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.

Learn more

Bill S-3

Bill S-3

Since its inception, the Indian Act has accorded privileged forms of Indian status to male Indians and their descendants, but not to Indian women and their descendants. On June 1, 2017, the Senate of Canada unanimously passed an amendment to Bill S-3. This amendment, ‘6(1)(a) all the way’ would, for the first time, entitle Indian women and their descendants to full 6(1)(a) Indian status. The Government of Canada has rejected this equal status amendment and wants the Senate to pass Bill S-3 without eliminating the sex discrimination. We invite you to learn more about this issue and join us in fighting to end discrimination against women in the Indian Act.

Go to the Bill S-3 page

FAFIA JOB POSTING: Policy and Projects Manager

Policy and Projects Manager/Counsel

PDF version here

Email us at: communications@fafia-afai.org with your resume and cover letter to apply. Overview FAFIA is an alliance of women's organizations at the national, provincial, territorial, and local levels. 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. In keeping with FAFIA’s Mission, Vison and Strategic Plan, the Manager of Projects and Policy will lead FAFIA’s activities in the areas of policy development and project coordination/implementation. The incumbent will provide leadership in project development and completion, in accordance with the terms of our contractual obligations, including report writing, the development of training materials, coordination of training events with members and other stakeholders. Additionally, the incumbent supports broader policy development for FAFIA through research, collaboration with member content experts and external partners and other women’s rights advocates. The incumbent reports to the Executive Director and will also engage as required in FAFIA’s Strategic Planning process.   RESPONSIBILITIES Project Coordination
  • Serve as the point person for coordination of project outcomes, including first draft reporting
  • Track project deadlines and obligations, ensuring on-time and on-budget delivery of all project goals
  • Assist in the development of workplans and outcomes frameworks for WAGE and related projects
  • Participate in the development of all new funding proposals and projects, including coordination skills as required
Training and Public Legal Education
  • Lead the overall strategy and timelines for the implementation of the PLE related to FAFIA’s WAGE Leadership agreement
  • Collaboratively develop the content for plain language and accessible format materials to assist Canadian women’s rights advocates to see practical uses of international human rights obligations in their domestic advocacy strategies
  • Plan and coordinate in-person training sessions, webinars, and print materials to support FAFIA’s WAGE Canada contract to provide IHRL literacy to national and local women’s advocates
  • Coordinate and deliver training content, collaborating with additional content experts from within and external to FAFIA as best suits the outcomes desired
Policy & Research
  • Facilitate and initiate national research initiatives in the area of women’s international human rights, especially as it pertains to CEDAW, and other treaty bodies and/or regional human rights protection systems from time to time;
  • Work collaboratively to coordinate participation of Steering Committee members’ expertise and participation, as appropriate, in the interventions made by FAFIA
  • Work collaboratively with the Coordinator of Communications and Membership to ensure plain language accuracy of all external communications
  • Create a workplan and advance schedule and workback frame for participation of allies and members in the appearances before various international human rights bodies prioritized by the executive director and steering committee;
  • Develop and maintain research data on Canada’s obligations under CEDAW and other human rights treaty bodies;
  • Determine and advise as to the appropriate research methodologies and analytical tools to meet our research objectives;
  • Conduct and/or identify existing research knowledge to inform policy and legal reform;
  • Write briefs, papers, presentations on the outcomes of both external and in-house research;
  • Facilitate meetings, working groups, to support data gathering and synthesis of policy related material;
  • Engage with external stakeholders as we as members to incorporate different perspectives and to identify relevant material;
  • Represent FAFIA on working groups with internal and external stakeholders;
  • Organize and facilitate national roundtables and training sessions on the content of Canadas obligations under CEDAW;
  • Develop funding proposals to further the Network’s research and policy agenda;
  • Contribute to the strategic development of the FAFIA;
  • Ability to design and execute feminist measurement, evaluation and learning/or to skillfully oversee the same, is an asset 
  • Law Degree or Masters in a field of study related to women’s international human rights, such as gender/women’s studies/international development/political science
  • Previous experience of managing research projects and sharing research results with multiple stakeholders;
  • Proven experience in integrating an intersectional feminist analysis;
  • Proven experience of developing plain language materials for legal or related advocacy education;
  • Proven ability training adults and or facilitating meetings;
  • Proven experience writing research reports;
  • Previous experience using data analysis tools;
  • Excellent research and analytical skills;
  • Excellent writing skills;
  • Proven ability to synthesize large amounts of information into informative summaries;
  • Capacity to understand statistics and interpret data;
  • Capacity to integrate new information quickly;
  • Demonstrated experience in managing competing priorities;
  • Highly motivated by team work with the capacity to also work in a self-directed environment;
  • Strong language skills (written and spoken) in either English or French and capacity to communicate in the other language and asset;
 Core Competencies Include
  • Commitment to working collaboratively and within the context of a diverse membership-based agency,
  • Engagement in a self-reflective, ethical & collaborative practice that is non- judgmental and empathic and reflects the vision and mission statements of FAFIA,
  • Commitment to working toward removing systemic barriers to women’s rights to safety, dignity and equality;
  • Excellent interpersonal, organizational, time-management and problem-solving skills; written and oral communication skills,
  • Ability to work and support others in the context of a diverse environment;
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team in a multi-disciplinary environment;
  • Be a self-starter, creative and highly motivated;
  • Share ideas and differences in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation; and
  • Commitment to ongoing personal and professional knowledge exchange and development.
This is a 4 day-a week contract position until January 2020. Job location is Ottawa. Qualified candidates can apply to work remotely if flexible to attend in Ottawa as required. Interested candidates should submit a resume and covering letter explaining why this position is of interest and how your experience will enhance the work of FAFIA. Position posted until filled. We thank all applicants, however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted. FAFIA promotes the principles of anti-oppression and adheres to the tenets of the Ontario Human Rights Code. We encourage applications from women of all races, colours, ethnic origins, religions, abilities and sexual orientations. Accommodations are available upon request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.  

Press Release: 143 Years of Sex-Based Discrimination Through the Indian Act Finally Comes to an End

143 Years of Sex-Based Discrimination Through the Indian Act Finally Comes to an End After Decades of Advocacy

Read the PDF version here.
(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C. – August 19, 2019) For over 143 years the status and registration provisions of the Indian Act have been wielded as a colonial tool of assimilation to undermine the cultural integrity and legal status of Indigenous peoples. For decades 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 these provisions. 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. Fundamentally, the implementation of the Bill S-3 provisions means that generations of First Nations will no longer have to confront systemic barriers to equal protection and recognition under the law; Indigenous women will no longer have to fight to be treated equally as transmitters of status, and their descendants will no longer be denied their status rights. However, bringing the provisions of Bill S-3 into full effect has been an arduous, delayed, and frustrating process. For women like Sharon McIvor, it is a result of years of fighting to be heard and treated equally. In 2010, Sharon McIvor filed a complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Committee over the remaining sex discrimination in the Indian Act. The Committee ruled that Canada is obligated to remove the discrimination and ensure that all First Nations women and their descendants are granted Indian status on the same footing as First Nations men and their descendants. It is because of women like Sharon that communities and families will no longer be torn apart by false divisions and the denial of status. McIvor stated: "Today I am relieved, and happy. It has been a long struggle. We had to win the fight for equality for First Nations women both legally and politically, and it took a lot of work by a lot of people. The sex discrimination in the Indian Act has been a very effective tool of assimilation that even modern Canadian governments were not ready to give up. The sex discrimination has helped Canada keep the pool of 'Indians', to whom Canada owes fiduciary duties, small. I am proud to say that I have helped in my own way to bring this shameful part of colonial history to an end. I want to thank all the First Nations women who have worked for this day, my lawyer Gwen Brodsky, and all my allies, especially the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action." Dr. Pamela Palmater, Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University, stated: "The credit for this victory goes to Mary Two-Axe Early, Jeanette Corbiere Lavell, Yvonne Bedard, Sandra Lovelace, Sharon McIvor, Susan & Tammy Yantha, Stephane Descheneaux, Lynn Gehl, Jeremy Matson and the many, many Indigenous women who fought their entire lives, together with their human rights allies, to end sex discrimination against First Nation women and children. Despite all of the struggles, resources and effort it took to advocate for their rights, they persisted. These warrior women need to be acknowledged for their sacrifices and victories fighting Canada in domestic and international courts. Sharon McIvor can well be considered the grandmother to thousands of babies who would never have been registered or included in their First Nations but for her persistence in the face of repeated federal denial of her rights and breach of Canada’s own constitution. Their hard work will mean a big difference for thousands of First Nation children." Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, stated: “Indigenous women in Canada face an enduring system of discrimination, violence, and injustice. As the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls to Justice affirms, substantive changes are needed to support our women and girls. The removal of the sex-based hierarchy entrenched in the Indian Act is a pathway forward to achieving this and properly recognizing and respecting the Indigenous women who are at the foundations of our cultures, communities, governments, and nations.” Shelagh Day, Chair, Human Rights Committee, Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action stated: "Canada has been involved in a massive violation of the human rights of First Nations women, by privileging men and the paternal line of descent in the Indian Act since 1876. We welcome the coming into force of the final provisions of Bill S-3, which eliminate the 143 years of discriminatory treatment of First Nations women and their descendants. Finally, after a long struggle, First Nations women have achieved formal equality in the law." -30- Media inquiries: Sharon McIvor: 250-378-7479 Dr. Pamela Palmater: 905-903-5563 Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer, UBCIC: 250-320-7739 Shealgh Day, FAFIA: 604-872-0750   UBCIC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. The Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action is an alliance of more than sixty Canadian women's organizations dedicated to the realization of women's human rights. Dr. Pamela Palmater is the Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University For more information please visit www.ubcic.bc.ca

PRESS RELEASE: Canadian Women’s Rights Groups Welcome the Report made by Ms. Dubravka Šimonovic

Canadian Women’s Rights Groups Welcome the Report made by Ms. Dubravka Šimonovic, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, to the Human Rights Council


Please see the PDF version with all background information. 

June 27, 2019, Ottawa Where Press Conference, Thursday June 27, 2019 11:30 a.m. 135-B Press Conference Room The 135-B Press Conference Room is located in West Block on Parliament Hill. Who The Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) is joined by the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic (BSCC), the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA), Women’s Shelters Canada (WSC), Women’s Sexual Assault Centre Renfrew County, the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL), Dr. Pam Palmater, Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University, Myrna Dawson, Director of the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability in welcoming the Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur (SR) on violence against women, its causes and consequences on her visit to Canada. Why As national women’s rights experts, we were consulted during the April 2018 visit by the Special Rapporteur, during which she gathered evidence for her report. We welcome the SR’s Recommendations to Canada for improving its record on violence against women prevention and response. And echo the urgent tone struck by her finding that “Indigenous women from First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities face violence, marginalization, exclusion and poverty because of institutional, systemic, multiple intersecting forms of discrimination not addressed adequately by the State.” What Canada has a long and well-regarded role in international legal circles for its stated commitments to gender equality and its history of commitment to international human rights standards. As the SR notes in her report, “Canada has a long-standing record of support at the United Nations to issues related to violence against women, including the establishment of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences as the main sponsor of the mandates founding resolution of 1994. The first mandate’s official visit to Canada to gather first-hand information on the situation of violence against women coincides with the commendable decision by the Government to proclaim itself as a feminist government and to adopt feminist foreign and international assistance policies. Despite such commitments the mandate holder notes that women lives’ in the country are still marked by systemic gender-based violence, especially concerning Indigenous and other women who encounter multiple forms of discrimination” [emphasis added]. Media Contacts: Cyndia Mondésir, 613-804-2963;  communications@fafia-afai.org Amanda Dale, Director, FAFIA, 416-453-1916; director@fafia-afai.org


Please find the PDF version here



Today, a coalition of civil society organizations is calling on all governments in Canada to end deeply embedded racism, sexism, and violence against Indigenous women and girls following the release of the National Inquiry’s Final Report. The coalition, made up of the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA), Canada Without Poverty (CWP) and Dr. Pamela Palmater, Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University, was granted standing at the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Women. “To Canada's shame, the National Inquiry's Final Report has exposed the devastating effects of colonization, racism, and sexism on Indigenous women and girls” said Dr. Pamela Palmater. “Over time, colonizing governments have built a structure of laws, policies and practices that treat First Nations, Métis and Inuit women as lesser human beings – sexualized, racialized, and disposable – because of their sex and their Indigeneity. The result is high rates of violence, exploitation, rapes, disappearances, and murders.” “The job of governments now – all governments in Canada – is to dismantle this deeply embedded discrimination against Indigenous women. That can only be done through strategic, concerted, and coordinated action that is grounded in human rights. Actions must be planned, measured, and monitored,” said FAFIA Human Rights Chair Shelagh Day. "The first step," said Day "must be recognition that Indigenous women and girls have equal rights in Canada. As the National Inquiry found in its first recommendation, released April 12, 2019, recognizing the human rights of Indigenous women requires the Government of Canada to immediately eliminate sex discrimination from the Indian Act." "This 143-year-old sex discrimination in the Indian Act is identified by First Nations women leaders, and all experts, including the National Inquiry, as a root cause of the violence," said Dr. Palmater. "Canada cannot end the violence while it still maintains, in law, the sex discrimination that causes it. As the National Inquiry has said: Indigenous women are independent rights holders. Canada must uphold their rights." The coalition welcomed the National Inquiry's recommendation of a coordinated National Action Plan to address the causes and effects of the violence. As key components of the National Action Plan, governments must address:
  • the social and economic disadvantage of Indigenous women and girls;
  • the damage caused to Indigenous women and girls by the child welfare system;
  • police violence, and failures to protect Indigenous women and girls;
  • bias in the justice system;
  • overcriminalization and incarceration of Indigenous women and girls; and
  • supports for families of murdered and disappeared Indigenous women and girls.
“This week at the Women Deliver Conference, Canada is presenting itself as ‘a leader on gender equality’, but the fact is that Canada is not a leader on equality for Indigenous women and girls,” said CWP’s Policy Director, Michèle Biss. "Canada can only become a leader if all governments, together, take on the broad project of strategically addressing the inequality, marginalization and violence that constrain and threaten the lives of Indigenous women and girls.” The coalition’s final submission to the Inquiry can be found here:


Dr. Pamela Palmater holds the Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University and is one of Canada’s leading authors and commentators on current laws and policies that impact First Nations. As well as teaching and writing, Dr. Palmater provides advice directly to First Nations and serves as an expert, appearing before various domestic and international investigatory bodies on government laws, policies, and practices that affect Indigenous peoples. The Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) is an alliance of more than sixty women’s organizations, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, with specialized expertise on women’s human rights. FAFIA is dedicated to advancing the equality of all women, and to ensuring that Canadian governments respect, protect, and fulfill the commitments to women that they have made under international human rights law. Canada Without Poverty (CWP) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, and charitable organization dedicated to ending poverty in Canada. For nearly 50 years, CWP has been championing the rights of individuals experiencing poverty and marginalization through research, awareness- building campaigns, public policy development, and educational programming. See more at: www.cwp-csp.ca. For more information or interview requests, please contact: Dr. Pamela Palmater Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University Email: ppalmater@politics.ryerson.ca Shelagh Day, Chair, Human Rights Committee Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action Phone: 604-872-0750 |Email: shelagh.day@gmail.com Michèle Biss, Policy Director and Human Rights Lawyer Canada Without Poverty Phone: 613-697-8743 Email: michele@cwp-csp.ca

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