Op-Ed Article - By the Honourable Beverley J. Oda - Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women - Status of Women Canada: Canada's New Government: Concrete Actions Backed By Highest Budget Ever

    OTTAWA, March 9 /CNW Telbec/ - This week, women and men around the world
celebrated International Women's Week. It was a time to celebrate the
accomplishments of women in their lives and their contributions to society in
Canada and around the world. It was also a time to recognize the challenges
that many women face preventing their full participation in the economic,
social and cultural life enjoyed by the majority. Canadian women have proven
through their skills and determination they can succeed and realize their full
potential if given the equality of opportunity. For too many years, Canadian
women have been the predominant victims of violence. And we are seeing that
women, particularly senior women are highly represented in the lower income
    As the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, I believe that
making a real difference in the lives of women in their communities is the
best way to help women meet those challenges. That is why I was happy to
announce an additional $5 million in new funding towards the Women's Program
in Status of Women Canada, as well as an innovative new funding mechanism for
this program.
    As of April 1, 2007, the Women's Program will have two components: the
Women's Community Fund and the Women's Partnership Fund. The Women's Community
Fund will continue to support projects at the local, regional and national
level undertaken by community organizations in meeting their objectives to
enable the full participation of women in all aspects of life. The budget for
this component has been increased to $12.3 million from $10.8 million.
    The newly created Women's Partnership Fund will encourage organizations
and other levels of government to work in partnership supporting projects they
believe will assist women in their daily lives. Due to the leveraging
potential of this component, the $3 million Partnership Fund will generate
greater resources for non-governmental organizations to make a real difference
for Canadian women. The projects will be larger and more women will benefit.
    By working with local organizations and respecting jurisdictional
responsibilities, I am convinced that these programs, available to every
community across Canada, can directly enhance the opportunities women seek in
meeting their challenges. Through this new component, federal tax dollars will
go further than by being matched with a commitment from other partners.
    As I have previously stated a number of times, the $5 million found in
efficiencies and streamlining at Status of Women Canada is now directly
available to support projects for women. This will result in Women's Program
annual budget increasing by 42 percent. At $15.3 million, this makes the
budget the highest level ever in the history of Status of Women Canada.
    These programs will enhance the work of Canada's new government which has
taken numerous real steps to enhance our support of Canadian women in their
daily lives. Bills to address the rights of aboriginal women and make
communities safer from violent repeat sexual offenders coupled with action on
making Guaranteed Income Supplements more accessible, pension income splitting
and more support for immigrant settlement homes are demonstrations of real
concrete action. I am proud to be part of a government that acts and makes a

    Bev Oda is the Minister Responsible for Status of Women Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Véronique Bruneau, Press Secretary, Office of
the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women, (819) 997-7788; Claire
Rochon, Communications, Outreach and Parliamentary Relations Status of Women
Canada, (613) 943-1304

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