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					                                                                                     April 2003            Women and Work
                                                                                                           By 2001, women made up about half of the               Women workers are also over-represented in
                                                                                                           labour force in Nova Scotia. Yet the value placed      minimum wage jobs - which means they are
                                                                                                           on women’s work still lags far behind that of          living below the poverty line and frequently being
                                                                                                           men - in terms of pay, promotions, working             forced to use food banks to feed their families.
                                                                                                           conditions and benefits.                               Also, violence in the workplace continues to be
                                                                                                           Women workers are mostly found in the                  an issue of major concern to working women. In
                                                                                                           clerical, health and food service/food processing      January, 2002, the Health & Safety Advisory
                                                                                                           sectors, all of which pay lower salaries than          Committee submitted a recommendation to the
                                                                                                           work requiring less training and education             provincial government calling for changes to the
                                                                                                           usually done by men. In addition to lower pay,         Occupational Health and Safety Act, which
                                                                                                           many of the workers impacted by government             would recognize violence in the workplace as a
                                                                                                           cutbacks in health care, education and social          health and safety issue under the terms of the
                                                                                                           services have been women.                              act. This recommendation has yet to be enacted.

                                                                                                           ➤    What action will your party take to make sure the wage gap between women
                                                                                                                and men is eliminated?
                                                                                                           ➤    Will your party immediately put into place the recommendations of the Health &
          Feminists for Just and Equitable Public Policy (FemJEPP)                                              Safety Advisory Committee, with respect to violence in the workplace?
      Provincial Advisory Committee — Women Matter! Women Vote!                                            ➤    What is your party’s policy on increasing the minimum wage in Nova Scotia?

In this Information Pamphlet . . .                                                                         Women’s Centres
                                                                                                           Women’s Centres provide crisis support services,       meet the demand for their vital services.
You will find 16 key areas of concern to the women of Nova Scotia and our families. The format             information and programs to women in their
provides a brief overview of the current situation and is then followed by questions to pose to all        communities. Women’s Centres work provincially         Re-entry Training:
political parties and their local candidates for Member of the Legislature (MLA) in Nova Scotia.           falls within areas of community services, education    Women’s Centres that have offered Re-Entry
                                                                                                           and health. Together, the eight Women’s Centres        Training in their communities have had excellent
This pamphlet is a “group effort” bringing together equality-seeking community groups, academic            across the province provide services to more than      success rates, with 80% of the women who take
and community researchers, individual social activists and women in the labour movement in our             1,000 women every month. Our communities are           this program either entering the workforce or
province. We trust women across the province, in particular those most impacted by public policy,          asking us to expand our services and provide           furthering their education. There are waiting lists for
will find this information useful in finding out their local candidates’ party positions on the areas of   outreach programs in other areas. Provincial           this program. Women’s Centres have developed the
                                                                                                           funding currently provided through the Department      capacity to deliver the program throughout Nova
concern to themselves and their families.                                                                  of Community Services has not been stable,             Scotia through a facilitator’s manual and trained
                                                                                                           adequate or long term. Women’s Centres are             facilitators. What is now required in ongoing, stable
                                                                                                           substantially underfunded and are working hard to      funding for this program.
Get commitments
                                                                                                           ➤    Will you work to establish adequate, secure, long term funding for the eight
from your candidates                                                                                            existing Women’s Centres?
before you elect them . . .                                                                                ➤    Will you work to ensure Women’s Centres are able to provide a full range of
                                                              Know where they stand on                          programming including outreach services?
                                                                the key issues impacting                   ➤    Will you work to ensure that Women’s Centres have the appropriate federal and
                                                                 women in Nova Scotia.                          provincial funding to enable them to provide their Re-entry Training Programs in
                                                                                                                their communities?

Health                                                                                                     Post Secondary Education
Health is not only the absence of disease, but a        gender or income. Across the board solutions       Post secondary education should be a right not a       Certain groups of women such as Black women,
state of complete physical, mental, spiritual and       to health care problems miss the mark - a          privilege! It is important to the political, social,   Aboriginal women living on reserve, female lone
social well-being. Disease treatments cost more         gender-based analysis helps to focus on the real   and economic well being of women and their             parents and women with disabilities remain
than investments promoting health and well-             problems and more effective solutions. For         families in Nova Scotia. However, the current          marginalized with respect to education and
being. It is important for Nova Scotians to have        example, midwifery is offered as a health care     decline of provincial government funding for           general equality.
access to care and treatment in an equitable            option in many other provinces, also teenage       post secondary education in Nova Scotia has            Recent research also indicates women must
manner but it is critical that we look after our        smoking rates are higher among girls than boys     shifted the financial responsibility to the private    achieve a much higher education to earn a living
population as a whole, no matter who we are,            and smoking cessation programs should address      sector. This shift from the public to private          wage, than do men. Therefore post secondary
where we live, or what our culture, language,           this particular fact.                              sector has caused increased tuition fees, a lack       education is important for women to acquire a
race,                                                                                                      of equality, a decrease in quality, lack of            profession or a career with a living wage to gain
                                                                                                           accessibility and a lack of public accountability.     and maintain economic security and social
                                                                                                           Therefore post secondary education is a privilege      stability for themselves and their families.
     ➤ Where does your party propose to spend our health care                                              available mainly to those with higher incomes.
       dollars in the next 5 years?
                                                                                                           ➤ Will your post secondary education policies increase equality and
     ➤ How will you invest in promoting health and preventing                                                access for women from all socioeconomic backgrounds?
       illness?                                                                                            ➤ Will your party freeze tuition fees?
     ➤ How will you invest in women’s health and well-being in Nova                                        ➤ Will your policies reverse the previous financial cuts to post secondary
       Scotia?                                                                                               institutions and increase funding to post-secondary institutions?

Homecare                                                                                                   Mental Health
Care in the home is women’s work. Women                 being and on their families and communities.       One in five people struggle with some form of          Such needs include, but are not limited to,
provide more than 80% of the paid home care             Privatization and cost cutting measures have led   mental health issue. Research has identified           isolation, stigmatization (particularly in small and
and also provide a similar proportion of the            to an increased burden on those providing          clinical depression and anxiety as the two major       rural communities), lack of proper medication,
unpaid personal care for the elderly and for            unpaid care in the home, and most of these         issues. As women make up the majority of               lack of supervised medication regimes,
those of all ages with long term disability or          unpaid caregivers are women.                       mental health consumers, based on population,          substance and alcohol dependence or abuse,
short term illness. Older women may be doubly                                                              the mental health needs of women are                   gambling addictions, lack of a participatory
disadvantaged because, as a group, they are             Mr Romanow has recommended that the                increasingly being seen by community-based             process that would include and empower
more likely to need these services and to be            Canada Health Act should be immediately            women’s organizations. These needs are                 women in an action plan for their recovery and
acting as caregivers for others. This has social        expanded to include homecare.                      increasing in direct proportion to the growing         more community-based mental health support
and economic consequences on women’s well-                                                                 social and economic stress in our communities.         services.

     ➤ What do you think about the Romanow recommendation to
       establish a national homecare program?
     ➤ If you and your party are elected, what is your vision of a                                              ➤ Given that it is widely recognized that mental health is key to
       homecare program for Nova Scotia?                                                                          personal well being as well as the well-being of our families
                                                                                                                  and communities as a whole, what policies does your party
     ➤ How will this program (or services) address the needs of Nova                                              propose that would expand mental health support services for
       Scotia women who are the majority of those providing care in                                               women to meet an increasing demand?
       the home?

Early Learning and Child Care Programs for Children and Families
Quality early learning and childcare programs
play an important role in promoting the social,
                                                        parents working shift work and week-ends.          Special Thanks...
emotional, physical and cognitive development           Government funding initiatives are needed to
of young children. They also provide                    provide direct care and learning for children in
community support for Nova Scotia Families.             settings such as childcare centres, family                      To the many equality-seeking
                                                        childcare homes, preschools, and nursery
Childcare needs to be of high quality, affordable       schools. Types of investment could include                community-based groups, academic and
to families, inclusive of and responsive to             capitol and operating funding, expansion of the
children with differing abilities as well as to         number of fees subsidies, access to free pre-          community researchers, individual social activists
children in various cultural and linguistic
circumstances. Childcare services need to
                                                        school programming in Family Support Centres,
                                                        wage enhancement, training, professional
                                                                                                               and women in the labour movement across our
provide the flexibility to respond to the varying
needs of parents and children, particularly, single
                                                        development and support, quality assurance
                                                        and parent information and referral.
                                                                                                                province who made this publication possible.
     ➤ What will your party, if elected to government, do to respond
       to the varying needs of parents and children in NS?                                                                                                           Contact: Women Matter! Women Vote!
                                                                                                                                                                    c/o Stephanie Hunter, FemJEPP Coordinator
     ➤ What funding initiatives will your party, if elected to                                                                                                                 email:
       government, provide for direct care and learning for children                                                                                                                     Phone (902) 423-8025
       in various child care settings in NS?                                                                                                                                               Fax (902) 454-2437
Poverty                                                                                                        Abortion:
Women of low-income and their families have           Women and their families are at Risk!                    Currently in Nova Scotia, women’s access to                 Women also face significant challenges in
been hurt by the current changes to our social        ➤A single parent (most often women) with                 abortion services is extremely limited. Most                obtaining abortion as a result of anti-choice
welfare system. They lack access to post               one child would need to work two full-time              abortion services are located in Halifax – at a             gatekeepers. Planned Parenthood affiliates
secondary education, and are forced into a job         jobs at minimum wage to bring the family                hospital unit dedicated to abortions, and at a              across Nova Scotia hear numerous stories of
market leaving them with part-time casual              income up to the poverty line                           private clinic. Although there are services in              women who cannot find a pro-choice doctor.
temporary employment which does not pay a                                                                      other communities, these are provided within a              As a result, these women are faced with an
wage that sustains them or their families.            ➤70% of Nova Scotia single mothers live                  general gynecological practice and women may                unintended pregnancy beyond the 16 week
Dependency on the food bank has increased;             below the official low-income cut off line              not have the supportive environment found in a              window period and are forced to seek services
decent housing is almost an impossible dream          ➤47% of unattached female seniors are living             unit or clinic dedicated only to abortion services.         outside of the province or to continue with this
for any low-income family and as the cost of           on low incomes in Nova Scotia                           The situation in Nova Scotia is challenging to              unintended pregnancy. This can be very
living rises, welfare rates have not.                                                                          women who live outside of the city and who do               traumatic for these women, many of whom are
                                                                                                               not have the resources to travel.                           youth.

                                                                                                                    ➤ Will you and your party ensure that there is an increase in the
     ➤ Describe how your party will address the significant issues of
                                                                                                                      number of health care settings in this province that provide
       poverty surrounding women of low income and their families                                                     abortion services? For instance, services should be available in
       in Nova Scotia.                                                                                                Sydney, Yarmouth and Amherst.
     ➤ How will you ensure that the voices of women of low-income                                                   ➤ Will you and your party actively address the ability physicians
       are included in your overall plan?                                                                             have in denying women the right to choose an abortion?

Housing                                                                                                        Women’s Economic Security
The federal and provincial government have            Furthermore, it will not even begin to address           Women’s economic security can only exist if women           Women must be included in the development
recently agreed to spend $37 million over the         the need of people living on very low incomes,           have access to: equal pay for work of equal value           process of policies which promote our economic
next four years, which is targeted at creating        most of whom are renters and in critical need,           (pay equity), credit, affordable quality childcare,         security. Presently, women are tremendously under-
new affordable housing units. This is the first       and some of whom face particular challenges              continuing education and personal safety at home            represented in the political and financial decision-
sign of funding for affordable housing Nova           and need supportive housing.                             and in the work place.                                      making process in this province.
Scotians have seen in about 10 years. Housing                                                                  In Atlantic Canada, women who work full-time,               Women and their advocacy organizations have the
Services Division of the Department of                Neither will it furnish funds for community-             year-round jobs only earn 71% of a man’s income.            expertise and willingness to work with
Community Services admits that this is not            based organizations to help the people who are           Also, one in six Nova Scotian women lives in poverty,       government(s) to develop “good policy for women
enough money to help a significant number of          in need of affordable and supportive housing to          most of whom are single mothers and unattached              and their families” that will enable the social and
the 47% of Nova Scotian renters who are               develop appropriate, targeted solutions to meet          elderly women. In a study of single mothers living in       economic well-being of all Nova Scotians.
paying more than 30% of their incomes to rent,        those needs.                                             Atlantic Canada, 78% reported household food
and therefore are deemed to be in “core                                                                        insecurity.
                                                                                                               ➤ What will your party do to support pay equity?
     ➤ If you were elected, how would you work to address the                                                  ➤ How will your party ensure that women have equal access to credit?
       range of housing needs in Nova Scotia?                                                                  ➤ How will your party ensure your policies reflect the concerns and issues of
                                                                                                                 women in this province? For example, will your party work to provide economic
                                                                                                                 supports for women, such as negotiating with the federal government to put
                                                                                                                 women back in HRDC program funding as a designated group?

Services for Abused Women and their Children                                                                   Peace
Women in Nova Scotia are still living with            The 2002 Spring budget attempted to remove               A peaceful community is one that is free from               effective abroad. As peace-seeking Canadians we
abuse and violence within their intimate              nearly $1 million from transition houses, men’s          oppressive emotions and actions. It embraces                can reduce the burden on women by providing
relationships. In fact, police report that the        intervention programs, and women’s centres.              security and harmony - in our homes, in our work,           focused assistance and support to address the
number of acts of violence and abuse                  It has been only due to the strong response of           or in our schools. For many women and girls in              double jeopardy of being a member of a visible
committed against women by their intimate             the public and the opposition parties that these         Nova Scotia this is not their reality as discrimination     minority and a woman.
                                                                                                               and violence continue to root themselves in our
partners is on the increase. And yet the              groups have been able to maintain their                  society.                                                    Gender equity is a fundamental step for creating a
Government of Nova Scotia - despite its               funding to this point.                                                                                               peaceful community. Research shows that in
stated commitment to the issue of ‘family                                                                      Also, considering the harsh reality of war and the          equitable communities, where women have
violence’ - has, since 1999:                          Transition House Association of Nova Scotia              growing number of armed conflicts in developing             decision-making roles, adequate resources and
➤Terminated the Family Violence Prevention            member organizations provide vital services to           countries, Nova Scotians must consider their                access to services, peace is more attainable. But
                                                      assist and support women living in or leaving            responsibility to protect and promote the rights of         when women are poor and powerless, discriminated
                                                      abusive relationships - from shelter and                 women coming to us, often as refugees. Peace                against or otherwise oppressed, peace will remain a
➤Terminated advocacy programs established             counseling to advocacy and outreach for                  building must begin here at home if we are to be            distant concept.
   under the ‘Framework for Action on                 women and their children.
   Family Violence’                                                                                            ➤    What policies and measures will you adopt to ensure and encourage the participation of women
                                                                                                                    in decision-making processes with regard to violence prevention and community peace building?
     ➤ Will you state your commitment to helping transition houses                                             ➤    How will you support new initiatives to address racism and gender-based discrimination to
       strengthen and enhance their services, so that the vulnerable                                                further support refugee and immigrant women?
       women and children most directly affected by ‘family violence’                                          ➤    To what extent will your party increase funding to current programs and organizations that
       are assured of safety and support?                                                                           promote peace, work to address racism, and provide services to women affected by violence -
                                                                                                                    for example, women’s shelters and outreach education programs?

Legal Aid Services for Women                                                                                   Women In Conflict with the Law
Without access to legal aid, women have no            ➤disputes, workplace issues, including                   Women in the criminal justice system in NS are              the women are rarely given passes required to
access to justice. Women dealing with justice          workplace harassment and wrongful                       rendered some of the most “invisible” women in              attend these programs.
issues need to know that they can access legal         dismissal.                                              the province. Removed from their communities to
services through legal aid. Although the caliber                                                               serve their sentences at the Central Nova Scotia            Many women are choosing to go in front of a judge
of our Nova Scotia Legal Aid lawyers is top-          Women in conflict with the law often have the            Correctional Facility, they face further isolation due      and request federal time with far longer sentences
notch, due to government budget cuts legal aid        same needs. It is also very difficult for them to        to the very location of the institution. This institution   so they can receive programs as opposed to sitting
                                                      access legal assistance when they are dealing            has been designed along the Super Jail models in            and doing nothing in provincial correctional facilities.
lawyers are increasingly hampered in the                                                                       Ontario, resulting in near maximum security
services they are able to provide. Many women         with issues which originate inside the prison
                                                      system.                                                  conditions under which to do their sentence. This           We are also criminalizing women with mental health
have difficulty in accessing the legal aid services                                                            provincial facility offers virtually no education,          issues and they do not get the treatment needed, as
they need.                                            Currently, Nova Scotia Legal Aid offers legal            treatment or mental health programming. When                their actions are seen as behaviours rather than
Women require legal help when dealing with:           assistance only on a limited basis for basic family      provincial programming is offered, it is inconsistent       symptoms of their mental issues. Upon release or
                                                      law matters and for criminal offences - provided         and or limited (i.e. school program only to Grade 10        receiving day parole, women are also faced with
➤Child custody and access, child support,             the woman meets the financial needs test. This           equivalent). The women’s days are filled with               few reintegration supports which leads to
 peace bonds, divorce, division of property,          does not allow the multi-layered needs of                unskilled tasks such as doing laundry and preparing         reactivating their addiction and often new criminal
 child welfare disputes, landlord/tenancy             women to be addressed.                                   bags with coffee packets. Where programs are                charges resulting in the “revolving door” scenario.
                                                                                                               available through community agencies in Halifax,
     ➤ Will you state your commitment to ensuring that Nova Scotia                                             ➤ What does your party propose to do to address 1) the current lack of
       maintains and strengthens our Nova Scotia Legal Aid services,                                             programming for women while incarcerated, and 2) lack of access to
       to ensure that women truly have access to justice in this                                                 community programs that includes providing support and resources for
       Province?                                                                                                 true re-integration?

Sydney Tar Ponds:                                     Fisheries:
The Sydney Tar Ponds and coke ovens site are          Despite the collapse of many ground fish stocks, tens
Canada’s largest toxic waste site. Sydney residents   of thousands of Nova Scotians still depend on the
experience serious health problems and die, on        fishery for their livelihood. Provincial government
average, ten years earlier than the average           policy has been encouraging the development of oil
Canadian.                                             and gas off-shore, without having first identified the
                                                      sensitive areas. This is true despite a commitment in
Previous attempts at clean-up failed and actually
                                                      the provincial energy strategy, “Seizing the
increased contamination to adjacent areas.
                                                      Opportunity,” to ensure advance identification of
➤ Will you and your party commit to a full            important fishery and environmental areas.
   panel review of the remediation options for        ➤ Will you and your party support local fishers
   hazardous sites in Sydney under the
                                                         and place a moratorium on any oil and gas
   Canadian Environmental Assessment Act in
                                                         exploration or development activities in
   order to ensure any clean up is protective of
                                                         spawning, migratory and other sensitive
   human health and the environment?
➤ Will you and your party commit to rejecting
                                                      ➤ Will you and your party commit to
   incineration of toxic materials in Sydney or
                                                         integrated coastal management to ensure
   anywhere else in Nova Scotia?                         community involvement in decisions about
                                                         fisheries and competing industries as set out
                                                         in the Oceans Act?

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