Federal consultations with national women's organizations are an annual event. The 1984 consultations were held in Ottawa in October with the Canadian Advisory Council on the status of Women, status of Women Canada and the Women's Program, Secretary of state.
The Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women used its day to inform us of economic and affirmative action issues. Among the speakers was Pat Armstrong who talked about the impact of the recession on women and perspectives of the future. Judge Rosalie Abella discussed the affirmative action .issues which comprise the report of the Commission of Inquiry on Equality in Employment which she chairs. (Publications to watch for: Judge Abella's report, to be released November 20, 1984; and Pat Armstrong's book, Labour Pains, referring to labour as work, not the birthing kind.)
The second day was organized by Status of Women Canada and was devoted to discussing obstacles to change and strategies for overcoming them. The results of the discussion will be used as part of the Canadian report at the United Nations World Conference, to review the achievements of the UN Decade for Women, to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, July, 1985. CCLOW was one of the three groups asked by status of Women Canada to facilitate the discussion and assist in the preparation of the report.
Secretary of state Women's Program sponsored the final day, which included the election of a three-person selection committee to determine the representatives of women's groups to the NGO (non-government organizations) Conference in Nairobi.
Walter McLean, the new Secretary of state and Minister Responsible for the status of Women, opened the consultations with a speech in which he stated that women's issues will be "fully incorporated in our overall government strategy." Only time will tell if the new government will actually make changes which will benefit women; however, having stated their intent, it is up to us to keep them informed and aware of our concerns. An important arena will be the First Ministers' Conference which will be held early in the new year. We can have impact on that conference by making the provincial ministers responsible for the status of women aware of our concerns and by expressing interest in how the outcomes of the discussions will affect women.