Gordon Campbell's Reply to the BC CEDAW Group Appeal

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

April 30, 2003


Ms. Faye Blaney
The B.C. CEDAW Group
225 - 3495 Cambit Street
Vancouver, BC. V5Z 4R3


Dear Ms. Blaney, 

Thank you for your letter regarding your concerns with women's equality in British Columbia. I assure you that the government is committed to providing resources for women's services, and ensuring that new policies and programs do not disadvantage women. 

With regard to child care, the government recognizes that child care is a significant component in achieving our goal of assisting parents to gain employment and achieve financial success, and these changes will ensure that the child care subsidy is available to families most in need. We have made changes to the child care subsidy threshold, which will mean more children will be eligible for the child care subsidy and more children will see an increase in their current subsidy. The new Child Care Operating Funding Program (CCOF) will have a budget of $48 million in 2003-04, and will replace the compensation contribution program, the infant/toddler incentive grant, and the out-of-school care transition funding program. We look forward to the success of our efforts to build a better child care system in British Columbia. 

The government remains committed to ensuring that government programs address issues relating to women's economic and social equity, and that women are safe in their communities. The new Women's Directory, which lists all women's centres throughout the province, will make it easier for women in this province to access programs and services that can provide them with valuable support. This supports our New Era commitment to make program information more available across B.C. through the Internet. 

As a government, we are taking concrete actions to protect women and help stop violence. We provide approximately $25 million a year to community service providers and operate 61 transition houses, 16 safe homes, and 9 second-stage housing programs for women and their children who are escaping abuse. Last year 14,000 women left abusive relationship found safe shelter with provincially funded agencies. 

In addition, we provide funding for Stopping the Violence counselling and Children Who Witness Abuse counselling. The government is working towards bringing together all our services for women to make our communities safer for them. Recently, the government announced an aboriginal healing project on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver that provides substance abuse counsellors to support aboriginal women involved in street activities to address issues of safety, trauma, abuse and anger, and to provide health services. 

I have every confidence in the Honourable Lynn Stephens, Minister of State for Women's Equality, and her abilities to address the issues responsibly as we work to develop strategies that will benefit all women in our province. Unfortunately, due to a heavily committed schedule, I am unable to meet with you personally. 

I appreciate your sharing your concerns with me.