I call the meeting to order. Welcome.
We have excellent witnesses again today on our study of violence against young girls and women.
In this first panel, we have Farrah Khan, who is the sexual violence support and education coordinator at Ryerson University. With her, we have Hannah Kurchik, who is a student advocate for the healing justice advisory committee.
With the Anti-Violence Project, we are pleased to welcome Kenya Rogers, who is a policy analyst at the University of Victoria Students' Society. With her we have Paloma Ponti, who is a volunteer lead.
We will begin with 10 minutes of comments from Farrah and Hannah.
You may begin, Farrah.
Good afternoon, everyone. We're really excited to be here. We're excited to have been invited by the honourable Standing Committee on the Status of Women.
We are excited to talk about sexual violence on university campuses. Both Hannah and I have been working on this issue. I've been working on it for 16 years, and Hannah has just started her activism. I'm super happy that she is here with us.
Every day in Canada people are sexually assaulted, including trans people, gender non-binary people, women of colour, women with disabilities, and queer and trans folks. Too often these issues of sexual violence are seen as not important or not seen as the crises that they are. Too many times we are hearing survivors on our campuses say that this is just the price of being a woman: that they are sexually harassed coming to and from classes, that they feel they can't say anything or, when they do, that they are turned away or victim-blamed by the institutions that are supposed to support them.
We want to state that we are speaking on unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin territory, that indigenous people are detrimentally affected by sexual violence, and that to talk about sexual violence on our campuses we have to talk about sexual violence in terms of indigenous people. We also have to talk about the linkages between consent on the land and consent on the bodies and really ask that the committee look at the work of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network in talking about this.
When we talk about sexual violence on campus, too often it's seen as episodic. It's seen as a one-time event in someone's life, but the survivors who we work with every day have sexual violence happen to them multiple times. They are sexually harassed going to work. They have been sexually assaulted as children. They are coming to universities having experienced sexual violence in a multitude of ways, yet we make it seem as if sexual violence magically only starts happening at the age of 18. We need to really challenge this idea.
When we make it episodic, it actually makes the survivor think that in their narrative and in the way it happened to them, they should be ashamed or blamed for it happening more than once, and we know that's not true. We know that oftentimes when survivors do go and get support and are not seen as being in that thin, tiny framework of what is a victim, they feel they cannot access service. Time and time again, survivors say to me that they don't feel they can tell the police, that they don't feel they can report for a multitude of reasons, including student debt. Students aren't feeling that they have the money to actually go for it, to make a claim and report. They feel that financially they cannot go forward with it.
As staff people, we also see a huge amount of awareness starting to be raised, especially in Ontario with the “It's Never Okay” plan that has happened, which we're really pleased that Premier Wynne has put through. It has increased awareness on our campuses, yet the service delivery has not increased. We need to actually increase service delivery if we're going to do an awareness plan, and as someone who has worked on violence against women for a very long time, I urge you to do this. It is a huge issue.
The other piece that we see too many times is that survivors are being told that the only way they should move forward is to report to the police. We know that less than 10% of people report to the police when they've been sexually assaulted. We need to move away from the fetishization of reporting to actually talk about the different ways in which survivors can access justice.
One of the things I say all the time to the survivors I work with is, “What does justice look like for you?” That's why we asked Hannah to come and speak today and discuss what justice looked like for her when she was sexually assaulted.
Good afternoon, honourable members of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women.
My name is Hannah Kurchik. I'm currently in my third year of a social work degree at Ryerson University. I am a white cis female, here to speak about my experiences around reporting my sexual assault. I want to tell you my story to illustrate how the impact of sexual violence is not only about the violent act but also about the ways in which our current systems fail survivors.
I was 18 years old when I was assaulted. It was within the first eight weeks of university by a fellow student who I was friends with. On university campuses, 80% of sexual assaults are by someone the person knows. Two-thirds are within the first eight weeks of school.
I chose to report this all to the police, because I believed the system was there to support me. Initially I was provided a lot of care and support by the detective on my case. I felt heard. I was assured that justice would be won. This changed not long after I had a meeting with a crown attorney and attending detective. My experience was like night and day. The one supportive detective said, “I've seen a lot of creeps in my day, and your offender isn't a creep.” All of a sudden, it was as if he who had harmed me was in need of more protection than me. The detective remarked that he was crying when he came in with his father.
I was told that if my offender were found innocent, I would get written down as a liar, and if I were assaulted again, it would be on record that I'm a liar. Not only was this incredibly intimidating, and made me question moving forward with the court process, but it also made me feel very unsafe. I felt that if no one was going to protect me this time, and my offender was found innocent, I most definitely would not be protected if it happened again.
Through trauma-informed gender-based violence ongoing training, for anyone who hears reports of sexual violence, be it police officers or Canadian border service officers, subjective comments should not be allowed regarding the offender to ensure to not upset or influence any decisions made by the survivor.
I was told I would be contacted with the outcome of legal proceedings with my offender. Months passed. I was not contacted by anyone. I attempted calling my detective on numerous occasions. I was still left with nothing. When my detective finally answered one of my calls, he informed me that the crown attorney had dropped my case months ago, and with that my restraining order. When reaching out to my victim witness worker months after my case was dropped with no notification, she explained that she had left one phone message. However, she had no paper trail of this.
I was navigating a system, touted as being there to protect me, that in fact turned out to further harm me. I was not told my rights or given guidance or even notifications of the decisions being made in my case. Survivors need to be informed of the processes, possible outcomes, and options in moving forward when reporting sexual assaults to ensure the safety of survivors and to ensure that informed decisions can be made. Having an advocate present at all times would have been extremely helpful, as I really did not know what I was doing.
When reporting my assault to the university, Ryerson security did change some of my offender's classes that were in close proximity to my classes due to the bail conditions. When attempting to access counselling or supports on campus, I was informed there was a six-week waiting list for counselling, and that the counsellor I would be seeing would be the same one my friend was seeing for a completely different need.
When communicating with my peers, I found that there were also no resources specifically for racialized survivors or LGBTQQ12-S.
While in the midst of attempting to navigate the justice system and still attending the same institution as my offender, I needed on-campus supports. Without these resources, I felt for quite a long time that campus was not a safe place for me. It is critical to make services known on campus through a variety of media and to also have these resources specialized for folks who have been subjected to sexual violence.
On a number of instances in which sexual violence would come up in my classes, as I am in social work, I was made to feel uncomfortable and distraught over comments made by the professor and students about victims who lie. Having trauma-informed classrooms is important not just in social work classrooms but all classrooms, because survivors are in all programs and in all teaching settings. This can come from training for faculty that brings awareness of language and micro-aggressions that surround the shaming of survivors.
Since my initial experience, Ryerson has employed Farrah Khan, who has been instrumental in my healing. Every university needs a Farrah Khan and a team of people doing this work.
On March 24, 2016, I chose to tell my story in a Globe and Mail video explaining my experiences in reporting sexual assault. It was important to me to bring awareness to the fact that the institutional betrayal I faced was not an isolated incident.
My story is not just a mess-up or an accident. My story is an example of systemic issues that will have an impact on a survivor's life forever. My story is one that resonates with too many survivors, as the video went viral and reached over five million views.
I am not the first survivor who has faced the devastating failure of institutions, including the supposed justice system, to address sexual violence, and I will definitely not be the last if drastic changes are not made now.
On the the changes that we'd like to see, we'll do this really quickly because there are a lot. We'd like to see a human rights intersectional approach recognizing that not all survivors are the same and a one-size-fits-all model doesn't work. We'd like to see things like recognizing rural and northern communities in Canada have unique challenges, and also that trans and gender non-binary folks are experiencing high levels of sexual violence, yet even when they go to the hospital the gender binaries are imprinted even within the sexual assault evidence kits, which are made to be for male and female bodies.
We also see in access to justice that things like what we have in Ontario, which is the access to four hours of free legal services for sexual assault survivors, should be across Canada. We also want to make sure that the institutional adjudication of sexual violence on our university campuses isn't mimicking the failed criminal justice—I wouldn't even call it a justice system—programs for survivors.
We also want to see things like access without fear, a policy to actually not criminalize people of precarious status who are facing violence and making sure they can actually access safety.
We want programs. If you're going to do a program about awareness raising about sexual violence, please make it something about accountability also. It cannot just be about people knowing sexual violence exists, but must also be about being accountable for the sexual violence they perpetrate.
First, I'd like to thank you all for coming.
Hannah, I want to applaud you for coming here and speaking out. I can't imagine what it's like to walk in your shoes, but you're an incredible young lady. It's wonderful of you to be here. It really is.
As someone who has had to go through the system and face all the challenges that you faced, if you were to give us one recommendation that we could undertake as the federal government to make it different for the next person who goes to the police, is there one thing that you can think of?
This was an off-campus sexual assault that was to a Ryerson student. I just want to be clear about that.
On campus now, we have my office, but I'm one person for 40,000 students, and that's what we're expecting. We can look at rural communities, and people who are from rural communities know this. I have survivors who are from northern and rural communities who have to travel for two days to get our sexual assault evidence kit administered. That means you can't change your clothes, and you can't have a shower. I want people to think about the reality here. In terms of our campus, people can come to my office, but we've now also done really extensive training with people who are on the front line—so security people, professors, or people in administration—about what to say when people disclose. We need to move beyond just talking about, “This is what sexual assault is”, to “Here's what to do when someone discloses. Here are five things to say to someone.” Here's a reminder that they have options, and their options don't always have to include the police. I think Hannah was given the police as the only option, and there are other options as well. We're not dissuading people from speaking to the police.
Also, it's naming for students, too, so that they can do an internal process and an external process. That means if they do an internal process, they can report it internally and the university has to go through an adjudication process and do an investigation, or they can report it to the police.
I'll move on to Paloma and Kenya. Thank you very much, ladies. You did an excellent job as well.
You were talking about getting involved with the youth. I heard, however, from Farrah how excellent it was working with the men's sports teams or the female sport teams, and I think that's a great start, for sure. As my minister at church would say, it's like preaching to the choir. I think Pam noted that the people who are interested are the ones who show up.
You mentioned that you're trying to get more people, and I agree with you. Don't give marks for coming. It's just about being a good person. What are some of the ways of getting people involved? Let's forget about the marketing, but what are the actual good proposals that are out there?
Recently people have been saying that sexual assault is on the rise or that there is an increase in sexual violence. Someone actually said that to me today about university campuses. I don't think it's as much that it's on the rise as that people are finally listening to the voices of survivors and recognizing that this is a really big issue and that it continues to happen in Canada.
I literally am waiting to get my free trip to Hawaii for the amount of work—I and all of the sexual violence workers—because it's as though we have done so much, in the past two years especially. Because of the Ghomeshi case, we saw a high rate of people starting to come forward and of people saying, “Oh yeah, that happened to me in my workplace”, or “that happened to me in Parliament”, or “that happened to me in my rural community.”
Too often, because there's a limitation on these supports, we see people in these positions run ragged in such a way that we're just holding faith. Every night I go to bed wondering what survivor is going to call me the next day and what I am going to miss—because we're missing things. We're missing things all the time because we can't keep up with the amount of work we have. It's unfair to violence-concerned workers, especially because most of us are survivors and most of us are women, that we have to uphold all these issues, when we're not fully funded the way we should be.
I think that's a big issue, and I'm not just talking about on campus. I think the campus is important, but women are sexually assaulted in their workplace everywhere, and children are. When we don't have adequate funding, what we're telling people is that violence doesn't matter, that our bodies don't matter.
Right now, that's consistently how it feels. I know that's because of the past 10 years of our last government, partially—I'm sorry—but I think it's also speaking to provincial mandates and everybody's mandate. People are scared to have this conversation.
Before we even talk about disparity in terms of policy, we can talk about access in terms of the crisis of student debt that we see right now. I think Farrah really drove home that we have such disparity on our campuses involving folks who are there with $35,000 of debt, and how you engage in these really intense processes and do not have an outline of what it's going to look like, and how we support those folks on campus.
I think we need to start there and look also at that, and then recognize.... I think for me, as a survivor who was sexually assaulted before I ever went to university—so I carried that as a new student.... As we start talking about these things and as we start telling folks that we're going to talk about these things, it is a decision-making.... In my case, when I was applying for school it wasn't talked about at all, definitely.
We are having more conversations. I don't think the violence has changed. I think the conversation has changed. As Paloma said, it has now become something such that, if I were applying for school right now, I would not go to a school at which I knew I wasn't going to be protected, because I know the prevalence of sexualized violence.
Thank you to all of the witnesses for being here and for your compelling testimony.
I have a few different places I want to go, starting with Ms. Khan and Ms. Kurchik.
You talked, Ms. Kurchik, especially about the experience of being a survivor and going through the system. I wonder if you could suggest some substantive reforms on the criminal justice side that we might be able to propose.
You talked about better informing survivors, which I think we'll very much take to heart as the process goes on. But there are other possible changes that one could think of, such as changes to the prosecutorial rules in terms of how a prosecutor decides which cases to prosecute and which not. My understanding now is that they consider the likelihood of conviction and things like that. Are there changes that you would propose along those lines, questions and standards of proof, these sorts of things? I'm curious for your perspective on that.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thanks also to the witnesses for their presentations.
Last week, Alexander Wayne MacKay, a law professor at Dalhousie University, gave us a very interesting overview of the terms “sexual assault” and “rape” in our legal system. He explained how these terms have been defined at various levels and how the different types of assault have evolved over the years, depending the needs of society and of the law.
Like many other witnesses, he stated that a change in culture is needed to overcome sexual violence and sexist violence. Although no law can do this, legislation can direct such efforts.
Mr. MacKay later presented a brief in response to a question from a member of my staff. He noted that, even today, the definition of the terms “sexual aggression”, “aggravated sexual aggression”, and so forth do not meet present needs, whether in our legal framework or considering the current views in the society in question.
In your opinion, do our legal terms need to be redefined in order the reflect the different levels of seriousness associated with the terms “sexual aggression” or “rape culture”?
I can answer one of those pieces.
I would love to see us reopen a conversation about HIV non-disclosure and sexual violence, because too often HIV non-disclosure is categorized as the worst form of sexual violence, whereas it is, I believe, a different issue. That's one piece I'd really like us to look at. Right now it's being categorized as aggravated sexual assault, and I think it's a different issue.
As for language, I think we have to look at language use, but it's not looking at the laws just yet. I think it's talking about how we're even discussing and describing sexual violence.
Here's an example. Our media uses words like “tryst” to describe sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl by a 30-year-old man. That was in an Ottawa paper. It was used numerous times in an Ottawa paper to discuss the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl by a 30-year-old man—I'll just repeat that.
As another example, the most-circulated paper in Canada, The Toronto Star, said in one of their articles about a sexual assault, a gang rape of a young man in a club district, that one man's rape is another man's sexual fantasy.
We too have an issue, then, about how we use language and words. There's a guide called “Use the Right Words” by a group called femifesto, which I'm a part of. We looked at the media for five years and the way in which they report about sexual violence.
It's as though we're not in a place to shift the language in our criminal legal system until we start talking about how we as a society, including the government, are going to start talking about sexual violence and taking it seriously and looking at how we shape the narrative of sexual violence.
Yes, give me a part of our criminal justice system, but it's one system.
My name is Kripa Sekhar. I'm the one in the centre. I am the executive director of the South Asian Women's Centre.
We would sincerely like to thank the committee for giving us an opportunity to present our work in the area of violence and abuse against young women and girls.
SAWC is a multi-service agency that was founded in 1982 by a very committed group of volunteers who tried to support women from the community who were trapped in situations of violence. SAWC works from a feminist, anti-oppression, and anti-racism framework and a gender equality lens. This is reflected in all the work we do, whether it is service delivery or research and policy around this issue.
Like many other communities, young South Asian women and girls also deal with violence and abuse. However, the complexity of these issues makes it more difficult for women and girls to even speak about the abuse. Our experience informs us that the issue of violence against young South Asian women and girls is a continuum. It is connected to their mothers, grandmothers, and previous generations of colonization, as well as the years of socialization and patriarchy. However, these are not exclusionary of each other but intersect in fully understanding the complex layers based on the years of violence that immigrant and refugee young women and girls have difficulty even talking about.
Many are married at a very early age, often through a forced marriage. Along with our new and ongoing work in the area of violence against women and girls within the South Asian communities, the collaborative work we do in the pan-Canadian and international context, including our work with agencies like METRAC, Springtide Resources, St. Michael's Hospital, and We Are Your Sisters, indicates the excellent work based on anti-oppression and intersexual analysis.
We would like to state that there is a commitment to end gender violence against women. We must ensure that this issue is framed from a true gender-based, equality lens. Violence against women and girls needs to be viewed as situated in a continuum of macro- and micro-factors of racism, ageism, classism, and sexism, among others.
Young women are intrinsically part of the larger society, where they are embedded in family networks, peer groups, educational institutions, or other socio-cultural groups and workplaces, which are locations and causal factors of violence. In order to address the issues of violence against young women, it is imperative to consider the role of significant others, such as mothers, sisters, mothers-in-law, employers, teachers, friends, and survivors—both male and female.
This is perpetrated [Technical difficulty—Editor
] who are beholders and enablers of the values that present a different context of violence. While we believe that we need to understand the different forms of violence through the experiential lens of young women and girls, what we can say with confidence and based on our qualitative work and research and our ongoing work with the community is that isolating this issue only makes young women and girls more vulnerable and marginalized. Any best practice guide or intervention would need to take into consideration the important impact that mothers, older women in particular, have on the value transfer and information transfer within a large proportion of the families we work with.
While focusing on young women and girls is valuable, to understand certain specific forms of violence that may be unique to that age group, we need to keep in mind the fact that young women, however we define them, live in very diverse contexts. Young South Asian women who migrate here at an early age, or who come here as young brides, experience violence in very different ways. This often isolates them ever more because they have no immediate family, or the only one they know is the one they migrated with.
We have Marmitha to speak about some of the projects.
I'm the project coordinator for In My Mother's House, a story of sexual violence, marital rape, and forced marriage, which was funded by Status of Women Canada. I'm going to be speaking a little bit about the project itself.
SAWC recently completed the research phase, which is the first phase of the project, surveying, interviewing, and conducting group sessions with more than 150 survivors. This included young women and girls, and men and older women as well. Our findings revealed that, of course, young women and girls are greatly affected by the issue, but our research revealed much more than just this. SAWC was actually really shocked and surprised to see, through the research phase, that many of the women who were over the age of 45 were also greatly affected by the issue because they were still dealing with the trauma of their current or previous relationships. This particular population of women, we found, seems to slip into the cracks and seems to go unnoticed, and their well-being is often assumed because of their preference to stay silent on the issue. This is typically meant to maintain family status.
Many of the women who SAWC spoke to revealed that they were child brides and they were getting married at the age of 8 to 17 years old to men who were 10, 20, or 30 years their senior. One of our stories included an 11-year-old Bengali girl who got married to a 27-year-old man, and she had her first child at the age of 14. Oftentimes they were abused their entire lives until their husband's death, or until they feared for their own lives and well-being. It was only then that the cycle of abuse ended and sometimes they were still in that abusive situation. Many of these women immigrated to Canada to live in joint families and depended on their husbands for guidance. This heavy reliance on their in-laws stripped them of their autonomy, resulting in little or no financial independence for them, really no access to their legal documentation, and isolation from their own community at large.
What SAWC noticed about this group is that no one really understood what informed consent was and they felt that they were obligated to accept the marriage and to continue to stay in the marriage in order to maintain their family's reputation. Many accepted that this was their fate, governed by patriarchal traditions and adhering to principles of maintaining the status quo, which was to choose a partner for their children regardless of whether or not there was consent. So of course it's important to recognize that young women and girls experience violence and abuse every day as a result of the entrenched patriarchal traditions. But women over the age of 45 continue to internalize their trauma without support. Ideally we need to create an inclusive best practice to support these women and to consider all diverse groups.
I would like to continue from there to say that these projects have been powerful indicators of how much work still needs to be done to ensure that the most vulnerable women, who may not be part of any education system, need to feel supported and less isolated.
Imagine a young bride coming to Canada, and she has no access to education. She does not know what rape is. She has no idea that she has the ability to say no. These are the women who SAWC seeks out to try and help. It takes a lot before they decide to get out of that situation.
This is also an indicator that shows the government has an opportunity to do more for the most isolated women, and that includes racialized immigrant and newcomer women, and to ensure inclusion through a process of meaningful and true consultations at the ground level. While at one level we stand together in solidarity regarding a certain universality of experience, to strengthen the focus on young women and issues of violence faced by them, we would like to emphasize that any policy or best practice recommendations would benefit from cultural sensitivity and acknowledgement of the diverse forms and expressions of violence faced by women.
We have four recommendations: recognize that gender-based analysis must encompass the complexity of women's lives who may be outside that academic realm; ensure an intergenerational integration into all best practices; recognize that isolation is a result of inability to participate due to systemic barriers like racism and government systems and processes that are exclusionary; and provide resources and try to ensure that core funding is provided to organizations that do this work.
Thank you very much to each of you for your testimony, I very much appreciate it.
You mentioned near the end of your remarks about the different challenges that immigrants and newcomers face when it comes to reporting or dealing with the consequences of sexual assault. In my previous life, I had some experience working pro bono with certain immigrant women who reported that their immigration status made it very difficult for them, particularly for those who came through the temporary foreign worker program, to report or do anything about their sexual assault and the consequences thereof, because they felt captive to a single employer, and if they complained, then they faced deportation, potentially.
Can you elaborate on some of the challenges faced by immigrants or newcomers, and what the federal government might be able to do to help overcome those challenges?
I can quickly speak to that as well, and Marmitha was going to say something.
What we have is anecdotal evidence. We are going by the work that SAWC has done based on our case studies. I'm at Ryerson. The first generation project at Ryerson is in general and not just on South Asian background. I speak to the South Asian women who I happen to associate with sometimes and with our students. We are emphasizing the continuum because the family is the cultural core.
The continuity and the transmission of values is a major family project. As we know that transferring the values—as in the values of patriarchy, with women being the beholders of those values—is a very strong string that we see. It is the value system that keeps women from speaking, so the violence is embedded within the conversations. I'll give you a quick example. Olivia Chow is a visiting professor. We have the Jack Layton Leadership School. I was facilitating a group of women, and nine out of 10 women, when they were telling their story of wanting to be leaders, wanted to somewhere address sexual violence and gender-based violence but found no way and broke down into tears. It is this unspeakability woven into our systems which is intergenerational, for sure, that makes these moments very crucial.
The other thing is that we have served a very large Tamil population. They have fled oppression and war. We have served the Bangladeshi community. We continue to serve those populations, as well as the Tibetan community and Arabic-speaking communities and Pakistani communities. Many of those communities have also fled oppression and come to this country with a lot of trauma; trauma as a result of the oppression they have fled, but also trauma as a result of not being able to fit in.
In fact, SAWC did a mental health study on suicide a few years ago. We looked at a particular community, the Pakistani community of young people in the age groups of around, I would say, 16 to 25. It was a very small study of 200 young people. We found that many of them were suicidal. Many of them faced some form of depression. Many of them needed mental health supports. It was all related to the fact that they had been displaced from their home country and had to come here.
Those are serious issues. We have not addressed anything in our paper, because we only had 10 minutes. If we had to tell our life story, it would take 34 years to tell it to you, but that's all we could do in such a short time, because there are so many issues embedded within.
It's surprising that so many women have said to us.... We've sent them to shelters, and they've gone back to the men. We've asked them as a follow-up what the reason is, and they have said, “He's the only security I know.” I think that's a sad story for all of us, and we need to address it very quickly, if we truly want to the address the issue of violence against women and eliminate all forms of violence against all women.
Here's the thing that we do, and we do it best. When a woman walks in through the door, first of all, we have to make sure she's comfortable to disclose her issue. Then we do what is known as an intake and an assessment. Based on the assessment, we look at the number of units of service she needs. Does she need legal support? Does she need help, whether it's to do with her immigration status, or whether it's to do with her family or family law? Does she need support with shelter? Does she need financial support?
We look at all those issues, and then staff members start doing the referrals. These women are then referred out. Their case file remains with us, because women follow up, but we make sure that they are provided appropriate services through the appropriate agencies. Many of them come back to us and say, “I'm not happy at this shelter,” or “I am not happy with this lawyer.” Then our place is to try to find them someone who they can work with.
Some cases have been resolved. Some cases are not yet resolved. Some cases are just...I don't know what's going to happen to them. Those 900 cases that I talked about over the last two years vary. Some women come in and say, “This is what my husband is doing to me. What should I do?” From planning an exit strategy with them, if they want to leave, to dealing with assisting them through that process, that is how we work. Our counsellors have all the casework in place. We have not yet documented each and every case, because it is very hard to do, but we have a number of stories that we are prepared to share with you.
Ladies, we thank you for your testimony. It was excellent and I definitely want to hear more from you. Thank you for joining us today.
We have a bit of committee business that we're going to go to, so we'll turn the cameras off and we'll see you again sometime. Thank you.
Committee members, I just want to let you know that we did get some late cancellations for Wednesday. You saw that there's some committee business.
Ms. Malcolmson has brought two notices of motion which normally require 48 hours, but we really don't have 48 hours before the Wednesday meeting. She'd like to do an oral presentation which means she can read the motions but we won't debate them today. We would then be talking about them and voting on them on Wednesday.
Ms. Malcolmson, perhaps you'd like to go ahead.
I have copies that could be passed out, and yes, absolutely, the intention is to read this out loud today and then have the discussion and the vote in accordance with appropriate notice.
The short one I'll say first. This is following up on our gender-based analysis recommendations:
That the Committee invite the Minister of Status of Women, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, as soon as possible so that she can present and explain the government's official response to the Committee's report entitled, Implementing Gender-based Analysis Plus in the Government of Canada, and that this meeting be televised.
The second motion is one that I understand is consistent with a motion that has been passed by PROC and is starting to make its way through the other committees, to make sure that there's a common understanding for the rationale for going in camera, which we discussed informally as a committee, but it seems that it might be a good practice to consider formalizing it. The motion is:
That the Committee may only meet in camera for the following purposes:
(a) to consider wages, salaries and other employee benefits;
(b) to consider contracts and contract negotiations;
(c) to consider labour relations and personnel matters;
(d) to consider a draft report or agenda;
(e) for briefings concerning national or parliamentary security;
(f) to consider matters where privacy or the protection of personal information is required;
(g) to receive legal, administrative or procedural advice from the House of Commons Administration;
(h) for any other reason, with the unanimous consent of the committee; and
That the Chair may schedule all or portions of a meeting to be in camera for the reasons listed above; [and]
That any motion to sit in camera shall be subject to a debate where the mover, and one member from each of the other recognized parties, be given up to three minutes each to speak to the motion; and that the mover shall then be given up to one minute to respond.
Thank you, Chair.