On September 8, as a follow up to the report Collective Wisdom: Challenges and Opportunities in B.C's Women's Services the BCGEU was invited by the federal Minister of Status of Women Maryam Monsef to participate in a roundtable discussion as part of the federal government's commitment to addressing gender-based violence (GBV). At the Roundtable were approximately 30 representatives for women's services organizations that address GBV in their work such as transition houses, shelters, centres for female survivors of sexual and domestic violence, sex workers advocacy groups, health services and more.
Minister Monsef heard about the work of the 10,000 BCGEU members and the 1500 members who see first-hand how women's services in BC is in crisis and how it's failing as the social safety net meant to protect women and provide support services and crisis intervention and are expected to do more with less. This crisis has resulted in the denial of services for women who desperately need them due to the multiple issues they face from the lack of safe housing, child care, poverty, mental health, substance abuse, involvement with child protection, and inability to find employment with a living wage. These additional challenges make it nearly impossible to provide the support needed.
Through conversations with the Minister and, following the meeting, her policy advisor, we made it clear that based on BCGEU members' experience the current situation is not acceptable and that the only way to meet the needs of women accessing services at their most vulnerable moments, is to increase funding now – not tomorrow.
You can find more information about the report and the conference held by members in women's services by clicking here.
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