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Three New Members Welcomed at Recent PEI Status of Women Meeting

After being stormed out earlier in the month, the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women met on March 21, 2018, in Cornwall, PEI. This was Yvonne Deagle’s first full Council meeting as Chairperson, and she had the pleasure of welcoming three newly appointed members – Chris MacPhail, Cathy Rose, and Susan Sun – who all contributed a great deal to their first meeting. Yvonne also welcomed three guest speakers from community organizations we value as partners and friends. Jaime Griffin from Women’s Network PEI, Eliza MacLauchlan from Community Legal Information Association (CLIA PEI), and Dawn Wilson from the PEI Coalition for Women in Government all briefly described the ways our organizations work together and rely on each other to support improvements in the status of PEI women.

(L -R): New Council members: Chris MacPhail, Cathy Rose, and Susan Sun.


Guest speakers were welcomed by Yvonne Deagle, PEI Status of Women Chairperson. ( L-R): Eliza MacLauchlan, Jaime Griffin, Yvonne, and Dawn Wilson.




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International Women’s Day Gallery 2018

Despite the winter weather, the Status of Women and our community partners celebrated another rollicking International Women’s Day!

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate and to keeping pushing for equality: Hon. Sean Casey MP, Deputy Speaker and MLA Kathleen Casey, RCMP Chief Superintendent Jennifer Ebert; speakers Jillian Kilfoil, Paola Soto, Jen Tividad, Maram ElSenary, and Bayan Radhi; and dancers Garima Mishra and Rinku Upadhyaya, Jordan Legere, and Samantha Lewis (Executive Director of the Aboriginal Women’s Association).

Financial and time resources were contributed by local unions, women’s, and social justice organizations (see complete sponsor list at the end of the photo gallery). A special thanks to the women of the IWD Organizing Committee who arranged for all the participatory activities and excellent presentations: Paola Soto, Ann Wheatley, Debbie and Ellie Langston, Amy Clerk, Nancy Clement, Taylor Carruthers, Hannah Gehrels, Donna Dingwell, and Mistress of Ceremonies Farahnaz Rezaei.

(You can view the photos by scrolling down on this page or click on the first photo and flip through the photo carousel that displays, using the arrows).




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International Women’s Day 2018 #HerToo / Journée internationale des femmes 2018 #ElleAussi

International Women’s Day 2018 #HerToo

As we come together to celebrate International Women’s Day 2018 (March 8), let us be reminded of the many achievements that women have accomplished as we strive to meet our full potential. We recognize the many ways women contribute to creativity and success in our global community, yet IWD is a day that slips by with little acknowledgement in Canada.

The year 2017 brought forward the #MeToo movement, which brought solidarity with women who have been sexually harassed and assaulted. The #MeToo movement was initiated by American activist Tarana Burke more than a decade ago, and has gathered strength from celebrities speaking out about sexual harassment in their lives. All over the world women and men are refusing to be shamed and silenced any longer. The time has come for gender equality in homes and workplaces. The time has come for women to be who they are and love whom they choose. The time has come for women to be free from violence and harassment.

We know that violence does not discriminate. We also know that just being a woman means overcoming countless obstacles daily. We live in sexist societies, but living in poverty, or with racism, or without access to basic human rights expands the likelihood of abuse and mistreatment. So today, especially, we say #HerToo. We take a broader look around the world at the realities women face and know that we have a long way to go to achieving true equality.

From the Global Citizen Website, here are some facts that show why we need to think about #HerToo – why we need greater equality now:

  1. In 2015, there were only 21 female heads of state in the entire world.
  2. Over 150 countries have at least one actively sexist law.
  3. Each minute, 28 girls are married before they are ready.
  4. At least 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime.
  5. In most countries, women only earn between 60% and 75% of men’s wages, for the same work.
  6. There are approximately 781 million adults worldwide lacking literacy – and two-thirds of them are women.
  7. Around the world, 63 million girls still need to go to school.



Today, on International Women’s Day, let us celebrate our successes as women, and let us also use our power to raise up the voices of women around the world fighting to be safe, free and thriving citizens.


Yvonne Deagle is the newly appointed Chairperson of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women.



Journée internationale des femmes 2018 #ElleAussi

Fre-IWDAlors que nous nous rassemblons pour célébrer la Journée internationale des femmes 2018 en ce 8 mars, souvenons-nous des nombreuses réalisations que les femmes ont accomplies tout en nous employant à réaliser notre plein potentiel. Nous reconnaissons les nombreuses façons que les femmes contribuent à la créativité et au succès de notre collectivité mondiale, pourtant la Journée internationale des femmes est une journée qui passe presque inaperçue au Canada.

Le mouvement #MoiAussi (#MeToo en anglais) a vu le jour en 2017, créant une vague de solidarité pour les femmes qui ont été harcelées ou agressées sexuellement. Le mouvement avait été lancé par l’activiste américaine Tarana Burke il y a plus d’une décennie, mais il a été renforcé par les célébrités qui ont dénoncé le harcèlement sexuel dans leurs vies. Des femmes et des hommes de partout au monde refusent dorénavant de se taire ou d’avoir honte. Il est grand temps qu’il y ait égalité des sexes au foyer comme au bureau. Il est grand temps que les femmes soient fières d’être qui elles sont et d’aimer la personne de leur choix. Il est grand temps que les femmes vivent sans violence et harcèlement.

Nous savons que la violence n’est pas discriminatoire. Et nous savons également que le simple fait d’être une femme signifie qu’il y aura d’innombrables obstacles à surmonter chaque jour. Nous vivons dans des sociétés sexistes, mais le fait de vivre dans la pauvreté, d’être confrontée au racisme ou de ne pas avoir accès aux droits fondamentaux de la personne augmente la probabilité de sévices et de mauvais traitements. Alors aujourd’hui, surtout, nous disons #ElleAussi (#HerToo en anglais). Nous examinons de plus près les réalités auxquelles les femmes de partout au monde se heurtent, et nous constatons qu’il reste encore beaucoup à faire pour atteindre une véritable égalité.

Voici quelques faits, tirés du site Web Global Citizen, qui montrent pourquoi nous devons réfléchir à #ElleAussi – pourquoi nous avons besoin d’une plus grande égalité : [Traduction]

  1. En 2015, on comptait seulement 21 femmes chefs d’État dans le monde entier.
  2. Plus de 150 pays disposent d’au moins une loi sexiste.
  3. Chaque minute, 28 filles sont mariées avant qu’elles soient prêtes.
  4. Au moins une femme sur trois dans le monde a subi de la violence physique ou sexuelle à un moment donné de sa vie.
  5. Dans la plupart des pays, les femmes gagnent seulement entre 60 % et 75 % du salaire des hommes, pour le même travail.
  6. Environ 781 millions d’adultes dans le monde sont analphabètes – et les deux tiers d’entre eux sont des femmes.
  7. Autour du monde, 63 millions de filles doivent continuer d’aller à l’école.

Aujourd’hui, en cette Journée internationale des femmes, célébrons les succès des femmes et utilisons notre pouvoir pour faire valoir les voix des femmes de partout dans leur combat pour la liberté, la sécurité et la prospérité.

Yvonne Deagle est la nouvelle présidente du Conseil consultatif sur la situation de la femme de l’Î.-P.-É.

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Let’s Talk: About the Wellness of Mental Health Systems

For “Let’s Talk” Day, January 31, 2018, the new Chairperson of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Yvonne Deagle, invited outgoing Chairperson Mari Basiletti to share the following reflections on mental wellness that Mari developed through her work on the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women and her forty-year career as an occupational therapist in mental health.

Let’s Talk about Mental Wellness and Mental Health Services

January has been Mental Wellness Month on PEI, featuring messages in the media about battling SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), spending quality time with our families, and encouraging us all to speak up publicly about mental illness. The cold, dark month of January is an appropriate time to discuss mental wellness strategies for driving away the dark winter of our hearts. It is also a good time to talk about the wellness of our mental health system and services. So, let’s talk today.

Words to describe mental wellness, compiled by past chairpersons of the Advisory Council in 2017.

Positive Developments

During the last few years we have been hearing a lot about the state of mental health and addictions services on PEI. There have been stories from the public in the news about gaps in services, unmet needs, and long waiting lists for some mental health and addiction programs, especially for youth.

On the positive side, there have been a number of announcements from Health PEI about new initiatives and programs. Moving Forward Together, Prince Edward Island’s Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, covering the period from 2016 to 2026, was launched in 2016. The plan is a working document for future direction. It promises that: “All people in Prince Edward Island will have equal opportunity to achieve and maintain the best possible mental health and well-being throughout their lifetime.” This is an admirable goal and there are already a number of new initiatives and improvements to existing programs in the works.

Some recent mental health initiatives include:

  • Insight Program, a mental health day program for youth 13-18
  • Behavioural Support Team for children 4-12
  • Access to the Strongest Families program
  • Mental Health Walk-in Clinics
  • SMHRT – Seniors Mental Health Resource Team
  • In-School Student Well-being Teams

In addictions some new programs include:

  • CAST – Coping and Support Training for school age youth
  • Strength Program in-patient treatment for youth
  • CRAFT Groups for support of families with loved ones with addiction problems

Recent mental health initiatives include day programs and in-patient programs for youth, walk-in clinics so that people can receive a boost of counselling just when they need it, behavioural support teams for children, expanded seniors mental health teams, and student well-being teams rolling out in families of schools. New initiatives in addictions include coping and support training for school-aged youth, an inpatient program for youth, and support groups for families with loved ones with addiction problems.

Plans are being made to replace Hillsborough Hospital with a new campus that will include an adult day treatment program. Last week Health PEI announced new psychiatrists have successfully been recruited to PEI and this month also announced that more psychologists will be hired to assess children with learning difficulties, with the goal of reducing the waiting list for assessments from three years to one year or less. It will be important to analyze the data from new and pilot programs to ensure the enduring success of programs that make a positive impact on gaps in service and waiting lists.

Mental Health Walk-in Clinics, January 2018

CLICK to visit the website for this week’s hours 

Richmond Centre (for individuals 16 and older)
Telephone: (902) 368-4430
1 Rochford Street, CharlottetownMcGill Centre (for individuals 16 and older)
Telephone: (902) 368-4911
55 McGill Avenue, Charlottetown

Prince County Hospital
Telephone: (902) 888-8180
65 Roy Boates Avenue, Summerside

Lennox Island Health Centre (for Lennox Island residents only)
Telephone: (902) 831-2711
15 Eagle Feather Trail, Lennox Island

O’Leary Health Centre
Telephone:(902) 853-8670
14 MacKinnon Drive (adjacent to Community Hospital), O’Leary

Westisle High School (for students, age 16 and older at this school only)
39570 Western Road, Elmsdale


Mental Wellness and the Social Determinants of Health

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) reports that one in five Canadians will experience mental health problems in any given year. Mental health problems affect more people than major physical disorders. One out of three workplace disability claims are due to mental illness, and 500,000 Canadians in any week are unable to work due to mental illness. Mental illness is responsible for great economic and social costs in our country.

Yet in Canadian provinces, the average provincial expenditure on mental health services is only about 7% of health care budgets. In Prince Edward Island it makes up 6.8% of the provincial health care budget. The Canadian Mental Health Association and other advocacy groups have been calling for an increase in mental health expenditures to at least 9% of the health budget.

Social and economic issues have a profound effect on our mental health and wellness. The social determinants of health, as recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) include income, education, job security, early childhood development, food security, housing, social exclusion/inclusion, health services, aboriginal status, race, disability, and gender.

Many of the stories the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women hears about unmet needs and gaps in services come from women, who as caregivers often carry most of the burden of the concerns about the mental health issues affecting their children, other family members, or themselves.

The PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women reviews provincial health services as part of its Equality Report Card. The 2015 Equality Report Card pointed out that the provincial wellness strategy fell short on addressing the social determinants of health. The 2015 Report Card also found that mental health and addictions services lack gender-sensitive and trauma-informed responses to women’s health needs. The Advisory Council is hopeful that the 2018 Equality Report Card will show progress on these issues in the past three years.

A workshop sketch: What does mental wellness look like? From a consultation with past Chairpersons of the Advisory Council in 2017.

In the meantime, many women and families in PEI are coping with numerous issues that appear on the list of social determinants of health, including employment challenges and working at jobs that do not pay a living wage. One-parent families headed by women often have to deal with poverty, food insecurity, and a lack of affordable housing. Indigenous women, women of colour, and women with disabilities are even more affected by negative social factors.

A study published in a recent edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that if we wish to obtain a healthier Canada we need to spend more on income assistance, subsidized housing, early childhood education, and affordable childcare. It is clear that in addition to increasing the health budget for mental health services, increased funding and resources to address the social determinants of health will make a positive impact on the wellness of Islanders. Individuals and families will not be able to attain mental wellness if they can’t afford nutritious food, find decent housing, or deal with rising household costs.

The Importance of Community Mental Health

Community Mental Health
Souris Hospital
17 Knights Avenue
Souris, PE C0A 2B0
Telephone: (902) 687-7110
Fax: (902) 687-7119Montague
126 Douses Road
PO Box 3000
Montague, PE C0A 1R0
Telephone: (902) 838-0960
Fax: (902) 838-0961Charlottetown
McGill Community Mental Health
55 McGill Avenue
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
Telephone: (902) 368-4911
Fax: (902) 368-6189

Richmond Centre
1 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
Telephone: (902) 368-4430

Prince County Hospital
65 Roy Boates Avenue
Summerside, PE C1N 2A9
Telephone: (902) 888-8180
Fax: (902) 888-8173

347 Church Street
Allan Shaw Building
Alberton, PE C0B 1B0
Telephone: (902) 853-8670
Fax: (902) 853-0420

O’Leary Health Centre
14 MacKinnon Drive
O’Leary, PE C0B 1V0
Telephone: (902) 853-8670
Fax: (902) 853-0420

In PEI, Community Mental Health services were established in each county in 1979 as an accessible mental health service that accepted self referrals, referrals from other community services, and referrals from physicians. Recently, women have sought advice from the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women after they have contacted Community Mental Health Services for an appointment and have been told that there is a long waiting list to see a mental health professional. They have also been told that if they want to get an expedited appointment they should obtain a referral from their doctor. Alternately, they can probably get an appointment sooner if they contact a private mental health professional for help, where there will be a fee for service.

These responses to requests for help point to the fact that we now have a three-tiered Community Mental Health system: Tier One with a long waiting list if you call Community Mental Health for an appointment without a doctor’s referral; Tier Two with a shorter waiting list if you have a doctor’s referral; and Tier Three with an even speedier appointment if you can afford to pay for private services. Many Islanders do not have a family doctor, and many individuals and families can’t afford to pay for private mental health services. Even if an individual does have a family physician, they may not wish to discuss personal problems, such as abuse, sexual assault, or family issues with their doctor, only to have to repeat it all over again to the mental health professional they are assigned to see. Doctors are already extremely busy. Is it the best use of their time to have to see a patient and make a referral to a service that does not require a doctor’s referral?

Mental health services are health services, and in Canada health services are a human right. We must adequately address the gaps and unequal access to mental health services, the need for more human and financial resources in mental health, and the impact of the social determinants of health on all citizens in our province. If we do not it will be impossible to reach the stated goal of the 2016 Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, Moving Forward Together, that “All people in Prince Edward Island will have equal opportunity to achieve and maintain the best possible mental health and well-being throughout their lifetime.”

With the improvements we’ve seen to fill service gaps and with promised investments in mental health services to come, Prince Edward Island is on a path towards improving mental heath services for all Islanders. Attention to gender-sensitive services and social determinants of health will only make systems better and more responsive – as more and more people accept the invitation to “Let’s talk” about mental wellness.

Mari Basiletti completed her term as Chairperson of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women on January 22, 2018.

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Service Awards Presented at Recent Council Meeting

Three members of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women completed their maximum five-year terms this January and “graduated” from the Council. At Council’s January meeting in Cornwall, continuing Council members and staff presented all three with service awards recognizing their many contributions to Council’s work. Mari Basiletti, Melissa Mullen, and Patti Wheatley all provided wonderful service to the Council, and we will miss them very much.

For more information about each woman’s work on the Council, please read the individual awards below:


L-R: Melissa Mullen, Treasurer; Mari Basiletti, Chairperson; and Patti Wheatley, Council member; pose for a photo following the presentation of service awards at a recent Council meeting in Cornwall.

Service Award – The PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women thanks Mari Basiletti

Mari Basiletti of Canoe Cove has served on the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women since 2013 and as Chairperson since 2016. Mari was the first out lesbian woman ever appointed to Council as a member and as Chairperson. We are so proud that she openly shared her love of her partner and their family at the Council table. Mari’s patience, kindness, integrity, and love of women inform everything she does. Her experience working in mental health with people who experienced trauma, abuse, stigmatization, and marginalization helped guide our work with compassion. She shared her great skills as a listener, a dedicated worker and contributor, an artist, and a good friend with Council members and staff. Mari loves her community, and what she considers her community is broad and inclusive.

Thank you, Mari, for your loving and conscientious leadership to help the PEIACSW advance the status of women in PEI.

Service Award – The PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women thanks Melissa Mullen

Melissa Mullen has served as a member of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women since 2013. Melissa is always accessible to her community to bring forward issues to the Council table, and she represents her community well, whether farmers, rural women, artists, or caregivers to youth and older adults. Melissa attended and participated in Council special events, often helping to carry the load with not only physical work, but also the emotional work of building and maintaining relationships of mutual respect. She took a special interest in study groups on Truth and Reconciliation and Women in Canada of the past 50 years. Melissa is creatively driven and ready to go deep in her learning. She is passionate, steady, and unwavering in her work for change to improve Island life for women and families.

Thank you, Melissa, for your dedicated and committed work to help the PEIACSW advance the status of women in PEI.

Service Award – The PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women thanks Patti Wheatley

Patti Wheatley has served as a member of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women since 2013. Patti’s feminism is both instinctive and well-informed, a balance that makes her an essential contributor to the Advisory Council’s analysis. Patti’s strong legal mind and training, her curiosity, and her experience as a valued volunteer with equality-seeking organizations contributed tremendously to Council. Her willingness to ask incisive, challenging questions ensured Council positions that go beyond obvious or easy recommendations and, instead, call for more meaningful and lasting change for Island women and families. We are grateful that Patti shared her early experiences of parenting with Council and that we had her daughter at our meetings, inspiring us to work for the next generation.

Thank you, Patti, for your strong and intelligent insight to help the PEIACSW advance the status of women in PEI.

Council members and staff gathered for a photo at their January meeting in Cornwall: Back row L-R: Jane Ledwell, Becky Tramley, Patti Wheatley, Madison Blanchard, Michelle Jay, Melissa Mullen, and Debbie Langston. Front row L-R: Yvonne Deagle, Mari Basiletti, and Diana Lariviere (Missing from photo: Council members Lalana Paul and Pam Montgomery).

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PEI Status of Women Announces Recent 2017 Bursary Winners

L-R: Mari Basiletti, PEI Status of Women Chairperson with Stephanie Ashaolu, winner of the Inge Blackett Memorial Bursary.

Congratulations to Holland College student Stephanie Ashaolu (Legal Administration Program), the recipient of the $500 Inge Blackett Memorial Bursary for a woman-identified student who entered Canada as a refugee and is pursuing education or training. The bursary remembers past Council Vice-Chairperson Inge Blackett, who when she died was the last Holocaust survivor on PEI.


L-R: Mari Basiletti, PEI Status of Women Chairperson with Rebecca Mullen, winner of the Diane Kays Memorial Bursary.

Congratulations to UPEI student Rebecca Mullen (Diversity and Social Justice Studies Program), the recipient of the Diane Kays Memorial Bursary. The $500 bursary is for a woman-identified student in a post-secondary program at UPEI, Holland College, or Collége de l’île (formerly called Collège de l’Acadie) who is pursuing a field where women are under-represented or who is an active advocate for women’s equality.


The deadline to apply for these bursaries in 2018 is October 15.
More info:  Bursary webpage / En français

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2017 Memorial Service Gallery

The selection of photos below are from the December 6, 2017 Memorial Service for Victims of Violence held at the Confederation Centre of the Arts (venue sponsor). Thanks to everyone who attended the service and participated in the 2017 Purple Ribbon Campaign Against Violence.

We remember 1989
28 Years Since the Montreal Massacre

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If you would prefer to view photos individually, view it at this link:


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