The change in SWC policy is ludicrous! From the SWC website:
Women’s Program Renewal
The Terms and Conditions of the Women’s Program (WP) have been renewed for the period September 27, 2006 to September 27, 2011….
SWC does not provide funding to:
- Domestic advocacy activities and lobbying of federal, provincial and municipal governments.
So, if a non-profit organization operating, for example, a Transition House, Safe House, Sexual Assault Centre, or Women’s Health Committee requests money from Status of Women Canada the organization foregoes its right to lobby any local, provincial, or national government.
What the hell is that about?
Hmm…another F word comes to mind.
As a 20+ year feminist, I can’t think of a single women’s organization that relies solely on funding from SWC. In fact, most women’s groups bring in money from many levels of government, from the private sector, and from the pockets of individual citizens because the pittance that SWC provides won’t keep the doors of the place open!
The bias of PMS & his NGC is glaringly obvious. Organizations who work to make systemic change in women’s lives have no access to government if they choose to continue providing services to women. Yet organizations whose reason for being is a net profit on the bottom line receive tax breaks and unfettered access to the PMS and his NGC!
There you have it. Sexual discrimination at the highest level of government in Canada.
Oh, and here’s what Canadian women’s groups have to say:
New Federal Guidelines Bar Advocacy and Lobbying
by Women’s Groups
October 4, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa: At a meeting yesterday with women’s groups, Beverley Oda, Minister
Responsible for the Status of Women (SWC), informed representatives that new
federal guidelines for funding will prohibit them from engaging in any
advocacy or lobbying activities with federal funds. Women were also told
that the federal government has no intention of reversing a 5 million dollar
cut to the department’s budget, despite wide-spread pressure to do so.
“The Minister’s narrowing of the rules severely limits our ability to
advocate for systemic change when it comes to justice, legal and other
matters of concern to women in Canada,” said Alia Hogben, Executive Director
of the Canadian Council of the Muslim Women.
“The prohibition on advocacy or lobbying with federal dollars is
undemocratic – and punitive to those with the least resources,” added
Edeltraud Neal of the Canadian Federation of University Women- Ottawa.
Last week, the government announced a 38.5% cut to Status of Women Canada’s
budget, signaling what women’s groups regard as an effort to undermine some
longstanding women’s equality initiatives. “In the absence of a critical
mass of women in either Parliament or the Cabinet, advocacy by women’s
groups has been a hallmark of Canada’s democracy,” said Neal.
Women’s organizations have received federal funds over the years to analyze
government policies, develop proposals that reflect the needs of women in
their communities, and advocate for change.
“It is clear to us that this government is out of touch with the realities
of ordinary women in Québec and Canada. Minister Oda does not appear to
fully understand that systemic discrimination for women still persists, as
documented by a widely respected Statistics Canada report in March 2006,”
remarked Michèle Asselin, President of la Fédération des femmes du Québec,
the largest women’s organization in Québec.
In response, women’s organizations have immediately requested a meeting with
Prime Minister Harper. In a written statement to FAFIA during the last
federal election, the Prime Minister committed to “support women’s human
rights” and “take concrete and immediate measures, as recommended by the
United Nations, to ensure that Canada fully upholds its commitments to women
“Recent actions of the federal government are not consistent with this
commitment,” said Bonnie Diamond of the Canadian Feminist Alliance for
International Action (FAFIA). “We would like Mr. Harper to be accountable to
Yesterday’s meeting with the Minister included representatives from the
Canadian Council of Muslim Women, Canadian Federation of University Women,
Canadian Research Institute of the Advancement of Women, FAFIA, Fédération
des femmes du Québec, National Association of Women and the Law, National
Council of Women, and the National Organization of Immigrant and Visible
For further information, contact 613-232-9505, x222 or 613-292-7941 (cell).
UPDATE: skdadl has an excellent post about this issue here.