GBV at post-secondary institutions
The Advisory Committee on the Framework to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence at Post-Secondary Institutions held its inaugural meeting on January 16, 2019. The Advisory Committee will provide advice and feedback on the development, consultation and implementation of the framework.
The establishment of the Advisory Committee is part of the Government of Canada’s 2018 Budget commitment to work with stakeholders, including provincial and territorial governments, to develop a framework to prevent and address gender-based violence (GBV) at post-secondary institutions (PSIs). The Framework will contribute to consistent, comprehensive and sustainable approaches to preventing and addressing GBV at PSIs.
Key drafters from Possibility Seeds Consulting, Farrah Khan and CJ Rowe and a team of student experts, have extensive experience in preventing and addressing gender-based violence in a post-secondary setting, as well as in participating in and leading complex projects including diverse groups of stakeholders. They will consult the Advisory Committee extensively on what needs to be considered and included in the Framework, and lead consultations with a wider range of stakeholders throughout the country, before submitting a final Framework report this spring.
For more information, consult the Frequently asked questions on the Framework to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence at Post-Secondary Institutions.
The members of the Advisory Committee come from a broad range of sectors and areas of expertise. The current list of members includes:
Priya Dube, Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA)
Priya graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Business. At McGill Priya supported the development of a survivor centric gender and sexual violence policy through the students’ union and worked to improve mental health services on campus. In her role at CASA Priya spearheads the advocacy efforts of the organization maintaining contacts with government officials and stakeholders to ensure student voices are present in policy discussions.
Trina James, Canadian Federation of Students (CFS)
Trina James is the Treasurer for the Canadian Federation of Students, an organizations that represents over 500,000 post-secondary student across the country through advocating on behalf of domestic and international students at the college, undergraduate and graduate levels, including full-time and part-time students. She has recently completed a Bachelors of Arts in Gender Studies and Political Science at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Through her work in the student movement she strives to lobby for a post-secondary education system that is accessible and is equipped with resources for all students.
Britney De Costa, Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA)
Britney De Costa is a Research and Policy Analyst at the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA). In her role at OUSA, Britney supports student-led advocacy for accessible, affordable, accountable, and high-quality post-secondary education, including efforts to end gender-based violence on campus. Prior to joining OUSA she completed her JD, MSW, and LLM degrees at the University of Windsor where she helped to implement sexual violence prevention and response initiatives at Windsor Law while also sitting on the Windsor-Essex Take Back the Night steering committee.
Caitlin Salvino, Students for Consent Culture (SFCC)
Caitlin Salvino, is a 23-year-old with a B.A. Combined Honours in Human Rights and Law from Carleton University. She was the co-founder and national Chair (2017-2018) of OurTurn: A National Student Movement to End Campus Sexual Violence. Through her work with OurTurn, Caitlin along with a team of volunteers published a bilingual and adaptable campus sexual violence national action plan that has been signed by over 30 student unions/groups across Canada representing over 500,000 students. In 2018, the OurTurn National Committee was renamed as the Students for Consent Culture Canada (SFCC) to continue the work of supporting survivors of campus sexual violence with an explicit intersectional and anti-oppressive approach. In addition to the SFCC, Caitlin has worked for Oxfam Canada and has volunteered with children and young adults who live with disabilities for over ten years. Caitlin is currently attending Oxford University to study law as a Rhodes scholar.
Jennifer Flood, Sexual Violence and Prevention, Humber College
Jenn Flood has worked in the sexual violence prevention and education field for four years, currently holding the position as the Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Coordinator at Humber College. Jenn holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Justice Studies and a Diploma in Community and Justice Services from the University of Guelph-Humber. Committed to ending all forms of violence and oppression, Jenn has done extensive work in the sexual violence prevention field, most notably, her work in overseeing the Bringing in the Bystander program at Humber, facilitating over 50 workshops and is a certified Train-the Trainer. Most recently, Jenn developed and launched the Consent Peer Education program. Jenn’s passion is driven from her own experiences of sexual violence and the challenges of living with depression. Jenn works vigorously to draw awareness to the intersections of sexual violence.
Myrna McCallum, Miyo Pimatisiwin Legal Services
Myrna McCallum is a Cree-Métis lawyer, workplace investigator, consultant and trauma-informed practitioner who began her legal career practising criminal law as defence counsel and as Crown counsel in her home territory of northern Saskatchewan (Treaty Six).
Through her litigation experience, Myrna was regularly exposed to victims of serious and sexually violent crimes which led to her growing awareness and substantial insight into the effects of trauma on memory, behavior, communication and a sense of self or well-being. As tragic as many criminal cases were, nothing could prepare Myrna for the testimonials she would receive from hundreds of Indian Residential School survivors, as an Independent Assessment Process adjudicator. The compassion, understanding and patience she cultivated examining survivors of sexual violence, together with her trauma-informed approach allowed her to adjudicate Indian Residential School claims in a safe, culturally sensitive and respectful manner. Myrna often heard survivors say that her role as a decision-maker significantly lessened their mistrust and anxieties about a process which required survivors to detail their deeply personal and traumatic experiences of sexual and physical abuse.
Most recently, Myrna served as UBC's first director of investigations and was responsible for establishing their independent investigations office as well as the creation and implementation of reporting and investigatory procedures consistent with the principles of procedural fairness and the commitments outlined in their sexual assault policy.
Myrna owns and operates Miyo-Pimatisiwin Legal Services which offers legal advice on administrative and criminal matters, consultation services on addressing sexual misconduct, bullying, discrimination and harassment in the workplace, workplace investigation services and educational presentations on trauma-informed practice within judicial and quasi-judicial contexts. She is also a contributor on a pro-bono basis to Golden Eagle Rising Society, an Indigenous non-profit society mandated with protecting the lives of Indigenous people.
Deb Eerkes, University of Alberta
Deborah Eerkes is the Director of Student Conduct and Accountability at the University of Alberta, and is one of the University’s two Discipline Officers, making decisions under the Code of Student Behaviour. In that role, she makes findings and issues written decisions with sanctions up to and including expulsion from the institution. As a decision-maker, she is responsible for ensuring procedural and substantive fairness throughout the process.
Another aspect of her work includes developing response mechanisms that are proportionate and appropriate to the conduct at issue. In 2011, she designed and implemented a Restorative Justice program to address behaviour in the University Residence community. She is Chair of the Restorative Justice Training Team and provides annual training for U of A staff as well as others from the post-secondary community and other sectors.
Deb has worked tirelessly for systemic transformation to ensure that practices within the University align with the University’s stated values. She co-chaired the working group and was the lead author on the Review of the University of Alberta’s Response to Sexual Assault (2015), which made 46 recommendations for improvements. Following that review, Deb led the development of the University’s Sexual Violence Policy Suite (adopted in 2017), and co-chaired the working group and wrote the report on the Use of Restorative Initiatives for Sexual Violence (2018). In addition, she was a member of the University’s Working Group on Accountability in sexual violence and the Chairs’ Council of the Sexual Assault Review Implementation Committee.
Karen Busby, University of Manitoba
Karen Busby has been with Manitoba University’s Faculty of Law since 1988, and she is the founding Academic Director of the Centre for Human Rights Research. She has a JD (Manitoba, 1981) and LLM (Columbia, 1988). Her research and teaching focusses on sexual and reproductive rights with a particular focus on violence against women. She has worked on many cases and law reform projects with the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund(LEAF) and EGALE Canada, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ rights. She is a member of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)-funded partnership project “IMPACTS: Collaborations to Address Sexual Violence on Campus”.
Manon Bergeron, Université du Québec à Montréal
Manon Bergeron (Ph.D.) has been a sexologist and professor in the Department of Sexology at the Université du Québec à Montréal since 2010. She is particularly interested in research that relates to sexual violence against women and teens, namely the development and evaluation of prevention programs, and the training of front-line workers in various sectors. She is currently finishing two major projects in the province of Québec. 1) Manon Bergeron is the lead researcher for the survey on sexuality, safety and interactions in university settings. This survey (Enquête sur la sexualité, la sécurité et les interactions en milieu universitaire : ce qu’en disent étudiantes, enseignantes et employées, www.essimu.quebec) was conducted in 2016 in six Québec universities and it involved processing responses from of 9,284 students, teachers and employees on the subject of sexuality and security in a university setting. 2) Her other major project relates to the development of a prevention program (Empreinte : Agir ensemble contre les agressions à caractère sexuel). This program was implemented in high schools across Québec in 2017-2018 (www.ProgrammeEmpreinte.com). Manon Bergeron has, since October 2018, held the newly created Research Chair in Gender and Sexual-based Violence in Higher Education. For over 12 years, Manon Bergeron has worked in CALACS (Centre d'aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel) which are centres dedicated to helping victims of sexual assaults and preventing sexual violence.
Lucia Lorenzi, McMaster University
Lucia Lorenzi is a postdoctoral fellow in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. Her research focuses on representations of sexual violence in literature and other media. In addition to her scholarly work, Lucia has worked as a community advocate and consultant, working with organizations such as the Ending Violence Association of BC and the Toronto-based feminist organization Femifesto. Most recently, she served on the expert panel providing recommendations for the University of British Columbia's development of a standalone sexual assault policy.
Tayler Glaspey, National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)
Tayler Glaspey is a third year sociology and political science student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She has been very involved volunteering within the community and internationally. More recently, she has served on the board of directors as a member and treasure for the National Education Association of Disabled Students (NEADS). In addition she was on the West Coast LEAF’s student advisory committee for their consent campaign: Only Yes means Yes. Tayler is very passionate towards about making sure campus is safe for all students!
Candace Wasacase-Lafferty, University of Saskatchewan
Candace Wasacase-Lafferty, (Cree/Saulteaux), is a citizen of the Kahkewistahaw First Nation, and the Director of Indigenous Initiatives at the University of Saskatchewan. Her role provides oversight and leadership of the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre. This Centre is designed to be a place of ceremony, student success, reconciliation and cross campus and community engagement. Ms. Wasacase-Lafferty is also the Chair of the Board of Wanuskewin Heritage Park, which works to advance understanding and appreciation of the Northern Plains Indigenous peoples.
Jesmen Mendoza, Ryerson University
Dr. Jesmen Mendoza has been registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario since 2008. He has provided counselling and psychotherapy since 1999 on a range of issues and in a variety of settings. He is currently at Ryerson University's Centre for Student Development and Counselling where he provides therapy to university students, training to psychology practicum students and consultation to faculty and staff on tricky issues. Prior to Ryerson, he has provided service in a number of social service and criminal justice settings and applies an integrated, inclusive and positive psychology approach to all of the clinical and community work he delivers.
Brenda Austin-Smith, Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)
Brenda Austin-Smith is Vice-President of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, representing 72,000 academic staff at universities and colleges across the country. Brenda has been active in academic staff association work (including organizing and contract negotiations) for over twenty years. She is a former President of the University of Manitoba Faculty Association, and is currently Head of the Department of English, Theatre, Film & Media at the University of Manitoba.
Chandra Pasma, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
Chandra Pasma is a Senior Research Officer for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, where she works on issues related to the post-secondary sector, Employment Insurance, and precarious work. Prior to joining CUPE, Chandra worked in politics and for non-governmental organizations, specializing in social policy and issues of income security.
Vianne Timmons, University of Regina
Since becoming the seventh President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina on September 1, 2008, Dr. Vianne Timmons has taken a leading role in establishing the strategic direction of the University. She has done so in large part through focusing on key areas such as making the institution as inclusive as possible for students and employees, promoting teaching and research excellence, and advocating for the education of Indigenous students who will play such an important part in Canada's future.
Dr. Timmons received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1979 from Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, with a combined major in Psychology and English. She then obtained her Bachelor of Education in Special Education in 1980 from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. In 1983, she completed her Master of Education in Special Education at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, USA, and she obtained her PhD in Education Psychology in 1993 from the University of Calgary.
Dr. Timmons grew up in Newfoundland and Labrador and spent her early teaching career in Alberta and British Columbia. She moved to Atlantic Canada in 1992 to join St. Francis Xavier University, where she was the chair of the Education Department. In 1996, she joined the Faculty of Education at the University of Prince Edward Island, and became Vice-President, Academic Development in 2001, a position she held until coming to the University of Regina.
In 2017, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contributions to inclusive education, family literacy, Indigenous post-secondary education, and women's leadership.
Ann Buller, Centennial College
Ann Buller assumed the presidency of Centennial College in June 2004. President Buller's career spans more than 25 years in the college system, where she has made significant contributions to student success. She sits on several boards and committees, working tirelessly as an advocate for Centennial and the college system. Ann also appears as the keynote or guest speaker at several national and international conferences and seminars each year. She is passionate about inspiring and supporting girls and women, and created “Strong Girls Strong Women”, a program designed to empower young women, helping them overcome barriers to education. President Buller has earned numerous prestigious awards acknowledging her excellence in leadership and mentoring, most recently the 2016 World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics Leadership Award, the Top 100 Most Powerful Women Award (2016, 2010) and the 2015 CBIE President’s Award for Distinguished Leadership for International Education. Other awards include the 2014 Chief Executive Leadership Award (Council for Advancement and Support of Education), the 2013 Top 25 Women of Influence (Women of Influence Magazine), the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (Governor General of Canada, 2013), the President’s/Chancellor’s Award (North American Council for Staff Program and Organizational Development, 2010), the Margot Franssen Leadership Award (Microskills, 2010) and the Constance E. Hamilton Award on the Status of Women (City of Toronto, 2009).
President Buller is a proud graduate of the Ontario college system, having graduated from Humber College's Public Relations program before completing her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at York University and her Masters of Arts in Education at Central Michigan University.
Nancy Deziel, Collège Shawinigan
Educated in analytical chemistry, Nancy Déziel has been actively working with the college centres for technology transfer (CCTTs) for over 25 years. She has successively held positions as a laboratory technician, quality manager, project manager, business development officer, and general manager at the National Center in Environmental technology and Electrochemistry (CNETE). She helped set up laboratories at the Industrial Residues Technological Center (CTRI). She has also worked as a technology advisor at the Réseau Trans-Tech for the agriculture, food and biotechnology sectors. She is very familiar with the industrial reality and is concerned with economic diversification, as well as partnerships and networking. For that reason, Déziel is actively involved in multiple organizations. She was President of the Réseau Trans-Tech (2016-18), the RCTi steering committee (2013-18), and the CCIS (2011-12); she is Vice-Chair of the FRQNT, Secretary-Treasurer of the SADC Centre-de-la-Mauricie, Secretary-Treasurer of the Incubateur Mauricie and ÉSM, and Administrator at the NSERC, at Tech-Access Canada, at the Fonds de développement économique LaPrade St-Maurice, Écotech Québec and at the ADRIQ-RCTi. She is a member of the Advisory Board of NRC-IRAP. In addition, Déziel is a city councillor for the river district of the City of Shawinigan. Her objectives are to develop her environment, help make SMEs more competitive, and create an economy based on innovation and knowledge.
Janet Morrison, Sheridan College
Dr. Janet Morrison was named Sheridan’s 8th President & Vice Chancellor on June 11, 2018; she had previously assumed the role of Provost and Vice-President, Academic at Sheridan in 2016.
Prior to her appointment at Sheridan, Janet spent 17 years at York University working in various roles focused on learning, discovery and engagement, most recently, serving as Vice-Provost, Students. Before joining York, she held teaching and leadership positions at colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history and education.
Having worked in the post-secondary sector for over 25 years, Janet remains passionate about student success and community engagement. She served as a staff representative on York’s Board of Governors and in 2010 was awarded York University’s President’s Leadership Award. An active volunteer, Janet is the former Chair of the Board of Trustees at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and previously chaired the Board of Directors for the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.
Peter Ricketts, Acadia University
Dr. Peter J. Ricketts was appointed Acadia’s 16th President and Vice-Chancellor in April 2017, beginning his six-year term in July 2017. Born in Harrogate, Yorkshire and raised in Bournemouth on the south coast of England, Dr. Ricketts earned his BA (Honours) degree in Geography at the University of Nottingham in 1974 and his PhD from the University of Southampton in 1982. He is internationally-recognized for his expertise in coastal zones and ocean management, and has served four times as President of the Coastal Zone Canada Association.
Before his appointment at Acadia, Dr. Ricketts served as Provost and Vice-President (Academic) at Carleton University in Ottawa from 2009 to 2017, where he was also Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies. He has extensive experience as a senior university administrator, having also served as Vice-President (Academic and Research) at Nipissing University, in North Bay, ON (2006-2009); Vice-President, Academic and then President of Okanagan University College (2000-2005) in Kelowna, BC; Dean of Graduate Studies at Dalhousie University (1995-2000) in Halifax, NS, and the first Director of Research at Saint Mary’s University (1989-1994). Ricketts served two terms as President (1998-99 and 1999-2000) and one term as Vice-President (1997-1998) of the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies.
Jason Garcia, Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton
Jason Garcia is a queer non-binary, latinx anti-violence advocate in Edmonton. As the volunteer manager for the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE), they manage and train the most passionate group of volunteers dedicated to providing front-line support and empowerment to Albertans impacted by sexual violence. As a board member for the Edmonton Men’s Health Collective (EMHC), Jason works passionately alongside a group of talented young queer men dedicated to providing Edmonton GBTQ men a voice and equitable opportunity to experience positive health and wellbeing. Throughout the course of their BA at MacEwan University, Jason continuously advocated for dedicated campus resources and invested heavily in ensuring student voices played an integral part in ensuring campus policies, procedures and supports were survivor-centered.
Jason believes it is crucial that survivors are empowered to be the experts of their own healing process and strives to ensure this truth becomes more widely accepted.
Hilary Swan, Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre
Serving the Fredericton campus community, in partnership with the Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre, Hilary brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to UNB, St. Thomas University and NBCC in supporting individuals who have been impacted by sexual assault as well as enhancing the response and prevention of sexual violence in our communities. She attained her Master’s degree in Counselling at the University of New Brunswick and has worked in the fields of sexual violence and family violence counselling where she provided trauma informed therapy for women and children who had been impacted by violence. She has also co-facilitated support groups for women and teens.
Lisa Clarke, Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre
Lisa Clarke is the Interim Executive Director at Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre. She has worked in non-profit research, communications, education, and community development for over 15 years. Her interests include violence against women, gender-based violence, developmental disabilities and youth engagement. Lisa is currently enrolled in the Masters of Adult Education and Community Development at St. Francis Xavier University researching public and feminist pedagogies and the experiences of public educators when facilitating conversations about gender-based violence.
Joanna Birenbaum, Ursel Phillips Fellows Hopkinson LLP
Joanna Birenbaum is a litigator with expertise in gender equality and violence against women. Joanna has extensive experience in all fora relating to issues of sexual violence and domestic violence, including constitutional litigation, civil sexual assault claims, defending anti-slap malicious prosecution and defamation claims targeting women who have reported violence, and representing women who have experienced harassment and discrimination in employment and at educational institutions. Joanna prosecutes, including sexual abuse claims, for a regulated health college in Ontario and supports complainants before other professional discipline bodies. Joanna’s advocacy in this area also includes human rights tribunal claims, university tribunal and Criminal Injuries Compensation Board hearings, and supporting complainants through the criminal justice process. Joanna is co-counsel in the case of Williams v. London Police Services Board, which seeks a Charter declaration and other remedies arising from the police service’s discriminatory investigation and “unfounding” of sexual assault. Joanna has appeared at all levels of Court including the Supreme Court of Canada. Her most recent Supreme Court advocacy includes acting as counsel for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in Fontaine v. Canada 2017 SCC 47; the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic in R. v. Quesnelle 2014 SCC 46 (to protect the private records of sexual assault complainants); the Canadian Association for Community Living in R. v. Nur 2015 SCC 15 (challenge to mandatory minimum sentencing) and LEAF in R. v. D.A.I. 2012 SCC 5, R. v. N.S. 2012 SCC 71 and Alberta v Cunningham 2011 SCC 37. In 2012-2013, Joanna led a national project for the YWCA Canada to improve access to justice for Indigenous women experiencing family violence. She was a (2014-2015) McMurtry Fellow at Osgoode as well as adjunct faculty at Osgoode teaching Law, Gender, Equality (2014 – 2016) and co-directing Osgoode’s Feminist Legal Advocacy: Ending Violence Against Women clinical program (2014-2017). Joanna has lectured and published in the area of violence against women and women’s equality rights.
Bee Khaleeli, Sexual Assault Centre of McGill University
Bee Khaleeli is a fourth-year undergraduate student at McGill University. They have worked extensively in sexual violence prevention, first in peer education roles at SACOMSS (a student-run sexual assault centre) and then later in advocacy and policy development positions with the Student’s Society of McGill University (SSMU). Notably, they worked with the SSMU to develop and implement an internal Gendered and Sexual Violence Policy , the first among any Canadian student union. More recently, they have engaged in work surrounding gendered and sexual abuses of power in academic contexts. Bee studies history and gender, sexuality and feminist studies. They prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
Arig al Shaibah, McMaster University
Dr. Arig al Shaibah is McMaster University’s inaugural Associate Vice-President (Equity and Inclusion) and she is currently also an adjunct professor in the Department of Sociology at McMaster. Arig has over 17 years of experience in higher education, holding a management role within Advancement, an Assistant Deanship and later Vice-Provost in Student Affairs, acting in the role of Executive Director Human Rights & Equity, and, most recently, Associate Vice-President, Equity & Inclusion. Arig has lived and work in diverse intercultural and international settings, and she has spent eight years working in various not-for-profit sector community organizations, working with diverse clients and communities. Over the course of her academic and professional career, Arig has amassed insights into individual, interactional, ideological and institutional barriers to and enablers of organizational equity, diversity and inclusion change efforts. Arig holds a Master’s in Public Administration and a PhD in Education (Cultural and Policy Studies).
Cassbreea Dewis, University of Victoria
Cassbreea Dewis is Acting Director, Equity and Human Rights (EQHR) at the University of Victoria. She has a professional background in social and environmental justice, university administration, policy and governance. Her experience in these distinct areas of the university has led to a deep understanding of the complex social and administrative contexts of universities. On the winding journey that led to her present position, Cassbreea had the opportunity to co-lead the development of the Sexualized Violence Prevention and Response Policy at the University of Victoria. Cassbreea and the EQHR team are now over a year into leading an institutional effort to implement the new policy and establish a robust and effective system of sexualized violence response, support to survivors and preventative education. She is also leading the implementation of an institutional engagement effort that aims to embed equity, diversity and inclusion in all university practices. Cassbreea works closely with the UVic Executive and other university leaders to advance these mandates. She holds a Masters in Public Administration and a Bachelors in Anthropology and Environmental Studies.
Samantha Bokma, Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak (Women of the Métis Nation)
Samantha is a graduate of Laurentian University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Currently, Samantha is a Master of Gender Studies candidate at Memorial University. Samantha is an avid social justice advocate with roots in the student-movement and labour movement. Samantha served the Laurentian Students’ Union for four consecutive terms in a variety of positions, finishing her time with the union as the President. Furthermore, Samantha served as a member of the collective bargaining team at the Teaching Assistants Union at Memorial University. Samantha started her career as a policy analyst at the Graduate Students’ Union at Memorial University of Newfoundland, providing advice on provincial and federal policies that impact students and rewriting the internal policies of the union. She continued her career in policy analysis at the Native Women’s Association of Canada where she focused on education, child welfare and language policy from a gender-based lens. Today, Samantha specializes in culturally relevant gender-based policy analysis and is proud to work for Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak (Women of the Métis Nation) advocating for the rights of Métis women, girls, gender-diverse and two-sprit people.
Mélanie Lemay, “Québec contre les violences sexuelles”
Mélanie Lemay is very personally active and eager to take on challenges. She became known to the media when she publicly disclosed a sexual assault she experienced at the Cégep. This public denunciation led her to increase her efforts to prevent sexual violence and it led her to co‑found, with Kimberley Marin and Ariane L’italien, the movement “Québec contre les violences sexuelles” [movement against sexual violence]. As a result of their actions, they succeeded in bringing the term “rape culture” to everyone in Quebec and in getting the Quebec government to consider creating a framework law in post‑secondary institutions, which was their main claim.
In fact, in just a few weeks, they gave interviews in several major Quebec media, including “Tout le monde en parle,” “Entrée Principale,” “24|60,” “Salut Bonjour,” “Médium large,” “JE,” “Denis Lévesque,” “RDI nouvelles,” “Isabelle Maréchal,” “ICI l'Estrie,” “Jeff Fillion” on “Choix Radio X,” “Plus on est de fous, plus on lit!,” Le Devoir, Journal de Montréal, Journal de Québec, La Tribune, ELLE Québec, etc., to talk about rape culture, a term that they succeeded in making well known.
The movement’s actions put pressure on the Quebec government and pushed it to join the fight against sexual violence by developing, namely, a framework law that will require post‑secondary educational institutions to act in a way that prevents situations of sexual violence and to intervene in a way that supports victims and holds perpetrators of sexual violence accountable by punishing their actions. Additionally, Mélanie’s actions within the movement led the Quebec government to invest $44 million to fight against sexual violence in October 2016 and $23 million to fight against sexual violence on campuses in August 2017. In recognition, Mélanie Lemay received, among others, a tribute award on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the charter from the Commission des droits de la personne, the Hommage bénévolat-Québec award, a Forces Avenir award and the medal of Quebec’s National Assembly. She also recently joined the Canadian delegation at the UN as a civil society member for the sixty‑third session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63).
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