Women, Peace and Security: Canada Moves Forward to Increase Women’s Engagement
Chair: Hon. Nancy Ruth (ON)
Deputy Chair: Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer (BC)
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The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1325 on women, peace and security was adopted in 2000. It introduced a set of international standards to ensure that efforts to prevent, resolve and rebuild from armed conflict incorporate the perspectives of women. Subsequent resolutions targeted the prohibition and prosecution of sexual violence in armed conflict.
The Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights reviewed progress on implementing these UNSC resolutions with a particular emphasis on Canada’s performance. Its report begins by quoting Dr. Ursula Franklin: “Peace is not the absence of war. It is the presence of justice and the absence of fear.”
The report acknowledges that progress has been made since 2000 but reinforces the need for Canada and other UN member states to bolster their support to bridge several key gaps impeding implementation of the resolution. In general, such gaps include economic insecurity, capacity, limited data and institutional fragmentation. Among other recommendations, the committee strongly urged Canada and other UN member states to increase women’s participation in decision-making at all levels.
The Canadian Council for International Cooperation favourably cited the Senate report in its Africa-Canada Forum Briefing Note on peace and security in Africa (March 2011). PeaceBuild also mentioned the Senate report in one of its policy briefs, affirming the need for Canada to support implementation of the resolutions. In addition, the North-South Institute positively acknowledged the Senate report in its weekly online news publications.
Reflecting the Changing Face of Canada: Employment Equity in the Federal Public Service
Chair: Hon. Janis G. Johnson (MB)
Deputy Chair: Hon. Mobina Jaffer (BC)
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Since 2004, the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights has been tracking the federal government’s progress in implementing the Employment Equity Act. It concluded that the federal public service achieved only some of the Act’s objectives for women, Aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities, and failed to meet its objectives for visible minorities.
Women are still lagging behind men in terms of being appointed to executive positions and generally hold lower paying jobs, Aboriginal peoples are clustered in a few government departments and thus are not equitably represented throughout the federal public service, and visible minorities fail to come close to representing their respective groups within the federal public service. Several recommendations were contained in the committee’s report to fulfil employment equity objectives, including staffing strategies, better accountability measures and increased government funding.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada, one of Canada’s largest unions representing more than 172,000 workers, called on the federal government to implement the Senate’s recommendations in a release issued in June 2010. The Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants cited the Senate’s report to reinforce its message to the Prime Minister in an open letter dated August 9, 2010.
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