. Together with the Education, Legislation and Status of Women and Human Rights committees, they will assist with tracking current and emerging advocacy issues.  After a brief review of advocacy actions to date, (please see list of submissions to the government below) Long term care (LTC) remains high on the list of concerns which is prominent and heightened by the COVID 19 pandemic.
 
With our four policy advisors close to the heart of matters, we learned of ongoing action in the following portfolios:
  • Poverty (M. Greve) letters written to the newspaper editor as well as phone calls to their MPP; CERB was extremely helpful to those in need of a basic income.
  • Housing (S. Lacroix) presented a proposal on “Living in Place” Universal Design as sponsored by the Older Women’s Network which was accepted by the Board of Directors of Ontario Council
  • Environment (S. Ball) Submissions on the Conservation Act, specifically Schedules 6 and 8.
  • Early Learning & Child Care (M. McGovern) Noted the dilution of quality with groups of children together and child care educators training.

The Standing Chair of Legislation, Lisa Long, presented the highlights of the Human Trafficking resolution. Wendy Taylor, Education Chair, noted the three key speakers for the Feb. 27 Speakers Series, with the focus on mental health. Chair of Status of Women and Human Rights, Sandra Shaw was also instrumental in the formation of the resolution. It should be noted that these three chairs are responsible for securing the speakers for the Series. Their speakers thus far have been outstanding and Feb. 27 will be no exception.
 
Our two club committee members, H. Penfold and M. Huissoon, added to the discussion by informing everyone of their respective clubs’ advocacy pursuits: LTC/homelessness and Sustainable Milton/LTC seminar with their MPP, respectively, as examples of their actions.

Lastly, the Regional Directors contributed to the information exchange by highlighting their clubs’ advocacy activities, reconfirming the subject of LTC is front and centre of advocacy action.

There is little doubt that the majority of our clubs are engaged, active and pursuing the major issues relative to their community or the province. The committee will meet again in February to discuss reactive versus proactive advocacy; however, in the meantime, consultations for the Ontario Budget have been announced and Ontario Council will respond.  The work is never done!
 
Current Consultations
ONTARIO 2021-22 EDUCATION FUNDING GUIDE

As in previous years, the Ontario government is discussing education funding reform with education stakeholders through a consultation process. Among other topics, this year’s guide focuses on the COVID-19 outbreak response and online learning adjustments. The Government invited all stakeholders to submit their feedback. Ontario Council submitted their feedback on January 15, 2021. Read the CFUW Ontario Submission to the 2021-22 Education Funding Guide.

PRE-BUDGET CONSULTATIONS
 
The Ontario Finance Department is holding consultations concerning the 2021 Budget. Deadline is February 12, 2021. Click here for more information and to take the Government's survey. Ontario Council is preparing a formal submission.
 
Fall Advocacy Action
SUBMISSIONS & LETTERS TO GOVERNMENT:

November 30,2020
Ontario Council sent a letter to MPP Amarjot Sandhu, Chair of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. The letter, prepared by the CFUW OC Environment Policy Advisor, Dr. Shelley Ball (CFUW Perth) expressed deep concern regarding the Government’s proposed changes to both the Conservation Authorities Act and the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994 in the omnibus budget bill, Bill 229, Schedule 6 and Schedule 8 respectively.
 
November 24, 2020
Ontario Council sent a letter to the Honourable Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, urging the government to reinstate unannounced annual inspections of all Long Term Care facilities in Ontario.

November 9, 2020
It has been five years since the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (CCEYA) came into effect on August 31, 2015. It was designed to strengthen compliance, health and safety in child care settings across the province. As part of the Act, the Ministry of Education is required to conduct a review of the legislation within five years of it coming into effect. The review began in the fall of 2019 and was completed during the summer of 2020. The Ministry issued its report in October, detailing the key actions the government will undertake to respond to feedback from sector partners and advisory groups. The government invited all CCEYA stakeholders to submit their comments regarding the report. Read the CFUW Ontario Submission to the Consultation Document Regarding Proposed Regulatory Amendments under the Child Care and Early Learning Years Act, 2014.
 
November 5, 2020
letter was sent to the Hon. Doug Downey, Attorney General, thanking the Ministry for reinvesting $2.5 million in cash and proceeds seized from criminals to help fight human trafficking across the province. Information about Ontario’s anti-human trafficking strategy for 2020 – 2025 is displayed on the Ontario Government website.
 
October 1, 2020
letter was sent to the Hon. Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, requesting more information on the Government’s plan to educate the public about the practices of payday loan companies, while also acknowledging the new legislation that specifies a maximum interest rate of 2.5% per month. Information about payday loans is displayed on the Ontario Government website and can be viewed here.
CFUW St. Catharines Proposed Resolution
CFUW St. Catharines has proposed a resolution to Ontario Council, concerning Human Trafficking Awareness, Prevention and Detection.
 
Please read it carefully and prepare amendments if you wish. We will be voting on this resolution at the 2021 Ontario Council Annual General Meeting to be held online Saturday, May 15, 2021.
 

You will find:
 
Human Trafficking Awareness, Prevention and Detection,
proposed by the CFUW St. Catharines
 
Resolution Amendment Guidelines 2020-2021 (This includes important dates.)
 
Ontario Council Resolution Amendments/Acceptance/Rejection form for submitting amendments, etc.
 
We would like to thank Elizabeth Fraser and members of CFUW St. Catharines for preparing this resolution.
Courage for Freedom
#ProjectMapleLeaf
Stand tirelessly with #ProjectMapleLeaf, a movement who wants to end the buying and selling of girls, and boys, children in Canada. Will you #addyourvoice to the #EradicateChallenge?

By getting involved in our movement, you are standing up with thousands of other Canadians to end the buying and selling of girls and boys, children, in Canada.
Over the next weeks, months and year, your action will show that you are standing up to raise awareness, educate yourself and message others to #eradicate this crime against humanity.

Human slavery is the fastest growing organized crime in the world. It is a billion-dollar industry that is often hidden in plain sight and no community is immune to its existence. The cost is big.

Our humanity and social fabric is at risk when girls and boys are not safe, and that is why Courage for Freedom exists. To break the silence, sharing facts and solutions.


Click on the link above. Follow the easy instructions. THEN, post a photo or video of yourself, to social media with the sign message, or make your own sign!

Use the hashtags #EradicateChallenge #ProjectMapleLeaf in your posts. Add your own too. Tag Courage for Freedom on the social platform you share on. Then share with others to raise awareness and start the conversation that we demand change as Canadians. Invite your friends to do the same. Pick 5 friends and challenge them.

Let's build a powerful movement from coast to coast to coast.

Join the movement and take the #EradicateChallenge
 
ZOOM Speakers Series
February 27th, 2021
February 27, 2021 10 AM – 12:30 PM
Please register by 5 p.m. on February 26th
Click here to register

 

Plenary
MENTAL HEALTH - FROM PREVENTION TO WELLNESS

Our February 27th Speakers Series features three compelling speakers: Jennifer Pereira, an Anishinabek citizen from Henvey Inlet First Nation in Ontario, Kendra Fisher, a women's ice hockey goaltender, and Lori Spadorcia, Chief Strategy Officer at CAMH. The topic is mental health, moving from prevention to wellness.

Jennifer is an Indigenous Community Liaison for a corporation and received a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder more than 20 years ago. Since that time she has shared her story and promoted the benefits of integrating traditional health practices with western methods of mental health treatment for maximum benefit.

Kendra grew up in Kincardine, Ontario. In 1999, when faced with the opportunity to realize her dream of goal-tending for the Canadian national women's ice hockey team, she was diagnosed with severe mental illness, forcing her to leave the National Program in order to seek help. Kendra now shares her personal journey in efforts to bring Mental Health issues to the forefront. 

Lori is a passionate advocate and is changing the conversation about mental health, improving awareness and understanding of mental illness and working with governments and communities to improve health systems and policy. She supports the alignment of mission critical activities designed to be responsive to CAMH’s many stakeholders and is engaging partners and resources to better position the hospital to make a sustainable system contribution to mental health.

The presentations will be followed by a Q&A session when the speakers will address questions from the audience. We encourage you to submit your questions in advance to Wendy Taylor, Chair of the Education Standing Committee. 

Register for the Feburary 27 speakers series here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the meeting. Please save your confirmation e-mail, as it contains your individual link to the ZOOM meeting, which you'll need to connect on February 27th.
 
Status of Women & Human Rights Committee
Each month the SWHRC compiles a partial list of current issues which are making headlines or creating dialogue, along with information on the issue itself. Due to their length, the reports are posted each month on the SWHR page of the website instead of appearing in any OC newsletters. Here is a list covered to date. Each Advocacy Newsletter will contain a refreshed list.

September
1. The Consequences of the Pandemic Have Different Gender Outcomes
2. Demand for GBA (gender based analysis)
3. Access to Equivalent Health Services/Intersectionality of Health Problems
4. Human Rights Violations in Ontario
5. Upcoming Dates of Importance to SW&HR (remainder of 2020)
 
October
1. The Rise in Human Rights Abuses in Ontario during COVID-19 – Hate Crimes
2. Mental Health and Accessibility during COVID
3. COVID Response Must Adjust to Social Inequalities, Say Health Experts
4. Human Rights and Long Term Care
5. Gender Based Violence and COVID-19
 
November
1. Human Rights Watch
2. Report from Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC)
3. Hate Crimes
4. Mental Health and Accessibility during COVID
5. Violence against Women
 
December/January
1. Child Marriages Reported in Rural Areas in Canada McGill University Study Confirms
2. Curfews/Lockdowns Violate Charter Rights?
3. Ethical Issues in Vaccine Rollout
4. Awareness of Terrorist/Hate Groups on the Rise in Canada
5. Concurrent Rise in Far Right Groups and Affiliation
6. Freedom of Speech versus Hate Speech/Inciting Hate
7. Human Rights Watch
8. Ontario Human Rights Commission has been very active in December
 
Committee Members Wanted
The SWHRC is looking for members to join Elizabeth Fraser (CFUW St. Catharines), Wendy Taylor (CFUW Orillia, OC Chair Education) and me, Sandra Shaw (CFUW Perth and District), providing input to the issues to be tracked by the SWHRC and deciding which require action. Zoom meetings will be held once a quarter. The time investment is not onerous and the chance to create and change the dialogue is enormous. Please contact me at sandras@fifthelement.ca to explore your potential participation.
International Women's Day
Calling all Clubs - International Women's Day March 8, 2021!

Ontario Council is interested in hearing of your club's events in recognizing International Women's Day March 8, 2021! We hope to spearhead a concerted publicity campaign on our social media outlets. We found great success with the "16 Days of Activism" and saw increased exposure in all of our social online connections. We hope to generate another uptick with our membership in circulating what clubs are planning in honouring women.

Please send details of the activity to communications@cfuwontcouncil.org! Please let us know if the event is open to all Ontario clubs.

Let us make this a special year in honoring all women!
2021 Dates of Action
JANUARY 27

FEBRUARY 10
CFUW ETOBICOKE 7TH ANNUAL STOP THE VIOLENCE BREAKFAST will be held virtually at 9 a.m. For more information go to the Club Events calendar.

FEBRUARY 17

FEBRUARY 20

FEBRUARY 22
HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS DAY

 
Ontario Council has joined with BPW Canada to support the Courage for Freedom’s PROJECT MAPLE LEAF, a campaign to bring attention to the horrors of human and sex trafficking in Canada – 95% of human trafficking victims are women, and most are Canadian. #ProjectMapleLeaf
 
MARCH 8
 
A number of clubs will be celebrating IWD with special events. Please send them to communications@cfuwontcouncil.org for posting. One IWD event that is already on the Club Events calendar is UWC Toronto's ZOOM speaker on March 8th, Betsy McGregor, author of Women on the Ballot: Pathways to Political Power. For more information go to the Club Events calendar.
 
COVID-19 & Feminism
A series of two free forums on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women is being presented by Feminist Forum. Tuesday January 26th and Tuesday February 2nd from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The two forums will bring together diverse panels of women from around Canada to discuss the obstacles and opportunities that COVID-19 has created for women in the economy and the impact of women in power and leadership on COVID-19 outcomes around the world. For more information and to register, visit COVID-19 & Feminism.
Save the Date! OC 2021 AGM
May 14 & 15, 2021 - a virtual AGM hosted by CFUW Orillia
About CFUW Ontario Council
CFUW Ontario Council is committed to:
  • The pursuit of knowledge
  • The promotion of education
  • The improvement of the status of women and girls
  • An active participation in public affairs in a spirit of cooperation and friendship.