Save our Advisory Council | Sauvons notre conseil consultatif

Primer on the NB ACSW, its activities, and what this loss will mean

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NEW BRUNSWICK ADVISORY COUNCIL ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN
The New Brunswick Advisory Council is an arm’s-length government agency established to bring matters relating to the status of women before the public and the government. On women’s issues, it is the only government body which sets its own agenda, priorities and positions, and which has the mandate of promoting equity for women in all sectors of New Brunswick society.
The Advisory Council was brought into existence by law. In 1974, New Brunswick women organized a provincial conference, which resulted in the creation of an ad hoc committee to lobby for the creation of an Advisory Council on the Status of Women. A law creating an Advisory Council was adopted in 1975 and the first members were appointed in December 1977.  Its creation followed on the ground-breaking 1970 Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada, which recognized that “continuing effort to attain and secure equal opportunity for women requires a distinct and specific agency devoted to that purpose.”
The Council is mandated to “bring before the government and the public matters of interest and concern to women” and to “advise the Minister on such matters relating to the status of women that the Minister refers to the Council for its consideration, or that the Council deems appropriate”.  The Council may receive petitions and suggestions from individuals and groups; undertake research and suggest research areas that can be studied by governments, universities and others; recommend and participate in programs, propose legislation, policies and practice to improve the status of women and publish reports, studies and recommendations.
Part of the unique mandate of the ACSW is to analyze the impact of government action and inaction on the status of women and to bring it to the attention of the public and decision-makers.  The Council has taken positions and advocated on a wide range of women’s concerns, from the introduction of early childhood services to the appointment of female judges, from the pay gap to maternity care, from child custody to employment standards.  The overwhelming number of calls made by battered women to its toll-free line in the late 1970s led to the production in 1979 of a brochure, the first of its kind in Canada, on the then-taboo subject of violence against women.
The ACSW members determine the Council’s spending priorities and positions on issues. Council members are chosen to represent the regional, linguistic and cultural diversity of the province and are appointed by Cabinet.  They ensure a continuing liaison with individual women and organizations in their region. The members receive modest per diems and travel-related expenses for attending the quarterly meetings held around the province.
The agency responds to hundreds of information requests each month, many from individuals, and many from women’s groups, government and media.  The ACSW also conducts research on the major economic, social and legal issues affecting women and shares its findings with the public and government decision-makers.
New Brunswick women today still face obstacles to their full participation in all spheres of society. Despite the continued presence of women’s groups and the creation of some new services for women (ex.: transition houses), there are fewer and fewer sources of funding for community groups, especially advocacy groups, and more and more fragility in governments’ support of women’s equality. It is clear that there is a continued need for an independent publicly funded body to aid women and groups in advancing the issues, especially given the low representation of women in decision-making positions and the invisibility of women’s concerns on the traditional public agenda.
INFORMATION DISSEMINATION
The Advisory Council’s weekly email bulletin, NB Women’s News / NouvELLES, which started in 2002 with 200 subscribers, currently has 4,300 subscribers.
Since 2006, the Advisory Council has a weekly column in a Moncton newspaper and occasional opinion pieces in provincial newspapers.
The ACSW’s internet site gives access to all of the Council’s publications, including its newspaper columns and archived newsletters, as well as publications on equality issues by other N.B. groups and researchers.  The site records over a million hits every year and several thousand visitors each month.
SOME PUBLICATIONS IN LAST 5 YEARS
Safe Surrender of NewBorns – Submission on An Act to Amend the Family Services Act, 2009.
Status Report on Women in New Brunswick – a statistical profile, 2010, 2008, 2006.
Tax Reform and Women – brief, 2008
Poverty Reduction – brief, 2009.
What About Women? Gender Analysis of Discussion Paper on New Brunswick’s Tax System, by Kathleen A. Lahey, Faculty of Law, Queen’s University, 2008.
Ten Things You Need To Know About Poverty – factsheet, 2009.
Supporting Population Growth in New Brunswick, brief, 2007.
Women and Post-Secondary Education, brief, 2007.
Pictures of Poverty – some New Brunswickers living in poverty and some obstacles to change, booklet, 2006.
PUBLIC EVENT TOPICS
(mostly Lunch & Learns, all free, in about 20 different communities, reaching about 5,000 New Brunswickers)
Invisible Women / Concrete Barriers (refugee women)
Fiscal and Economic Implications of the 2009 Tax Reform in New Brunswick
Safe For Pets Too… in transition with you (partnership to launch a new service for battered women)
When Life Intersects: How the intersectional perspective can help (gender-based diversity analysis)
Women in Politics (sessions in a dozen NB locations)
Women, Poverty and the Recession (with noted national economist)
Political Parties on Women’s Priorities
Are We There Yet? Update on the Status of New Brunswick Women (sessions in a dozen NB locations)
Equal opportunity for First Nations children in N.B. (with NB Ombudsman)
Child Care Spending As Economic Stimulus
“Be Her Or Support Her » (1-day training for women re politics)
Loving Her to Death (research about femicide in N.B.)
Why pretending there are no gender differences makes for bad policy and bad budgets with examples
Promoting Social Justice for Rural New Brunswick
Prostitution – Notes from a visit to Sweden
Moving Women’s Issues Forward
Ending Sexual Violence
City Hall 101
Addictions, Addictions Services and New Brunswick Women
Human Trafficking
Workplace Bullying (a dozen sessions around the province
Threat in the Third Age
Gender-Based Analysis
Ending the Holy Hush (religions and violence against women)
Sex, Lies & Economics
Human Trafficking
Aboriginal Languages
Aboriginal Leadership & Governance
Bill C-31 and discrimination in the Indian Act
Elders in Aboriginal Communities
Sex Workers in the Maritimes
Sex and Taxes
Women-friendly and family-friendly municipalities
Aboriginal Women Workshop – Healthy Relationships
Aboriginal Women – Workshop on budgeting etc.
Aborginal Women – Workshop on Board Member Skills
Skills for Change (2-day conference for representatives of groups)
Promoting Immigration in Atlantic Canada
Non-Profit Childcare
How to Get Fair Wages for Child Care Workers
Child Care – It’s More than Money
Eating Disorders
Abused Rural Women
IF THE ADVISORY COUNCIL DISAPPEARS…
Without the Advisory Council, New Brunswick will have no independent body to:
– report on the status of New Brunswick women and make statistics and information available to groups, women and media;
– research and lobby on New Brunswick women’s issues that are not yet on the government agenda;
– keep the community informed on New Brunswick women’s issues;
– say to government and the public “that is not in women’s interests”.

Filed under: Basic Info/Info de base

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