"...Covenant rights should be enforceable within provinces and territories through legislation or policy measures and through the establishment of independent, transparent and effective monitoring and adjudication mechanisms. (UN Committee Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 2006)

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women

Review of Canada, October 2008

In October 2008, the CEDAW Committee reviewed Canada’s compliance under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. This was the sixth review of Canada by this Committee. CURA researchers played a very active role nationally and in British Columbia in engaging with individuals and community based organizations across the country.

Civil Society Submissions and Initiatives

CURA researchers were actively involved in the 2002 review of Canada by CEDAW. Shelagh Day and Margot Young, working with the Feminist Alliance for International Action coordinated and mobilized more than 25 national organizations and 13 provincial organizations, as well as a large number of experts across Canada to contribute to the review process.

CURA researchers, in conjunction with FAFIA, attended the pre-sessional working group of the CEDAW Committee in January 2008 and, working collaboratively with others, provided the Committee with a list of questions in response to the Government of Canada’s report.

CURA researchers coordinated and wrote a national NGO report which documents the status of women’s rights across the country. This Report was submitted to the Committee to assist it in its review of Canada. The Report focuses on economic and social rights issues as experienced by women, including: poverty, inadequate social assistance rates, inadequate housing and homelessness, lack of access to affordable childcare, employment insurance inequality, women’s labour force attachment, women’s health, and education.

Also for a second time, CURA researchers Day and Young, aided by UBC law student researchers coordinated a report specifically on the status of women’s rights in British Columbia. 12 organizations in BC participated in drafting the report and it was endorsed by 34 individuals and organizations. The report focuses on Aboriginal women, particularly their disadvantaged social and economic conditions; and poverty and social assistance rates for women in BC.

CURA researchers attended the oral review of Canada in Geneva in October 2008, and helped to coordinate and assist other Canadian NGOs in attendance. FAFIA made an oral intervention, and CURA researchers hosted a luncheon session with Committee members. FAFIA produced a series of briefing notes on particular issues to assist Committee members in their review of Canada’s compliance.

In its 2008 recommendations to Canada, the CEDAW Committee took the unusual move of asking the Government of Canada to provide an update in just one year’s time on the implementation of recommendations in two areas of serious and particular concern to the Committee: the missing and murdered Aboriginal women, and the adequacy of social assistance rates. CURA researchers working with FAFIA and the BC CEDAW Group drafted their own assessment of Canada’s implementation of recommendation on these issues.

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