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New cuts and conditions for Status of Women Canada

Section: Canadian News Geography: Canada Topics: Women, Harper

October 11, 2006

New cuts and conditions for Status of Women Canada

by Anna Carastathis

The program devoted to improving the condition of women in this country is dropping the word "equality" from its mandate. Status of Women Canada (SWC) has changed its statement of purpose to reflect, in the view of one critic, the "conservative ideology, […] that systemic discrimination [against women] doesn't exist."

What's more, Bev Oda, the minister for the Status of Women announced on October 3 that organizations would no longer be eligible for funding for advocacy, government lobbying, or research projects, as part of new terms and conditions for SWC grants. SWC has a grant fund of $11 million. This follows an announcement, made the previous week, that the government was reducing SWC's $13-million operational budget by $5 million over two years. "Canadian women know the value of a dollar. They know what good use of hard-earned money means," Oda said to justify the cuts to the program.

In fact, the government's own statistics suggest that Canadian women still aren't getting to know the full value of a dollar. In 2003, women who worked full-time were paid an average 70.5 cents for every dollar paid to men; immigrant women made 58 cents to the dollar of a Canadian-born man. Separate earnings statistics are not available for Aboriginal women, though it is documented that 38 per cent live under the poverty line.

A website launched yesterday to rally support for SWC urges visitors to the site to lobby the federal government to revisit the changes it recently made to the SWC's funding and objectives.

Toronto Star

CBC

DAWN/FAFIA Press Release

CNEWS

"Women in Canada Fifth Edition A Gender-based Statistical Report", 2005.

"Equality for Women: Beyond the Illusion", December 2005

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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