The upcoming election is an opportunity to ensure that we have a provincial government that prioritizes gender justice for all British Columbians. As you make your plan to safely head to the polls on October 24, make sure your candidate is committed to these priorities:
- I’m voting for a candidate who prioritizes the health and safety of survivors of sexual assault
Sexual assault is not just a justice system issue. It is first and foremost a public health issue that requires a health care-centred response. Survivors need a system of coordinated care. That’s why we’ve asked the BC government to focus on coordinated, sustainable funding for trauma-informed and culturally safe emergency crisis response teams; access to specialized sexual assault nurse examiners; urgent and long-term medical care, including access to counselling; and support in accessing housing and other community services.
- I’m voting for a candidate who prioritizes closing the gender pay gap
BC has the worst gender pay gap in Canada. Men earn nearly 20% more than women in BC on average—to say nothing of pay gaps based on race, disability, Indigenous identity, gender identity and expression, and more. And BC is one of the last provinces without pay equity laws.
We have been leading the work to bring pay transparency and pay equity legislation to BC. Our approach is laid out in this backgrounder and briefing note, which we have shared with the Minister of Labour and the Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. Earlier this year we also worked with a group of graduate students at SFU’s School of Public Policy to produce Mind the Gap, a report that sets out the best steps to achieve pay equity, starting with pay transparency legislation. To increase our impact, we’ve teamed up with community organizations and labour unions to advocate for pay equity as a critical step to reduce poverty and advance equality.
Women and gender non-conforming people bear the brunt of inequality and injustice in our society, a reality exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Make sure that your vote goes towards candidates who are putting closing the gender pay gap at the top of their to-do list!
- I’m voting for a candidate who prioritizes gender-affirming health care
BC has introduced coverage for gender-affirming lower surgeries, a big positive step. But people in BC are still being advised to organize fundraisers to cover the full costs of their gender-affirming health care needs. It’s time for BC to remove barriers to essential health services!
The health of trans, Two-Spirit, and gender-diverse communities depends on equitable treatment in society, which includes fair access to health care as much as it does social acceptance and freedom from stigma. Gender-affirming care saves lives. Let’s make sure the next government is committed to making it accessible for all who need it.
- I’m voting for a candidate who prioritizes implementing the Calls for Justice
We have yet to see a robust plan for BC to implement the Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and to address violence against Indigenous women, girls, transgender and Two-Spirit people. Until it takes more meaningful steps, the BC government will lack accountability and continue to lag behind in meeting its commitments to Indigenous peoples. Make sure that your vote goes to a candidate who is committed to the full implementation of the Calls for Justice!
Here are some additional resources for a more comprehensive view of what we think is needed to advance gender justice under BC’s next government:
- Read our co-authored op-ed in the Tyee, “This Pandemic Election Is a Chance to Demand a Better Future.”
- Explore our 2019-2020 Gender Equality Report Card and its complementary social media toolkit.
- Read our submissions to the Building BC’s Recovery Together, in which we highlight the impact the pandemic is having on people who experience marginalization on the basis of gender, the essential elements of a feminist economic recovery process for BC, and three substantive priorities for a feminist recovery.