Parliament of Canada

Action Canada works to foster regular attention by Canadian Parliamentarians to sexual and reproductive health and rights issues in Canada and globally.

Press Release: 150+ international parliamentarians in Ottawa to advance sexual and reproductive rights at IPCI Conference

Ottawa – Parliamentarians and development experts from around the world are meeting in Ottawa from October 22-23 for the International Parliamentarians Conference of the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI).

The IPCI Conference, which was first hosted in Canada sixteen years ago, will bring together more than 150 parliamentarians who champion sexual and reproductive health and rights, including the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s Minister of International Development.

As secretariat to the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights is the Canadian non-profit co-hosting this conference alongside the Government of Canada, the Inter-American Parliamentary Group on Population and Development, the United Nations Population Fund, and the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development.

At a time of global backlash against women’s reproductive choices, the rights of LGBTQI people, and young people’s access to sex-ed, the IPCI conference provides an international space where parliamentarians can strategize ways to advance progressive laws and policies, eliminate discriminatory laws and policies, and advocate for increased funding toward sexual and reproductive health and rights issues – domestically and globally.

“More and more, we’re seeing Canada demonstrate increased support for global and domestic sexual and reproductive health and rights,” says Sandeep Prasad, Executive Director of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights. Adding that, “parliamentarians in Canada and internationally have a role to play in ensuring sustained political leadership on the most stigmatized and neglected health and rights issues, namely, safe abortion care, comprehensive and inclusive sex-ed, and young people’s sexual health.”

Canadian parliamentarians have been instrumental in safeguarding access to abortion, adding gender identity and expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination, and advocating for human rights-based approaches in the development of new laws and policies domestically and internationally through Canada’s development assistance.

By the end of the two-day conference, participants will generate a forward-looking, action-oriented declaration that builds upon previous IPCI commitments and provides clear direction to further realize sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world.

Action Canada is among the Canadian civil society organizations who are looking to Canada and all parliamentarians attending the conference to hold firm on their commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights and to mobilize towards greater support for these issues as a community of champions.

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Media Contact
Ani Colekessian
[email protected]
613.241.4474 ext. 7

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • Sandeep Prasad is available for interview before, during and after the conference.
  • Parliamentarians from Canada and other countries will be available for interviews throughout the IPCI Conference. See attachment for complete list.
  • Press passes are available for reporters on the day-of and obtained at the registration desk.
  • Visit http://ipciconference.org/pages/speakers/ for a full list of speakers and additional conference information.
  • A reception will take place on October 22, 2018 from 5:30-8:30 at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building, hosted by the Canadian Association of Midwives, the UNFPA, and the CAPPD for attending parliamentarians, in collaboration with the Speaker of the Senate of Canada, the Hon. George Furey and the Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada, the Hon. Geoff Regan. Midwives from several countries will be on hand to demonstrate midwifery procedures and answer questions about their work. Reporters who wish to attend must RSVP by email to [email protected]
  • Parliamentarians from the following states will attend: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Liberia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Mongolia, Montserrat, Niger, Niger, Palestine, Peru, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, South Sudan, St. Kitts and Nevis, Surinam, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Togo, Uganda, United Kingdom.

 

October Update: Abortion, sex-ed, human rights

Information and updates on sexual and reproductive health and rights this month:

Press Advisory: 150+ International Parliamentarians Meeting in Ottawa about Sexual and Reproductive Rights

Over 150 parliamentarians from around the world will meet in Ottawa on October 22-23, 2018 for the International Parliamentarians Conference of the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI).

As secretariat to the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights is the Canadian non-profit co-hosting this conference alongside the Government of Canada, the Inter-American Parliamentary Group on Population and Development, the United Nations Population Fund, and the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development.

Leaders from around the world who are at the frontlines of defending laws and policies on sexual and reproductive rights in their countries and globally will meet to discuss protecting these rights within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with topics that include ending maternal mortality, ensuring increasing access to contraception, ending harmful practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.

October 22-23, 2018
National Arts Centre
1 Elgin Street, Ottawa, ON
www.ipciconference.org

The Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development is among the high-level decision-makers and expert speakers who also include:

  • Dr. Natalia Kanam, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  • Hon. Dr. Hedy Fry, MP, Chair of the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (Canada)
  • Cong. Huilca Indira Flores, prominent Peruvian congresswoman feminist and LGBTI activist (Peru)
  • Hon. Ulrika Karlsson, MP, President of the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (Sweden)
  • Rhobi Samwelly, Manager of a safe house for girls escaping female genital mutilation in Tanzania (Tanzania)

MEDIA INQUIRIES

Ani Colekessian
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
[email protected]
613-241-4474 ext.7

Ruairi Talbot
European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development
[email protected]
0032(0)487358081

Lindsay Campbell
Office of the Honourable Hedy Fry
[email protected]
613-793-5392

NOTE TO EDITORS

Visit http://ipciconference.org/pages/speakers/ for a full list of speakers and additional conference information

Sandeep Prasad, Executive Director at Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights and Hon. Dr. Hedy Fry, MP and Chair of the CAPPD are available for interviews. International Parliamentarians well versed on reproductive rights will also be available for interviews. Full list available upon request.

A reception will take place on October 22, 2018 from 5:30-8:30 at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building, hosted by the Canadian Association of Midwives, the UNFPA, and the CAPPD for attending parliamentarians, in collaboration with the Speaker of the Senate of Canada, the Hon. George Furey and the Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada, the Hon. Geoff Regan. Midwives from several countries will be on hand to demonstrate midwifery procedures and answer questions about their work. Reporters who wish to attend must RSVP by email to [email protected]

Parliamentarians from the following states will attend: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Liberia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Mongolia, Montserrat, Niger, Niger, Palestine, Peru, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, South Sudan, St. Kitts and Nevis, Surinam, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Togo, Uganda, United Kingdom.

                                                                       

ACTION CANADA FOR SEXUAL HEALTH & RIGHTS is a progressive, pro-choice charitable organization committed to advancing and upholding sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada and globally.

THE CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF PARLIAMENTARIANS ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT (CAPPD) provides a forum for the exchange of ideas on population, sexual and reproductive health, human rights and development issues.

THE INTER-AMERICAN PARLIAMENTARY GROUP ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT (IAPG)is a regional alliance of parliamentarians working across party lines to advance and promote laws and policies within the framework of a broad human development agenda, which includes health, and sexual and reproductive health and rights, and women’s empowerment.

THE UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND (UNFPA) is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARY FORUM ON POPULATION & DEVELOPMENT (EPF) is a network of members of parliaments from across Europe who are committed to protecting the sexual and reproductive health of the world’s most vulnerable people, both at home and overseas.

 

 

 

 

Canada shows support for global reproductive rights, launches UNFPA State of World Population Report 

Ottawa, October 17, 2018 – To realize each person’s ability to exercise reproductive choice, countries must provide universal access to quality reproductive health care (including contraceptives), ensure better access to comprehensive sex-ed that is inclusive, be champions of gender equality, and adopt a human rights-based approach to health-related policies and programmes. These are among the conclusions of the 2018 State of World Population Report published today by the UNFPA, the sexual and reproductive health agency of the United Nations.

This year’s State of World Population Report focuses on the power of choice when it comes to reproductive rights.

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights and the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (CAPPD), in collaboration with Global Affairs Canada, are pleased to host the Canadian launch of the report in Ottawa.

This launch signals Canada’s increasing role as a global leader on sexual and reproductive health and rights in the face of concerted attempts to roll-back previously won advances on these issues at regional, national, and global levels.

“The Government of Canada has truly stepped up its efforts when it comes to sexual and reproductive health and rights. We see this as part of a trajectory towards sustained political and financial leadership on the most stigmatized and neglected health and rights issues. Namely safe abortion care, comprehensive sex-ed, and young people’s sexual health,” says Sandeep Prasad, Executive Director of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights.

The launch is taking place in the lead up to the International Parliamentarians Conference of the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI), which was first hosted in Canada sixteen years ago. This conference will bring together more than 150 parliamentarians from around the world who champion sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The conference provides a strategic convening space for parliamentarians, who, as legislators, are critical in the fight to advance progressive laws and policies, eliminating discriminatory laws and policies, and advocating for increases to spending on critical sexual and reproductive health and rights issues – domestically and globally.

As part of Canada’s journey towards greater support for sexual and reproductive health and rights, the 2018 State of World Population Report and the IPCI Conference are opportunities to examine concepts of choice and reproductive rights domestically and globally.

“In Canada, realizing reproductive freedom requires equalizing access to abortion, including the abortion pill, cost-covered contraception, and quality sex-ed across all provinces and territories,” adds Prasad.

Action Canada is among the Canadian civil society organizations who are looking to Canada and all parliamentarians attending the upcoming conference to hold firm on their commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights and mobilize towards greater support for these issues as a community of champions.

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Media Contact
Ani Colekessian
[email protected]
613.241.4474 ext. 7

 

 

[Ottawa Event] Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights: The Foundation for Gender Equality

A free public event presented by the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) in partnership with Women Deliver and the Future Planning Initiative

Part of Women Deliver 2019 Mobilization Canada’s effort to engage Canadians and bring awareness about gender equality

The rights of girls and women to bodily autonomy and full sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are in the spotlight like never before. From the #MeToo movement, to the referendum on abortion in Ireland, to new political attention in Canada– girls and women around the world are demanding and making change.

With the announcement of the Feminist International Assistance Policy in June 2017 and subsequent SRHR funding announcements, Canada has committed to leading global action in support of sexual and reproductive health and rights. Domestically, Canada is also making progress, but challenges remain.

The international community is now looking to Canada as a leader in this area. But are we up to the challenge?

Join us for a dynamic evening to discuss and learn about the importance of putting sexual and reproductive health and rights at the centre of the gender equality agenda—to advance the health, rights, and well-being of women and girls in Canada and around the world.

Event Programme:

6:00 – 7:00 Reception: CSO fair, refreshments and networking

7:00 – 8:30 Introductions, panels and closing remarks

8:30 – 9:30 Reception: CSO fair, refreshments and networking

Light snacks will be served, and a cash bar will be available during both receptions.

The program will include two lively panels, featuring SRHR experts from Canada and abroad as well as Canadian political representatives:

  • Gabrielle Bouchard, President, Quebec Women’s Federation
  • Aminata Bintu Wurie, Executive Coordinator, Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights
  • Katja Iversen, President/CEO of Women Deliver

Moderator: Susan Ormiston, CBC Senior Correspondent

For more information, please visit the Public Event page on our website.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: #SRHRnow

Humanitarian experts laud Trudeau’s commitment to reproductive services abroad

Source: | iPolitics

Humanitarian groups are lauding the federal government’s commitment to initiatives abroad that focus on sexual reproductive health services — noting it as a marked change from the previous government that excluded those services.

“I just want to commend the government of Canada for their incredible leadership in keeping gender equity and sexual reproductive rights at the forefront of [its] feminist foreign policy and core part of all the humanitarian aid and support,” said Christina Wegs of CARE International and the lead on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Wegs was joined by Sandeep Prasad, the executive director of Action Canada for sexual health and rights, Muzna Dureid, a Syrian activist and women’s rights defender and Onyema Afulukwe, a senior counsel for Africa, global legal program and centre for reproductive rights, at a press conference on Parliament Hill Thursday morning.

The humanitarian experts said they met with International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau Thursday morning and held a panel discussion on marginalized women and girls reproductive health and rights.

While the groups are calling on the government to commit to a sexual and reproductive health and rights policy that includes new funding for women and girls in crisis — they largely celebrated the commitments that have been made so far and acknowledged that it’s quite a contrast from the previous Conservative government.

Click here to continue reading »

[Event] Empowering Women in Emergencies

Sexual and reproductive healthcare in emergencies saves lives – just like food, water and shelter. Activists, parliamentarians and humanitarian actors discuss best practices and remaining gaps for upholding the right to sexual and reproductive health information and services in humanitarian settings.

Annual Report 2016-2017

Whether it’s been campaigning for universal cost coverage of medical abortion, launching a cutting-edge resource for teaching sexuality education in schools, securing a major investment in global SRHR from the government Canada, offering thousands of people the health information they are looking for, or supporting sexual and reproductive rights defenders around the world to hold their governments accountable, we’ve been working tirelessly to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada and globally.

Read our Annual Report to learn about the significant strides we made in 2016-2017 »

Having trouble reading the report? Click here to download in PDF

Court dismisses anti-abortion group’s injunction request over Canada Summer Jobs funding

Source: Amanda Connolly | Global News

The Federal Court of Canada has dismissed a request by an anti-abortion group suing the government over changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program for an injunction barring the change from applying to applications submitted this year.

In a decision announced Tuesday evening, a judge ruled that the Toronto Right to Life Association did not meet the burden of proof required to qualify for an injunction against a rule, implemented by the government in December, that requires groups seeking funding through the Canada Summer Jobs program to sign an attestation stating that they respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights.

Those include reproductive rights, which the group has argued violate their right to freedom of belief and expression.

A full decision on the underlying challenge to the change has not yet been addressed.

The Canada Summer Jobs program is a vehicle for the federal government to subsidize the wages of businesses that hire youth between the ages of 15 and 30 for summer work.

Following a report by Global News and a series of reports by this reporter demonstrating how anti-abortion groups such as the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform were using the Canada Summer Jobs program to obtain public money for activities like hiring youth to display graphic placards of aborted fetuses, the government announced it would change the program by requiring employers to attest that they want to hire youth while respecting the rights of Canadians.

Conservative religious groups quickly accused the government of violating their rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by requiring them to sign the attestation in order to submit an application for funding.

But this weekend, a group of more than 80 Canadian pro-choice and human rightsgroups signed an open letter coordinated by Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights and the National Association of Women and Law to federal leaders.

In it, the groups – including Oxfam Canada, YMCA Canada, and Egale Canada – applauded the decision to implement the attestation and stressed it does not force the groups that do not feel they can sign it to perform anything they do not want to, since there is no inherent right to federal grants.

The deadline for applications for funding under the 2018 Canada Summer Jobs program is Feb. 2. In her her ruling Tuesday evening, Federal Court Justice Martine St.-Louis said the Toronto Right to Life Association had failed to meet the three criteria laid out to request an emergency injunction against the change.

Those criteria are that applicants prove that a serious issue has been raised in their underlying application, that they will suffer irreparable harm if the stay is not granted, and that the balance of convenience, which examines the harm to the applicants and the respondent, as well as the public interest, favours them.

“First, on the serious issue, I do not agree with the parties on the applicable threshold,” St.-Louis wrote in what could signal a serious problem for the potential of the challenge itself.

She continued, however, noting that given she was ruling that the group also did not meet the other two criteria, she would “assume without deciding that a serious issue exists.”

She then went on to note that the Toronto Right to Life Association had not submitted “clear and convincing evidence” that they would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction were not to be granted, before also stating that it would be Employment Minister Patty Hajdu and the public interest that would suffer greater harm from the granting of a stay than would the group if their request was denied.