PSAC Calls on Status of Women Minister to Resign

Monday, July 26 2010

November 29, 2006:  Ottawa--Canadians are outraged at the $5M cuts to Status of Women Canada (SWC) and the changes in the guidelines which saw the elimination of funding for research and advocacy for women’s equality rights.

To add insult to injury, under the guise and premise of "achieving efficiencies" at SWC, the government has decided to eliminate almost half its workforce across the country.

"How can Minister Oda expect Canadians to believe that she and her government are acting in the best interests of women? We are calling on this Minister to resign. She simply cannot profess to represent Canadian women, nor can she claim she is defending women’s equality" stated Robyn Benson, PSAC Officer responsible for women’s rights.

Out of 131 positions, the majority of which are held by women, 61 positions are being cut. We know that the government is shutting down 12 of 16 regional offices in all parts of the country. We also know that some senior managers at SWC are getting a promotion.  SWC should be more than a granting agency and secretariat to the Minister. We still need in-house policy development on gender equality. We still need independent research on women’s issues. We still need in-house monitoring of government policy for its impact on women. We still need SWC to promote women’s equality all over the place - inside and outside government here in Canada and internationally. But that’s what the Harper government’s "administrative efficiencies" are going to cost us.

"What the Harper government has done to SWC is an outright betrayal to all Canadians, women and men, who have been working to ensure that systems and programs that promote equality are supported," affirmed PSAC National President John Gordon. "We haven’t achieved equality yet. To achieve equality, restoring funding for advocacy and research and increasing funding to the Women’s Program should be a priority," confirmed Robyn Benson.

"The government should listen to elected MPs on the Standing Committee on the Status of Women" said Heather Brooker, President of the PSAC National Component which represents the affected workers. "Their majority report calls for a reversal to the $5 million cuts in SWC’s operating budget." 

To quote SWC Report on Plans and Priorities 2006-2007: "Equality is as critical to Canada’s future as it is to the individual lives of girls and women." Minister Oda is certainly not living up to than commitment. We say she needs to go.

PSAC represents 160,000 members from coast to coast to coast, including the majority of unionized workers at Status of Women Canada.

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