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Women Working with Immigrant Women

  • Instelling
  • 1974-?

Women Working with Immigrant Women (WWIW) was established in 1974, incorporated in 1985, with the goal of organizing workshops and sharing information to understand the problems and needs of Canada's growing immigrant population. WWIW sponsored workshops, courses, events, and programs, produced information kits, published books and articles, and produced a film. WWIW has also worked with other organizations to lobby the government for rights of immigrant women and women of colour, and to spread awareness about the issues encountered by immigrant communities in Canada.

In 1983, WWIW joined forces with the Coalition of Visible Minority Women to form the Ontario Immigrant and Visible Minority Women's Network. WWIW was also affiliated with the National Action Committee on the Status of Women and the National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women. In the 1990s, funding cuts caused WWIW to lose its core membership. By 1995, due to federal and provincial cutbacks, WWIW had lost so much of its funding that it could no longer support its staff. Although WWIW is no longer as active, it remains present in the Canadian women's movement, and was last seen in 2015 protesting discrimination against women wearing niqab.

Slovak Studies Association (SSA)

  • Instelling
  • 1977-

The Slovak Studies Association (SSA) was founded in 1977 in Washington, D.C. during the National Conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS). Attending this first meeting were Thaddeus Gromeda, Richard Liba, Thomas Marzik, Jozef and Renee Mikuš, Mark Stolárik, Anthony X. Sutherland and Edward Tuleya. The purpose of this first meeting was to discuss a tentative constitution, enabling the secretary-treasurer, Mark Stolárik, to write its first draft, and to elaborate the procedures for the election of SSA’s officers. Procedures pertaining to the election of SSA officers were also elaborated during this reunion.

The SSA promotes interdisciplinary research, publications and teaching relating to worldwide Slovak experience. This scholarly organization assists scholars interested in Slovak studies, sponsors panels on Slovak history and themes (i.e. “14 March and the Slovak State“ and “Slovak Literature as a Mirror of National Awakening“), and issues a bi-annual newsletter. In addition, the SSA “conducts all of its activities in accordance with academic freedom and completely devoid of partiality to any philosophical, political, or religious orientation“. The SSA is affiliated to the Association for Slovak, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEES) (formerly the Association for Advancement of Slovak Studies). In 1983, the SSA was incorporated to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a non-profit scholarly organization.

Canadian Slovak League (CSL)

  • Instelling
  • 1932-

The Canadian Slovak League (CSL) was founded in December 1932 by Andrej Kučera, Juraj Rodoš and Pavol A. Sabo, representatives of the Winnipeg Branch of the Slovak League of America. The founding members of the CSL wanted to create an organization catering to the needs of Slovak-Canadians and sought to broaden the social and financial support to their members. In 1934, this organization received a “Dominion Charter” therefore making the CSL a fraternal benefit society. For the remainder of the 1930s, this organization continued to support Slovakia’s independence as promised by the Pittsburg Agreement. It also paid death benefits according to the size of its treasury to deceased members’ family. The Oshawa and Hamilton branches of the CSL established the First District of the Assembly followed by the first Slovak Day in Oshawa. Slovak Days in cities such as Toronto, Hamilton, Welland, Montréal and Windsor would soon follow.

In the 1940s, the CSL was involved in the Canadian war effort. Members purchased war bonds and participated in the war effort. The CSL donated an ambulance to the Red Cross. During these years, the CSL established its organ newspaper Kanadský Slovak, edited respectively by Štefan Hreha, Konštantin Čuleň, Štefan Reištetter, Andrej Brazda and Julius Behul. Upon World War II’s and the beginning of Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, the CSL sent a delegation to Ottawa to persuade the Canadian government to accept Slovak refugees fleeing the Communist regime, a situation intensified by the Pact of Warsaw in 1968.

In 1954, the CSL was reorganized as an insurance company. Members now had to pay monthly fees according to their age. Due to this new policy, membership dropped making this organization return to its previous role as a fraternal organization. Culturally, the CSL continued to support Slovak Halls where plays and Slovak folk dance groups performed culminating in a performance at Expo ’67. CSL members also sponsored radio shows and television programs.

With the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1989, the CSL demanded that a full Canadian diplomatic post be created in Bratislava. To this day, the CSL continues to help Slovak immigrants arriving in Canada and promotes Slovak culture and heritage with activities in various branches.

Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre

  • Instelling
  • 1974-

In 1974, three women (Rosemary Billings, Gaby Van Heusen and Diane Williams) originally active in the Ottawa Women’s Centre had the idea of starting a crisis centre for victims of rape and sexual assault in the Ottawa-Hull area. A grant was secured to support the project, and on December 15th, 1974, the centre officially opened. The original goals of the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre were to 1) provide direct assistance to rape victims through a volunteer-operated crisis phone line, casework and accompaniment services, and group counselling 2) to educate the public toward a change in attitude and treatment of the issue of rape. Representatives of the centre spoke to high schools and other organizations to raise awareness as well as liaising with police stations and hospitals with the aim of working together to help victims of rape.

In 1976, the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre was comprised of four full-time staff and 40 volunteers. A board of directors made up of community members was established in early 1976 to provide support for a Demonstration Project grant submission to the Federal Government Health & Welfare department. Conflicts between the board and certain staff members ensued in 1976 and 1977 which threatened the success of the centre; internal conflicts occurred again in 1982. The Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre continues to operate in 2019 and has expanded to include three full time and eight part-time staff members, project staff, and approximately 50 volunteers who respond to the crisis line, provide education outreach, and sit on the board.

National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC)

  • Instelling
  • 1971-[2010]

The National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) was an umbrella organization for women’s groups and groups that supported women’s issues in Canada.
In 1970, commissioned by the federal government and chaired by Florence Bird, the Royal Commission on the Status of Women (RCSW) released a report which recognized women’s subordinate place in Canadian Society. The report contained 167 recommendations to strengthen women’s position in Canada. In 1971, the National Ad Hoc Committee on the Status of Women was formed by a group of women determined to see these recommendations implemented in the Canadian Society. Further, they proposed that this large organization would form committees to address key matters of concern, lobby the government for legislative changes and raise public awareness about women’s issues. During the Strategy for Change conference led by Laura Sabia in Toronto in 1972, it was decided that « Ad Hoc » should be dropped from the name, thus the organization became known as the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. Initially, the first thirty groups that made up NAC were mostly based in Toronto, but over time, the number of member groups increased dramatically and represented more of Canada. In fact, in 1977 NAC had approximately 120 member groups registered, 576 groups in 1988, and around 600 in 1996. Membership was diverse in class and politics: “They included many older national women’s organizations, business and professional women, unions, YWCAs, service organizations such as women’s shelters and rape crisis centres, immigrant women’s caucuses in various mixed groups and political parties.” (Rise Up!). The organization became officially bilingual in 1976.

NAC’s structure remained consistent and was volunteer based. NAC was led by an elected president and supported by a number of elected vice presidents, regional representatives and member groups. Approximately every two years there was an election for a new presidential candidate. Over the years, each NAC president brought her own talents, perspective and leadership direction to the organization. Typically, each president served a two-year term, beginning with Lauria Sabia. Subsequent presidents were Grace Hartman, Lorna Marsden, Kay Macpherson, Lynn McDonald, Jean Wood, Doris Anderson, Chavia Hosek, Louise Delude, Lynn Kaye, Judy Rebick, Sunera Thobani, and Joan Grant-Cummings.
Along with the president, the vice-presidents and regional representatives from the NAC Executive made decisions about hiring and office practices and acted as liaisons to member groups. The Executive met throughout the year to provide continuity and direction. NAC was organized in several committees which focused on particular issues including employment, pensions and income security; social services (including child care); violence against women; health and reproductive rights; pornography; visible minority and immigrant women; native women, etc.

. Each year an annual general meeting was held in order to communicate with member groups, assess strategies, plan for actions and campaigns and form committees to effectively organize their voices. Each member group had the opportunity to send a representative to the meeting who could vote on proposed amendments to the Constitution or any motion that was brought forward. Committees responded to issues in their jurisdiction as they arose. Members had the opportunity to join committees, which met during the year, planning and organizing campaigns and report to the AGM.

In order to reach the many member groups, NAC published short newsletters that highlighted current issues and pertinent events. The publication was first called Status of Women News (1973-1985), commonly referred to as Status, and evolved into Memo. The publication became Feminist Action Feministe (1985), and finally Action Now (1990).

The first NAC office was located in Toronto, but as NAC’s membership grew larger and it received more funding from the government, it was decided to open an Ottawa office. Unfortunately, it became expensive to have two offices and therefore in 1995, it was decided that the Ottawa bureau would have to close down. The NAC Toronto office changed location, size and personnel, reflecting financial and organizational pressures.

Funding for NAC was inconsistent, depending on [changing?] federal government policy. The government funding allowed NAC to develop an infrastructure that permitted active but costly participation from the regions (women from every province and territory flew in on a monthly basis for meetings and working committees). There was, however, always a debate in NAC about whether to accept money from the government. On the one hand, it was argued that women pay taxes and have a right to have tax money redistributed to promote their aims and rights. On the other hand, it was argued that NAC needed to be fully independent so that the government could not pull the plug on their movement. NAC did, however, rely heavily on federal funding, which was problematic during its last years of existence. NAC’s core funding from the government was cut in half in 1988, which made membership fees and fundraising campaigns essential to NAC’s survival. By the 2000s, NAC was slowly becoming a less relevant feminist political advocate and has since completely disappeared from Canadian politics (Collier, Cheryl, p.17).

NAC, in its heyday, was instrumental in bringing women’s issues to the forefront of public discussion. NAC identified four issues as priorities when it began in 1972: the right to abortion, childcare, getting coverage for homemakers in the Canada Pension Plan and equal pay. By 1975, International Women’s Year broadened to equal pay for work of equal value, universal childcare, birth control accessibility, the right to abortion services, Family Law Reform, pension rights for homemakers and native women’s rights. During the 1984 Election, NAC’s efforts secured an unprecedented nationally televised debate on women’s issues. Also in the early 1980's, in reaction to the cutbacks from the Conservative’s federal budget, the Back On Track Campaign encouraged women to voice their disapproval with these detrimental moves to cut funding to essential groups. As well, NAC was vocal in lobbying for legislative and social change including Section 32 (b) of the Indian Act, changes to the Constitution in 1982, and equal pay for work of equal value. Other significant committees were formed and worked on issues like Survival of the Planet, Lesbian Rights, Justice, Immigrant and Visible Minority Women. When under the Immigration Act, domestics, many from Jamaica, were being deported after losing their jobs, NAC fought successfully to stop the deportations. NAC’s members’ efforts were successful also to get, improve and maintain unemployment insurance for women, and maternity and parental benefits as well as to lead the way in developing a coalition to fight free trade. NAC also supported several breakthrough legal cases, including that of Bonnie Robichaud on her complaint of sexual harassment. Bonnie Robichaud’s victory in finding the employer liable for harassment opened the door for many women to complain. NAC also supported Mary Pitawanakwat on her complaint about discrimination on the basis of race in the Secretary of State. It played a significant role in supporting her victory to be reinstated in her position. The beginning of the 90’s was marked by the case of Chantal Daigle and the Ecole Polytechnique Massacre.

Although NAC was not immune to controversy, or internal struggles, it managed to successfully represent hundreds of women’s groups in Canada. NAC became an important voice for women’s groups in Canada in the 70s into the 90s, and played an important role in raising awareness and effecting positive changes for women in Canada. NAC ceased existance in the late 2000s.

Press Gang Printers

  • Instelling
  • 1970-1993

Press Gang Printers was a feminist printing collective operating in Vancouver from 1970 to 1993. It incorporated under British Columbia's Companies Act as Press Gang Publishers Ltd. in April 1970. The organization included both women and men until 1974, when it was established as a women-only feminist collective.

Press Gang published its first book under its own imprint in 1976, a collection of essays entitled "I'm Not Mad, I'm Angry: Women Look at Psychiatry." Over the years, printing and publishing activities increasingly diverged, and in 1982 Press Gang established a separate collective to manage the publishing operations. In 1989 the separation was completed when the two collectives formally became distinct legal and corporate entities, Press Gang Printers Ltd. and Press Gang Publishers Feminist Cooperative. The two organizations, however, remained closely associated and continued to operate out of the same premises -- 603 Powell Street, where the shop was established in 1978, after four years in its previous location at 821 East Hastings Street.

National Association of Women and the Law

  • Instelling
  • 1974-
The National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) is a Canadian non-profit feminist organization that has worked to improve the legal status of women in Canada through law reform since 1974.
In 1974, NAWL was created at a conference held at the University of Windsor law school. NAWL was initially headed by the National Coordinating Committee based out of the University of Ottawa Law School, Common Law Section, then later governed by a regionally representative National Steering Committee that acts as a Board of Directors and is elected by the membership. Since then, NAWL has used its unique research as a foundation for effective action and advocacy. Through its educational work, NAWL has played a vital role in raising public awareness about legal issues affecting women. NAWL has played a major role in the following milestones towards women's equality: Sections 15 and 28 in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; the amendments to the sexual assault laws; positive changes to family law and to the divorce act; rape shield legislation; criminal harassment legislation.

Royal Commission on the Status of Women

  • Instelling
  • 1967-1970
The Royal Commission on the Status of Women was a Canadian Royal Commission that examined the status of women and recommended steps that might be taken by the federal government to ensure equal opportunities with men and women in all aspects of Canadian society. The Commission commenced on 16 February 1967 as an initiative of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson with Florence Bird as the chair. Public sessions were conducted the following year to accept public comment for the Commission to consider as it formulated its recommendations. The report tabled on 7 December 1970 included 167 recommendations for reducing gender inequality across the various spheres of Canadian society.

Feminist Party of Canada

  • Instelling
  • 1979-1982

The Feminist Party of Canada (FPC) developed during the feminist movement in response to a lack of representation of women in government and to the many injustices women and minorities continued to face. The party began on June 10, 1979 at an event held by a number of feminists at the Ontario Institute for the Study of Education (OISE), which attracted over 600 people. The event included readings and songs, as well as speeches delivered by Marg Evans, Angela Miles, Mary O'Brien and Laura Sabia.

The primary objective of the FPC was to have an impact on the political system by providing a feminist perspective, and in turn, tackle many of the neglected issues concerning women. The party quickly received attention from the media and was very active while it existed—holding events, sending out newsletters and flyers, communicating with politicians and fighting for official party status. Though the Feminist Party of Canada never became an official party, ending only three years after it began, the party influenced many women to become politically active and brought attention to numerous social, economic, political and educational issues affecting not only women, but all of society.

Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women

  • Instelling
  • 1973-1995

The Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women (CACSW) was established by the federal government of Canada on the recommendation of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women (RCSW) in 1973. The primary purpose of its creation was to educate the public and make an impact on the issues and concerns facing Canadian women, including: access to employment in male dominated professions, equal pay, female reproduction rights, child care, representation in government, constitutional reform, health care, sexual assault, violence against women, and more.

The CACSW was comprised of one president, two vice presidents, fifteen regionally representative members working part-time, and approximately thirty office staff members. After years of providing publications on women's research and helping to reform the constitution, the CACSW was eventually dismantled on April 1, 1995.

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