Archive for the 'Womens Issues' Category



John Gordon has written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to support the continued funding of the Sisters in Spirit initiative.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada had secured government support to pursue the initiative but the federal government has slowly reduced funding for the initiative and even tried to prevent the association from using the name Sisters in Spirit for any other government-funded work.

“PSAC members have actively supported the work of the Sisters in Spirit initiative,” Gordon wrote. “It has become not only a symbol of the commitment of the community to ensuring the safety of Aboriginal women, but also a way of honoring the missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls, their families and their communities.”

CC Candles by flickr user Alesa Dam

December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, this day marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. They died because they were women.

As well as commemorating the 14 young women whose lives ended in an act of gender-based violence that shocked the nation, December 6 represents an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society. It is also an opportunity to consider the women and girls for whom violence is a daily reality, and to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence. And finally, it is a day on which communities can consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

On December 6th PSAC Regional Women’s Committees in Vancouver and Victoria are sponsoring candlelight vigils in their communities. They will commemorate the women whose lives ended in Montreal, reflect on violence against women, and gather donations for local women’s organizations.

December 6th – End Violence Against Women Candlelight Vigils

There will be a donation collection at both events – please bring: new towels, journals, new pajamas, slippers, new socks, jackets, hats, mittens, etc. for donation to local women’s organizations. Spread the word! Download a poster: Surrey | Victoria.

Victoria Area Council Meeting

  • October 25, 2010, 5:30PM
  • PSAC Regional Office, 210-1497 Admirals Road, Victoria
  • Proposed Agenda
    • Treasurer’s report
    • Treasury Board Bargaining Guest Speakers:
      • Megan Adam – PA Member Negotiator
      • Randy Sanderson – SV Member Negotiator

Please RSVP to Rosemary no later than noon on October 22, 2010, snacks will be served – download the poster here (pdf)

Annual General Meeting – Victoria Regional Women’s Committee

  • October 26, 2010, 5:30PM
  • PSAC Boardroom, 210-1497 Admirals Rd., Victoria, BC
  • Tentative Agenda
    • Elections:
      • Chair (s)
      • Treasurer
      • Secretary
  • Report from the National Women’s Conference
  • Planning for December 6th
  • Review and approval of June 21st meeting minutes

Please R.S.V.P by email to either Rosemary or Virginia as snacks will be provided – download a poster here (pdf)


Vancouver Area Council Annual General Meeting

  • Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 – dinner at 5PM, meeting at 5:30PM
  • PSAC Vancouver Regional Office (Suite 200 – 5238 Joyce Street).
  • Agenda to follow, but this AGM does include an election of officers.

Please RSVP by October 22nd as an excellent Indian dinner will be offered, with vegetarian and meat options.

Fraser Valley Area Council General Meeting

  • Thursday November 4, 2010, 5PM to 7PM
  • Clearbrook Library, 32320 George Ferguson Way Abbotsford
  • Agenda
    • TB Tentative Agreement updates
    • PSAC BC Regional Convention
    • Come and meet Bargaining Team members!

All PSAC members are welcome to attend this meeting. Download a poster here (pdf)

Ottawa – In a groundbreaking decision today, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that employers cannot discriminate against their employees should they choose to become parents. Fiona Johnstone, a Canadian Border Services Officer and a member of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, convinced the Tribunal that she was a victim of discrimination based on family status.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) refused to accommodate her request for more regular hours so she could arrange for proper child care. The CBSA told her that the only way that she could care for her kids was to work part time. Fiona Johnstone was unable to obtain child care because she and her husband both worked rotating shift schedules at Pearson International Airport.

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June was a busy month around the province! Here are some photos and a video of some of the activities PSAC members participated in.

Under the theme “Step In to Something That Moves You” PSAC women activists, old and new, joined together at the 2010 BC Regional Women’s Conference in Vancouver. They heard from guest speakers and held discussions and workshops on a variety of topics including childcare, women and pensions, pay equity, work-life balance, violence against women, lobbying and political action/campaign work, and debated resolutions to be sent to the PSAC National Women’s Conference. Huge thanks to Virginia Vaillancourt for putting together a most excellent video!

In Victoria, PSAC staff and members from the South Island marched in the 2010 Pride Parade under the theme “Gay Rights are Human Rights” and hosted a booth at the festival held at MacDonald Park.

In Cumberland, a delegation of PSAC members from the Campbell River and District Area Council attended the Miners Memorial Day Weekend, where they laid a wreath to commemorate the miners who worked and lost their lives in the mines of Cumberland and other workplaces throughout BC.

Meanwhile, back on the mainland, PSAC BC hosted a Think Public! booth at the Surrey Canada Day festivities. Staff and members met with the fair goers and spoke with them about the value of strong, quality, public services and public pensions.

“Read more” for the photos and video …

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In attendance: Brenda Esplen, Jeannette Lum, Sharon Hazelwood, Gwen Williams, Leanne Hughes, Cindy Little, Virginia Vaillancourt (Chair), Rosemary MacKenzie (PSAC Staff) Regrets:   Dyan Day, Mandi Schubert.

Meeting called to order at 5:40 pm

Review of April 13, 2010 minutes and approval

M/S/C
Jeannette Lum / Cindy Little /  Carried

Continue reading below, or download a copy of Victoria RWC May 27 minutes (pdf)

Budget

New signers are now on the account and we’re figuring what’s in our account.   Brenda will explain what we have in each account.   We will discuss budget for the upcoming year.   One requirement for the Victoria RWC is to submit a budget to the REVP each year.
After a cursory glance here is our balance as of March 31, 2010 :

  • $1175.54 in our Business Chequing
  • $129.47 in our Equity Shares Account
  • $700.98 Plan 24 Savings Account

Our next meeting is June 21st, so here is some suggestions re:  funding line items to think about.

  • Assistance to conferences
  • Meeting (foods / movie rentals etc)
  • December 6th event / March 8th
  • Contingency Fund / Miscellaneous
  • Donations

If you think of anything more before June 21st, just let me know (Virginia).

Funding for Women who’ve been selected to the BC Regional Women’s Conference

Re:   $75 registration fee.   Is any assistance needed by anyone?

As well, each RWC has been asked to bring a “basket” for the silent auction.   Suggestions?  How much do we wish to make up the basket for?  Tangible items……………

  • Murchies # 10 blend tea / Empress Tea
  • A candle from the Day of Mourning Event
  • Roger’s Chocolats , Smoked Salmon
  • Bottle of wine from a local winery, Maybe something from Butchart Gardens, Books from a local author
  • Postcards from Victoria

As well, we’ve been asked to assist in funding a beverage for the participants from the RW Conference.  Up to $200.  There will be 63 participants registered, plus the staff etc. Everyone was in agreement.

Air Travel to RW Conference.

We’ve be able to purchase two Harbour Air tickets from a local who had two extra flight tickets, willing to sell them to us for a reduced costs.

Gwen Williams and Sharon Hazelwood will be utilizing these tickets, as they are travelling as a team.

Delegate for the PSAC National Women’s Conference

It was asked if anyone was interested in going to the National Women’s conference as a delegate.   Only Virginia was interested.  Brenda said she would try and apply to go via her local.

Virginia will be the delegate
Brenda will be the alternate.

Meeting adjourned at:   6:40 pm

NOTICE OF GENERAL MEETING

DATE: June 21, 2010 (Monday)
TIME: 5:30 P.M.
LOCATION: PSAC Boardroom, 210-1497 Admirals Rd., Victoria, BC

AGENDA: To be announced.

Please forward any agenda items to the Chair, Virginia Vaillancourt at: uvaevictoria@shaw.ca

Please R.S.V.P as various snack food will be provided – email Rosemary at mackenr@psac.com

Note: the building door is locked by 5:30, so if you can, please arrive a few minutes earlier. Thanks.

Vancouver Human Rights Committee Meeting

  • Monday, May 17, 2010, 5:30 p.m.
  • PSAC Vancouver Regional Office – 200-2538 Joyce St.
  • Agenda items: National Aboriginal Day

Download a poster

Vancouver Regional Women’s Committee meeting

  • Wednesday, May 19, 2010, 5:45 p.m.
  • PSAC Vancouver Regional Office 200-5238 Joyce St. Vancouver, B.C.
  • Agenda: Regional Women’s Conference
  • Please RSVP to: Jennifer Ho or Marie Lygo

Download a poster

The 2010 PSAC National Women’s Conference will be held October 22 to 24 in Ottawa under the theme “Fighting back, moving forward”.

The Conference objectives:

  • develop our analysis of the impact of federal government policies and cutbacks on women’s equality and human rights
  • understand the importance of quality public services for women as workers and members of society
  • increase PSAC sisters’ involvement in the campaigns for federal pay equity, childcare, pensions and the defense of quality public services, as well as our involvement in coalitions working to defend and advance equality rights
  • build women’s political capacity and activism in the union, the community and beyond and develop action plans that are effective and easy to implement

For more information and online registration, visit the national website. Note the deadline for resolutions & applications is June 4th 2010.

The application and resolutions deadline for the BC Regional Women’s Conference has been extended to May 6th.

The 2010 BC Regional Women’s Conference will take place June 11th – 13th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Vancouver. The theme of the conference is “Step In To a Place That Moves You”.

The objectives of conference are:

  • To play a key role in sustaining PSAC campaigns on the issues of pay equity and child care.
  • To coordinate activities and campaigns with other PSAC bodies and with partners such as the BC Federation of Labour, District Labour Councils, other women’s organizations.
  • To build representative regional women’s committees.

There will be stimulating presentations and discussions on a variety of topics of interest to women including childcare, women and pensions, pay equity, work-life balance, violence against women, lobbying and political action/campaign work.

All PSAC women members in good standing can apply to be delegates to this Conference. The selection of delegates will take into account union activism and the following criteria will also be considered: region of the province, Component, and equity representation.

To improve access for women with family care responsibilities the PSAC has a family care allowance policy.

Registration

Resoutions

Resolutions may be submitted by PSAC-constitutionally recognized bodies (eg. RWC’s, Human Rights Committees, and Locals) prior to the deadline of May 6th. Please note the steering committee is limiting the number of resolutions from each body to two.

ABC Restaurant, Kelowna

In Attendance:

Susan Yaciw (UTE 20003), Joy Harrison (APSAR), Kelly Megyesi (CEIU 20915), Annette Hale (USGE 20153), Roberta Gourlie (CEIU 20915), Darrell-Lee McKenzie (AGR 20043), Linda Woods (NAT 20140)

The meeting was called to order at 10:15a.m. with Kelly Megyesi in the chair via teleconference.

Continue reading below or download a copy of Okanagan Regional Women’s Committee meeting minutes April 10, 2010 (pdf)

Minutes:  Minutes from January 16, 2010 were reviewed.                                       m/s/c

Treasurer’s Report:

-    Balance as of March 31 was $2008.00.  Only payment was $100 to Haiti relief.
m/s/c

Old Business:

1) International Women’s Day:

-    Sample (rejected) highlighters distributed.  Agreement that not suitable.  Other swag displayed and discussed.  More suitable replacements to be ordered.
-    Kelly attended rally and breakfast in Vancouver and breakfast in Vernon.

New Business:

1) BC Regional Women’s Conference:

-    Conference being held in June 11 – 13, 2010.
-    Theme “Step Into Something that Move You.”
-    Deadline for Applications – April 28, 2010

2) Sisters in Spirit Walk:

-    From Kamloops to Manitoba.   Important to support.  Some committee members may be able to participate when the walk goes through the Salmon Arm area.

Action:  Kelly to forward e-mail to all members.

3)  Accessibility Conference – Vancouver:

-    Kelly attended.  Very good conference.  Buttons ordered “Just Say Hi” from
provincial program.

4) Bamboo Hoodies:

-    Suggested as Women’s Committee identifier.  www.jericosport.com

Motion:  To purchase 10 – 12 white hoodies with ORWC logo.  Members to
pay $25 each with balance coming from ORWC.
Kelly moved, Susan seconded, CARRIED.

Action:  Kelly to e-mail sizing info to regular attendees.

Round Table:

Kelly reminded everyone of Wear Pink Day, April 14.  Anti-bullying.  Kelly also attended the Ghakal vigil in Vernon on Apr 5.  She felt turnout was lower than other years, mainly due to poor weather.  She also attended the CEIU National Executive Committee in Ottawa as an observer.

Linda to provide link to website “Champion Against Bullying.”

Darrell-Lee recommended meetings alternate start between OAC and ORWC.

PSAC ORWC donating bag of toiletries to Kelowna Women’s Shelter via Linda Woods.

Next Meeting:  Possibly June 26, 2010 weekend

Adjourned at 11:50 a.m.                                         m/s/c

PSAC Victoria Regional Womens Committee meeting minutes – Feb 9 2010

Members present: Virginia, Alexandra, Mandi (& Cassandra), Cindy, Dyan, Brenda, Rosemary, Jeanette (on phone)

Review of Dec 6th Event: We spent $928.09 in total, a breakdown is to follow. Virigina suggested we think about planning for next years event soon. All in Favour.

March 8th Event: 100th anniversary of the International Womens Day concerning Pay Equity, Child Care Plan, Long Gun Registry among other important issues. It was suggested we use the same posters to raise awareness as were used last year. Virginia suggested a womens film night for Monday March 8th at 1730 at the PCAC office. She will contact the membesrs with more info when it’s confirmed.

Bill C471 Pay Equity Taskforce: Private Members Bill. This bill has passed it’s first reading and we will continue to watch it in its progression.

Bill C391 Long Gun Registry. Virginia wrote a letter to each MP that voted to dismantle the Long Gun Registry and she will make copies f the letters to send to us so we (PSAC Womens Committee) can take a personal and committee stand against the dismantling. She will draft a letter for us and send it via email for the members to send out. For more information on who voted for and against go to www.howdidtheyvote.ca.

2010 Meeting Schedule:

  • Tuesday April 13th at 1730
  • Tuesday June 15th at 1730
  • Tuesday Sept 14th at 1730
  • Tuesday Oct 26th at 1730

Meeting adjourned: 1836

The 2010 BC Regional Women’s Conference will take place June 11th – 13th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Vancouver. The theme of the conference is “Step In To a Place That Moves You”.

The objectives of conference are:

  • To play a key role in sustaining PSAC campaigns on the issues of pay equity and child care.
  • To coordinate activities and campaigns with other PSAC bodies and with partners such as the BC Federation of Labour, District Labour Councils, other women’s organizations.
  • To build representative regional women’s committees.

There will be stimulating presentations and discussions on a variety of topics of interest to women including childcare, women and pensions, pay equity, work-life balance, violence against women, lobbying and political action/campaign work.

All PSAC women members in good standing can apply to be delegates to this Conference. The selection of delegates will take into account union activism and the following criteria will also be considered: region of the province, Component, and equity representation.

To improve access for women with family care responsibilities the PSAC has a family care allowance policy.

Registration

Resoutions

Resolutions may be submitted by PSAC-constitutionally recognized bodies (eg. RWC’s, Human Rights Committees, and Locals) prior to the deadline of May 6th. Please note the steering committee is limiting the number of resolutions from each body to two.

1730: Meeting called to Order

In Attendance: Virginia, Chair, Mandi, Co-Chair, Alexandra, Soniia, Jeanette, Dyan, Secretary, Brenda, Treasurer
Rosemary, PSAC Staff
Guest: Michelle, CAW Local 114

Agenda : Introductions
: Event plans for Dec 6th candle light vigil
: Approval of minutes
: 2010 Events
: Festive Meet n’ Greet

Michelle from CAW Local 114 provided update on items for Dec 6th Commemorative Vigil, which will be held between 1630 and 1800 at the BC Legislative grounds. Awaiting confirmation on Legislature Ground use. Invite letters drawn up by Virginia were passed around. Sarah from CAW Local 114 will contact the Transition Rep in addition to the letters. Donations for the events are discussed in addition to advertising for the event. Michelle will try to get a deal with Blackpress. 1X1 border, 2 days Monday to Friday with Victoria Daily is $131.27. Michelle will do some research into radio announcements as well. Sonia will do some research into Shaw. Mandi volunteered to send out letters to VIHA and post ads on UsedVictoria.Com and Craigslist.Com and will co-ordinate with the City of Victoria for a Calendar of Events.

A list of items needed for the Dec 6th event was then discussed. Flicker candles from RWC budget, 200 candles for $300. Order for 200 candles was approved unanimously.

Michelle offered to find out about having vehicles on the Government Lawn. Virginia will research sound system for event. Mandi, Soniia and Sarah volunteered for the information/donation table.

Next was the approval of October AGM minutes by Cindy, seconded by Jeanette. Motion passed.

Festive Meet and Greet planned for Dec 8th at the PSAC office between 1600 to 2000 an email will be sent to all PSAC memebers to come out.

2010 Events were to be postponed until the first meeting of 2010.

Cindy Little did the swearing in of Virginia, Mandi and Brenda.

Next meeting to be held Tuesday, Feb 9th 2010.

Meeting adjourned at 1849.

Spotlight on International Women’s Day – The struggle continues, women still fighting for equality and human rights

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first international women’s conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, which lead to the creation of International Women’s Day. The day had been celebrated in many countries since the mid-1800s. But in 1910, women made the day a part of a worldwide movement and haven’t looked back since.

March 8 also represents the 40 year anniversary of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women – the first Canada-wide investigation into women’s equality, which made recommendations that women are still fighting for today. Canadian women have seen many victories over the last four decades, including constitutional rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, paid maternity leave and laws that ensure equal pay for work of equal value.

In addition, Canadian women played a significant role in ensuring that women’s rights and gender equality are included in international agreements such as the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.

But even though women have seen many improvements over the last 40 years, there is still much work to be done. Since the election of Stephen Harper’s Conservative government in 2006, women have seen their rights rolled back or denied.

Read more of the Union Update spotlight on IWD at the national website.

In the week before International Women’s Day, the Canadian Labour Congress is launching an email campaign to let the Members of Parliament who voted in favour of scrapping Canada’s long gun registry know that this is the wrong thing to do!

Why is scrapping the gun registry the wrong thing to do? Among other things, it’s about violence against women.

More women in Canada are killed by their intimate partners than are killed by strangers – 65% of women murder victims are murdered by their intimate partners. In contrast, men are more likely to be killed by strangers, with only 15% of male homicides committed by their intimate partners. Most women are killed in their own homes – an Ontario study of risk factors of domestic violence found that possession or access to a firearm was the fourth most serious risk factor after marriage breakup, depression and a history of domestic violence.

In 1991 Canada brought in stricter gun control regulations, and also introduced the gun registry legislation in 1995.

The new laws focused on strengthening controls on rifles and shotguns – not just registering long guns but also strict regulations on the storage of these weapons. Since 1991 the overall rate of homicides with firearms (including handguns) in Canada is down by 40%. But the rate of homicides with rifles and shotguns has plummeted – a decrease of 70% in the same period. The number of women murdered by guns has fallen from 85 in 1991 to 24 in 2004.

In BC, Dona Cadman is one of the urban Conservative MPs who voted in favour of abolishing the registry. Please take a moment to visit the CLC website and send her an email asking her to change her mind.

In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on member states to proclaim a day for women’s rights and international peace. Following the United Nations’ lead, Canada chose March 8 as International Women’s Day. Each year at this time, Canadians celebrate progress toward equality for women and their full participation, reflect on the challenges and barriers that remain, and consider future steps to achieving equality for all women, in all aspects of their lives.

Read more for a list of events and check back as more will be added.

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Election of Officers/Annual General Meeting, Prince George PSAC Regional Women’s Committee

  • Date: Sat., March 6th, 2010
  • Place: Ramada Hotel, Alder Room
  • Time: Immediately following the International Women’s Day Breakfast which will be approximately 10:30 or 11:00am

Agenda:

  • Election of Officers
  • IWD
  • Regional Women’s Conference
  • Round Table

Groups provide “reality check” on women’s equality – Labour, women’s groups will tell UN Canada is lagging

VANCOUVER, Feb. 22 /CNW/ – Labour and women’s groups have issued a report which they say is a “reality check” describing Canada’s lagging performance in achieving women’s equality. The report will be distributed at the Bejing plus 15 meeting being held at the United Nations in New York, March 1-12.

“Canadian women have lost a lot of ground in the past 15 years,” says Kay Sinclair, Public Service Alliance of Canada Regional Executive Vice President for BC. “Our government has sent a report to the United Nations that paints a rosy picture on women’s equality in Canada. We have written our own document and it is a reality check on what the government is saying.”

The UN meeting in March will evaluate progress, identify challenges, and recommend policies to promote gender equality and the advancement of women. This year holds special significance because it marks the 15th anniversary of the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women.

Sinclair continues, “We see the ravages of poverty every day in school classrooms, and rates are increasing at an alarming rate while the support mechanisms are disappearing or non-existent. With more women and girls living in poverty and being denied fundamental human rights, how can we build for a strong and prosperous Canadian future?” She adds, “Although Canada has made commitments to implement equal pay for work of equal value, the federal government hasn’t lived up to its commitments. The government removed the right to pay equity for federal public sector workers in 2009, with the adoption of the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act. We raise this issue in this report and it will be front and center for us next week at the United Nations in New York.”

Five years ago, Canada was ranked amongst the top ten countries in the world for its achievements in women’s human rights, but in 2009 Canada had fallen to 73rd in the UN Gender Disparity Index. Changes to gender architecture, shifts in policy and programming within the government, and the government’s response to the economic crisis have been felt by the most vulnerable women and girls in Canada.

The joint report is called Reality Check: Women in Canada and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action Fifteen Years On, A Canadian Civil Society Response. It was coordinated and produced by the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action and the Canadian Labour Congress, and is endorsed by a variety of other organizations.




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