Page 1

The Gender Income Gap in Canada Persists continued from page 1

Older Women’s Network (Ontario) Inc. 115 The Esplanade Toronto, ON. M5E 1Y7 Telephone: 416-214-1518 E-mail: Website: Contact is a publication of the Older Women’s Network (OWN), an incorporated non-profit organization with a feminist outlook. It focuses, in particular, on issues affecting older women. Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of OWN. Contact is published four times a year on the st 1 of Mar., June, Sept., Dec. Firm deadlines for contributions is the first of Feb., May, Aug., Nov. Please be sure your event takes place after the publication date. Material submitted is subject to editing for clarity or length. E-mail submissions to: shirleylewis6@yahoo. com or phone her at 416-601-9398. Contact Editorial Group: Vivian Banton, Sylvia Hall, Eleanor Batchelder, Shirley Lewis The annual membership fee of OWN is $35 (low income $25) for individuals and $65 for organizations. The membership year is Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. Members of OWN receive Contact free. 

OWN Provincial Council 2010 - 2011

Chair: Mary Hynes Vice Chair: Shirley Lewis Past Chair: Erin Harris Treasurer: Marilyn Schafer Secretary: Margaret Hawthorn Directors: Bea Levis; Janice Tait; Ethel Meade; Rona Macdonald; Eleanor Batchelder Please contact any Council Member through the 3URYLQFLDO2IĂ€FHDW


(OWN) Contact

Spring 2011

median full-time earnings as a percentage of male median full-time earnings. Most recent figures indicate that the gap in income between men and women in Canada is 21%, meaning that for every dollar earned by men, women earn 79 cents.

Is the Canadian gender income gap greater than that of other countries? Many Canadians believe that the gender gap has been solved, but relatively speaking, Canada ties with Finland and the U.K. for 12th spot (out of 17) and earns a “C� grade. Among our developmental peers, the gender income gap ranges from a low of 9% in Denmark to a high of 32% in Japan.

Is the gender income gap becoming narrower or wider? Canada and most of its peers have managed to narrow the gender gap over the past three decades, thus raising the bar for an “A� performance. Although Canada’s gender income gap is smaller than it was in the 1980s and 1990s, Canada’s overall grade remained a “C� for the 2000s. For full detail, visit: http://www. gender-income-gap.aspx

Chair Report By Mary Hynes Now that spring is here (and especially the month of March) OWN and a number of our sister organisations have quite a few upcoming events and activities. You can read about our major event elsewhere in Contact. You can keep up to date by frequently checking out our revitalized web page []. Our office was officially closed for several weeks during the Christmas season and I went to Sweden and Denmark, partially to get an on-the-ground view of life in Scandinavia. And, of course, this year’s flu season was especially severe for some of us. Our Housing Committee has been hard at work planning and delivering workshops in the Housing Literacy Series. Our writing group sponsored a poetry reading featuring well-known poets. Activism, self-knowledge and selfactualization are cornerstones for OWN and our hard- working member volunteers continually work to see our goals are realized. More committed volunteers are always needed by OWN so we can continue. As a representative for OWN I have been involved with a number of consultations. The Ministry of Transportation wanted our suggestions for an identity card that could be used by non-drivers. The Ontario Human Rights Commission wanted input for a policy on discrimination in housing for those with mental health or addiction issues. Whenever possible, OWN tries to have our voice heard when policies are being created or to have them changed to meet the needs of midlife and older

women. We are a mighty but a very small organization. Unlike some of the large organisations that receive major funding or donations, we depend on our members. By now all our members have received a notice for membership renewal. And thank you to the many members who have renewed. A special thank you to those who gave more money than the required renewal fee. You are all helping us to continue to exist. You help us pay the rent and pay the phone bill. You make it possible to pay for the paper and printer ink for leaflets, letters and posters. You make it possible for us to pay the printing costs for Contact. For those of you who have not yet renewed your membership, please heed this reminder. We cannot afford to keep sending you written notices and Contact. For members who do not renew, this will be your final copy of Contact until we process your renewal. We want you to be a member of OWN. We want you to continue to be informed. We want you to receive Contact. If you are having financial difficulties, contact the office to confidentially discuss your needs and we may be able to help you retain your membership. If you are a member with some extra funds, you can direct a donation specifically to help members unable to manage the cost of membership. Our members are the heart of our organization.

Spring 2011

(OWN) Contact


Peterborough Chapter Report By Jill N. Jones

Poverty Issues s This summer the Peterborough OWN chapter donated a new air conditioning unit to “Our Space,” a daytime drop-in for street people where Dorothy Boddy is active as a volunteer. s Dorothy Boddy and Catharine Kaye are involved with our local Peterborough Legal Centre, bringing forward the legal interests, need for information and access of low-income older women in the area. s Several of our members represent us on the Poverty Reduction Network.

Community Events s On Oct. 18, OWN co-sponsored with the Women’s Events Committee, a very wellattended “Person’s Day Breakfast” where Jen Rowell of CARE spoke of conditions for women and families in Afghanistan and the website resulted. Please sign on! s Our solstice tea and sacred circle dance at St. John’s on the evening of Dec. 20 was once again very successful, with almost 40 women sharing tea and dancing into the returning light! s Martha Butler is helping on the campaign to build a new Maple Ridge Seniors’ Centre, which should open in the summer and will be mostly run by volunteers. s Catharine Kaye has been working with Transition Town Peterborough, an initiative to localize the economy and to provide a sustainable future in the face of rising 

(OWN) Contact

Spring 2011

oil and hydro prices. There could be an opportunity to work more closely with our Toronto OWN sisters on environmental housing. s Catharine Kaye is involved in organizing an Evening with Robert Winslow of the 4th Line theatre for Feb. 24 at 6:30 pm at the Library. The event includes a silent auction of environmentally friendly items that are locally produced and are all under $20.00.This is the first of many small fundraisers to finance the start-up funds for the micro bank we are trying to start for the Peterborough Kawartha trading area. s Peterborough OWN is bringing in Anne Lindsay, a wonderful older woman musician, to perform on Mar. 3 at Sadleir House as an OWN fundraiser – and the first event of Peterborough International Women’s Week celebrations! s Kathryn Langley organized a Round Table on Enhancing Health Care in Canada with federal NDP health critic Megan Leslie, MP for Halifax. Linda, Renee, and Dorothy, members of Peterborough’s Raging Grannies, opened the session. Linda Slavin and Catherine Kaye presented on behalf of women. A report by Kathryn was published in Trent University’s “Arthur”. s OWN supported events during Peace Week organized by OPIRG (Ontario Public Interest Research Group), in particular ‘The Real Costs of Militarism – Climate Change and War – Canada and Afghanistan,” and followed up with a postcard campaign initiated by Council of Canadians and Kawartha Ploughshares.

s OWN and the values of its members were on display in the Public Library for a week. A poster-making party was held at Kathryn’s before the Jan. 27 rally in support of keeping the CBC public and Canadian. s For ReFrame Film Festival, OWN sponsored “Topp Twins” and “Journeys End,” had an ad in the catalogue and supported the films chosen by affiliated groups. One of our members, Martha Butler, has been active with this film festival for the past seven years, since the moment it began. Congrats and thank you, Martha! s Peterborough OWN still continues to host 10:00 am Wednesday morning coffeeklatch gathering, at the Whistle Stop Café.

Radio Show – Peterborough Women’s Hour s We are once again hosting our regular Saturday radio show “Peterborough Women’s Hour,” 2 - 3 pm on 92.7 FM. We would be pleased to interview some of our Toronto sisters. You could come to Peterborough, or simply call in live. s Our sister Renee Castro has moved to Toronto and will soon be joining you at your meetings! 

North of Steeles Report By Rachel Tamari On Mon., Dec. 13, we celebrated ourselves and the season with an afternoon tea party. Six members and seven guests attended the meeting. OWN pamphlets and the McConaghy Centre winter info sheets were distributed. We congratulated ourselves within our NOS group, for daring to dream big and achieving our goals. For the winter session we'll enjoy two programs at the M. L. McConaghy Seniors Centre of Richmond Hill. Both programs are supported by Ryerson University and the New Horizons for Seniors program: Lecture Series: The Great Thinkers (Hugh Innes) Jan. 25 – Feb. 15, 2011, every Tuesday 1:00-3:00 pm. Discussion Group: Current Events (Marilyn Whitely) Jan. 13 – Mar. 3, 2011 every Thursday, 10:00 am-12:00 noon. There won't be any other NOS group meetings while we meet at the McConaghy Seniors’ Centre.

Pre-Authorized OWN Support

+DYH\RXFRQVLGHUHGSUHDXWKRUL]HGFKHTXLQJDVDZD\WRSD\\RXUPHPEHUVKLSDQG support the work of OWN? Five dollars off your account each month would hardly be missed. Even ten dollars is not so much to dedicate to the life and health of OWN.  3OHDVHFRQVLGHUVXSSRUWLQJ2:1RQDPRQWKWRPRQWKEDVLV,WJLYHVXVPRQWKO\ working capital to continue offering services to all members. OWN needs your ongoing support.

Spring 2011

(OWN) Contact


Letters to the Editor I’m sorry your Women for African Grandmothers group is phasing out. We at TOGOGO – the Toronto group – are also revisiting our ongoing activities. We have decided “no more ticket selling.” But we will continue to meet at Bloor St. United Church after church. Call me at 416-532-0220 if anyone from OWN would like to continue to help the African Grannies. We have about 16 members. One of our initiatives has been to postcard the MPs to fix the Canadian Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR) by voting for Bill C-393 to move to a “one license solution”. Anti-Retro Virus drugs at a low cost are not reaching Africans. The current cross-Canada tour should raise awareness about this continuing crisis. Shirley Farlinger

Gear Up for a Battle over Health Care There is a battle brewing over public health care and it will heat up soon. Women should be informed and ready to act on the issue. Here is what you should know: The Canada Health Accord, through which the federal government funds the provinces for health care services, expires in 2014. To date the federal government has given no indication as to what it will do; in fact, it has been silent on health care – and that bodes ill. Meanwhile, Maxime Bernier, PC MP, – has suggested that the federal government should get out of

(OWN) Contact

Spring 2011

provincial matters, and other voices close to the Conservatives are speaking of the health care crisis, largely due to the aging population, and positing privatization as the remedy. There is no health care crisis. Costs are not out of control. Medicare is sustainable, and the system is not being bankrupted by seniors. These are myths! Health care costs remain relatively stable, but they represent a larger percentage of provincial budgets because revenues are down. Canadian spending on health care compares favourably with other countries. The aging population adds about 1% to the costs per year – not insignificant, but not unmanageable. Are there problems? Yes, but privatization will not fix them. In fact, it can be harder to control costs in the private sector. We do need to spend less and improve quality. Fortunately, some experts say that is very doable. I am undertaking to learn more about these matters, especially the impact of the aging population. So, in late February, I am going to Boomerangst, a conference sponsored by the UBC Centre for Health Services and Policy Research. When I return, I will happily share what I learn. In the meantime, we need to start speaking out. Speak to the federal politicians in your area. You should get a sympathetic audience from most of them. And spread the message to your friends and family. Pam Churchill

Women and the Arts By Temple Wyndham Women’s creativity is blooming in Toronto and there are numerous feminist viewpoints to be seen and heard in 2011. The following are featured because of their viewpoint (and modest price for economy-minded women). Nightwood Theatre is a feminist theatre troupe that keeps a dynamic schedule – they just completed a Festival of New Works by Women which was held Feb. 17-26, and on Mar.1 they hosted the popular FEMCAB cabaret, celebrating International Women’s Day. Plays are frequently staged at the Berkeley Theatre or Canstage, and other venues. Their website lists all their forthcoming plays, so bookmark it for future reference: http://www. The Alumnae Theatre Company is of particular interest to female, but not necessarily feminist, theatre-goers. It provides opportunities for all women in theatre as an integral part of its mandate. Founded in 1919 by women graduates of the University of Toronto, it continues to offer the best in classic and contemporary plays. Located at 70 Berkeley St., their ticket prices are not only modest, but Sunday performances are Pay-What-You-Can – AND they need volunteer ushers, who get to watch the play for free. Bookmark:

The Female Eye Film Festival (FeFF) is Toronto’s one and only annual film festival showcasing films directed by women. It’s a juried competitive film festival by internationally recognized directors as well as debut and emerging directors. This year, the Female Eye Film Festival will be held March 16-20 – but the program has not yet been announced as OWN goes to press. All films will be screened at the Rainbow Cinema, Market Square, a stone’s throw away from OWN’s Esplanade co-op. To find updated news on this festival, visit their site at http:// www.femaleeyefilmfestival. com/ A new feminist film is ready for release all across Canada – “Constitute!.” The documentary film profiles the dynamic activism of countless Canadian women to ensure that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms signed in 1982 would include gender equality. Doris Anderson, Michele Landsberg, Flora MacDonald (in above photo), Sharon McIvor, Marilou McPhedran, Pauline Jewett, and Linda Palmer-Nye are just some of the women in the film, with interviews by Sally Armstrong. The film also profiles women’s global constitutional activism including segments on South Africa, Rwanda and Afghanistan. This film will be screened at OWN’s Equality Day Celebration on Sun., Apr. 17 at 2:00 pm. Phone OWN for reservations: 416-214-1518

Spring 2011

(OWN) Contact


Request for Research Participants Researchers at the University of Toronto are seeking seniors who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender to participate in a research study about home and community care for LGBT seniors. They are seeking individuals willing to have a one-on-one interview for about one hour, sometime in March or April, and who meet the following criteria:

Feminist Book Discussion Groups

2:1&RRS%RRN*URXS 115 The Esplanade Second Tuesday of the month, 2:00 p.m. April 11 Book of Negroes, by Lawrence Hill May 10 Fault Lines, by Nancy Huston June 14 I am My father’s son, by Dan Hill Coordinator: Leslie Lawlor 416-363-9219;

s Age 60 or over s Identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender s Have ever received home and community care OR have acted as a caregiver to an LGBT senior who has received home and community care If you are interested in participating or would like more information, please contact Jillian Watkins at 416-963-8033 or jillian. 

Notice of Meeting

5120 Yonge St., Willowdale First Wednesday of the month, 1:30 p.m. April 6 Half the Sky, by Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn QRQÂżFWLRQ  May 4 Three Women, by Marge Piercy, 1999 June 1 Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the rise of raunch culture, by Ariel Levy QRQÂżFWLRQ  Coordinator: Eleanor Batchelder 647-235-0843;

MPP Glen Murray and Councillor

Northern District Public Library

Pam McConnell will hold a Joint

40 Orchard View (near Yonge and (JOLQWRQ

Third Wednesday of the month, 2:00 p.m. April 20 The Story of a Widow: A novel, by Musharraf Farooqi May 18 ,QÂżGHO, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali June 15 The Winter Vault, by Anne Michaels Coordinator: Adrienne Taylor 416-481-2356;

&RPPXQLW\0HHWLQJRQ0RQ0DU SPDW2:1&RRS 115 The Esplanade. Anyone interested in community events and services is welcome to attend. OWN will be represented.

North York Central Library

(OWN) Contact

Spring 2011

Alfreda Mordas Reading Room Report By Marilyn Schafer Many, many thanks to Margaret Hawthorn, who regularly donates books after she has read them. We urge other members to follow her example and help build our collection of books by or about Canadian women, including novels. As with all libraries, the Alfreda Mordas Reading Room has a policy that we have the right to dispose of duplicates by

Recommended Reading The Raging Grannies, by Carole Roy. Black Rose Books, 2004 Reviewed by Shirley Lewis Subtitled Wild hats, cheeky songs and witty actions for a better world, this book is all about feminist women, social justice, and using humour as an effective tool. Although the Raging Grannies now has chapters (or “gaggles” as they are called) around the world, it all started in Victoria, B.C. in 1987, and author Carole Roy has captured the whole story – from their first steps as part of a peace movement through their increasing notoriety, and in particular through their increasingly outrageous songs which poked fun at political posturing, societal stereotypes and outright hypocrisy. Using irreverent humour as their tool, the Raging Grannies bring to the fore the important issues of peace, environmental degradation, social justice – especially during

resale or discard, but we are confident that this will not deter anyone who might donate. The next Senior Women’s Afternoon at the Movies will be on June 10, 2011. We plan to show “Shirley Valentine” at 2:00 pm in the Elizabeth Beeton Room at the Toronto Reference Library (TRL) at 789 Yonge St., just north of Bloor. We continue to partner with the Toronto Reference Library, and planning is underway for the November 2011 and June 2012 movie afternoons. such events as elections and political rallies. Their songs and performances have brought the only levity to many a demonstration – and their witty lyrics have captured the attention of many who would otherwise not even be aware of the issues. How this feminist group has made a significant impact on our society, and successfully challenged authority while entertaining and making their points, makes for good reading. Author Carole Roy has done a masterful job. Now an assistant professor at Nova Scotia’s St. Francis Xavier University, she made the Raging Grannies the topic of her doctoral thesis, had it published by Black Rose Books – and won the American Library Association’s prestigious Amelia Bloomer Award in 2005. This entertaining contribution to feminist Canadian literature is available at the Toronto Public Library. Alas, there is no copy in the Alfreda Mordas Reading Room, so if anyone has an inclination to donate a copy, it would certainly be well received. Spring 2011

(OWN) Contact


EEEEEK! Stories to Make You Cringe s When Donna Jodham took the Canadian Government to court, she only wanted our government interactive web sites to be accessible to the blind who use screenreader programs. She was rebuffed at all turns, so finally she sued. And she won! But it takes time and it costs money to sue the Canadian government, so private citizens need help. When an important issue like this case arises, the Court Challenges Program could be approached, which is just what Donna Jodham did. She received funding in 2006. But the decision didn’t come down the pipe for four years, until 2010. Congratulations, Donna. Judge Michael Kelen ruled that all government web sites must be made accessible to the blind within 15 months. But no one else need apply for any other legitimate issue. On Sept. 26, 2006, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced suspension of funding for all future Court Challenges Programs. And to aggravate things even more, the government announced on Jan.12, 2011, that it is appealing Judge Kelen’s verdict. (EEEK!)


(OWN) Contact

Spring 2011

s The government of Ontario may be pleasing the voters by refunding some of the Harmonized Sales Tax, but Elka Ruth Enola of Oakville was taken aback to discover that her refund was combined with her husband’s refund and the check was sent to him. Upon enquiry she was advised that it was policy that in the case of married couples, the first person whose income tax return was processed would get all the money. In an ideal world, this would be fine, but what about less than perfect unions? Where the partner pockets the money and devil take the hindmost? What is the government thinking? (EEEK!) s The Supreme Court of Canada agreed in December of 2010 to hear the case of the Public Service Alliance vs. Canada Post in the pay equity dispute totaling $150 million. Well, it’s about time! The case started a generation ago, in 1983, and it took twenty-two years for the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to rule (in 2005) that Canada Post had violated the Canadian Human Rights Act and award back pay and interest to the (mostly female) postal workers affected. Canada Post appealed the Tribunal’s decision all the way to the Supreme Court, and in its ponderous way, 5 years later, The Supreme Court finally agreed to hear the appeal. Who knows how long it will take the Supreme Court to hear the case and make their decision? Will any of the women whose back pay and interest hangs in the balance even be alive by the time this case is settled? (EEEK!)

What Do You Think? The following article comes from the website Nov.24, 2010

Women and Poverty Economists say women make up as much as 80 per cent of the increase in seniors poverty. Armine Yalnizyan, economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, said more women than men were living close to the poverty threshold before the financial crisis took hold in 2008, and, because their retirement savings tend to be smaller, were more likely to slip below the low-income cutoff. Men over 65 are also twice as likely as women over 65 to have a job. By January, 2009, there were 23,000 fewer women over 65 working than there were seven months earlier, while the number for men changed very little, Ms. Yalnizyan said. “My guess is that the majority of women [who are still] working over 65 are not carrying on with their career, but trying to have a little more comfort in their lives. They were probably never too far above the poverty line, whatever line you pick. When those jobs are gone, more of them are struggling to make ends meet,� Ms. Yalnizyan said. The rise in poverty among seniors poses particular problems for their adult children, who will be expected to bridge financial gaps for their parents while supporting their own families. This so-called “sandwich generation� is often caught with the twin pressures of having children in higher 

education and parents requiring additional care for failing health, according to Laurel Rothman, co-coordinator of the Campaign 2000 report card on child and family poverty. She said the trend is particularly hard on new Canadians who have sponsored their parents to join them in Canada. Many of those parents have been able to work for only a few years in Canada before retirement, and so receive very little in Canadian pensions. “In Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, ethno-racial newcomers are particularly a concern,� Ms. Rothman said. “We see it all the time at Family Service Toronto; people who come here that are sponsored [by their family members]. It may be someone who puts in five or 10 years of work [in Canada], but they don’t get full Canada Pension Plan. ... And their cost of living has gone up.� The jump in poverty among seniors is unusual because Canada’s success in tackling this issue has been cited as perhaps its single most successful policy intervention. According to figures cited in a 2009 Conference Board report, Canada’s rate of seniors poverty was as high as 36.9 per cent in 1971. The government, in an effort to tackle the problem, had a few years earlier introduced the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Canada Pension Plan. By 2007, the rate of poverty among seniors had plummeted to 4.9 per cent, before rising to 5.8 per cent in 2008. If you want to comment on this article, your opinion could be published in our “Letters to the Editor.�


This is your newsletter and we welcome your feedback. Letters to the Editor and articles are welcomed for consideration by the Editorial Committee.

Submit to : Contact at OWN 115 The Esplanade 7RURQWR210(0 Spring 2011

(OWN) Contact


Groups to Admire Each issue of Contact features a feminist organization we like to link with and work with. This issue we focus on The Raging Grannies.

The Raging Grannies Redux By Rona Macdonald Are you a woman with attitude? Do you have Granny moxie? Is gaggle power for you? Then you may want to consider joining the Toronto Raging Grannies. The Raging Grannies are hard to miss; they stand out in a crowd because of their colorful hats, clothes, and satirical songs. The first group formed in 1986-87 in Victoria, B.C. and since then, the Raging Grannies have formed gaggles across Canada and internationally. There have been various responses to their unique kind of feminist performance activism. The Raging Grannies have been described by Ralph Nader to be “Canada’s greatest export,” and by the RCMP as “anti-Canadian.” Since their creation (or should we say “granulation”) over twenty years ago, the sights and sounds of the Raging Grannies at public events may have become so familiar as to be unremarkable. However, let’s not forget why the Raging Grannies do what they do. A force to be reckoned with, the Raging Grannies challenge ageist stereotypes about older women through the manner of their activism. As Alison


(OWN) Contact

Spring 2011

Acker and Betty Brightwell note in the introduction to their book Off Our Rockers and Into Trouble: The Raging Grannies, “like all older women we were expected to fade into the background along with our looks, our health, our income, and our importance to society.” By drawing attention to and raising consciousness about the contributions of older women to society, the Raging Grannies defy attempts to write off long-living women as being “dependent,” “useless” and “invisible” citizens. The Grannies stand for peaceful protest against a wide range of social and political issues. Linda Hill described the Raging Grannies as a “group of aging feminists who are hell-bent on saving the planet, eradicating war and overcoming patriarchal oppression.” Their songs are about wide-ranging topics such as education, war and peace, government and politics, the environment, world issues, health care, and human and civil rights (see for the Raging Grannies song site). New members are currently being sought for the Toronto gaggle of the Raging Grannies, and you don’t need to be a grandmother (or a mother) to join. Contact Kate Chung at 416-9250745 for more information.

Housing Literacy Series continued from page 1

bedrooms, which help create blended-income and diverse communities. Options was named an “Affordable Housing Champion” by the City of Toronto in 2010. Michael Labbé formed Options for Homes because he strongly believes that home ownership builds personal capital, reducing poverty. His financially affordable housing model is a template for other organizations across Canada. The model delivers condos/townhouses for approximately $40,000 less than retail, by forming a cooperative corporation. Once the owners take possession of their units, the building is registered as a condominium corporation. Money is saved by not adding fancy amenities, like pools, which drive up costs and increase future maintenance fees. The value-added Options Alternative (Second) Mortgage, an integral part of the Options model, amounts to approximately 13% of the market value of a unit. This amount is based on the difference between the

cost and full market value. For mortgaging purposes, this amount is added to the down payment, reducing the income level required for the first mortgage. While owners live in their units, they make no payments on the second mortgage. But if they sell or rent their units, the second mortgage is due and payable, plus any real-estate gains on that portion (13%), which deters speculation. When a second mortgage is paid, the money goes to a special fund for the building of future affordable homes. Currently that fund has $18 million, and Options has another 512 units in development. We were delighted that Michael Labbé could join us to address his question, “How do we solve poverty?” He believes that this can be achieved by building home equity, increasing financial literacy and creating greater access to the housing market. Look for more articles on housing topics in our upcoming Summer issue of Contact.

Thanks City of Toronto We wish to thank the Community Resources Unit of the Social Development Division of the &RPPXQLW\DQG1HLJKERXUKRRG6HUYLFHV'HSDUWPHQWIRUWKHPDLOLQJRIContact.

Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario We are grateful to the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario for a donation to support the production of Contact.

Loretto Ladies Colleges and Schools (Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary) Our appreciation to this Institute for its support of the production of Contact.

Spring 2011

(OWN) Contact


In the News ‡ 6WHSKHQ+DUSHU0DUNV+LV)LIWK<HDULQ2IÀFH² to the Detriment of Women’s Issues Regardless of political affiliation, women cannot fail to notice that Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party has not been friendly to women’s issues. The Feminist Media Collective website features an article, “Chipping Away at Gender Equality,” which outlines the retrograde steps taken during the last five years since Harper took office as Prime Minister in Jan. 2006. Read the full article at:

‡ %LOO&'HIHDWHG Although there was only a slim chance of it passing, many women’s groups were relieved when the private members’ Bill C-510 (An Act to Prevent Coercion of Pregnant Women to Abort) was defeated on second reading, Dec. 15, 2010, by a vote of 178 to 97. Considered a back-door approach to reintroducing the abortion debate, the proposed legislation was hotly disputed before the vote. For more detail, visit this CBC site:

‡ 3ULYDWH0HPEHUV·%LOOIRU*HQGHU3DULW\ Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette has put forward a bill (Bill S-206) that would establish gender parity on the board of directors of certain corporations, financial institutions and parent Crown corporations. Although private members’ bills seldom get passed into law, it is a start of a movement to ensure that women are fairly represented on influential boards in the private and 

(OWN) Contact

Spring 2011

public sector. Indeed, the Government of Quebec has already passed a law requiring Crown corporations to have 50% female representation on their boards of directors by 2011. This action is consistent with the campaign of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition. Details at: http://cfuwadvocacy.wordpress. com/2010/11/17/coalition-for-gender-parityon-canadian-boards-of-directors/

‡ 8QLWHG1DWLRQV%ODVWHGIRU5HWURJUDGH$FWLRQ on Women The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, a coalition of international women's organisations, including more than 240 women from over 50 countries, has castigated both U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the 191 member states for paying “lip service” to the cause of gender parity in the world body. They have been especially angered by recent appointments within the UN that ignore gender parity. For details visit the IPS website: http://ipsnews. net/news.asp?idnews=323980

‡ 2QWDULR'UXJ&RVWV The prestigious Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has seriously questioned the strategy of the Ontario government in its efforts to reduce the cost of purchasing drugs in this province. One of the major costs of health care for the province is the cost of drugs, and the Ontario government’s strategy focuses on forcing pharmacists to sell generic drugs at a discount. However, the CCPA suggests that the government should instead go after the brand-name drug companies with significantly higher prices. For details on this significant issue, visit: commentary/targeting-generic-instead-brandname-drugs-not-best-way-lower-ontariosdrugcontinued on page 15

:RPHQWR$GPLUH²3URĂ&#x20AC;OH 6KHODJK5RJHUV9DQFRXYHU2IĂ&#x20AC;FHURIWKH Order of Canada, 2011 Shelagh Rogers is a veteran broadcast journalist. She began her career at the Queenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s University radio station in the 1970s and has been with the CBC since 1980, where she has hosted such flagship shows as Morningside, This Morning, and Sounds Like Canada. Rogers now hosts The Next Chapter, a weekly show on Canadian writers and songwriters. Along the way she has won many prestigious awards both for her radio work and her personal work in promoting awareness of mental depression. Another role has been her involvement in reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada. Shelagh Rogers, like the CBC, helps hold the nation together, celebrates Canadians who do wonderful things, and encourages us to speak out about what we believe in. She richly deserves the order of Canada â&#x20AC;&#x153;for her contribution as a promoter of Canadian culture and for her volunteer work in the fields of mental health and literacy.â&#x20AC;?

Contest â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Name The OWN Housing Seed Fund â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and Help It Grow by Kate Chung The OWN housing committee has established a housing â&#x20AC;&#x153;seedâ&#x20AC;? fund, which will provide start-up funding for more affordable housing for older women. The federal government (in 1993) and the province (in 1995) cancelled all funding for affordable housing. The OWN co-op was one of the last co-ops built. With 150,000 homeless and with 168,000 Toronto families on the waiting list for subsidized housing, we must end apathy and helplessness now. If government wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t initiate a National Housing Strategy, much less fund housing, then, like the Little Red Hen, we will do it ourselves! The seed fund started with a dare- If weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to do it, letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just do it! Putting our money where our mouth is, we started with $100. thrown into the pot by an OWN member, and the fund has already grown to $1150. Now itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s your turn. Plant your $5. or $100. or $1,000., and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll grow a home - or two or three. With your donation, send us your entry for the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Name That Housing Seed Fundâ&#x20AC;? contest. Please send donations and names to the OWN office. 115 The Esplanade Toronto, On. M5E 1Y7

In the News continued from page 14

Â&#x2021; +HDOWK$GYLVRU1DPHGWR3ROLFH%RDUG Dr. Dhun Noria may not have a background in law enforcement or politics, yet she brings a wealth of experience to the Toronto Police Services Board. She was appointed by the

Ontario executive council, taking the oath of office on Jan. 12, 2011. Her vast experience in health care was outlined by The Star on January 10. Read the full article at: http:// Spring 2011

(OWN) Contact


OWN Calendar March to May 2011 Planning in advance can lead to scheduling problems, so be sure to check closer to the time on the OWN website:

MARCH 2011 See details for each event elsewhere in this issue Mar. 2 (Wed.) North York Book Group Mar. 3 (Thu.) Peterborough Concert - Anne Lindsay Mar. 5 (Sat.) Friendship Link Planning Meeting Mar. 8 (Tue.) OWN Co-op Book Group Mar. 9 (Wed.) In My Own Voice Writing Group Mar. 10 (Thu.) La Vie en Rose French Club Mar. 16 (Wed.) Northern District Book Club Mar. 24 (Thu.) La Vie en Rose French Club

APRIL 2011 Apr. 6 (Wed.) Apr. 9 (Sat.) Apr. 12 (Tue.) Apr. 13 (Wed.) Apr. 14 (Thu.) Apr. 17 (Sun.) Apr. 20 (Wed.) Apr. 28 (Thu.)

North York Book Group Friendship Link Planning Meeting OWN Co-op Book Group In My Own Voice Writing Group La Vie En Rose French Club Equality Day Event at OWN Northern District Book Club La Vie En Rose French Club

MAY 2011 May 4 (Wed.) May 7 (Sat.) May 10 (Tue.) May 11 (Wed.) May 12 (Thu.) May 25 (Wed.) May 26 (Thu.)

North York Book Group Friendship Link Planning Meeting OWN Co-op Book Group In My Own Voice Writing Group La Vie En Rose French Club Northern District Book Club La Vie En Rose French Club

Older Women's Network newsletter, Spring 2011  
Older Women's Network newsletter, Spring 2011  

Quarterly newsletter of advocacy organization in Toronto