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LETTER: Province regressing on women's rights, citizen says

'Without proper funding, the centres say they are either forced to merge or cut staff, threatening a vital service,' letter writer says

BarrieToday received the following letter from reader Christopher Mansour regarding Rape Crisis Centre funding:


Rape Crisis Centre funding hesitation and an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruling against the Ford Government show retrogression on women’s and human rights issues.

In February, Ontario’s 42 sexual assault centres urged Attorney General Doug Downey to provide them with an essential funding boost of $1-million per annum instead of the one-time, lump sum payment he promised them.

The money would address a backlog of cases. True, the previous Liberal government never gave the centres a promised three year, $14 million payout. Without proper funding, the centres say they are either forced to merge or cut staff, threatening a vital service.

Equally telling is the recent Human Rights Tribunal ruling that found Ontario’s midwives have been subjected to chronic, gender-based discrimination and devaluing by medical personnel and governments throughout the province’s long history.

The tribunal ordered the Ford government to compensate midwives with a 20 per cent salary increase and up to $7,500 for emotional and mental damages. Both issues suggest we have not yet overcome gender-based discrimination.

The Rape Crisis Centre funding issue, which the government says is part of its deficit-reduction mandate, must be taken in context together with the government’s appeal of the HRTO’s midwife ruling.

Premier Ford’s government has filed an appeal against that ruling with the Divisional Court. They claim the tribunal unfairly ruled against them by failing to measure the skills of midwives against the superior skills of doctors and nurses.

They argue the scope of training and responsibilities should mean that midwives are paid less than doctors and nurses. The Tribunal had found that midwives are subject to the same gender-based prejudice as other women professionals working in male-dominated professions. The Ford government’s resistance to that ruling and their hesitation with the crisis centres are a disservice to women and voters.

Christopher Mansour