Moving Forward

Checking the Rear View Mirror and Going Forward
CCLOW Faces a New Millennium

by Cheryl Senecal, Catherine Cookson, and Catherine O'Bryan

We are
conscious of
the need for
changes that
will allow
of women's
education and
training to be
addressed in

Just like Janus, the Roman deity with two faces, one looking forward and one behind, as the "three Presidents" of CCLOW, we are mindful of the organization's rich herstory while, at the same time, conscious of the need for fundamental changes that will allow the issues of women's education and training to be addressed in meaninful and relevant ways for the new millennium.

The Changing Landscape
Since the conception of CCLOW in 1979, a number of critical factors have contributed to changing the landscape of women's education and training in Canada.

First, over the past few years, there has been a gradual devolution of responsibility for training from the federal government to the provinces. As a consequence, provincial and territorial jurisdictions are in various stages of negotiation with the federal government to develop training agreements. This dramatic and unprecedented shift in the responsibility for training from one level of government to another has resulted in a great deal of confusion and uncertainty for women seeking access to training programs.

Second, unemployment benefits have been changed through a restructuring of the Employment Insurance Act. These changes, among other things, have limited the number of women who are eligible to receive a variety of Employment Insurance benefits, including access to training.

Third, there is a continuing shift towards privatized training that can produce short-term, measurable outcomes. This has resulted in dramatic loss of funding for the type of community-based training that has traditionally provided a more long-term and comprehensive approach to employment issues. As a consequence, many services designed to meet the needs of women, have collapsed.

In addition, a continued trend towards increased fiscal restraint and accountability at various levels of government has necessitated national women's organizations to diversify their funding sources. For CCLOW, the shift towards project-based funding has been a reality that we have attempted to grapple with, despite the fact that it has often left us feeling disheartened and debilitated.

Depuis trois ans, le CCPEF a pris des mesures énergiques pour faire face à la nouvelle réalité: restrictions financières du gouvernement, dévolution aux provinces de la responsabilité de la formation et perte de la base de nos membres. Comme la tendance est aujourd'hui à un système de financement se fondant sur les projets, le CCPEF a tenté de diversifier sa base de financement, mais en vain. De difficiles décisions ont été prises, qui ont déçues le personnel et les membres. En 1998, le conseil d'administration du CCPEF a dû se rendre a l'évidence : la fermeture du bureau national s'imposait. Douloureuse réalité. Le conseil d'administration estime qu'il reste encore beaucoup à faire dans le domaine de l'éducation et de la formation des femmes au Canada. Pour revitaliser l'organisme, attirer des membres dynamiques et dévoués et redéfinir son mandat, le CCPEF a proposé la tenue d'un congrès des femmes en 1999. Il espère qu'après le Congrès, le CCPEF sera fort de nouvelles dirigeantes, d'une orientation claire et d'un nombre accru de membres.

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