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

CFUW Ontario Council News

In this Issue

  • Message from Ontario Council President Teresa Habs
  • March 23 - OC Advocacy Special Event
  • Report on February 24 Speakers Series
  • Ontario Council AGM 2024
  • OC Elections 2024-2026
  • Ontario Council Proposed Resolutions
  • 2024 Membership Challenge
  • Carolyn Day Award for 2023-24
  • Scholarship Survey 2023 Report
  • From UNCSW68 - The Pink Tax & The Importance of CEDAW
  • Advocacy Survey 2024
  • Club News & Events

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Message from the Ontario Council President

Happy March 2024 to Everyone! This March 23rd, thanks to the ingenuity and dedication of Sandra Shaw and her Advocacy Committee, we will enjoy a special event speaker; this time on the subject of Food (In)Security. This is another of those issues that ripples in the background of our social conscience until a crisis occurs and as a society, we must deal with the ramifications. Please plan to attend for a cutting-edge view into this topic. We will be hosting the event on Zoom and you can register for free until Friday March 22nd on the OC website.

Our February Speaker Series on Artificial Intelligence was a record breaker for registrations and attendance so we hope you will join us once again on Saturday March 23rd at 10 a.m.

Another interesting and long-awaited event is the Spring Equinox on March 19! According to NASA, the terms "spring equinox" and "vernal equinox" refer to the same astronomical event. The term "vernal equinox" originates from Latin; "vernal" means spring and "equinox" denotes the equal length of day and night. While March 21 is often cited as the date of the spring equinox, it can occur on March 20 or 21st, and in a leap year like 2024, when February has an extra day, the equinox may occur a bit earlier. This variation is due to the complexities of Earth's orbit around the sun and the adjustments made in the calendar system to account for these movements. This celestial event occurs annually, marking the moment when the Earth's axis is neither tilted away from, nor toward the sun, resulting in nearly equal lengths of day and night across the globe. This phenomenon symbolizes the transition from winter to spring in our Northern Hemisphere. Beyond its astronomical significance, the spring equinox holds cultural, spiritual and metaphorical importance for many people worldwide. Throughout history, cultures have marked this occasion with festivals and ceremonies.

And for CFUW members it means AGM 2024 in Windsor is fast-approaching! Besides our usual incentives to send your delegate to the AGM we have a new grant. Because this year will be the first in-person AGM in 4 years, and because we value the importance of meeting in-person to strengthen the organization, the OC Board has set aside money to fund grants to support clubs who apply for financial support to attend the 2024 AGM in Windsor May 24-25th, 2024. The grants will initially cover at least the registration fee for the club delegate. Depending on the number of clubs applying, if there are sufficient funds, additional money may be granted towards travel and/or accommodation to clubs with special needs. Preference will be given to smaller clubs further away. See more information in the newsletter below. So, if finances are keeping your club from attending, please reconsider and apply!

This month, our newsletter is jam-packed with club events and news we think is valuable and enjoyable. So please enjoy!

I hope to see you on March 23rd

Teresa Habs, OC President 2022-2024

March 23 - Special Advocacy Event!

Register here

Everyone can relate to the struggle of seeing the prices at grocery stores continue to climb. Prices are expected to rise by another 4.5% in 2024, and since 2019, food banks across Canada have seen an astonishing 79% rise in demand (Food Banks Canada, 2023).

One of the largest issues that contributes to food insecurity is Canada’s distinct lack of a domestic food system. While Canada does have a significant agricultural sector, that food is not grown to feed Canadians. Canada exports over 50% of its agricultural production, and is the sixth-largest importer of food in the world (York University, 2022). The result is a long-distance supply chain that is vulnerable to external factors such as climate disasters, war, and an ever-changing international landscape. On March 23rd, our guest speakers will explore Canada's food supply.

Sandra Mark, the Manager of Women’s Programs for the Small Scale Food Processor Association and her colleagues, Dr. Irena Knezevic (who is especially interested in food systems, food labeling, health communication and advertising, and the discourse of food and health regulations) and PhD student Allison Norris (contributor to Food Matters podcasts, and university course educator in Women’s and Gender Studies, new media activism, and popular culture), both from Carleton University, will paint a picture of the Canadian food system as we face our current-day challenges, explain why we are ALL at risk for food insecurity, and consider what we can and should do about it. To learn more about the event and to register, please click here.

Hope you can join us!

February 24 Speakers Series Report


Our February Speaker Series featured a presentation by Dr. Gus Skorburg, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Guelph. If you were unable to attend this exceptionally informative session, you can request a link to the recording by contacting [email protected]. As well, Dr. Skorburg has graciously provided us with a copy of the slides from his presentation. To view, please click here.

PROBES for the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence








Canadians have invented basketball, lacrosse, ice hockey, the walker, the electron microscope, the insulin process, the electric streetcar, the electric wheelchair, the telephone, wireless radio, television cameras, electric cooking range, snow-blower, paint roller, and zippers! All of these have had an impact on all human life and every culture, but the most significant invention of the 21st century, artificial intelligence, was born in Toronto and Montreal. Indeed, artificial intelligence, AI, will have an impact equal to or greater than the Internet, the computer, the steam engine.


The research of our guest speaker, Dr. Joshua August Skorburg, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Academic Co-Director of the Centre for Advancing Responsible and Ethical Artificial Intelligence (CARE-AI), and Faculty Affiliate at the One Health Institute at the University of Guelph, spanned applied ethics and moral psychology.

About his topic, AI Ethics PROBES, he said, “As Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) applications continue to proliferate into high-stakes, socially impactful domains, it is critical that we develop a robust framework to evaluate the ethical, legal, and social implications of these emerging technologies. He explained that algorithms had been developed to affect directly humans’ most significant decisions: tertiary education, career, marriage, and purchase of real estate.

He outlined his framework which was called PROBES. The PROBES model highlights six of the most important ethical considerations relating to AI/ML: Privacy, Responsibility, Opacity, Bias, Equity, and Sustainability. His use of PROBES was brilliant and made the topic so much easier to understand.

You can read the entire report here.

Ontario Council AGM 2024

The 2024 Ontario Council AGM & Conference is taking place in Windosr on May 24th and 25th, 2024. The theme of the conference is W/E Break Barriers. (W/E = Windsor/Essex)

The 2024 AGM & Conference will take place at the DoubleTree Windsor Hotel located at 333 Riverside Dr. West in Windsor. Registration for the AGM & Conference is now open. The registration fee is $130.


As Teresa mentioned in her message, Ontario Council has established a special club grant to encourage as many clubs as possible to send a delegate to the AGM. If your Club has sufficient funds to finance your delegate’s attendance at the conference, we ask that you do not apply for this grant, to allow our funds to stretch further. We will at least be able to offer Registration fees, but additional money towards accommodation and/or travel is possible depending on the total number of applicants.


Deadline for submission is April 15, 2024

To get all the information about the 2024 AGM & Conference, including hotel reservations, program and agenda, and how to get to Windsor, please click here.

Ontario Council Elections 2024-26

The CFUW Ontario Council Board of Directors is inviting all the ladies of Ontario Council clubs to consider a very worthwhile opportunity to lead! Our 44 year history has exemplified our tremendous efforts in uniting and serving the women and girls in Ontario…

And you can continue this rich legacy! Support CFUW Ontario Council and take Action!

In addition, this opportunity allows for personal growth, enhancement of leadership skills, a passionate commitment to serving the purposes and goals of Ontario Council.

The Nominations Committee, chaired by Teresa Habs, CFUW Barrie, and joined by Anne Groulx, CFUW Cambridge, Carol Sproule, CFUW Peterborough, Heather Conlin, CFUW Southport, Helen Robb, CFUW Barrie and Wendy Taylor, CFUW Orillia, will welcome your nomination and application forms. Candidates must complete both an application form and a nomination form. Please click here for the Nomination form and here for the Application form.

The Nominations period runs from: March 15 to and including April 20, 2024. The role descriptions for each position – president, secretary, treasurer, advocacy co-ordinator, committee chair of education, committee chair of legislation, committee chair of status of women and human rights, committee chair membership, communications chair and six regional directors – are available on the OC website at https://cfuwontcouncil.org/about/executive/.

The CFUW Ontario Council Board will conduct elections for all director positions at our 2024 AGM, to be held May 24th and 25th, in Windsor. So please mark those calendars! 

Ontario Council Proposed Resolutions

Two clubs, CFUW Muskoka and CFUW Windsor, have submitted resolutions to be voted on at the 2024 AGM. Clubs may now consider the proposed resolutions and determine whether to support them as written, or to propose amendments.


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.


You may view/download CFUW Muskoka's submitted resolution, including Background and Bibliography, by clicking here.

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.

You may view/download CFUW Windsor's submitted resolution, including Background and Bibliography, by clicking here.


Club Review & Amendments

April 1: Deadline for Clubs to submit amendments

To submit an amendment, please use the Resolution Amendment form. An amendment is a proposed change meant to strengthen, clarify and support the original resolution.

  • It must be relevant to the subject of the Resolution.
  • No new subject may be introduced an an amendment

A separate Resolution Amendment form should be completed in Word for each Resolution being amended and returned to the CFUW Ontario Council Resolutions Chair no later than April 1st.

The proposed resolutions and the amendment form are also available on the Ontario Council Policy & Resolutions page of the OC website.

2024 Membership Challenge

The OC Membership Challenge is back! Your Club could win $300 for Recruitment or $300 for Retention. It’s simple to enter. You just need to answer 5 questions for recruitment and/or 5 questions for retention, in 250 words or less for each category. The 5 questions are:

For recruitment of new members:

  • What was your single most effective strategy?
  • How did it work?
  • How did you measure your success?
  • What would you do differently?
  • Have you tried this before?

For retention of new, recent and long-term members?

  • What is your primary strategy?
  • How did you measure your success?
  • What are the results of engaging new members?
  • Would you do anything differently?
  • Why is it successful?

Download the Membership Challenge brochure and follow the instructions to submit your Club’s application! Applications must be submitted on or before April 20, 2024.

Carolyn Day Award

Carolyn Day, a Past-President of Ontario Council, 1998-2000, was the Environment, Clean Water and Great Lakes Policy Advisor from 2000 until her death in 2018. What started as a concern about Walkerton turned into a passion and a knowledge base. During her time, she wrote more than 40 briefs and letters, attended many meetings on our behalf and was even called by government on some occasions. This award is created in her honour.


Tell us about your work to support the environment, locally, provincially, nationally and internationally. Please complete the Carolyn Day Award application and email Teresa Habs, copied to your Regional Director by April 15, 2024.

Scholarship Survey Report

The Scholarship Survey distributed to Ontario Council Clubs in the fall has been analyzed and the information consolidated into a comprehensive report. To download and/or view the report, please click here. The report has also been posted on the OC website on the Club Resources page. Scroll down to the Club Scholarships section.

Forty-five (of 48) clubs provided information on their practices and experience related to scholarship. It was interesting to learn about how the different clubs manage their scholarships. Based on this survey, in the past year, OC clubs distributed almost $522,000 in scholarship funds to Ontario’s students (mostly female). Between 430 and 440 scholarships were given out by the OC clubs!

We wish to thank the clubs who participated for taking the time to respond. If there are any questions regarding the report, please submit them to [email protected].

From UNCSW68

From UNCSW68 Canada’s Pink Tax

This year’s theme at the Commission on The Status of Women (UNCSW) 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

Sessions I have attended have been varied, ranging from Ukraine’s Post War Recovery: Gender Mainstreaming for Economic Recovery to The Role of Media in Preventing Violence Against Women.

One of the sessions which provided the most immediately actionable focus was the presentation of youth projects designed to address gender bias in economic policy in Canada. I would like to bring to your attention the focus of one project in particular which concentrated on the Pink Tax prevalent in all Canadian provinces. Although I have complained about paying more for a blouse to be dry cleaned than a man pays for a shirt to be dry cleaned, I have never thought of the severe ramifications of these disparities on Canadian women’s lives in general.

Overall, women in Canada pay $1,300 a year in extra taxes on products needed to live a woman’s life – taxes on menstrual products, for example, higher prices for the same (or similar) clothing and higher prices for healthcare and senior products (e.g. braces, canes and adult diapers, priced on average at 8% more for women). Given that the gender pay gap in Canada means that Canadian women are paid 20% less than Canadian men, the Pink Tax further economically disadvantages Canadian women.

The point was made that if women paid the same as men for similar products, and the tax was removed from what men perceive as luxury items that are a necessity to women to live a full life, women’s poverty in Canada could be cut in half.

This youth team from St. Francis Xavier Catholic High School (Ottawa) has developed an online petition to pressure our government to eliminate unfair and gender biased taxation in Canada. The site states:

“In partnership with Voices of Olympia Canada, we urge the Canadian government to implement legislation that prevents the enforcement of the Pink Tax in Canada. By doing so, we can take a significant step towards achieving economic equality between genders and promoting fair trade practices within our society.” 

I urge you to take the time to visit this site and sign their petition. Help eliminate unfair, gender biased taxation in Canada: https://www.change.org/p/eliminate-the-pink-tax-in-canada-through-legislative-action.

From UNCSW68

The Importance of CEDAW to All Canadian Women

CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) was at the heart of the United Nations Commission on The Status of Women 68 (UNCSW 68) which has as its priority theme: 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.

CEDAW can be best described as the international bill of rights for women which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979. On 3 September 1981, 30 days after the twentieth member State had ratified it, the Convention entered into force - faster than any previous human rights convention had done - thus bringing to a climax United Nations efforts to codify comprehensively international legal standards for women.

Canada signed CEDAW in 1980 and ratified the Convention approximately 18 months later in December of 1981. CEDAW is one of the key international agreements that guides the work of UN Women in achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

Seven countries have not yet ratified CEDAW. These countries are United States of America, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Nauru, Palau and Tonga.

Among the international human rights treaties, the Convention takes an important place in bringing the female half of humanity into the focus of human rights concerns. The spirit of the Convention is rooted in the goals of the United Nations: to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity, and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women. The present document spells out the meaning of equality and how it can be achieved. In so doing, the Convention establishes not only an international bill of rights for women, but also an agenda for action by countries to guarantee the enjoyment of those rights.

In its preamble, the Convention explicitly acknowledges that "extensive discrimination against women continues to exist” and emphasizes that such discrimination "violates the principles of equality of rights and respect for human dignity".


To read the full text of CEDAW, go to https://www.ohchr.org/en/instruments-mechanisms/instruments/convention-elimination-all-forms-discrimination-against-women.

Sandra Shaw, Chair Advocacy, Ontario Council 

2024 Advocacy Survey

The 2024 Advocacy Survey was sent to all Ontario club Presidents last month. 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!

If your Club has not already responded, you may access the survey here. But please remember, only one survey response per Club.

2024 #IWD Club News & Events

CFUW Aurora/Newmarket hosted an IWD event with guest speaker Carol Hancock, author of No Small Legacy, The Story of Nellie McClung. Carol is also a CFUW A/N member!

CFUW Cornwall & District celebrated International Women's Day by reflecting on its past achievements and embracing the new CFUW look. The event garnered front page coverage in the local paper, in both the online and paper editions. The local Cogeco TV crew also came out to tape the event for the Community Channel. The event certainly raised the profile of the Club and CFUW in the Cornwall area. You can read the newspaper article here!

CFUW Orillia hosted a spectacular event to celebrate International Women’s Day. As the women entered the venue, time was dedicated to socializing, enjoying refreshments and listening to live harp music performed by one of our members, the talented Susan S. CFUW Orillia women and many community guests gathered for an informative evening consisting of Milestones in Canadian Women’s History, a panel of three exceptional women sharing their stories and passions, a small group activity highlighting women’s accomplishments and where do we go from here, and of course time to network and socialize.

The highlight of the evening was the panel of Local Change Makers including Leah den Bok, Amber McGarvey-Moreland and Madelaine Fournier. CFUW Orillia member Jacqueline facilitated the discussion by asking pertinent questions and encouraging questions from the audience.

Leah began a project in 2015 called Humanizing the Homeless. She documents individual experiences through photographs. Leah has published a book series “Nowhere to Call Home” highlighting photos of people experiencing homelessness along with their personal story. All of the profits from the selling of these books is donated to homeless shelters.

After a difficult pregnancy and postpartum recovery, Amber founded Wide-Awake Club for Mommas. This is a confidential online group that offers the members support, encouragement and resources. The site is often accessed in the middle of the night when mothers are awake and looking for support from other women experiencing similar situations.

Madelaine is a community organizer and advocate for environmental and social justice. She is also a founding member of Stop the Sprawl Orillia  campaign in an effort to prevent the expansion of Orillia’s urban boundary.

All of the panelists displayed a wonderful sense of commitment and passion in their work which was extremely inspiring. Many thanks to all of the dedicated Volunteers either presenting or working behind the scenes. This event highlights what it looks like when women work together to create something special.

Club News & Events

As always, there's lots going on with Ontario Clubs! Please send your club news & events to [email protected].

CFUW Belleville & District

CFUW Orillia's 2024 Homes Tour June 2nd - SAVE THE DATE!

CFUW Perth & District BIRDS, BEES & BUTTERFLIES Creating Habitat with Native Plants!

OC members are invited for an evening of inspiration and learning from three local speakers who will share their knowledge, experience and passion about using native plants for gardening and habitat restoration. This is a hybrid meeting, free and open to the public. f you wish to attend via ZOOM, please email us for the link. In person at the Royal Canadian Legion, Perth.

CFUW St. Catharines' 2024 House & Garden Tour

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
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