Another women’s org at final jeopardy

Here’s another that will bite the dust come the end of December. BC women are bearing the brunt of this round; they have Gordon Campbell against them as well as the Harpercrites.

Like SWAG - which is hosting WISE's Scarlet Letter Campaign workshop in
Victoria next month - WISE is likely to die out, thanks to the changes to
Status of Women Canada. 

WISE is a BC-based ad hoc group and growing national movement that is led by
women in poverty. We work to address the causal links between policy and
poverty, educate people about the effects of poverty - and income more
generally - on the health and wellbeing of individuals and their
communities, and support one another in introducing and implementing
inexpensive, creative solutions at the local level.

WISE has only ever received two grants, both from Status of Women Canada.
Given that funding in Canada is ultimately governed by the Charity Act, WISE
is not permitted to receive grants from private foundations. Moreover, no
other government department or ministry, at any level of government, EXCEPT
THE STATUS OF WOMEN CANADA, even considered applications from committees or
ad hoc groups. With the change to its mandate and eligibility criteria,
Status of Women Canada has joined the rest. Now groups like WISE are locked
out of all funding options.

Stephen Harper and Minister Oda argue that advocacy should be funded by
those doing, or supporting, the advocacy. Well in "booming" British
Columbia, almost one-quarter of the population is living below the poverty
line; the other three-quarters wants to pretend there isn't a problem or
that the poor are deservedly society's throwaways. In other words, the
population from which there is most likely to come advocacy on behalf of the
poor is the poor themselves. By definition, the poor are struggling to
survive on too little money. They've NOTHING to fund their advocacy.

WISE is a case in point. Full membership in WISE is available only to women
in poverty - they are our raison d'etre. WISE Membership is necessarily
free. Therefore, it wouldn't matter if we had one million members. It's
still the case that X times $0.00 is $0.00. Everything that WISE does has
been reliant on electronic networking. Between our two grants, we have been
without a phone. Thankfully, our book sales have allowed us to maintain our
Internet connection and website, but that's it. WISE cannot, for example, be
an affiliate member of NAC or any other organization to which fees must be

After WISE's current grant from Status of Women Canada ends in December
2007, there will be no more funding for our initiatives. Hence, there will
be no more WISE initiatives. And no more initiatives means no more WISE.

Chrystal Ocean, Coordinator
Wellbeing through Inclusion Socially & Economically

4 thoughts on “Another women’s org at final jeopardy

  1. Why would an anti-poverty group go to a women’s secretariet for funding? Does poverty not affect men? Male children? Families of both genders.

    I would think grants should come for your organization from Provincial departments like social services or community relations or maybe a charity like the United Way.

    Does any of the money your group gets actually GO to poverty stricken individuals or are you the ones who sit around and talk about it and get funding for studies and conferences and preaching that it is everybody else’s problem.

    What if you formed a group that “adopted say 10 single Mom’s and actually mentored her into improving her life, education, choices, whatever it is that is trapping her in a poverty trap and then those 10 opay it forward and on and on and on.

    Just an idea – less talk and taxpayer money for meeting rooms and press releases…and more action.

    You can do it – you have spent years telling everybody else THEY should take action – now it is your chance.

  2. Lorraine, can you read it again? Gordon Campbell has already attacked women’s groups in BC. He’s not giving out money to poverty groups, only to big biz. And, fyi, women are more likely to live in poverty than men. Oh, and have you tried feeding three kids on a single working class income? Or going to school and feeding three kids?

    Good grief! Try harder next time.

  3. I was widowed and raised two sons on my own. Thank you very much for the stereotype of women as victims and somehow weak and defenceless needing extra-ordinary charity.

  4. My apologies, but it seems to me that you’re the one stuck in your own victimhood! You and your ilk are the ones who blather on about the victim thing. I’ve never said a word about it. In fact, I’ve explained it to you before. Women are survivors, not victims. Survivors. A whole ‘nother world!

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