Following the women's service event held in March of this year, we published the report Collective wisdom: challenges and opportunities in B.C. women's services. I sent a copy of this report to the federal and provincial ministers best positioned to take action on our recommendations, and I am pleased to update you today on their responses.
At the federal level, policy staff and other officials from the office of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, have reviewed the report. They noted its alignment with their strategy to prevent and address gender-based violence, and invited me to meet with Minister Monsef in September to further discuss our report and the challenges facing the women's services sector in B.C. Both Andrea Duncan, vice president of BCGEU's Community Social Services (CSS) component 3 and I are pleased with this response. I look forward to this meeting and will update you on the outcome.
At the provincial level, the office of the Honourable Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation, commended our work but did not commit to further action. This is to be expected as the Liberals make way for the new NDP government – a change we welcome as the NDP will be far more receptive to the recommendations made in our report. Therefore, I look forward to re-sending the report once the new NDP ministers have been announced.
Our report demonstrates a sector greatly undermined by inadequate public funding, resource and staffing shortages, troubled working conditions, and a lack of public and government recognition and support for both workers and the women they serve. In addition to a much-needed increase in government funding, recommendations from the report include:
· expedited investments in safe, affordable housing;
· the development of a human resources strategy for the women's services sector;
· building public awareness and support for women's services and issues, and more.
Please click here to read our initial media release, and for a link to the full report.
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