BWSS Strengthen Connections and Taking Action at Canadian Council for Refugees Consultation

By Daniela Escolar

danielaFrom November 24th to 26 2016 I attended a CCR consultation meeting in Montreal as the BWSS representative.

The CCR has more the 180 member organizations. Among them organizations that work on settlement, advocacy, refugee mental health and women’s organizations.

It was interesting to hear from other refugee and Immigrant rights advocates/activists the different struggles that refugees are confronting in each province and territories and as well as initiatives and cooperation with aboriginal communities,  to network and support the development of policy positions.

At the end of the consultation 3 resolutions were made, 2 of them were especially pertinent to fighting against violence against women. The first spoke about the racialization of poverty in which the CCR will call all levels of government in Canada to:

  1. Work to expand fair access to institutions and opportunities;
  2. Promote economic equity and justice;
  3. Seek investments in opportunity and advancement;
  4. Work to ensure that racial equity and racial justice efforts are adequately funded and effectively resourced.

< The first resolution regarding the racialization of poverty is a very important resolution in confronting violence against women; we know that racialized immigrant women in Canada are over-represented in low-paid, low-skill jobs, underemployed and in precarious work conditions that despite their relative high levels of education. In addition to the inherent violence in poverty, this also places women at further risk of victimization and increases their vulnerability. In our work at BWSS we witness how financial dependency and fear of poverty force women to stay in abusive relationship as well as in unsafe, abusive workplaces. img_0219The other resolution discussed climate change and its impacts on forced migration. When climate change impacts the land, lands are poisoned or no longer fertile, when there is long drought or flooding, women or their husbands have to migrate in order to survive and support the family. In both cases women become vulnerable to violence. By taking long and dangerous journeys; working on unsafe exploitative work conditions; often having no legal status or by the increase of the vulnerability of the women that are behind fend for themselves and their children in extreme poverty.

We are looking forward to continuing our collaboration with the CCR and member organizations and we are hopeful for a positive response of our resolutions from the government of Canada.

* Just Labour: A Canadian Journal of Work and Society—Volume 22 —Autumn 2014