2009 Equality Report Card Priority Recommendations

PRIORITY ACTION AREAS: 2009 EQUALITY REPORT CARD

The following are the issues for which the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women will be giving grades in 2009 as part of its Equality Report Card project. These priorities were selected and refined by the members of the Council after a review of policy recommendations that the PEI Status of Women has made to government over almost ten years.

MAKING EQUALITY A PRIORITY: To make women’s equality a priority, we expect the provincial government to meet its commitments to analyse the effects on everyday Island women of existing and proposed legislation, policy, and budgeting. This means applying gender- and diversity-based analysis and collecting and using up-to-date sex-disaggregated data.

  • Commitment to applying gender- and diversity-based analysis (GBA) throughout government
  • * Steps to ensure that will women benefit equally from government’s proposed economic development plans (for example, the “prosperity agenda” and redefined “rural development”)
  • ** Update of 1996 statistical profile of women on PEI

WOMEN IN DECISION-MAKING: To increase women’s participation in the highest levels of decision-making, we expect the provincial government to actively encourage women’s advancement and break down barriers to women’s leadership.

  • Increased equality in appointments to agencies, boards, and commissions
  • * Gender focus and gender-based strategies applied in the Special Committee on the Role of the MLA, to examine and reduce barriers to women in elected office
  • ** Increased employment equity, especially women in leadership roles, within the provincial civil service

FAMILY VIOLENCE PREVENTION: To reduce violence in our province, we expect the provincial government to provide for community-based, women-led, pro-feminist programs and services that prevent violence against women specifically and family violence more generally, and that provide services when violence occurs.

  • Enhanced core funding for Family Violence Prevention Services and the Rape and Sexual Assault Centre to support them to flourish as community organizations
  • Increased application of existing Woman Abuse Protocols, with more protocols developed as needed
  • ** Targetted programs for preventing violence against women of various ages (youth, seniors) and/or various vulnerable groups (Aboriginal women, women with disabilities, new immigrant women)

WOMEN’S ECONOMIC STATUS: We expect the provincial government to set a priority on improving the health, dignity, and well-being of Islanders who struggle with a less than livable income. We urge the government to consult and collaborate with community-based organizations to develop a Poverty Reduction Strategy like those in other provinces. We see the three priority areas below as key elements of Poverty Reduction:

  • Investment in affordable, accessible, appropriate housing, including housing designed to meet the needs of seniors and persons with disabilities
  • Increased allotment of funds for direct payment to social services recipients to bring them up to a standard of living in which all basic needs are met
  • * Improvements to the Employment Standards Act that improve working conditions and wages for non-unionized workers

SUPPORTS FOR CAREGIVING: Early childhood care and education has been a particular policy focus recently, and this has implications for caregivers. From childcare, to supports for caregivers of people with disabilities, to home care for ailing adults and seniors, we expect government to recognize unpaid or underpaid labour provided by caregivers, most frequently women. Government must not enact policies that increase the burden on caregivers, without increasing supports.

  • Additional investment in early childhood care and education that increases quality, accessibility, affordability, and focus on child development (for instance, enhanced support to meet needs for infant spaces, programs in rural areas, programming for special needs children, and culturally supportive programs)
  • Consultation and planning with early-childhood educators for changes in early childhood care and education
  • ** Measures to address the needs of seniors for elder care, home care, and other non-professional services in their homes and communities outside institutions and/or to assist and support family members who care for older adults

WOMEN’S HEALTH: We expect government to sustain a strong system for acute care, but to relieve future burdens on the acute care system by continuing to take steps that recognize whole-body holistic health and that address social determinants of health such as gender, income, language, and culture. We encourage government to demonstrate a commitment to wellness and prevention in health.

  • Enhanced initiatives to provide appropriate, gender-specific mental health programming
  • * Enhanced services for women with addictions (improved access to group programs, individual counselling, drop-in counselling, and child care; women-only therapy groups that address self-esteem, abuse, and recovery)
  • * Increased integration of nurse practitioners into the health-care system, including instituting a Sexual Abuse Nurse Examiner (SANE) program like that in other provinces
  • * Steps towards increased birthing options for Island women, towards an eventual birthing centre

ACCESS TO JUSTICE: Access to family law legal aid continues to be a challenge for Island women. Most calls to the PEI Status of Women office continue to be from women who need a lawyer’s advice. In many cases, they cannot afford a lawyer. We expect government to continue to place high priority on ensuring women and families have access to justice.

  • Improved access to family law legal aid lawyers
  • Actions to implement the recommendations of the Justice Options for Women project
  • * Steps towards a domestic violence court option

* an item that has been moved. refined, or rephrased for more focused assessment for 2009
** a new item for assessment in 2009

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