2011 Equality Report Card Excerpt: Women’s Economic Status

Category Goals: 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.

Focus Group Highlights: Participants in a focus group indicated that in their experience, more income support is needed, including more support to help people make transitions from assistance to independent livelihoods. Reducing the stigma on receiving help was very important to focus group participants.
The participants named couch surfing, homelessness, and unsafe living conditions as problems in PEI. They suggested that government should consider ways to provide supports and services across PEI and to better use public buildings (such as schools) and facilities with public funding (such as wellness centres) to provide non-stigmatizing support for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Conclusions: The Advisory Council congratulates government for moving from a grade of D to a grade of B – in just two years. In addition to improving social assistance and housing programs and employment standards, government has taken some very good first steps towards poverty reduction. We and other community organizations were pleased to provide recent input into ways to engage government and the public in making a plan to reduce poverty and increase social prosperity in PEI. Steps towards poverty reduction have been slow, but we are hopeful that planning is now moving in a positive direction, and we look forward to playing our part.


This is an excerpt from the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women 2011 Equality Report Card for PEI, released in June 2011 and based on information updated to May 30, 2011. The Advisory Council is republishing one area of assessment each week on this blog. For more information, visit the Advisory Council on the Status of Women website.



  1. Mary MacDonald said

    Hello ladies,

    I have an issue to bring to your attention which overlaps family law,
    adoption, human rights and the state’s treatment of women whose
    newborns were taken by the adoption agencies that were in business
    on the Island between the mid-1950s to the early 1970s.

    The feminist movement in general has been silent on the issue of
    mothers whose babies were taken from them during this era for no other reason than that they were unmarried.

    The adult adoptees who were products of that adoption boom era
    are now struggling to learn important information about their heritage
    and in some cases, their genetic legacy by which they might be at risk
    from severe inherited illnesses.

    It’s at this point where the crossover occurs from a feminist issue of the oppression of women whose babies were stolen, to a human rights concern where the offspring of that system of shame and secrecy are trying to obtain information about their adoptions.

    Try as an adult adoptee to obtain information from the PEI government
    about your adoption and you will be bounced from bureaucrat to bureaucrat who recites exclusions to the freedom of information law. Who is this paranoid secrecy protecting when the adult adoptee’s birth mother; adoptive parents and other agents involved are all long-since deceased…

    What is in place on PEI is an outdated, archaic and irrational law
    that says adult adoptees cannot access their records because these
    are sealed. Mine are sitting in the Public Archives.

    The PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women should advise the
    Island government that reforms are needed to family law with respect
    to the Adoption Act, and that a Public Inquiry should be conducted to
    openly discuss for the first time the officially sanctioned practice
    of taking babies from their bereft mothers at birth, which I am sure any
    feminist would agree is a study in human cruelty no matter how its
    proponents may try to explain it away as religious folks not knowing any better.

    • peiacsw said

      Thank you for bringing this issue to out attention, Mary. The Council will be interested in your comments.

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