For Immediate Release: Provincial Parties Respond to PANSOW’s 2019 Election Questionnaire

In the run-up to the provincial election on May 16, 2019, the Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women (PANSOW) collaboratively designed a questionnaire for the four party leaders to address concerns that are relevant to women and their families.

The questions focused on nine issues including women’s leadership, violence against women and girls, childcare, and pay equity.

“It is vital that voters understand the party stances on the issues,” said Paula Sheppard Thibeau, Co-Chair, Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women and Executive Director, Corner Brook Status of Women Council. “The election’s quick turnaround time has not allowed everyone to become familiar with the candidates and the issues. We hope that in gathering these party responses we are able to help voters feel informed on issues of relevance to them.”

To view the party responses, open the PDFs below.

Women in Government
Poverty
Economic Equality
Violence
Healthcare
Childcare
Funding
Women in Prison

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Media Contacts
Paula Sheppard Thibeau
Co-Chair, Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women
Executive Director, Corner Brook Status of Women Council
Tel. 709.639.8522
cbwomenscentre@gmail.com

Janice Kennedy
Executive Director, Bay St. George Status of Women Council
Tel. 709.643.4444
executivedirector.bsgswc@gmail.com

About PANSOW
PANSOW applies a provincial lens to issues of equality and ensure a public voice for women from a non-partisan, grassroots, and feminist perspective. PANSOW consists of the Executive Directors of all eight Status of Women councils in Newfoundland and Labrador. PANSOW’s mandate is two-fold: To educate and build awareness on broad issues related to gender equity and justice in the province; and to advocate for change in government policy and legislation that facilitates gender equity and justice.

We’re HIRING: Executive Director

The St. John’s Status of Women Council and the St. John’s Women’s Centre are seeking a dynamic and transformative leader as its Executive Director. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and is chiefly responsible for achieving our mandate, goals and objectives and working with the Board on long term vision and direction for programs and services. The successful candidate will have a deep background working with feminist organizations and demonstrated experience with organizational and community collaboration/capacity building, as well as a strong understanding of feminist/gender analysis and trauma informed practice.

You are a successful leader with a relevant combination of education and experience. With strong people management skills including coaching, mentorship and supervision, you also understand budgeting and financial management and have managed organizations with robust budgets. As well, you’re a natural communicator who demonstrates a collaborative and engaging leadership style. Other areas of focus for this role include fund development; proposal writing; education and advocacy; property management; policy development; media relations; proficiency with social media; and non-profit board governance.

If you’re interested in the role, please submit your resume and cover letter to the Selection Committee of the Board via email: sheila@sjwomenscentre.ca. Deadline for application is April 13, 2019.

For Immediate Release: SJSWC/WC Announces Resignation of Executive Director

(St. John’s, NL) – The Board of Directors of the St. John’s Status of Women Council and St. John’s Women’s Centre announced today that Jenny Wright has resigned from her role as Executive Director of the organizations to move on to other opportunities.

“The Board would like to thank Jenny for her contribution as Executive Director for the past five years,” said Mary Shortall, Board Chair. “She has been instrumental in representing the interests of women in St. John’s and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. She was a powerful voice for so many issues like violence against women and girls; the rights of sex workers, equal pay for women and so much more. The Board wishes her well in the future.”

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About St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre
The St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre is a feminist organization that since 1972 is continually working to achieve equality and justice through political activism, community collaboration and the creation of a safe and inclusive space for all women in the St. John’s area. The St. John’s Status of Women Council operates the Women’s Centre, Marguerite’s Place Supportive Housing Program & Safe Harbour Outreach Project.

Media Contact:
Robyn Pike
Development and Communications Coordinator
Tel. 709.753.0220
robyn@sjwomenscentre.ca

Statement responding to the NL Corrections & Community Services: Deaths in Custody Review

St. John’s, NL – The St. John’s Status of Women Council supports the findings of the recent Newfoundland and Labrador Corrections and Community Services: Deaths in Custody Review report, including the 17 recommendations therein. We also express our deepest and sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of those who have died in Newfoundland and Labrador’s prisons. We continue to send our support to the women currently incarcerated across our province, and the staff within these institutions.

As a frontline women’s serving organization supporting women before, throughout, and after their experiences with the criminal justice system in our province, we are deeply concerned for the well-being, safety, and human rights of women who are incarcerated in our prisons. We know that most incarcerated women are women living below the poverty line, women dealing with homelessness and unstable, unsafe housing, women who are Indigenous, women who have untreated mental health and addictions, and women who have experienced sexual and physical violence. We have come to see the impacts of our province sending some of our most marginalized women to chronically overcrowded and under-resourced prisons.

Women are being incarcerated at alarming rates. In Newfoundland and Labrador between 2008-2016, the number of incarcerated women has increased by 64 per cent. Indigenous women are the fastest growing prison population in Canada. We recognize the longstanding impacts that women from Labrador are facing when removed from their communities and families, while not being offered adequate culturally appropriate supports and traditional medicines throughout the criminal justice system.

Prisons require adequate health care. This means comprehensive and trauma-informed health care, including psychiatric treatment and mental health care – both proactive and crisis response care, acute care, and supportive reproductive health care. The Canadian Supreme Court has ruled solitary confinement as unconstitutional, recognizing that it has been used to discriminately target Indigenous people and people living with mental illness. Solitary confinement should not be used as mental health care or crisis response practice in our province’s prisons.

To begin to truly engage the fundamental changes need in our criminal justice system, we must learn from criminalized women and their families, listening to their needs, and advocating for better futures for all of them:

“As a former inmate in Clarenville and NOVA, I think this report in itself is well written and well put together, however it’s nothing that hasn’t already been said about prisons in NL. It’s nothing that Decades of Darkness didn’t already report in 2008. These recommendations are nothing new – it all comes back down to having the Government actually implement recommendations and changes.

Building new facilities and new sections onto existing buildings here looks fine and dandy as a media moment but ultimately, it’s not about the buildings, it’s about what is happening inside of them and the resources that do and do not exist for us in there. I was like the majority of women in Clarenville when I was an inmate there, and had already been sexually assaulted, survived domestic violence, and had experienced trauma throughout my life. We do not need more corrections we need trained counsellors who specialized in trauma, we need social workers who understand addictions and their root causes, we need mental health advocates, we need psychiatry and basic healthcare that is compassionate, comprehensive and follows best-practice instead of punitive-practice.”

– Formerly incarcerated woman from NL, speaking to SJSWC staff this week

Beyond addressing the dire conditions within our province’s prisons, we believe our government should be directly facing issues of unaffordable housing, poverty, and the lack of available mental health and addictions services. Vast and immediate changes must happen both inside and outside of prisons and must be conducted in partnership with frontline organizations and services supporting criminalized women before, during, and after incarceration. The creation of a women’s Justice Support Worker position, which we have proposed to the Department of Justice and Public Safety, is one important step towards providing greater supports for women in our criminal justice system.

Prisons must be a place where rehabilitation can begin, where options can be accessible, where even hope and healing can grow. The recent deaths of several vulnerable people in prisons in our province demonstrates that this was not their experience.

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Media Contact
Robyn Pike
Development and Communications Coordinator
St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre
Tel. 709.753.0220
robyn@sjwomenscentre.ca

About St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre
The St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre is a feminist organization that since 1972 is continually working to achieve equality and justice through political activism, community collaboration and the creation of a safe and inclusive space for all women in the St. John’s area. The St. John’s Status of Women Council operates the Women’s Centre, Marguerite’s Place Supportive Housing Program and the Safe Harbour Outreach Project.

RECRUITMENT TO BE PART OF A RESEARCH STUDY

Posted on behalf of POST – Photographing Our Stories Together

This project explores the life experiences of women who engage in sex work in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. We define “women who engage in sex work” as women or Trans* women who are working in the sex industry, who are 18 years or older, and receives money or goods for sexual services.

We are looking for women who have engaged in sex work for at least 6 months and:
– Live or work in or around St. John’s, NL
– Live or work in or around Stephenville, NL
– Live or work in or around Corner Brook, NL

If this is you, we would like to invite you to take part in this community-based study working with the St. John’s Women’s Centre, the Corner Brook Women’s Centre, and the Bay of St. George Women’s Centre. In this study, participants will be asked to take photographs that represent their experiences, and the different personal and social factors that impact their lives. Participants will discuss their images and create a photograph exhibit, which will be shared online. Participants will decide which photos to include in the exhibit, and the research team will also study the online reception of the exhibit.

For this study, participants are asked to take part in one individual interview and two group meetings. The individual interview will last 60-90 minutes and the group meetings will last 2.5-3 hours. Participants will receive a $50 gift card for the individual interview and $50 gift card for each group meeting as compensation for their time. All participants will also receive a digital camera.

Location
For participants who live or work in or around St. John’s: The St. John’s Women’s Centre
For participants who live or work in or around Stephenville and Corner Brook: The Corner Brook Women’s Centre or the Bay of St. George Women’s Centre (dependent on the location of participants)

Participation is completely voluntary. All interviews will take place over a 2-month period. Interviews will start depending on participant availability.

Precautions will be taken to ensure high levels of confidentiality are in place for all participants. The decision to participate, or not, will not affect any services women may be accessing at the Women’s Centres.

For more information about this study, please call 1-833-220-8700 (toll-free) or contact:
Kathleen Sitter, PhD
Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary
403-220-4573
Photostories18@gmail.com

The University of Calgary Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board has approved this research study

This project has received secondary review and approval by Memorial University’s Interdisciplinary Committee on Ethics in Human Research (ICEHR) and the Grenfell Campus Research Ethics Board (CG-REB)

SJSWC Issuing Report Cards on Provincial Government’s Action on Women’s Rights

St. John’s, NL – The St. John’s Status of Women Council (SJSWC) has issued its first in a series of report cards that address the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s action on gender equality and justice in the province.

The organization has produced an interim report card on the Minister’s Committee on Violence Against Women and Girls based on the progress report released by the Department of Justice and Public Safety last week. This and subsequent report cards are intended to raise public awareness about the province’s progress in addressing gender inequality.

Nine key areas that fall under the jurisdiction of the provincial government have been identified by the SJSWC for tracking and reporting purposes:

●   Women and Justice;
●   Women and Childcare;
●   Women’s Economic Equality;
●   Women’s Health;
●   Women and Education;
●   Violence Against Women;
●   Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls;
●   Women and Leadership; and,
●   Support for Women’s Organizations.

Jenny Wright, Executive Director, St. John’s Status of Women Council:
“Currently the status of women in Newfoundland and Labrador is alarming, as we experience the highest wage gap in the country, above the national average levels of domestic violence, costly and inadequate childcare, considerable barriers to accessing healthcare and an over representation in precarious and minimum wage jobs. We applaud the government for its support of women’s leadership. However, progress is much too slow and requires better collaboration with women’s groups throughout the province.”

All levels of governments have a role to play in addressing inequality in meaningful ways. This initiative will hold NL governments accountable and work towards advancing the quality of life for women and their children.

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Media Contact
Jenny Wright
Executive Director
St. John’s Status of Women Council
Tel. 709.753.0220
jenny@sjwomenscentre.ca

About St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre
The St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre is a feminist organization that since 1972 is continually working to achieve equality and justice through political activism, community collaboration and the creation of a safe and inclusive space for all women in the St. John’s area. The St. John’s Status of Women Council operates the Women’s Centre, Marguerite’s Place Supportive Housing Program and the Safe Harbour Outreach Project.

For Immediate Release: PANSOW calls for action by the Department of Education on sexual violence

October 5, 2018

For immediate release

RE: PANSOW calls for action by the Department of Education on sexual violence

Last year, allegations of sexual assault by a student resulted in legislative changes to the Schools Act, 1997, which came into effect on September 1, 2018. It provides the Director of Education with the authority to refuse to admit a student on school property where it is his/her opinion that the presence of the student is detrimental to the physical or mental well-being of students or staff. It was announced that polices were forthcoming based on these changes and to address sexual violence in our schools. However, in recent weeks, allegations of sexual assault at another school have come forward and highlighted the lack of movement on these promises.

The Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women believes that a holistic and trauma informed approach is needed that addresses the need for safety during transportation to and from school, during school, and while involved in extracurricular school activities.  This requires changes in policy and practice that address the physical and psychological safety needs of students and staff.  Trauma can impact an individual’s ability to acquire new knowledge and to retrieve stored information, thereby impacting the ability to learn. Creating safety is paramount in helping individuals regain a sense of control and concentrate.

Measures that address safety on buses may include the use of bus monitors, paid or volunteer, to assist with the supervision of students or cameras.  School buses can accommodate up to 72 passengers; far too many for a single driver to monitor while also having to tend to the duties of driving and following the rules of the road.  Cameras may provide legal evidence of the behaviours and actions that are occurring that are not observable by the driver.

During the school day, it is important to provide supports in terms of guidance and psychological services for those impacted by trauma and its impacts on daily activities.  In addition, accommodations, short or long term, may be required to help students remain in school and complete their curriculum.  This will be best determined by consulting with the student, their family and any professional supports they are using to assist with their recovery.

Policy and procedures for extracurricular activities should be reviewed and updated and ensure that they provide adequate supervision for all students.  The procedures for reporting incidents need to be clear and reflect the serious nature of the trauma a student may experience.

To create systemic change in how we identify and intervene when violence occurs can only happen with changes to the curriculum. Curriculum changes that focus on healthy relationships, boundary setting and consent can create a safe and more inclusive learning environment and help us ensure students lead vibrant and healthy lives. Professional development training in trauma informed practice is also necessary for all employees to ensure early detection and response, and to create supportive environments for all involved with teaching and shaping the minds of our children and youth.

PANSOW is available for consultation in creating these necessary changes as we have experience in providing both front line support to individuals impacted by sexual violence and in policy development.  Changes are needed now and we cannot wait for more students and families to be left in limbo.

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Media Contacts
Paula Sheppard Thibeau
Executive Director
Corner Brook Status of Women Council
Tel. 709.639.8522
cbwomenscentre@gmail.com

Janice Kennedy

Executive Director

Bay St. George Status of Women Council

Tel. 709-643-4444

executivedirector.bsgswc@gmail.com

 

About PANSOW
The Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women (PANSOW) is a grassroots, feminist, and non-partisan network which gives a provincial voice on the issues facing the Status of Women in Newfoundland and Labrador. PANSOW consists of all eight Status of Women Councils in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women supports the call for a Provincial Task Force on Gender-Based Violence

 

For Immediate Release
October 4, 2018

There has been a significant rise in the rates of domestic and sexual violence in Newfoundland and Labrador. In advance of the In Her Name vigil for missing and murdered women and girls of NL, the St. John’s Status of Women Council and St. John’s Native Friendship Centre are calling once again for the establishment of a provincial task force on gender-based violence. The Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women (PANSOW) is fully supporting this call to action.

We wish to see the establishment of a task force that is well-resourced, which includes a budget, staffing, strong terms of reference, and ministerial level accountability. If we are to see tangible change in the levels of violence women and girls experience daily we must have the political will to drive significant changes in legislation, policy, and funding.

We are aware of the Minister’s Committee on Violence Against Women and Girls in Newfoundland and Labrador struck last year and support that community collaboration. The committee can be a significant and vital part of the work of the task force. However, a St. John’s-centric committee alone is simply not the right mechanism to deal with the magnitude of the issues of violence against women and girls in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Paula Sheppard Thibeau, PANSOW Co-chair and Executive Director, Corner Brook Status of Women Council:

“Only through a collaborative approach that includes stakeholders from various sectors and areas of the province can we reduce violence in our families and communities. The work of a gender-based violence task force must focus on strengthening efforts for early identification and intervention, and providing individuals affected with the necessary supports to gain economic, psychological, and physical well-being.”

Raelene Vickers, Executive Director, Mokami Status of Women Council:

“Violence against women and girls in Labrador is a massive concern that needs to be addressed through a province-wide task force on gender-based violence. Labrador communities have some of the highest rates of domestic violence across the country, and too many women are at risk. The cultural needs of Indigenous communities in Labrador must be included in a provincial plan to end gender-based violence. Women and girls in Labrador need to know that their safety and lives matter to the province.”

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Media Contacts

Paula Sheppard Thibeau
PANSOW Co-chair
Executive Director
Corner Brook Status of Women Council
Tel. 709.639.8522
cbwomenscentre@gmail.com 

Jenny Wright
Executive Director
St. John’s Status of Women Council
Tel: 709.753.0220
jenny@sjwomenscentre.ca

PANSOW applies a provincial lens to issues of equality and ensure a public voice for women from a non-partisan, grassroots, and feminist perspective. PANSOW consists of the Executive Directors of all eight councils in Newfoundland and Labrador. PANSOW’s mandate is two-fold: To educate and build awareness on broad issues related to gender equity and justice in the province; and to advocate for change in government policy and legislation that facilitates gender equity and justice.

For Immediate Release: 136 Missing and Murdered Women, One Unified Call for Action

St. John’s, NL – One year ago, the organizers of the annual In Her Name vigil issued a call for the creation of a provincial task force on gender-based violence. The crowd that had gathered that evening listened as one by one, 117 names of our province’s missing and murdered women and girls were read aloud from the steps of the Colonial Building. We resolved to make change on their behalf, to end violence against women and girls.

That change has not been forthcoming. To date, there has been no movement on the establishment of a provincial task force. Through historical research and tips from the public and family members of those who have been lost to violence, this year’s list has now grown to include the names of 136 women and girls. Newfoundland and Labrador has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the country. Change is needed, and it’s needed now.

On Thursday, October 4, the St. John’s Status of Women Council and St. John’s Native Friendship Centre will join together in remembrance and will rally once more for action. The In Her Name vigil will take place at 6:30 p.m. in front of the Colonial Building at 90 Military Road in St. John’s. Jenelle Duval of Eastern Owl and Colleen Power will perform. The event will go ahead rain or shine and all are welcome.

Jenny Wright, Executive Director of the St. John’s Status of Women Council:

“A provincial task force on gender-based violence is past due. It is time to establish a well-resourced and fully funded task force to create a comprehensive plan to end violence against women and girls in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Amelia Reimer, Cultural Support Coordinator of the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre:

“In light of the ongoing National Inquiry into Missing/Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it is extremely important to continue to shine a light on the violence Indigenous women face in this country. Indigenous women continue to experience violence at a much higher rate than non-Indigenous women. At the In Her Name vigil, we will come together as a province to remember all women and girls that have lost their lives to this violence, and we honour and respect that we are all ‘Sisters in Spirit,’ both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.”

The St. John’s Status of Women Council received support from Department of Justice Canada’s Victims and Survivors of Crime Week fund to establish the In Her Name Healing Garden at the St. John’s Women’s Centre this past summer. Families and loved ones will now have a place to gather and remember not just at the vigil, but throughout the year.

Individuals or groups who wish to volunteer or to read a name at the In Her Name vigil are invited to contact Amelia Reimer at amelia@sjnfc.com.

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Media Contacts

Jenny Wright
Executive Director
St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre
jenny@sjwomenscentre.ca

Amelia Reimer
Cultural Support Coordinator
St. John’s Native Friendship Centre
amelia@sjnfc.com

For Immediate Release: New Survey Closing in on the Impact of Domestic Violence in the Workplace

St. John’s, NL – The St. John’s Status of Women Council has partnered with the Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women and Children at the University of Western Ontario to launch a critically important survey on the impact of Domestic Violence on workers and workplaces in Newfoundland and Labrador.

A national survey conducted by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) in 2014 found that Domestic Violence (DV) negatively affected the working lives of more than 80 per cent of DV survivors. Over half of those reporting DV experiences indicated that at least one type of abusive act occurred at or near the workplace. More data is needed to fully understand the scope of the impact of DV on workplaces in our province.

“Domestic Violence costs the Canadian economy a staggering $7.4 billion annually,” said Jenny Wright, Executive Director of the St. John’s Status of Women Council. “The good news is that Canadian and international research has shown that positive change can happen when the right types of policies, training and other supports are put in place. By completing the DV at Work survey, you can contribute to creating workplace practices that help support victims of DV and their co-workers.”

The survey is anonymous, and participation is voluntary. All workers in Newfoundland and Labrador over the age of 15 are invited to participate.

“We are working hard to ensure participation from all regions of Newfoundland and Labrador, all genders, Indigenous people, and people with different perspectives and experiences,” said Ms. Wright. “Your voice is important, whether or not you have personally experienced or witnessed violence.”

The DV at Work survey is available at https://sjwomenscentre.ca/dvatworknl/. Paper copies of the survey can be accessed by calling (709) 753-0220.

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Media Contact
Jenny Wright
Executive Director
St. John’s Status of Women Council
Tel. 709.753.0220
jenny@sjwomenscentre.ca

About St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre
The St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre is a feminist organization that since 1972 is continually working to achieve equality and justice through political activism, community collaboration and the creation of a safe and inclusive space for all women in the St. John’s area. The St. John’s Status of Women Council operates the Women’s Centre, Marguerite’s Place Supportive Housing Program and the Safe Harbour Outreach Project.

Backgrounder
A nationwide survey was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and the University of Western Ontario in 2014 to help understand national DV trends. The resulting data illustrated that DV is a systemic barrier to women’s economic security. This has severe implications for our province’s labour force and presents a tremendous cost to our economy.

The CLC’s initiative was inspired by ground breaking surveys used to gather data in Australia. The Australian findings identified the prevalence and impact of DV on the workplace and resulted in vital new legislation. It mandated domestic/family violence workplace benefits, including dedicated paid leave and flexible work arrangements.

A growing number of provinces in Canada are implementing DV Leave legislation and policies to make workplaces safer. New Brunswick has most recently implemented DV Leave.

RESULTS FROM THE CLC’s PAN-CANADIAN SURVEY (2014):
• Over half (53.5 per cent) of those reporting DV experiences indicated that at least one type of abusive act occurred at or near the workplace. Of these, the most common were abusive phone calls or text messages (40.6 per cent) and stalking or harassment near the workplace.
• 53 per cent of survivors felt their job performance was negatively impacted.
• 75 per cent had difficulty concentrating on their work.
• 19 per cent reported causing or nearly causing workplace accidents due to their violent relationship.
• 40 per cent of those who reported experiencing Domestic Violence, said DV made it difficult for them to get to work.