Who we are

FAFIA is an alliance of women's organizations at the national, provincial, territorial, and local levels.

What we do

Our mandate is to advance women’s equality in Canada by working for the full implementation of the international human rights treaties and agreements that Canada has ratified.

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Bill S-3 Victory

Bill S-3 Victory

For over 143 years, First Nations women and their descendants have had to fight a long and winding battle to dismantle the sex-based discrimination that has been perpetuated by the Indian Act. On August 15, 2019, these women, advocates, and communities celebrated a momentous victory for gender equality as the Government of Canada finally brought the outstanding provisions of Bill S-3 into force. These final Bill S-3 provisions will eliminate remaining sex-based inequities from the Indian Act and abolish the 1951 cut-off from the Indian Act registration provisions.

Go to the Bill S-3 page

PRESS RELEASE: To commemorate 2020 International Human Rights Day, FAFIA and YWCA Canada release special human rights chapter for Canada’s Feminist Economic Recovery Plan

To commemorate 2020 International Human Rights Day, FAFIA and YWCA Canada release special human rights chapter for Canada’s Feminist Economic Recovery Plan

Click here for the PDF version.

December 10th, 2020 Toronto, ON – To mark International Human Rights Day, The Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) in partnership with YWCA Canada have released a special chapter on how to push forward a human rights approach to post-pandemic recovery. As Maya Roy, CEO of YWCA Canada shares, “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us what was already broken in society. Canada has never seen a crisis like this so we need a new approach. That’s what Canada’s Feminist Economic Recovery Plan offers. However, many of the things that would have made a difference in this pandemic are grounded in pre-existing human rights obligations Canada has been a signatory to. Now is the time to act on our commitments.” Hawa Mire, Executive Director of FAFIA highlights, "COVID-19 has exposed the deep inequities that already existed in Canada for women especially for Black women, Indigenous women, racialized women, non-status, newcomer women, women living with disabilities and 2SLGBTQ communities. It is time to recognize that this is not only a health crisis but the amplification of a systemic and structural social crisis right here in Canada.” The A Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for Canada: Human Rights Approach publication provides an intersectional feminist human rights lens on what a meaningful COVID-19 recovery could be for our country. Key human rights examined in the chapter include:
  • The Right to an Adequate Standard of Living
  • The Right to the Highest Standard Attainable of Physical and Mental Health
  • The Right to Adequate Housing
  • The Right to Social Security
Mire shares, “a Feminist Economic Recovery Plan must include the voices, perspectives as well as actionable commitments for the communities that are so often left behind. FAFIA has designed this chapter to continue strong advocacy on the use of a human rights-based approach as an important foundation for all Canadians." Roy concludes, “The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Canada to finally realize its human rights commitments. In this publication, FAFIA and YWCA Canada lay out the human rights framework we can leverage to build an economy and society that works for everyone. Today, we offer the tools and the roadmap to make it a reality.” On January 28th, YWCA Canada and FAFIA will host an event to unpack the publication. Registration is available at: https://gender-equity-human-rights-covid-19-recovery.eventbrite.ca The publication builds on YWCA Canada’s earlier work on A Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for Canada: Making the Economy Work for Everyone with the Institute for Gender and Economy (GATE) at the University of Toronto. The plan was the first nationally-focused feminist economic recovery plan in the world. Read the entire plan at www.feministrecovery.ca

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About FAFIA The Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) is an alliance of equality-seeking organizations committed to making international agreements on women’s human rights a reality in women’s everyday lives in Canada. FAFIA provides a forum for women from across Canada to work together to ensure a better quality of life for all women in Canada. FAFIA’s membership spans a diverse array of organizations ranging from research institutes to service providers. FAFIA’s membership is also regionally diverse, with members from 10 Provinces and Territories, as well as many national member organizations. To learn more about FAFIA-AFAI, visit: https://fafia-afai.org/ About YWCA Canada YWCA Canada is a leading voice for women, girls, Two-Spirit, and gender diverse people. For 150 years, we’ve been at the forefront of a movement: to fight gender-based violence, build affordable housing, and advocate for workplace equity. We work to advance gender equity by responding to urgent needs in communities, through national advocacy and grassroots initiatives. Local YWCAs invest over $258 million annually to support over 330,000 individuals across the nation. Today, we engage young leaders, diverse communities, and corporate partners to achieve our vision of a safe and equitable Canada for all. To learn more about YWCA Canada, visit: http://www.ywcacanada.ca/   For media inquiries, please contact: Anjum Sultana, National Director of Public Policy & Strategic Communications, YWCA Canada [email protected] | 647 205 3079

Letter to PMO & Freeland: Action Plan on Women in the Economy Taskforce

Letter: Action Plan on Women in the Economy Taskforce

(November 17, 2020) Over 60 women's organizations and equality-seeking organizations have signed a letter calling on Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Freeland's Women in the Economy taskforce to be representative of experts on care and members of civil society who work on economic justice – not just members of the business community. COVID-19 has highlighted the exacerbating economic inequality impacting women. Women are the ones most likely to be paid lower wages, on the frontlines, and responsible for care work. This reality is especially  amplified in the case of Black, Indigenous, racialized, (im)migrant, and senior women. As well as, women living with disabilities, and members of the 2SLGBQTI+ community. This task force cannot solely focus on “business, boards, entrepreneurship, and STEM” as a pathway to women’s economic empowerment, since it is ignoring the immediate needs of women workers marginalized by the pandemic and the centrality of care to the well-being of society and the economy. Read the letter
here  

THRONE SPEECH 2020: THE ONLY WAY FORWARD IS WITH A HUMAN RIGHTS APPROACH

THRONE SPEECH 2020: THE ONLY WAY FORWARD IS WITH A HUMAN RIGHTS APPROACH

In response to the Government of Canada's Throne Speech, FAFIA acknowledges the commitments made to address the social and health crisis of COVID-19 and its disproportionate impact on women in Canada, especially Indigenous women, racialized women, Black women, newcomer women, 2SLGBTQ women, and women living with disabilities. A feminist and intersectional approach is an important step towards the future. Canada must put forward a concrete implementation plan to fulfil Canada's human rights obligations and ensure a just and feminist recovery.

A feminist recovery is not just an issue for women but is vital to Canada’s recovery as a whole. Canada cannot be a party to the rolling back of hard won social and political gains that women have made – in the labour force and beyond. FAFIA supports key commitments in the Throne Speech, like the creation of a task force to guide the creation of the National Action Plan on Women and the Economy, a national childcare strategy, and the urgent development and implementation of a National Action Plan to respond to the National Inquiry on MMWIG. But now is the time for action, these commitments must move forward tangibly. The next step is the Federal budget.

Read FAFIA's briefing note outlining key recommendations forward on the Throne Speech here.

Press Release: Throne Speech and Ending Sex Discrimination in the Indian Act

For immediate release

(Ottawa, September 22, 2020) – In partnership with Indigenous women leaders and Indigenous organizations, the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA), is requesting that the Government of Canada include in its Throne Speech on September 23, 2020 a statement acknowledging the historic importance of the final elimination of sex discrimination from the Indian Act, and a commitment to fully and urgently implement the changes to the status registration provisions so that First Nations women and their descendants can enjoy the status, and the benefits of status, that they have been denied for so long. After 143 years of sex discrimination in the Indian Act, on August 15, 2019, the Government of Canada brought into force the “6(1)(a) all the way” amendment to Bill S-3, which finally entitles First Nations women and their descendants to the same treatment with respect to Indian status registration and the transmission of Indian status as their male counterparts. But until the women and their descendants are actually registered, the discrimination continues. Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 period, Indian Act registration, always a slow and difficult process, has been even further delayed, if not stopped completely. This means that during this crisis, First Nations women and their descendants cannot access essential services and First Nation-specific COVID-19 specific assistance to which they are entitled. This must be addressed immediately by declaring Indian Act registration an essential service. To demonstrate its commitment to the equality of First Nations women, the Government needs to state its explicit commitment to ensuring that all First Nations women and their descendants who are now finally entitled to status will be registered expeditiously to meet or exceed application time frames and service standards as with any other federal service standards like the time frame for issuance of passports. The Government also needs to ensure that Ministers Miller and Bennett have the mandate and resources to fully and swiftly implement Bill S-3. Sharon McIvor said: “We are gravely concerned that the rights of First Nations women and their descendants to the equal protection of the law and the equal enjoyment of their culture continues to be violated by the Government of Canada. This is because, though the law was changed, the Government of Canada is not taking effective and prompt steps to ensure that those who are now entitled can actually get registered quickly and efficiently and enjoy the benefits of status.”
Shelagh Day, Chair of the Human Rights Committee of FAFIA said: “We understand Prime Minister Trudeau is committed to the removal of systemic race discrimination from Canadian institutions and practices. We ask for a statement of commitment that the systemic race and sex discrimination against First Nations women, that has been an integral part of the Indian Act for 143 years, will not just be removed on paper, but will be eliminated from the lives of First Nations women through, as a first step, ensuring that, in fact, they can be registered immediately and enjoy the same status and benefits as their male counterparts.” Dr. Pamela Palmater, Chair in Indigenous Governance, Ryerson University said: “Eliminating this discrimination and addressing its effects has been recommended repeatedly by those expert human rights bodies that have inquired into the murders and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls in Canada, including the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and, most recently, the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Women. Actively remedying this long- standing Indian Act discrimination is a crucial first response to addressing the human rights crisis of murders and disappearances.” Hawa Mire, Executive Director of FAFIA, said: “Today, with COVID-19’s devastating impacts on the lives of women in Canada, more women than ever are struggling with increased poverty, precarious living situations, lack of child care, unemployment, and escalating violence. It is important that in the Throne Speech the Government of Canada demonstrates its commitment to measures and programs that will dismantle long-standing discrimination against women, including the deeply rooted discrimination against Indigenous women, Black women, racialized women, and women with disabilities.”
For more information: Hawa Mire, Executive Director, FAFIA [email protected]

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