We need a renewed commitment to achieve true equality for women in Canada. The NDP believes that women’s equality is fundamental to this country and is committed to achieving it in every walk of life – from the make-up of the House of Commons, to pay equity, to childcare.
Nearly 90 years ago women got the vote and nearly 80 years ago they were legally recognized as ‘persons’. Since then many other important battles have been won for women’s rights. But recently women have been losing ground in their fight for equality as Conservative and Liberal governments in Ottawa have cut programs and taken a step back on women’s issues. Women deserve better.
Since the Conservatives took office in 2006, Status of Women Canada, the agency mandated to work towards women’s equality in Canada, has come under attack. Five million dollars were cut from its budget, 12 of 16 regional offices were closed, and the word ‘equality’ was removed from its funding mandate.
Previous Liberal governments also turned back the clock on women’s equality when they eliminated program funding for women’s organizations, disbanded the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women, failed to deliver on childcare, pay equity, and changes to employment insurance, and ended the federal involvement in housing.
The NDP are working to regain lost ground and to make real, progressive gains for women.
With women representing 41% of its caucus the NDP has the highest percentage of female MPs of any party in the House.
Canada’s NDP is working to get more done for today’s women and their families:
- Introduced the Early Learning and Childcare Act that is now before committee.
- Called for the implementation of the Pay Equity Task Force’s recommendations.
- Proposed expanding homecare, caregivers’ programs (to receive up to one year of Employment Insurance) and amending the Canada Pension Plan (to permit time spent caring for loved ones to count when determining benefit entitlements) to ease the burden of care for the elderly and other dependent relatives.
- Introduced a bill to create a National Breast Implant Registry to protect women’s health.
- Secured all-party agreement to pass the Seniors Charter – committing the government to ensure free dental and pharmacare for every Canadian over 65 years of age, the majority of whom are women.
- Secured $1.6 billion in the 2005 budget for social and co-operative housing.
- Brought back the Committee on the Status of Women after Liberals shut it down, and now fighting for its continued survival in the face of massive cuts by the Conservatives.
We can and we must ensure we make Canada a model of equality for women.