Category Archives: Statements

Statement on Ontario’s Sex-Ed Curriculum

Following Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson’s announcement regarding the Ontario Sex-ed curriculum on Friday, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights congratulates every person in Ontario and around the country that rose to protest roll-back of the 2015 sex-ed curriculum but notes that there is still work to be done. Delaying inclusion of LGBTQ+ inclusion and gender identity until grade 8 will have serious implications for young people. We urge parents, teachers, allies and activists to continue fighting for the high-quality, evidenced based sexuality education that all children need to live full healthy lives.

Most children will develop a sense of their gender identity between the ages of two and five. Delaying discussion of gender diversity until children are thirteen can cause real harm for young people and their families.

Across Canada, children are receiving sub-par, inconsistent sex-ed. No curriculum in Canada meets internationally recognized human rights standards and for Ontario to choose to regress on sex-ed at all, when parents, teachers, and the young people themselves are clearly demanding a comprehensive curriculum, is a blow to the health and well-being of young people.

International Women’s Day: Feminist Asks for an Election Year

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD) and only 224 days until Canada’s federal election! Start your engines, folks: feminists in this country have a lot to say!

As we celebrate our movements and our activism, let’s also turn our laser-sharp gaze towards the government of Canada and our collective political future. What’s working from government policy, programs and initiatives? Where are they missing the mark? How are they failing completely?

For “Election Year IWD”, Action Canada is excited to announce our 2019 Election Campaign Wish List! Stay tuned for the release of our full Elections package with policy proposals, background information and candidate questions!

ABORTION

The Government of Canada can and must end unequal access to abortion for all people in Canada!

 

We’re tired of demanding access to abortion in Canada. Aren’t you? Equal access is STILL restricted by age, financial resources, geographic location, immigration status, and physicians refusing to provide the services on moral and religious grounds. The abortion pill is still not available free of charge in two provinces and one territory, even though the Government of Canada is OBLIGED under the Canada Health Act to intervene where abortion is restricted.

We demand that Canada withhold cash transfers to provinces and territories failing to ensure the availability of and access to abortion services.

COMPREHENSIVE SEXUALITY EDUCATION

The Government of Canada has an obligation to ensure every young person’s right to comprehensive sexuality education.

 

Young people are getting inconsistent, sub-standard sex-ed across the country. The government of Canada has human rights obligation to promote scientifically accurate, gender-sensitive, LGBTQ+ inclusive and sex-positive school curriculums. The Government of Canada must ensure that provinces and territories do not roll-back or restrict sex-ed that upholds the human rights of young people. This means that the federal government must actively engage provinces and territories to address any gaps in implementation and quality for sex-ed and to support educators in delivering sex-ed. Canada has an obligation to ensure human rights everywhere, including in the classroom! Access to quality sex-ed shouldn’t depend on your postal code.

We demand that Canada work to end sub-standard, inconsistent, and regressive sex-ed across Canada.

CRIMINALIZATION OF SEX-WORK

The Government of Canada must immediately repeal PECA!

 

Criminalizing bodies, sexuality, gender, reproduction causes serious harm and health risks. In Canada, sex workers risk criminal offence when they take actions to protect their own health and safety. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that criminalization of sex-work promotes violence and violates human rights; yet, after 3.5 years, the government has failed to repeal Protection of Exploited Persons Act (PECA), the dangerous legislation that is placing sex-workers at risk every day.

We demand that the Government of Canada strike the provisions of the criminal code which discriminate against sex workers, and immediately repeal PECA!

PHARMACARE

The Government of Canada must commit to a Pharmacare Strategy that covers EVERYONE.

 

Canada is the only country in the world with universal healthcare and no national pharmacare strategy. The ability to manage your own fertility, decide if and when to have children, have healthy pregnancies, affirm your own gender, and prevent, treat or manage STIs (including HIV) should not depend on your income, postal code or immigration status. Any national pharmacare strategy must include all drugs and cover all people, especially the most marginalized.

We demand universal, single payer Pharmacare that respects everyone’s right to health!

GLOBAL SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS

The Government of Canada must increase and sustain its global commitment to SRHR!

 

Backlashes against women’s rights in the U.S. and around the world put the health and lives of women and girls around the world at risk. Canada has boldly stepped up in defense of sexual and reproductive rights through its development assistance and foreign policy. But Canada’s investment is set to end in less than a year. Now more than ever, the global community needs Canada to scale up leadership on sexual and reproductive health and rights. An investment of $500 million a year over 10 years (starting in 2020) in the neglected areas of SRHR would position Canada as a global leader and safeguard against backslides in women’s rights and gender equality. This investment aligns with the Canadian global health sector’s broader vision of a comprehensive approach to Canada’s post-2020 leadership, which calls for $1.4 billion for global health.[1]

We demand sustained investments in global SRHR to meet the needs and promote the rights of woman and girls around the world!

[1] The Thrive Agenda is a collective vision for the future of Canadian leadership in women’s, adolescent and child health and rights around the world, created and endorsed by over 100 of Canada’s leading organizations in global health. Together they are calling for a $1.4 billion renewed commitment to global health beyond 2020, with $500M ringfenced for the neglected areas of SRHR.

Statement on Canada’s Interim Report on National Pharmacare

Dr. Eric Hoskins, chair of the National Pharmacare Implementation Committee, revealed an 8-page interim report today on Pharmacare implementation. Dr. Hoskins is correct when he said this morning that far too many people fall through the cracks of our health system when they cannot afford their medication.

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights knows that an alarming number of people cannot afford HIV/AIDS medication, contraceptives, medical abortion, or gender affirming medication among other urgent sexual and reproductive health needs. Every person in Canada has the right to equal access to health, including medication. We are hopeful today that our government will respond to the needs of people and not the financial interests of pharmaceutical and insurance corporations.

While the creation of a national drug agency and a national formulary is a step towards creating a universal Pharmacare strategy, today’s announcement failed to answer our most important questions. Will a national formulary cover the full scope of all drugs needed to support sexual and reproductive health choices? Will it be a universal single payer system or a patchwork system? A National Pharmacare Strategy must cover all drugs and be universal to ensure that all people, including young people and vulnerable people, can claim their right to health.

Read Action Canada’s briefing for the National Pharmacare Implementation Committee’s Consultation on SRHR and Pharmacare

Statement: Global sexual and reproductive health and rights leaders call for continued Canadian leadership

Attn:

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, M.P., Prime Minister of Canada, Ottawa

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau. M.P., Minister of International Development

Ms. Kamal Khera, M.P., Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development

The Honourable Bill Morneau, M.P., Minister of Finance

The Honourable Maryam Monsef, M.P, Minister of Women and Gender Equality

 

Statement: Global sexual and reproductive health and rights leaders call for continued Canadian leadership

The past year has been a difficult one for the global sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) movement. In the face of rising conservativism and populist movements, the rollback on reproductive rights has been acutely felt around the globe. Women in particular have experienced an attack on their right to bodily autonomy and others, such as young people and LGBTQI+ people, face discrimination and increased barriers in accessing essential health services.

Among the many challenges and setbacks faced in 2018, Canada’s commitment and bold action in support of women’s rights and gender equality, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, stands out as a shining example of the leadership that is so sorely needed. We are thankful to Canada for its principled approach to these issues and willingness to stand-up for the rights of women and girls on the global stage.

As we embark into 2019, this bold and brave Canadian leadership is needed now more than ever. We urge you to not let up.

In an era divided between hostility and progress towards realizing women’s rights – and all people’s inalienable rights – Canada can’t afford to back away from the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls around the world.

We, global leaders on SRHR, work daily to promote these rights around the world and we see the direct impact when these rights are not upheld – or are directly attacked:

  • Every single day, some 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.[i] Further, 61% of maternal deaths occur in fragile states, many of them affected by conflict and natural disaster.[ii]
  • Each year in developing countries, 200 million women want to prevent pregnancy but do not have access to modern contraception.[iii]

The USA’s expanded Global Gag Rule has slashed access to comprehensive health services, such as access to safe abortion, and put life-saving care out of reach for many communities. Preliminary studies from countries such as Uganda, Senegal and Nepal show that the Global Gag Rule has already led to decreased access to contraceptives, the deterioration of sexual health referral networks, and the scaled back delivery of critical services.[iv] These cuts are most acutely felt by rural, hard-to-reach, and vulnerable populations, including refugees, the LGBTQI+ community, and youth.

Women human rights defenders around the world who are advocating for law and policy change in their communities face physical violence simply for challenging harmful gender norms and stereotypes that seek to limit their decision-making capacity. Realizing young people’s right to comprehensive sexuality education remains a challenge worldwide with many decision-makers believing they know what is best for children and youth rather than listening to young people themselves.

Canada showed its genuine commitment to sexual and reproductive rights with its $650 million three-year investment in SRHR in 2017, positioning itself as an emerging global leader on this issue and signaling to others that Canada is back.

The cumulative impact of Canada’s actions is incredibly significant. The $43 million spent by the Government of Canada in 2017-2018 on family planning alone resulted in 1.4 million women and couples receiving contraceptive services and supplies and the prevention of 387,000 unintended pregnancies.[v]

Canada’s support of women and girls claiming and exercising their rights to bodily autonomy, to make choices about their reproductive health, and to be treated with dignity and respect is driving economic, social and political progress around the world. For women and girls, their families, communities, and countries, investing in critical SRHR services saves lives, results in cost-savings across health systems, and leads to secondary and tertiary benefits in education, employment, and gender equality and empowerment. Supporting the advocacy efforts of feminist and women’s rights organizations and movements is vital for holding this ground.

With Canada’s three-year commitment set to run out this year, it is critical to women all over the world, that Canada continues to be a champion for women’s and girls’ health and rights.

We endorse the proposal of the Future Planning Initiative to galvanize Canadian leadership for SRHR. This initiative would empower 18 million adolescents and women – the same number as all girls and women in Canada today – with full access to their sexual and reproductive health and rights. The Future Planning Initiative, with support from global allies, is calling on Canada to invest $500M/year over 10 years starting in 2020 in the neglected areas of SRHR, which include: advocacy for SRHR, adolescent SRHR and comprehensive sexuality education, safe abortion care, comprehensive contraceptive care, and SRHR in emergency settings. An increased commitment to these priorities would safeguard the gains that have been made in recent years and go a long way in reaching the most marginalized adolescent girls and women. This investment aligns with the Canadian global health sector’s broader vision of a comprehensive approach to Canada’s post-2020 leadership in global health.[vi]

Canadians and people around the world have been inspired by your government’s bold commitments and brave stance in a challenging global context.

SRHR leaders from around the world will convene in Vancouver in June 2019 for Women Deliver. As we work to uphold these critical rights, we need your continued support. We urge Canada to stay the course and continue to speak out against the global rollback on SRHR. We urge you to remain strong on your commitment and increase your investment in this critical space, where so few other donors have been brave enough to lead.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights are the cornerstone of healthy lives, strong economies, and gender equality. These principles can be the foundation of Canada’s global impact.

Sincerely,

Members of the Future Planning Initiative

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights

Canadian Council for International Co-operation

Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH)

Global Canada

Inter Pares

Oxfam Canada

 

And endorsed by

  • Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
  • Acacia In Kenya
  • Advocate For Youth Africa
  • African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET)
  • AIDOS – Italian Association for Women in Development
  • Akina Mama wa Afrika
  • Amnesty International Canada
  • ARROW
  • Asia Pacific Alliance for SRHR
  • Asia Pacific Alliance for SRHR
  • Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development
  • Association of persons living with disabilities
  • ATHENA
  • Austrian Family Planning Association (OeGF)
  • Beautiful Minds Org.
  • BOCS Foundation
  • Canadian Association of Midwives
  • Canadian Council for International Co-operation
  • Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
  • Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH)
  • CARE Canada
  • Center for advocacy in gender Equality and Action for Development – CAGEAD
  • Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
  • Center for Reproductive Rights
  • Center for Reproductive Rights
  • Centre for Conflict Management and Women Development Affairs (CECOWDA)
  • CHOICE For Youth & Sexuality
  • Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development (HEPS Uganda)
  • Coalition for Women of Tunisia
  • Dandelion Africa
  • Dandelion Kenya
  • Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN)
  • Dignitas International
  • DSW
  • Echoes of Women in Africa Initiative
  • ECIS – Educación, Clínica e Investigación en Sexualidad
  • End FGM European Network
  • EngenderHealth
  • Equipop
  • EWB Canada
  • FEDERACIÓN PLANIFICACIÓN FAMILIAR ESTATAL
  • FEMNET
  • Foundation for Leadership Initiatives (FLI)
  • Girls Go Green Initiative
  • Global Canada
  • Global Citizen, LLC
  • GROOTS Kenya
  • Guttmacher Institute
  • Health Development Initiative
  • HEPS UGANDA
  • ICWAP
  • Independent Young People Alliance
  • Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development
  • International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion
  • International Planned Parenthood Federation
  • Inter Pares
  • Ipas
  • Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP)
  • LEAD INITIATIVE
  • Marie Stopes International
  • MINISTRY OF GENDER, LABOUR AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
  • Mouvement Français pour le Planning Familial (MFPF)
  • ONG Carbone Guinée
  • Oxfam Canada
  • Oxfam Quebec
  • PAI
  • Pari o Dispare
  • Partners in Population and Development, Africa Regional Office (PPD ARO)
  • Passion for Women and Children
  • Pathfinder International
  • PISS-OFF
  • Plan International Canada
  • Population Foundation of India
  • Population Matters
  • Population Services International
  • RESEAU MUSONET MALI
  • RESULTS Canada
  • Rwanda Esther’s Initiative (REI)
  • Rwanda Women’s Network
  • Safe Engage Foundation
  • Save the Children Canada
  • Self
  • Sex og Politikk
  • Simavi
  • Society for Education in Contraception and Sexuality (SECS)
  • Society for Feminist Analyses AnA
  • SRH Serbia
  • Strategies for Northern Development (SND)
  • Sukaar Welfare Organization
  • The Kesho Alliance
  • The MATCH International Women’s Fund
  • This Ability
  • This-Ability Trust
  • Uganda National Health Users/Consumers’ Organization
  • Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum (UYAHF)
  • Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights
  • WaterAid Canada
  • WISER NGO
  • Women and Girl-Child Empowerment Initiative
  • WOMEN’S ACTION GROUP
  • Women Deliver
  • Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR)
  • Women’s Promotion Centre (WPC)
  • Women’s Refugee Commission
  • World University Service of Canada
  • WRA Uganda
  • YouAct – European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights
  • young women and girls movement for development
  • Young Women Christian Association (YWCA)
  • Young women-led organization Gasy Youth Up
  • Youth Advocacy Network (YAN)
  • Youth Advocacy Foundation Uganda-YAfU
  • Youth Association for Development
  • Youth Changers Kenya
  • Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights

[i] “Maternal Mortality”. World Health Organization. 16 Feb 2018. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/maternal-mortality.

[ii] “Maternal mortality in humanitarian crises and in fragile settings”. Nov 2015. https://www.unfpa.org/resources/maternal-mortality-humanitarian-crises-and-fragile-settings

[iii] “Family Planning/Contraception”. World Health Organization. 8 Feb 2018. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/family-planning-contraception

[iv] “Access Denied: Preliminary Impacts of Trump’s Expanded Global Gag Rule”. PAI. 17 Dec 2018. http://trumpglobalgagrule.pai.org/.

[v] “Just the Numbers: The Impact of Canadian International Assistance for Family Planning, 2017–2018”. Guttmacher Institute. 17 Dec 2018. www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/article_files/2018_just_the_numbers_canada_pdf_-_final.pdf.

[vi] The Thrive Agenda is a collective vision for the future of Canadian leadership in women’s, adolescent and child health and rights around the world, created and endorsed by over 100 of Canada’s leading organizations in global health. Together they are calling for a $1.4 billion renewed commitment to global health beyond 2020.

Action Canada & National Association of Women and the Law respond to 2019 Canada Summer Jobs program

In response to the 2018 Canada Summer Jobs Program, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights (Action Canada) and the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) shared an open letter supporting changes made to the Program.  A copy of the open letter can be found here.

The framework for the 2019 Canada Summer Jobs Program is now available. Like all previous programs, it includes an attestation that applicants must sign as a condition of funding. The 2019 Program requires that “any funding under the Canada Summer Jobs program will not be used to undermine or restrict the exercise of rights legally protected in Canada.” The 2019 application also clarifies that projects and job activities that: “restrict access to program, services, employment or otherwise discriminate, contrary to applicable laws, on the basis of prohibited grounds, including sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or genetic characteristics; advocate intolerance, discrimination and/or prejudice; or actively work to undermine or restrict a women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services” will not be eligible for grants from the 2019 Program.

Both Action Canada and NAWL support the attestation and eligibility criteria included in the 2019 Canada Summer Jobs Program.

The 2019 Program attestation and eligibility criteria will contribute to securing greater fulfillment of human rights in Canada in accordance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The 2019 Program criteria are fully aligned with Canada’s existing domestic and international human rights obligations, including to protect and promote fundamental rights to security of the person, equality rights, the right to be free from discrimination, and the right to access accurate, evidence-based scientific and non-judgmental health information and services.

The provisions of the 2019 Program are not discriminatory; they are equality enhancing. As we have affirmed in the past, the Canada Summer Jobs funding conditions do not infringe freedom of religion, conscience, or any other rights that people in Canada enjoy. The safeguards put in place under the Program are designed to ensure that federal grant monies are not used to fund discriminatory activities that undermine women’s rights, or the human rights of any people in Canada, including as they relate to bodily autonomy, sexuality, gender identity and expression.

Action Canada and NAWL welcome the steps taken by the federal government to ensure that the rights of all people in Canada are respected, protected and fulfilled.

Canada receives recommendations from UN Committee on Torture

What is the UN Convention Against Torture?

Countries are periodically reviewed on their efforts to meet obligations under core international human rights treaties. In November 2018, it was Canada’s turn to appear before the UN Committee on Torture (CAT).

The CAT is made up of 10 independent experts that monitor implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishments. Countries party to the Convention (like Canada) are obligated to submit reports to and undergo periodic reviews by the Committee, outlining steps taken to implement rights in the Convention.

Action Canada’s engagement with the Committee Against Torture

In preparation for Canada’s review, Action Canada submitted a joint report to the Committee in partnership with the Sexual Rights Initiative to bring their attention to two interconnected violations of human rights in Canada:

  • Involuntary sterilizations of women, especially Indigenous women and women with disabilities
  • Lack of access to quality Comprehensive Sexuality Education to prevent other human rights violations

The report lays out clear evidence demonstrating Canada’s failure to take measures to address these issues despite having the responsibility and authority to do so.

Everyone has the right to bodily autonomy, which interconnects the full range of sexual and reproductive rights. The right to bodily autonomy includes the right to decide on treatments like contraception and sterilization, and it also includes the right to have comprehensive sexuality education to make informed decisions and to prevent discrimination-based violence. Action Canada is deeply concerned with the lack of federal leadership towards addressing these human rights violations. It is unacceptable that Canada uses jurisdictional challenges as an excuse not to ensure all people in Canada, particularly Indigenous women, women with disabilities and young people have their rights to health, non-discrimination, to be free from violence and education upheld.

Canada’s appearance before the Committee Against Torture

Prior to Canada’s review, committee members met to hear from civil society, including Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, and other stakeholders on a range of issues.

During the review, Canada was questioned by Committee members on the forced sterilization of Indigenous women, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the broader discrimination Indigenous women and girls face, access to health care for women in prisons and on Canada’s interpretation of “acquiescence” within the definition of torture.

You can watch videos of Canada’s review here and here.

Recommendations from the Committee Against Torture to Canada

Following the review, the Committee released a set of Concluding Observations, which included specific actions on the issues of forced sterilization of Indigenous women, and gender-based violence. Here are the recommendations made to Canada.

On forced sterilization:

  • Ensure that all allegations of forced or coerced sterilization are impartially investigated, that the persons responsible are held accountable and that adequate redress is provided to the victims;
  • Adopt legislative and policy measures to prevent and criminalize the forced or coerced involuntary sterilization of women, particularly by clearly defining the requirements of free, prior and informed consent with regard to sterilization and by raising awareness among Indigenous women and medical personnel of that requirement.

On gender-based violence:

  • Ensure that all cases of gender-based violence, in particular against Indigenous women and girls, and especially those involving actions or omissions by State authorities or other entities that engage the international responsibility of the State party under the Convention, are thoroughly investigated, that the alleged perpetrators are prosecuted and, if convicted, are punished appropriately and that the victims or their families receive redress, including adequate compensation;
  • Establish a mechanism for the independent review of all cases in which there are allegations of inadequate or partial police investigations, as recommended by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women;
  • Provide mandatory training on the prosecution of gender-based violence to all justice officials and law enforcement personnel and continue awareness-raising campaigns on all forms of violence against women, especially Indigenous women and girls;
  • Ensure that survivors of gender based-violence are able to access shelters and receive the necessary medical care, psychological support and legal assistance they require;
  • Consider acceding to the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances; and
  • Compile statistical data, disaggregated by the age and ethnicity or nationality of the victim, on the number of complaints, investigations, prosecutions, convictions and sentences recorded in cases of gender-based violence.

In an rare occurrence, the Committee requested that Canada provide information on the implementation of recommendations related to forced sterilization in 1 year from now, rather than waiting until the end of Canada’s next review period (in 5-6 years).

What Action Canada is doing to hold the government accountable

Returning to Canada, Action Canada will now work with all levels of government to call for immediate action towards the implementation of recommendations. Specific actions include engaging in collaborative advocacy with the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Amnesty International Canada and other stakeholders to convene a cross-sectoral dialogue with relevant federal Ministers to address the issue of forced sterilization. Action Canada will also engage health sector stakeholders, including provincial and territorial regulatory bodies towards the development of informed consent policies and guidelines grounded in human rights principles.

Action Canada will continue to work with relevant decision makers, at all levels of government, and other stakeholders to hold Canada accountable to its obligations under international human rights law. As part of our work, Action Canada will continue to call on the federal government to strengthen its compliance with human rights mechanisms by improving its monitoring and reporting to human rights bodies.

Forced sterilization of Indigenous Women: What you can do

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, Amnesty International Canada, and the Native Women’s Association of Canada, prepared a joint statement calling for government action to #DefendConsent and end #ForcedSterilization of Indigenous women in Canada.

Pressure is mounting for all levels of government and health bodies, with strong federal government leadership, to address the issue of sterilization without consent with great urgency. On Friday, the UN Committee Against Torture released a report calling on Canada to take immediate action to end this grave violation of human rights. Also on Friday, four questions were asked in the House of Commons on this issue. Today, the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women is holding a briefing on the issue.

Today is International Human Rights Day, the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the end of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. Let’s mark this day together by calling on governments to end #ForcedSterilizations and #DefendConsent. Amnesty International sent the joint statement in English and French to Prime Minister Trudeau.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Make it visible – You can download the statements in English and French. Consider adding the statement to your organization’s website. Click here to download the statement.
  • Share the statement – Please share the statement with your contacts in government, with your members and supporters, and your networks. If people receive the statement from multiple organizations, it will only increase the sense of urgency to take action on this issue.
  • Urge action – Please urge individuals to sign the Change.org or Amnesty International online petitions.
  • Share on social media –  Here is some sample messaging you can use.

Sample Tweets:

Statement endorsed by 72 #health, #Indigenous, #humanrights, #womensrights, & #labour organizations calls for urgent action by #GoC to ensure Indigenous women in #Canada are not sterilized without their consent #DefendConsent #ForcedSterilization #cdnpoli

On #HumanRights Day, 72 orgs call on #GoC to #ActNow to #DefendConsent & end #ForcedSterilizations of #Indigenous women in #Canada #cdnpoli

[Organization] is proud to join 70+ organizations to mark #HumanRightsDay by calling on #GoC to #DefendConsent & end #ForcedSterilization of #Indigenous women in #Canada #cdnpoli

To mark the end of #16DaysCanada [Organization] has joined 70+ organizations in calling on #GoC to #DefendConsent & end #ForcedSterilization of #Indigenous women in #Canada #cdnpoli

Sample Facebook text:

[Organization] is marking Human Rights Day by joining forces with 70+ organizations in calling on governments in Canada, with strong federal government leadership and coordination, to take immediate action to end forced and coerced sterilizations of Indigenous women in Canada. #DefendConsent & End #ForcedSterilizations now!

We will keep you updated on the impact of this statement and associated advocacy to #DefendConsent and end #ForcedSterilizations.

Defend Consent Sign on Statement

Future Planning Initiative’s Statement in response to release of projects funded under Canada’s $650M SRHR investment

The Future Planning Initiative (FPI), a coalition of six organizations* working to strengthen Canada’s global leadership on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), welcomes the release of information regarding projects funded under Canada’s investment of $650M for SRHR, in 2017, for a three year period.

Under the leadership of the Minister of International Development and Global Affairs Canada, the government has taken significant steps towards prioritizing SRHR globally, both politically and financially. The release of this information is critical towards ensuring accountability and transparency in the delivery of international assistance.

The FPI is pleased to see 107 projects listed, totalling $520.8 million (72 development projects totalling $452M, and 35 humanitarian projects totalling $69M) and representing 80% of the $650M. The Future Planning Initiative recognizes that translating 80% of the $650M commitment into concrete projects in just over 18 months is a remarkable accomplishment.

The Future Planning Initiative welcomes the new support for projects focusing on some of the most neglected areas of SRHR including contraceptive care, adolescent SRHR and access to safe and legal abortion services. These projects are concrete examples of Canadian momentum and commitment to empower women and girls and save lives through the realization of SRHR.

The FPI will continue our review of projects both currently funded under the $650M, as well as those which are forthcoming. In doing so, we seek to better understand the extent to which SRHR has been incorporated within projects that include a broad thematic focus. We further look forward to identifying strategies to strengthen SRHR elements within these projects, as well as opportunities to support stand-alone SRHR programming – particularly in the neglected areas of SRHR, where appropriate.

This released information is an important first step in in facilitating more in-depth analysis of the types of initiatives supported under the $650M, so as to better assess impact and develop recommendations to strengthen Canada’s approach moving forward. Transparency around Canada’s investments is also key in encouraging other donors to step up their efforts in supporting SRHR, particularly in the neglected areas.

Looking ahead to 2020, these projects represent a strong start in Canada’s trajectory towards becoming a global leader on comprehensive SRHR. It positions Canada to continue playing a significant leadership role by providing resources and diplomatically championing SRHR around the world.

The Future Planning Initiative calls for a minimum $500 million investment per year over 10 years in the most neglected areas of SRHR, a strong step towards securing the $700 million investment recommended by global and domestic leaders on SRHR at the FPI high-level retreat in June 2018. This scaled-up investment in a comprehensive SRHR agenda, with a focus on neglected areas (advocacy for SRHR, comprehensive contraceptive care, safe abortion care, SRHR in emergencies and adolescent SRHR, including comprehensive sexuality education) is crucial to establishing sustained Canadian leadership on SRHR. This investment would address the most neglected and stigmatized areas of SRHR and would safeguard the gains that have been made from rollbacks and attacks. It further aligns with the sector’s broader vision of a comprehensive approach to Canada’s post-2020 leadership in global health, as articulated in the Thrive Agenda.

*Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, the Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health, Global Canada, Inter Pares, and Oxfam Canada

Background

In March 2017, Canada announced a commitment of $650M over 3 years for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR),[1] in Canada’s international development assistance.

With less than two years remaining in the funding period, Canadian and global partners are keen to determine the total amount remaining in the fund and the types of projects and partners that have received support thus far.

A small group of Canadian organizations have been working hard to see sustained Canadian leadership on global SRHR (the Future Planning Initiative). The FPI works to encourage and support Canadian leadership on global SRHR, particularly in the most neglected areas of the agenda (advocacy for SRHR, comprehensive contraceptive care, safe abortion care, SRHR in emergencies and adolescent SRHR, including comprehensive sexuality education).

[1] Definition of SRHR defined by GAC for the $650M: comprehensive sexuality education, family planning and contraception, strengthening reproductive health services, preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence, including child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation, right to safe abortion and post-abortion care, advocacy activities of women’s, youth, Indigenous and LGBTI civil society groups (including efforts to remove judicial and legal barriers to the fulfilment of sexual and reproductive health and rights). http://international.gc.ca/world-monde/issues_development-enjeux_developpement/global_health-sante_mondiale/reproductive_faq-reproductifs_faq.aspx?lang=eng

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2018

Today, on Trans Day of Remembrance, we acknowledge the gains made on both the global and domestic stage to ensure that all people have the right to live free from violence, discrimination and coercion. We recognize activists who have been and continue to be on the front lines, leading the charge to end transphobia and cissexism in all its forms. These gains include, but are not limited to, the passing of the historic Bill C-16 which adds gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in Canada and the funding of the Trans PULSE Canada research team who will continue the crucial and transformative work done by the Trans PULSE Ontario research team (Woohooo! Congratulations!).

We also recognize that although these gains are huge, we still have a long way to go to ensure trans people live free from violence and discrimination. This is especially the case for people who experience intersecting oppressions and structural violence such as trans Black, Brown, Indigenous People of Colour. We see the links between the pushbacks against sex-ed curricula in several provinces or discriminatory policies and resolutions targeting trans and gender non-conforming people gaining ground, and transphobic violence. We commit to fight for trans rights, for justice, for health equity and for resources, and we pledge to continue working with and alongside trans, gender non-binary and two-spirit communities to stand up against transphobia and transmisogyny.

Today and every day, we mourn and we remember all of those lost in the world because of transphobia. We also celebrate the resilience, power and beauty of trans people and the legacy of trans-led organizing and community building in the broader struggle for justice and liberation for all.

Statement on Canada’s Review at the UN’s Committee Against Torture

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights is in Geneva this week to participate in Canada’s review before the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT).

The committee is made up of 10 independent experts that monitor implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishments. Countries party to the Convention (like Canada) are obligated to submit reports to and undergo periodic reviews by the Committee, outlining steps taken to implement rights in the Convention.

In preparation for Canada’s review, Action Canada submitted a joint report to the Committee in partnership with the Sexual Rights Initiative to bring their attention to two interconnected violations of human rights in Canada:

  • Involuntary sterilizations of women, especially Indigenous women and women with disabilities
  • Lack of access to quality Comprehensive Sexuality Education to prevent other human rights violations

Everyone has the right to bodily autonomy, which interconnects the full range of sexual and reproductive rights. The right to bodily autonomy includes the right to decide on treatments like contraception and sterilization, and it also includes the right to have comprehensive sexuality education to make informed decisions and to prevent discrimination-based violence. Action Canada is deeply concerned with the lack of federal leadership towards addressing these human rights violations. It is unacceptable that Canada uses jurisdictional challenges as an excuse to ensure all people in Canada, particularly Indigenous women, women with disabilities and young people have their rights to health, non-discrimination, to be free from violence and education upheld.

In Geneva for the review, Action Canada will engage Committee members towards securing Concluding Observations on the issues raised in the report during Canada’s review. Following Canada’s review this week (link to UN web TV to steam live webcast), the Committee will release a set of Concluding Observations to Canada. Once released, Action Canada will work hard to ensure action is taken by the Government, towards better compliance with human rights obligations.