Teachers decry gender tragedy


Funding Cuts to Status of Women Canada Bring More Bad News

    Closure of National Association of Women and the Law decried by teachers

    TORONTO, Oct. 11 /CNW/ – Closure of a feminist organization that has championed women's equality rights since 1974 demonstrates the devastating results of changes to the mandate of the Status of Women Canada, says the president of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO).

In a letter sent to Prime Minister Stephen Harper today, ETFO's David Clegg called the closure of the National Association of Women and the Law
(NAWL) "a premeditated tragedy" that can only further erode the equality rights of women in Canada.
"As an organization that advocates for women's equality and promotes social justice and equity, we must speak out in opposition to your
government's actions that have precipitated the loss of NAWL as a key advocacy group in Canada," Clegg told the Prime Minister.

During its history, the NAWL was instrumental in reforming legislation that discriminated against women and advocated for changes in the workplace
and in family law and immigration legislation that have benefitted women across Canada.

    Last year, the Harper government changed the funding guidelines for the Status of Women Canada (SWC), excluding advocacy and research from the funding
criteria. Without SWC funding, NAWL was forced to close its doors last month, abandoning years of work that have made a significant difference in the lives
of women and children across Canada.

    Clegg pointed out that women's groups perform a vital function for society by raising awareness about women's issues and proposing policy and
legislative changes to further women's equality. "Canada cannot afford to silence NAWL or any of the other women's groups that rely on SWC for funding."

    Clegg reminded the Prime Minister of his promise, in the last federal election campaign, to take "concrete and immediate measures" to ensure that Canada upholds its commitments to women. "The results of these funding cuts
will prevent Canada from living up to either its domestic responsibilities or its international obligations."
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 70,000 elementary public school teachers and education workers across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

For further information: David Clegg, President, ETFO, (416) 962-3836 (Office), (416) 948-1592 (Cell); Larry Skory, ETFO Communications, (416) 962-3836 (Office), (416) 948-0195 (Cell)