Advisory Council on the Status of Women
2015-06-24: PEI Provincial Government Earns a "C" for Work on Women's Equality
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2015
PEI Provincial Government Earns a “C” for Work on Women’s Equality
CORNWALL, PEI – Today, the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women released its 2015 Equality Report Card assessing the provincial government’s progress on equality work. The Advisory Council Report Card awards the PEI government a grade of “C” for work from June 2013 to April 2015 to address the equality goals of women and under-represented groups on the Island. This grade remains the same as the grade government achieved in 2013.
“The C grade in 2013 and again in 2015 shows that although government has taken some good steps to enhance the equality of women and diverse groups, there is still a lot of work to do,” says Kelly Robinson, Acting Chairperson of the Advisory Council.
Copies of the full 2015 Equality Report Card in English and the summary report in French are available today through the Advisory Council on the Status of Women website, http://www.gov.pe.ca/acsw.
Robinson notes that some highlights in the report include impressive work towards gender parity on government boards and also nation-leading steps to analyze policy to see how government decisions may affect women, and men and diversity groups differently. On the negative side, Robinson adds that this year’s report card underlines the ongoing difficulties accessing legal aid lawyers and also registers challenges the Province faces as it adjusts to federal changes and cutbacks to programs such as Employment Insurance and adult education and training programs.
“What comes through most of all in the 2015 Report Card is the same thing that came through most strongly in 2013: lack of action to address poverty in this province,” says Robinson. “Vulnerable people’s lives got harder – at the same time as money for social assistance was left unspent for two years in a row. The Social Action Plan to Reduce Poverty was disappointing as it did not set or meet adequate targets or timelines. We are hopeful that the promise in the Speech from the Throne to have a Poverty Reduction Strategy will bring better results.”
Says Robinson, “Every Islander will find items they can relate to in this Report Card,” says Robinson. “The issues that affect women affect all our lives. If you or someone close to you relies on social assistance as their income, if you are concerned about support for people with addictions, if you are or know someone who has trouble paying for prescription medications, if you are someone looking for help to become pregnant, this report card reflects you and your community. The Equality Report Card holds government accountable for providing the services people in the community have asked for and need to have good lives.”
The Equality Report Card grades government in nine categories including Access to Justice, Women’s Health, Diversity and Inclusion, and Women in Decision-Making. The general global score of “C” recognizes that issues that affect women are interconnected. The 2015 Equality Report Card also awards bonus points in each category, acknowledging positive actions and policies that have been initiated within various departments.
“We have been told by government and by colleagues across Canada that the Equality Report Card is unique in Canada,” says Jane Ledwell, Executive Director of the Advisory Council. “Not only is it the only comprehensive assessment report on a provincial government’s gender and diversity work – it is the only report that is done with the full collaboration of every department of government.” Information in the Report Card was provided by government departments and reviewed and selected by members of the Advisory Council.
“Community experts from local organizations also provide their knowledge and experience to inform the Report Card, and we value their volunteer time and effort,” says Robinson. “We want to say a big thank to all of the focus group participants, who told us about their lived experiences and about how government decisions affect their daily lives.” Focus group participants in 2015 included newcomers to Canada and Islanders living with disabilities.
The 2015 Equality Report Card reviews actions taken between 2013 and 2015 by the Liberal government led by Premier Robert Ghiz and by Premier Wade MacLauchlan from January 2015 to April 2015. The Minister Responsible for the Status of Women throughout this period was Hon. Valerie Docherty. While election promises or actions since the election may be mentioned in this report, they are not the basis of assessment. Any promises made during the April-May election campaign and government actions following the election will be assessed in 2017.
“The Advisory Council is committed to continuing to collaborate with government to help them achieve high grades on the 2017 Equality Report Card,” says Robinson. “We are looking forward to working together with the new government in the coming two years to raise the status of women across PEI.”
To request a copy of the Equality Report Card, please call 902-368-4510 or email email@example.com. The full report will be available in French later in the summer.