Education | Action | Advocacy
Women Helping Women for a Better Future
CFUW Ontario Council News
In this Issue

  • Message from the Ontario Council President
  • Speakers Series February 25 - The Affordable Housing Crisis
  • Advocacy Update - good-bye Twitter, petition to strengthen bail laws, UNCSW67 and more!
  • Club Advocacy Corner coming soon!
  • Climate Action Corner
  • Help Wanted! OC Communications Committee
  • Club News & Events (so much going on!)

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Message from Ontario Council President
Message from Teresa Habs, President 2022-2024

It’s Winter 2023 and we’re well into the snow and ice routines we all endure or celebrate – depending on one’s outlook. However, all across the province, these are busy times in spite of the weather!

Please join us for our last Ontario Council Speaker Series on February 25, thanks to our Advocacy Committee and Helen Robb, Status of Women and Human Rights Chair. Register for free in this newsletter or on our website. The topic is Affordable Housing and our guest speakers promise to provide some thought-provoking information to take back to your members to begin asking “How can we take action to move our province to a better place regarding Affordable Housing?”

On February 16 CFUW President Joy Hurst is inviting everyone to a Town Hall ‘Meet & Greet’. Joy will be introducing the new members of the National Office staff and the Board of Directors and hosting a Q&A session. To enjoy the event, bring a cocktail and that box of chocolates you received for Valentine’s Day, as we toast this wonderful organization and all of us connected to it. Look for the free registration in the CFUW Club Action Newsletter and join us for an evening of sisterhood and camaraderie!

Our CFUW UN Delegation is preparing for the March UNSWC gatherings and our Past President Sandra Thomson will be a big part of that delegation!

With March 8 and International Women’s Day fast approaching, I am delighted to see all the clubs planning events to celebrate the day. Some of them are profiled in this newsletter and many will be virtual – easy to take part. If your club has planned an event - thank you! If not, I hope you are able join in on a local initiative or flag-raising.

I want to thank all the clubs that send me their newsletters. Your advocacy, your support for education, and the fun we have together – it’s all part of why we value CFUW!

Last but not least, the biggest event of our OC year, AGM 2023 on May 13, is in the planning stages. Stay tuned for more information. Results of the survey we conducted late 2022 told us most members wanted our annual conference to remain virtual for another year, but I am hopeful we will be able to gather and celebrate in 2024!

Again, thank you for all you do!

Teresa Habs, President, CFUW Ontario Council
Speakers Series February 25
Register Now!
Registration is now open for OC's third Speakers Series of the 2022-23 year.

This session’s topic is THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS: TWO WORKING SOLUTIONS, and the event will take place on Saturday February 25 from 10 a.m. to 12:30p.m. The speakers are Robert Cikoja, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Huronia, and Melissa Scott, Operations and Development Manager for Barrie Housing.
Please click here to register
Affordable housing affects not only the lower middle class, but also the homeless whose lives focus on warmth, hydration, and sustenance before finding safe places to sleep once the municipal-approved beds are taken. Such safe places also impact the safety of citizens in downtown areas.
All three levels of government in Ontario have touted solutions to this problem, but have, for the most part, offered few if any workable solutions. Relying on developers to provide a percentage of their developments for affordable housing has not worked well. Even redefining the green belt is likely not to work.
Cooperative housing used to be a solution, but has fallen out of favour. No such units have been approved in years. Life leases may be a solution for a few. Tiny houses defined as houses ranging from 96 to 260 square feet are not approved in all municipalities.
Using Barrie as an example, there are two working solutions to the provision of affordable housing: Habitat for Humanity Huronia and Barrie Housing. Robert and Melissa will outline the growing success of Huronia's provision of safe, decent, affordable housing for home ownership.
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 Helen Robb, Chair of the Status of Women & Human Rights Standing Committee.
The Speakers Series is free but advance registration is required. Please note that the start time indicated on your registration confirmation will be 10 a.m. which is when the plenary will begin. Please plan to connect to the meeting a few minutes before 10. All attendees will be admitted to the meeting at about 9:55 a.m.
Advocacy Update
CFUW Ontario Council Renounces Twitter

Ontario Council took the decision to cease further posting on the popular social media platform, due to its return to allowing ‘free speech’ following its purchase by Elon Musk. 60,000 accounts, which had been banned for breaking Twitter rules regarding posts, were reinstated upon the purchase which, in our opinion, will promote hatred and misogyny. Research (see below – all reputable sources) went into the decision, as did discussion with Club presidents through their Regional Directors. Ontario Council will take all means possible to protect its Twitter handle from use by others.

Clubs which use Twitter are not bound by Ontario Council’s decision.

Congratulations to CFUW Orillia and UWC North York! Petition in support of the CFUW National Resolution – Strengthening Bail Laws to Protect Victims of Intimate Partner  
(Excerpted from an e-mail update from CFUW Orillia)

The resolution that UWC North York presented to CFUW in 2022 Strengthening Bail Laws to Protect Victims of Intimate Partner Violence was an advocacy focus for CFUW Orillia this year.

Adam Chambers, Conservative MP for Simcoe North is presenting a petition that was initiated by Karen Baldock, CFUW Orillia President.

Between November 8 and December 8, 2022, 972 signatures were collected from CFUW members from across Canada.

Petitions are presented during routine proceedings on Tuesdays which occur in the morning after the House opens at 10:00.

CFUW Orillia Advocacy Chair, Nancy Pigden has been in contact with the Legislative Assistant for Adam and the petition is to be presented on Tuesday, February 14. We are waiting to hear of the exact time slot for Adam Chambers. Our group will witness Adam presenting the petition.

After the petition is presented in the House of Commons, we are having a tour of the West Block and then we will return to the gallery for Question Period at 2:00. The group of people who are attending are Nancy Pigden (CFUW Orillia) and Jackie Street (UWC North York), Paige Inglis (National Advocacy Coordinator CFUW-FCFDU) and Elizabeth Malcolm (Membership Engagement Coordinator CFUW-FCFDU).

A video recording will be clipped and Nancy will take pictures of our group. A longer report will be written once the event is over.
Not a CFUW delegate to UNCSW67? You can still participate!
(From CFUW Club Action Newsletter February 3rd, 2023)

The UN Commission on the Status or Women, UNCSW67, will be held in New York from March 6-17, 2023. Every year a priority theme as well as a review theme is chosen. This year the priority theme is "innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls". The pandemic severely disrupted education so this year’s focus is particularly apt.
The review theme is “challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls (agreed conclusions of the sixty-second session)”.

Who goes to the UNCSW? Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs), such as CFUW.
Access to the UN headquarters is restricted to those attending in person. However, the parallel events hosted by NGOs will be in-person, hybrid or virtual. Anyone can register for the virtual events! You do NOT need to be a CFUW delegate. To register for the parallel events, you must create an account on the CSW NGO/NY portal here.

There are over 650 events being added to the CSW NGO Whova platform. When you log into the platform, you will see a tab called Agenda. This is where the sessions are listed.

What about the governmental sessions being held at the UN? You can view these on the UN Web TV, some live, some recorded. No registration is required. Check the listings on UN Web TV.

Mark your calendar:
  • CAMEUS (Canada, Mexico, USA) will be hosting a virtual event on Thursday, March 15th at 3 pm ET called Digital Education: Lessons Learnt and Innovations Introduced. We will have a speaker from each CAMEUS country. We hope you join us for this event.

Our CFUW parallel event will be in-person on Tuesday, March 7th, Even Odds in Digital Education for Marginalized Women and Girls. There are many sessions being hosted by our international partners on this theme of digital education and gender equity. Watch for announcements as details become available.

Barbara DuMoulin
VP International Relations
Is your Club holding an event for International Women’s Day?
IWD is March 8th. If your Club is holding an event to mark the date, please send pictures along with a brief description to The IWD events will be included in our Advocacy Report for this year, and in the March edition of OC News.
Other Dates of Significance
  • Coldest Night of the Year – February 25
  • Equal Pay Day – April 12
  • Elder Day – May 4
How to Advocate when a Majority Government Exists
Please go to the Advocacy Take Action! section of the Ontario Council website at for advice as to how to move your advocacy efforts along given we are dealing with a majority Ontario government.
Want to find out what other OC Clubs are doing in terms of Advocacy? Want to share experiences, resources and information regarding an issue? Need the voice of experience about advocating for a certain policy resolution? Want to join forces with another Club to augment your voice?
Ontario Council is preparing a webpage under the CFUW Ontario Council Advocacy tab which will list all OC Clubs active in Advocacy and the issue(s) they are working on, along with Club advocacy contacts. Using the format shown below, please send your information to
To download the Excel form to enter your Club's advocacy issue(s), please click here.
We are hoping to have the Club Advocacy Corner page available by April 2023.
Climate Action Corner
Contributed by CFUW Stratford - thank-you!

We are not having a typical winter. What will next summer be like?

The past eight years have been the warmest ever recorded. The year 2022 was the fifth warmest in Canada, second warmest in Europe. Scientists point out 2022 was a La Nina year. They say temperatures in Canada ought to have been cooler. Many climate agencies predict that in a matter of months, La Nina could turn into El Nino, promising warmer temperatures and even more extreme weather events.

Earth’s temperatures have been rising steadily since the dawn of the industrial age back in the 1850’s, as demonstrated in a visual aid created by Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist based in the United Kingdom. It illustrates an urgent need to curb greenhouse gases (GHG’s). The planet’s temperatures have been rising because greenhouse gases have become increasingly concentrated in the atmosphere owing to human activity and ever greater combustion of fossil fuels. Temperatures have climbed 1.2 degrees since the 1850’s. At their current pace, temperatures can be expected to rise by 1.5o C before the end of this century. We are already experiencing many of the extreme weather events associated with these rising temperatures: Rising oceans, flooding, drought, and fires, to name just a few. Our infrastructure was never designed to cope with such conditions. Governments will surely be forced to respond. But all of us will need to adapt to a changing world.
Would you like to join the Ontario Council Communications Committee?
Are you looking for an OC leadership opportunity? If you have a good eye for detail, enjoy computer work, and have five to ten hours available per month, we would like to talk to you! The OC Communications Committee needs assistance with:

  1. OC website maintenance
  2. OC News and other e-mail communications
  3. Support for OC ZOOM meetings

Computer literacy is a requirement but experience is not. We can provide training for the technologies we use: WordPress for the OC website, Constant Contacts for newsletters and other e-mails, and of course ZOOM.

I'm interested or have questions, what next?
Please get in touch with Ingrid at to chat about your interest and next steps.
Club News & Events!
CFUW Grimsby & District - The Purse Project

As participants in the 2022 #16DaysOfActivism campaign, CFUW Grimsby and District collected thirty-five gently used bags and purses and filled them with personal care products. The purses were then donated to Gillian’s Place, a local women’s shelter offering safety to those experiencing abuse.
CFUW Peterborough’s Festive Luncheon

CFUW Peterborough's festive gathering in December was so much fun that they wanted to share the photos and games! The gathering included a turkey dinner, trivia questions, carol-singing, and a raffle. The Club also gave a donation of $1,525 to the Peterborough Culinary Arts Nourish Project. Click here to see the photos and the triva questions and answers. Enjoy!

Please join CFUW Etobicoke at their 9th annual Stop the Violence Breakfast on Tuesday, February 14, 2023 at 9 AM via Zoom. This year features a conversation with feminist lawyer and advocate, Pamela Cross. Pamela will share her insight as an expert witness in the groundbreaking CKW Inquest, resulting from the 2015 femicide of three women in Renfrew County by their former partner. Learn about the 86 recommendations that resulted, what kind of an impact this had on law, and the role that each of us can play to ensure more implementation. You can REGISTER HERE . Tickets are $35 with all proceeds supporting Women’s Habitat and Ernestine’s.

Speaker presentation on ZOOM, February 14 at 7:15 p.m. Speakers are Dr. Kaitlin Schwan, Executive Director, Women’s National Housing & Homelessness Network (WNHNN) and Marie McGregor Pitawanakwat, co-Chair, National Indigenous Feminist Housing Working Group and WNHHN. Guests are welcome! Please e-mail to register.

Please join CFUW Aurora/Newmarket as we celebrate International Women’s Day, March 8, at 10:00 AM. We are partnering with The Shoe Project to bring you a dynamic virtual presentation. Three alumni of the project will tell their brave and moving stories utilizing shoes as a metaphor in describing their journeys to new lives in Canada. To register, please contact

CFUW Orillia invites you to join them for their IWD 2023 celebration. A panel discussion on the theme “Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Unconscious Bias/Embracing Equity”, featuring Debbie Singh from Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital, Dr. Linda Rodenburg from Lakehead University and Lorraine McRae from Rama will be the focus of the evening. A donation at the door of $5 is requested to help cover costs.  Advance registration is required.  REGISTER NOW.

The CFUW Toronto Clubs are hosting a luncheon at St. Paul's Bloor Street in celebration of International Women's Day, with speaker Toronto City Councilor Dianne Saxe. Dianne will be speaking on Climate Action in the City of Toronto. Tickets are $60 and all proceeds go to the CFUW Charitable Trust. Friends and guests are welcome. To purchase tickets please contact the CFUW Toronto Clubs.

CFUW Aurora/Newmarket invites you to a VIRTUAL SCREENING of LUNAFEST 2023! The 2023 season of LUNAFEST® features seven short films with a total running time of 90 minutes. Tickets are $20 plus a service charge of $2.05 per ticket. Please click here to purchase tickets. ​Proceeds will support the Soroptimists of York Region and CFUW A/N’s community outreach projects.

Please join us for our first in-person event since March 2020! Guest speakers are Alex Mustakas, Artistic Director and CEO Drayton Entertainment, and David Connolly, Associate Artistic Director and Director of Education Drayton Youth Academy. Tickets are $70 per person … a $30 tax receipt will be issued after the event. Purchase tickets through the Club website or Canada Helps. Proceeds go to the Club’s Scholarship Fund.

CFUW Kitchener-Waterloo invites you to join them on April 13th for dinner and a wonderful conversation with Lisa LaFlamme. Tickets are $125. To purchase a ticket please contact A $40 charitable receipt will be issued after the event. Proceeds will support the education of women and girls locally and internationally.
You can get all the details about upcoming club events on the OC website at Club Events | CFUW Ontario Council (
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 always able to publish club meetings, scholarship winners and other charitable giving. However, Club newsletters are published by month on the OC website under Club Actions & Events--to have your Club's newsletters published please e-mail your newsletters and other club news to To help you help us, click the link below for all the information you need about our publication schedule, submission deadlines, and preferred format.
February 25 Speakers Series