PRESS RELEASE: Urgent Request for Provision of Rapid Tests

In an open letter (attached below) to Premier Furey and the Department of Health and Community Services, thirty four community organizations, healthcare providers, and volunteer groups across the province have put forward an urgent request for provision of a sustainable supply of free tests for vulnerable populations in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

The lack of provision of rapid tests by our provincial government is concerning for all of us, but especially for those of us belonging to vulnerable populations. Right now, too many people in Newfoundland and Labrador are making hard decisions around navigating life with Covid-19. People living on low incomes are choosing between purchasing food, paying the power bill, and buying rapid tests. Low wage workers have to decide if they will miss work, and, without paid sick days or tests to determine if they are unwell, these decisions are even more difficult. People with limited resources are taking buses and paying for cabs trying to find rapid tests, all while they may be unwell. This is not equitable community health management.   

Throughout the pandemic, the provincial government has been clear that they recognize testing as an important public health measure to limit spread of COVID-19, but the current options to acquire rapid tests in Newfoundland and Labrador are not accessible, equitable, or sustainable. 

At this stage in the pandemic, provision of rapid tests is essential, and we believe that rapid test provision is a responsibility of our provincial government. Prioritizing access to rapid tests for our most vulnerable communities will contribute to COVID-19 risk mitigation for the entirety of our province. We strongly recommend an immediate investment in accessible and sustainable access to rapid tests for vulnerable populations in our province.

We have shared this urgent request directly with the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador and with the Minister of Health and Community Services. We encourage people of the province to share this open letter, and write directly to government leadership to share your own concerns about access to rapid tests for those who need them in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Contact

Bridget Clarke, Advocacy Coordinator, St. John’s Status of Women Council
bridget@sjwomenscentre.ca
709-753-0220

Marguerite’s Place is hiring!

Marguerite’s Place is in search of a few Housing Support Workers to add to their relief list.

Relief Housing Support Workers are responsible for ensuring that there is a safe environment for residents of Marguerite’s Place supportive living facility.  They use conflict resolution and mediation skills to prevent and manage and de-escalate crises, and provide support in all situations. Housing staff assist with the development of support plans for residents and programming.  Housing Support Staff operate the security system, do regular building checks, and monitor entries /exits from the building as required. They also assist with a variety of other duties including statistics collection,  reporting, research and logistical support. 

Relief Housing Support workers report directly to the Marguerite’s Place Coordinator and serve as a part of the circle  of care for residents. This position is highly independent and does require the staff to work alone. 

Closing Date: 16 May 2022 – 4pm Newfoundland Time. 

Please email a cover letter and resume to: hiring@sjwomenscentre.ca 

Applications without a cover letter will not be considered

St. John’s Women’s Centre is Hiring: Part-time Counsellor

Right Here Right Now Drop In Counselling Program is a unique offering in community to support women and non-binary people who are seeking free, accessible counselling services. The Part-time Counsellor position reports directly to the Clinical Team Lead Counsellor. While this position is mainly on-site in St. John’s, some work may occur remotely.

To apply: Send cover letters and resumes to hiring@sjwomenscentre.ca with subject line “Part-time Counsellor” by 4:00 PM,  on April 15, 2022.

See full job description below for all the details:

NL Minimum Wage Review 2022: SJSWC Submission

With our biennial provincial minimum wage review underway, we offer a submission to the Minimum Wage Review Committee.

The minimum wage review requires a gender-based analysis because women are the majority of minimum wage earners in Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2020, the province’s minimum wage review committee noted that women and non-binary people, Indigenous people, folks who are 2SLGBTQIA+ and people living with disabilities will be most impacted by an increased minimum wage.

At the St. John’s Status of Women Council we see the consequences of our minimum wage and its disproportionately gendered impacts everyday. The reality for minimum wage earners in Newfoundland and Labrador is that workers and their families are living in poverty. What living on minimum wage looks like for women and non-binary people is housing instability, food insecurity, criminalization, and survivors of violence being trapped with fewer options to
access safety.

The St. John’s Status of Women Council recommends that Newfoundland and Labrador:

1)Adopt a minimum wage of $15 per hour, at an absolute minimum, in 2022.

2) Proceed towards establishing a living wage as our provincial minimum wage.

3) Ensure that all economic policies and legislative decisions include a transparent gender based analysis, that also looks at the situation of other marginalized groups in our province, to address disproportionate impacts experienced by women and people of marginalized genders.

Read our submission in full:

Learn more about how to share your own submission: https://www.engagenl.ca/engagement-initiatives/minimum-wage-review-0

COMMENTARY: Pay equity legislation is decades overdue in Newfoundland and Labrador

Why does the provincial government continue denying women and other marginalized people a human right?

By Bridget Clarke – Advocacy Coordinator, St. John’s Status of Women Council

https://www.saltwire.com/newfoundland-labrador/opinion/local-perspectives/commentary-pay-equity-legislation-is-decades-overdue-in-newfoundland-and-labrador-100707299/

Our provincial government has a history of avoiding critical decision-making that directly affects gender equity. We’ve seen this pattern repeated in the House of Assembly this week using the $13-billion Muskrat Falls hydroelectric megaproject as a scapegoat to put pay equity legislation on the backburner.

While Women and Gender Equality Minister Pam Parsons claims we can’t afford pay equity legislation, we know we can’t afford not to legislate pay equity. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ever-rising cost of living and our provincial government’s inadequate and unsustainable response this week to our ongoing social and economic crisis, pay equity legislation matters now more than ever.

Newfoundland and Labrador is home to Canada’s largest gender pay gap, at 66 cents on the dollar. This gap is wider still for women of colour and other marginalized people in our community. Workers in our province earning minimum wage and those in part-time and precarious jobs are also largely women.

At the St. John’s Status of Women Council, we see the impacts of this inequity every day. What working poverty looks like in real time for women and non-binary people is housing instability, food insecurity and survivors of violence having fewer options to find safety for themselves and their families.

Pay equity would enable families to take steps toward escaping poverty. It would encourage greater equality in our communities and enable everyone to participate fully. Alongside the efforts to mitigate rising costs of living and recover our post-pandemic economy, we have to pass proactive pay equity legislation in both public and private sectors in Newfoundland and Labrador. Let’s measure the impacts of doing this to see the impact it has on our communities, especially the most vulnerable.

The provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador has been talking about pay equity since 1988. In fact, all but three provinces and territories (including Newfoundland and Labrador) across Canada have legislated pay equity that was introduced in the 1980s and ’90s. In 2017, on International Women’s Day, the House of Assembly in Newfoundland and Labrador saw a motion to introduce pay equity legislation, which was supported by a unanimous vote. Since then, it has not been enacted or prioritized.

We call on the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador to enact proactive pay equity legislation in both public and private sectors. This will directly address our enormous wage gap and protect workers who are racialized, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQIA+ and living with disabilities.

We are eager for meaningful engagement with the provincial government, alongside provincial experts on labour and equity and community organizations that represent marginalized groups, to build a plan to enact proactive pay equity legislation — work that has been researched, developed and has been sitting idle for decades.

In line with the 2004 federal task force and national experts, the St. John’s Status of Women Council recognizes that pay equity is a fundamental human right. To further deny or delay proactive legislation is to infringe on the human rights of many women and marginalized workers in Newfoundland and Labrador. This change cannot wait.

St. John’s Status of Women Council welcomes Lisa Faye as our new Executive Director!

St. John’s Status of Women Council/ Women’s Centre is pleased to welcome Lisa Faye as our new Executive Director!

Lisa Faye brings more than 20 years of experience working in women’s rights and gender equality around the world. After completing her Master of Women’s Studies degree at Memorial University, Lisa went on to work in community development, youth empowerment, and supporting citizens to speak up for their rights in Africa, Asia, Europe, and right here at home in Canada. Lisa values living and working in community through true collaboration, incorporating diverse voices into decision-making, and an approach grounded in compassion, a recognition of power and privilege and firmly rooted in the values of intersectional feminism.

We asked Lisa why she was excited about the role, here’s what she had to say:

“Working with the St. John’s Status of Women Council has been a goal of mine since I attended community events back when the organization was on Military Road, while attending Memorial. I was drawn to the fact that the SJSWC  speaks up for a more just and equitable society in St. John’s, across the province, and beyond – even when the issues are most challenging. Through its programs, the organization lives its values of meeting folks right where they are, challenging deeply held beliefs about gender, and working with community members to improve the lives of the most marginalized. This is the work I believe in; this is what brought me back to St. John’s. I look forward to leading this essential work by building relationships with community partners and members, continuing advocacy for women and gender diverse folks, and expanding our safe and inclusive spaces in our city.”

Lisa brings all of this energy and passion to the SJSWC/WC and we are excited to see the organization continue to flourish in the existing programs and grow to serve more communities.

As the SJSWC celebrates its 50th year in 2022, we are proud of an organization that provides much needed programs and services, including stable supportive housing, no waitlist counselling and domestic violence support, sex worker support and advocacy, and now, the province’s first and only managed alcohol program. All of this work is supported by research and best practices and together with the voices of lived-experience forms the foundation of our advocacy.

We thank you for your ongoing support and look forward to celebrating with you this Fall!   

SHOP is hiring! Outreach and Advocacy Organizer

The SHOP Outreach and Advocacy Organizer is a full time, contract position with benefits. This position reports directly to the SHOP Program Coordinator. The Safe Harbour Outreach Project (SHOP) is a program of SJSOWC.

This position is responsible for assisting in the development and organization of SHOP’s advocacy work, and supporting the development and delivery of community building programming and engagement with and for the sex working community in St. John’s. See the full job description below for all the details.

Please email a cover letter and resume to: hiring@sjwomenscentre.ca, by Friday, 18 March 2021 – 12pm Newfoundland Time.

SJSOWC Calls for the Immediate Repeal of Federal Sex Work Legislation – International Sex Worker’s Rights Day

Annually, March 3rd is recognized as International Sex Worker’s Rights Day, and the St. John’s Status of Women Council (SJSOWC) and program Safe Harbour Outreach Project (SHOP) are celebrating by continuing to call for the full decriminalization of sex work. 

The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA), federal legislation criminalizing sex work, is currently under parliamentary review. Alongside member groups of the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform, the SJSOWC supports and has written the federal government to support a full repeal of PCEPA.

Find our Press Release and Brief Submission to the House Committee of Justice and Human Rights for the review of the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA), available below for download.

CONTACT INFORMATION

For more information or to arrange for interviews, please contact:

Lisa Faye, Executive Director 

St. John’s Status of Women Council

709 765 4434

Violence Prevention Proclamation: February 2022

Today our Office for Women and Gender Equality hosted their annual proclamation to recognize February as Violence Prevention Month on behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. We were fortunate to be invited to share about our Empowering Them E-Course and the power of a communal response to gender-based violence. This was also a chance to speak to the critical state of Status of Women Councils in Newfoundland and Labrador who continue to operate on precarious and inadequate annual funding agreements. Commitments to violence prevention must include action, resources and accountability. Read our full statement.

The Women’s Centre is hiring: Training Innovator!

The Training Innovator is a full-time, two-year contract position reporting directly to the Clinical Team Lead Counsellor.

The Training Innovator is a dynamic position to oversee the dissemination of the “Empowering Them” E-Course on Gender Based Violence, as well as support the additional suite of training courses offered by the SJSOWC, including DV @ Work NL. This role will explore the development and implementation of training as a social enterprise for the organization. See the job description below for all of the details.

To apply: Send cover letters and resumes to hiring@sjwomenscentre.ca (with subject line: Training Innovator) by 4:00 PM, Wednesday February 23, 2022.