Women Helping Women for a Better Future
Education | Action | Advocacy

CFUW Ontario Advocacy News

Greetings! This is the January 2024 edition of the Advocacy Newsletter, one of Ontario Council’s newsletter editions in which we highlight the advocacy issues being addressed by Ontario Council and by many of our Clubs.

I have a paperweight that says “I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one *heck* of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning difficult.” (E. B. White). However, as someone who is active in the world of advocacy, I feel (mostly) that I am changing the world AND having a good time doing so. Even when I am butting my head against walls of inaction or negativity or the thought creeps into my head that I am not getting anywhere, I am still enthralled by the process, intrigued by the challenge of circumventing barriers and buoyed by the victories – both large and small. My only problem is adjusting to the time – every millimetre gained seems to take so long and be so drawn out. I know I am not alone in this feeling. Welcome to advocacy.

During the Toast to 2024 and to the Ontario Council Clubs held January 8th, it was heartening to hear how delighted Clubs are to be holding general meetings in person and how interest groups are thriving. Some Clubs are continuing to offer hybrid meetings and Zoom has stepped in to replace winter meetings for many Clubs to ensure we are all still connected even during potentially inclement weather. Fortuitously, the technology that became, of necessity, the standard way of doing business for many during the pandemic has opened up the world for our Speakers Series and so much more of what we do in Advocacy at Ontario Council. Information gathering, especially from primary sources, and information exchange is now faster, more robust and more engaging. Ontario Council and its committees are able to meet more often and accomplish a great deal as a result of Zoom and other technologies that we hadn’t even heard of in the early days of 2020. We do pay the price, however. Zoom means we can meet more often and do more. We need to continually remind ourselves that we are all volunteers and that health and family still should be first in our list of priorities.

Like last year’s edition, this newsletter is filled with information regarding issues that are on our radar. I would like to thank the Chairs of our Standing Committees Helen Robb (Education) and Niki Carlan (Legislation) for their involvement in the Speakers Series, in the preparation of this newsletter and involvement in resolutions. Thanks, too, to Ingrid Sproxton and Carol Sproule, Communications, for their commitment to the Advocacy Committee and their tireless work in compiling the contents of the newsletter and their patience as we again struggle with deadlines.

We constantly search for members to support our committees. If you have interest in participating in any one of the committees, please contact one of us. If you are interested in starting a province wide interest group, please let us know and we will help you set it up.

Ontario Council is here to support your Clubs and activities. We would love to hear from you.

Sandra Shaw,

Ontario Council Chair

Standing Committee on Advocacy

Email: advocacy@cfuwontcouncil.org

Presentations To Clubs

The following presentations are available to be given to Clubs and/or Advocacy Committees by the Advocacy Chair through Zoom.

  • Women Helping Women: Ontario Council Clubs’ Advocacy
  • Submitting a Resolution
  • Intimate Partner Violence is an Epidemic Toolkit

Simply contact advocacy@cfuwontcouncil.org to discuss or book a date.

In this Issue

  • Advocacy Survey 2024
  • Report from the November Speaker Series
  • February 24th Speaker Series - AI
  • IPV - Intimate Partner Violence
  • Affordable Housing
  • CFUW Perth and District's Poverty and Homelessness project
  • Food Insecurity - Save the Date for a Special Event
  • Ontario Long Term Care Primer
  • Speaker Series Follow-up: Tribunal Watch Ontario
  • United Nations Commission on the Status of Women - UNCSW
  • Proposed Resolutions for the OC AGM - May 24th/25th
  • Ontario Council AGM 2024
  • Club Advocacy News & Events

If you are having problems viewing this e-mail, click on the View as a Webpage link in the top right corner.

Advocacy Survey 2024

During the second week of February, the Advocacy Committee will be sending out the 2024 Advocacy Survey. The results from this survey will inform advocacy initiatives undertaken by Ontario Council for the next four years. Your Club’s participation is extremely important. We ask that the Club President, Advocacy Committee Chair or Designate complete the survey following membership consultations - one survey per Club. Sufficient time has been given to allow for membership discussion and the closing date for the survey is April 1st. The survey takes five to seven minutes to complete after the membership consultation has been completed.

Thank you for your continued support.

Ontario Council Advocacy Committee

November Speaker Series

Our second Speaker Series event for 2023-2024 fell on the first day of the "16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence: November 25th. The topic for the presentations that day was appropriately INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE:Ontario’s Unacknowledged Epidemic and Its Impact on Women and Children.

If you were unable to attend the event, the report of the presentation has been posted on our website. You can access the report here.

Save the Date - February 24th

Our next Speaker Series in on February 24th and will focus on Artificial Intelligence. For more information about the event, click here.

Saturday February 24, 2024

10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on ZOOM


The Ethical Issues Surrounding Artificial Intelligence

Registration is now open!

Click here to register.

Intimate Partner Violence

How It Became An Advocacy Directive for Ontario Council

Gender Based Violence (GBV) has always been front and centre of CFUW’s and Ontario Council’s advocacy interests. GBV has many aspects - physical, emotional, financial, sexual, and digital harassment and abuse (amongst other forms) against women and girls and members of the LGTBQ2SI community. Perhaps the most heinous form of GBV is Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) because it is perpetrated by the person to whom one entrusts love, loyalty and care.

Canadian statistics regarding IPV are horrifying. Femicide in Canada is on the rise as is an increase in living victims of femicide (for example, the children left when a mother is murdered). Why is this so? What is being done to stem this increase, particularly in Ontario?

Ontario Council Launches Toolkit

To date, the government of Ontario has NOT made the declaration that IPV is an epidemic in the province. However, a few municipalities have adopted resolutions declaring IPV an epidemic and and through our efforts, more are ‘signing on’ to this declaration. 

On November 25th, 2023 Ontario Council launched its toolkit to aid Clubs in encouraging their municipalities to declare IPV an epidemic and, as a follow up, to ensure that IPV is included in Ontario mandated Community Health and Safety Plans (https://www.ontario.ca/document/community-safety-and-well-being-planning-framework-booklet-3-shared-commitment-ontario/section-2-community-safety-and-well-being-planning).

The Toolkit can be found on the Ontario Council website here

Sandra Shaw is available to any and all Clubs which would like a presentation of the rationale for the Toolkit and how to use it. Contact Sandra at:


Read the complete article about our current work on IPV here.

Affordable Housing

CFUW Barrie and District - Co-operative Housing


At CFUW Barrie and District, we have been engaged over the past year in trying to bring attention to the hugely underappreciated affordable option of co-operative housing.

In doing so we have come to realize that our housing sector is so dominated by for-profit developers that many ordinary people are not aware of this successful model. Not aware that it provides affordable, owner controlled homes in communities across the country. Our club sponsored a Jane’s Walk once again last year in which we highlighted one attractive and sustainable co-operative housing community which has existed in Barrie for 30 years and had just collectively paid off their mortgage.

Our Club has held meetings with Simcoe County and City officials and attended housing focused meetings to draw attention to this sustainable option as the affordability crisis deepens. Local media both online and broadcast news have covered our events and published our articles.

Last October we organized a very well attended forum at our City Hall with a panel that included Barrie’s mayor, a top Simcoe County housing official and a speaker from the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto.

Unfortunately there has not been any Federal or Ontario government based funding for co-operative housing for 30 years when conservative governments eliminated it to favour the private sector. In a hopeful sign in the 2022 Federal Budget, over a billion dollars was earmarked for co-operative housing but any actual money has yet to be released. The City of Toronto also announced in January of 2024 that it is going ahead with the largest co-op housing project in 25 years with 918 homes. It looks like this alternative is edging back on to the housing agenda.

We hope to stimulate a broader conversation about co-operative housing within CFUW and continue with this worthwhile focus for our advocacy.


Advocating for Affordable Housing

Advocating for Affordable Housing: CFUW Leaside East York’s Ongoing Journey

In 2017, CFUW Leaside prepared a resolution which was passed at the 2018 Ontario Council AGM. A housing crisis had been identified and little did we know that the situation would continue to deteriorate for multiple reasons. At the core was a lack of good policy and funding, lapsed for decades, from all three levels of government. Our advocacy has focused more on the vulnerable: the under housed and homeless who require multiple and immediate services typically provided by municipal governments. However, we have also tackled other housing matters under the jurisdiction of the provincial and federal governments.

In a huge city, how does one small club (we now have 65 members) make an impact? It helps that our Club members are spread out over seven ridings/wards enabling us to connect with a range of elected representatives

Our strategy is:

  • regularly communicating with our elected representatives, all three levels of government, with focused messages,
  • working with other organizations including other CFUW clubs,
  • targeting specific issues or housing projects, and
  • attending press conferences, rallies, and marches to contribute to a stronger public presence.

It is an ongoing journey. Read the complete article here.

CFUW Perth and District

Poverty and Homelessness Project

Over an approximately 18 month period, the Social Justice Committee (SJC) from CFUW Perth and District spoke with primary sources and scoured secondary sources to gather information related to the state of Lanark County (the predominant county from which CFUW Perth and District draws its membership) in terms of indicators of poverty and homelessness. These results were shared with the community at large, the membership and community leaders at a presentation in November of 2023. The SJC used comparative national and provincial data to expose similarities and differences and isolated areas of concern for the community.  

The flyer for the Report on Poverty and Homelessness can be reviewed on the Ontario Council website, as can the presentation given to the community. Click here for the presentation and here for the flyer.

The findings from this research study will help guide the advocacy actions of the Club. Additionally, community groups which provide support services in Lanark County are pleased to have this information in a central and cohesive source to aid in their funding requests and program development.

For Clubs which may wish to use this as a basis for research in their own community, please contact Elaine Brazeau at elaine.brazeau@mail.com.

Food Insecurity

Save the Date for an Ontario Advocacy Committee Special Virtual Event!

March 23rd, 2024 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.

 Title: Canada’s Food (In)Security – Why We Are All at Risk!

 Three amazing experts will address the flaws in Canada’s food systems, why we are ALL at risk for food insecurity and what we can and should do about it.

 More details to come.

Ontario Long Term Care Primer

Prepared by the Canadian Federation of University Women (Windsor)

Ontario’s Guide to the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 and Regulation 79/10 establishes the following rights for residents. We have selected a few rights to highlight but the entire Guide is readily available on-line for anyone wanting to protect the rights of a resident. https://health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/ltc/docs/ltcha_guide_phase1.pdf

  • Every resident, his or her substitute decision-maker and persons designated by either of them must be given an opportunity to participate fully in developing and implementing the resident’s plan of care.
  • Every resident must be bathed, at a minimum, twice a week by the method of his or her choice and more frequently as determined by his or her hygiene requirements, unless contraindicated by a medical condition.
  • Every resident must be assisted with getting dressed as required. The resident must be dressed appropriately for the time of day and in keeping with his or her preferences, in his or her own clean clothing and appropriate clean footwear.
  • Restorative care approaches must be integrated into all the care provided to residents and must be coordinated to ensure that each resident is able to maintain or improve his or her functional and cognitive capacities in all aspects of living, to the extent of his or her abilities.
  • The Home must establish a Residents’ Council and only residents may be members. The Residents’ Council has the power to: advise residents about their rights and obligations under the LTCHA; advise residents about the rights and obligations of the Home; attempt to resolve disputes between the Home and residents.
  • The Home may have a Family Council. If there is no Family Council, a family member or person of importance to a resident may request the establishment of a Family Council. If there is no Family Council, the Home must advise residents’ families and persons of importance on an ongoing basis of their right to establish a Family Council and must convene semi-annual meetings to advise these persons of this right.
  1. The Family Council can: advise residents, family members of residents and persons of importance to residents about the rights and obligations of the Home under the LTCHA and under any agreement relating to the Home and attempt to resolve disputes between the Home and residents.
  2. The Family Council also can review, – inspection reports and summaries received under section 149 of the LTCHA, funding under the LTCHA and the Local Health System Integration Act, 2006 and amounts paid by residents, – the financial statements related to the Home filed with the Director under the Regulation and with the LHIN.

CFUW recommendations compiled following a province wide survey of 1,272 participants:

  • Residents should be entitled to 4 hours of care daily by December 2022 and should not have to wait until 2024.
  • The staff at LTC residences should have the option of full-time employment with benefits including paid sick days.
  • The Province should conduct annual, unannounced, onsite inspections with fines enforced for violations.
  • Long Term Care is an integral part of health care and should not be profit-driven.

Speaker Series Follow-up: Tribunal Watch Ontario

During the November 2022 Ontario Council Speaker Series, Tribunal Watch Ontario reported on the state of Administrative Tribunals in Ontario. The Human Rights Tribunal (HRTO) and the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB), two particularly problematic tribunals were highlighted.  Things have not improved. At both tribunals, the backlogs continue to grow, and the number of cases resolved each year continues to drop, according to their most recently-released Annual Reports. 

At the LTB, a landlord may be without rent for almost a year before they can get an order granting repossession. For tenants the average wait time to file an order is even longer – 427 days – with some applications seeking a maintenance order, taking over two years to be resolved. The LTB backlog of applications was approximately 38,000 in November 2022 and the most recent Annual Report cites a backlog of over 53,000 cases. 

The HRTO have grown to an unprecedented backlog of 9,527 cases. Perhaps as a result of the enormous delays, the number of applicants, who abandon their applications before a resolution has grown tenfold. The Tribunal reports that it released only 33 final decisions in the last fiscal year, compared to an average of 94 final decisions in the five years ending in 2018/19. It held only a reported 8 in-person hearing days in 2022/23.


The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women - UNCSW

How the UNCSW Shapes Ontario Council Advocacy

What happens at the UNCSW?

The UNCSW’s objectives are for member states to evaluate progress made in gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide. During a two-week period in March of each year, the UNCSW and NGOs hold information sessions at UN headquarters and surrounding facilities in New York.

The outcome of the UNCSW is a set of agreed conclusions which focus on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in the context of the year's theme. This year, the theme is "accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective".

CFUW Involvement in UNCSW

CFUW’s participation in the UNCSW is multifaceted. National prepares a written statement to express concerns and actions desired related to the priority and review themes. This statement is provided to the Commission. CFUW also hosts a parallel event either on its own or with another NGO. Up to 20 delegates from CFUW attend the NGO parallel events and member state side events. Delegates (a call for applications goes out in November) self fund their trip to New York (flight, accommodation, meals, etc.), attend as many events as considered appropriate, liaise with the CFUW group of delegates and other NGOs and prepare a relatively short report upon return.

Read the complete article on CFUW and Ontario Council's involvement in UNCSW here.

Proposed Resolutions for the May AGM

Each year clubs can propose resolutions for consideration at the AGM. There are currently two proposed resolutions for consideration.


CFUW Muskoka Resolution


Protecting Ontario’s Vulnerable in Cold Weather Conditions


RESOLVED, That CFUW Ontario Council strongly urge the Provincial and Municipal governments to adopt a policy that:

  1. Mandates a safe and reasonable temperature at which Warming Centres will open to ensure the health and safety of our vulnerable citizens.
  2. Mandates this temperature to be -5⁰C to 0⁰C.
  3. Mandates these Warming Centres to be open 24/7 when such temperatures occur.


“April 17, 2023 London, Ont., woman badly burned in street fire earlier this month has died.

Olivia had been sleeping under a tarp earlier this month when a fire broke out and burned nearly half her body. They had an open butane flame and they were burning hand sanitizer. At some point during the night it had got tipped over and that ignited the fire.” (Zandbergen 2023)


CFUW Windsor Resolution

The costs of medical appliances, which enhance the quality of life of all citizens in Ontario require legislative regulation.


RESOLVED, that CFUW Ontario Council urge the provincial government to expand the definition of health care to include medical appliances and those appliances be recognized as an integral part of health care.


RESOLVED, that CFUW Ontario Council urges the provincial government to regulate the costs of medical appliances in the Province of Ontario as health care necessities.


RESOLVED, that CFUW Ontario Council urges the provincial government to establish a Medicine Appliances Review Board under the authority of the province to regulate the scope of medical appliances that are medically necessary and the costs of these medical appliances.


The Amending Process and Club Review

January 15- April 1

  • Clubs consider the resolutions and determine whether to support them as written or propose amendments 

Amendments due April 1

  • Amendments by clubs, using form found in Appendix D, to proposed resolutions received by the Resolutions Committee Chair, which will then be forwarded to President of club presenting the Resolution. 

Amendment Study April 1-14

  • Amendments are studied and accepted or rejected by the club proposing the resolution. Proposers submit amended resolution to the Resolutions Committee Chair by April 14th. The final version of the resolution is sent to all clubs prior to the May AGM. 

Emergency Resolutions

  • No later than 21 days prior to the Ontario Council Annual General Meeting
  • If it is of provincial concern and of a nature that requires immediate action by CFUW Ontario Council to deal with issues which have arisen after the deadline for regular resolutions, Emergency Resolutions may be presented to the Ontario Council AGM.

Ontario Council AGM 2024

The theme of this year's AGM is W/E Break Barriers. The AGM will be an in-person event to be held in Windsor, May 24th-25th. Please plan to have at least one member attend to represent your club. See all the current details on our website.

Club Advocacy News & Events

CFUW Hamilton

On January 16th, CFUW Hamilton hosted a panel discussion on Reducing Maternal Death in Canada. This was the Resolution that CFUW Hamilton presented and was accepted at last year's National AGM.

CFUW Thunder Bay

CFUW Thunder Bay hosted two speakers at our January General Meeting. These speakers were from Environment North & We the Nuclear Free North. Members turned out in numbers as there was keen interest in the topic "The Dangers of Transporting Nuclear Fuel Waste" on our northern roads.

Two sites in Ontario are being studied as possible locations - South Bruce & Revell Lake, between Ignace & Dryden - three hours west of Thunder Bay. The Ignace site would be a 'deep- geological repository' for the highly radioactive waste from all of Canada's nuclear reactors. The two largest reactors are in Southern Ontario, Darlington & Bruce, but the transportation would include nuclear waste from reactors in New Brunswick & Quebec. It is expected that the site will be chosen in 2024. 

The site is one issue but there are many more concerns as transportation over these distances by rail & road seems like a risky venture so safety issues are top of mind. In Northwestern Ontario this winter we have seen two or three major truck accidents each week - some of them with fatalities. 

Interestingly, Europe uses the Proximity Principle & stores its nuclear radioactive waste as near as technically possible to the reactor sites & that has been the usual practice in most counties. 

There is local concern about this & we will be tracking the many issues. More information can be found on the web site https://wethenuclearfreenorth.ca/ or by calling 1-888-235-2239.

submitted by Liz Poulin

CFUW Etobicoke

On February 14th, CFUW Etobicoke will be hosting a Stop the Violence Fundraiser. This is a Zoom event. The guest speaker will be former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. Tickets are $35 and are available at cfuwetobicoke.ca/stop

CFUW Peterborough

At our annual Festive Luncheon, CFUW Peterborough collected items and raised over $1500 in support of One City Peterborough, an organization that supports the homeless in our city.

CFUW Orillia

At our December meeting, we collected towels, charging cords and toiletries for Green Haven Women's shelter. Beverley Tyndalll and Nancy Pigden are pictured with a car full of donations from the members of CFUW Orillia. Maggie Buchanan and Nancy Pigden are pictured delivering the items. Green Haven was very thankful for the donations.

CFUW Orillia President Heather Lewis meets with Simcoe North MP Adam Chambers.

CFUW Guelph – Advocacy Committee

Happy New Year CFUW! Advocacy efforts involve education and action led by members

of our Club’s Advocacy Committee. We focus on issues that align with the policies of CFUW National and CFUW Ontario Council.

So far, this year, we have

  • participated in the YMCA of Three Rivers at the Power of Being You event.
  • attended the Guelph Wellington Women in Crisis Nov. 22 Open House and tour.
  • collaborated with other local organizations to gather and commemorate young lives lost December 6, 1989 at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal and the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada with a vigil held at Guelph’s Marianne’s Park.
  • participated in reading aloud the names of the 62 women and children on Ontario’s femicide list 2022-2023.

International Women’s Day – Wednesday, March 8, 2024.

International Women’s Day is a celebration of the achievements made by women throughout history and signifies a continued mission for gender equality. First celebrated over a century ago, the day is now embraced globally to collectively champion the

successes of the world’s women, past, present and future. The theme for International Women’s Day 2024 is Inspire Inclusion.

When we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we create a better world. When women themselves are inspired to be included, there is a sense of belonging, relevance and empowerment.

We are looking forward to this year’s celebration and will have our initial planning meeting with Women in Crisis, Zonta, The Y and Innovation Guelph on January 24th.

Read all about CFUW Guelph's recent Advocacy efforts here.

CFUW Toronto area clubs would like to invite you to their IWD celebration:

You can get all the details about upcoming club events on the OC website at Club Events | CFUW Ontario Council (cfuwontcouncil.org).

And catch up on the latest club news at Club News!

Women Helping Women
Our vision for Ontario Council can be summed up in the following key words: 
Education. Action. Advocacy.
Ontario Council News is a newsletter for and about our Ontario Clubs.
  • Because Ontario Council includes close to 50 clubs, we are not able to publish club meetings, AGMs, scholarship winners and other charitable giving.
  • Club newsletters are published on the OC website under Club Actions & Events
  • To help you help us, click the link below for all the information you need about our publication schedule, submission deadlines, and preferred format.
Click here for information and submission deadlines
Click here to join our mailing list

Please share your club's social media posts to

Ontario Council's Facebook and Instagram accounts!

Facebook  Instagram