President’s October Message

posted in: Newsletters | 0

The Growth and Power of Women

The recent election on September 20 had our attention for a number of reasons these past few weeks. Going forward, we will be looking for resolutions of the issues of concern and action toward progress for the promises made.

While final results are still being tabulated in some ridings, what was interesting to see was the number of candidates running for the five political parties. According to a not-for-profit organization, Equal Voice, women and gender-diverse candidates totaled 43% of all the candidates, up from 42% candidates in 2019. Women account for 100 seats of the total 332 current members of parliament. As of today, this is 30% female representation of all seats in parliament. We have a voice!

We have come a long way in just over 100 years when we were first given the right to vote and the first woman, Agnes Macphail, was elected to the House of Commons in 1921.

We wish all of our representatives the best and embolden them to collectively work together to make this a stronger and improved Canada, both locally and nationally, for the lives of women and children of all ages and all backgrounds. We will be actively listening and paying attention. We too have a voice.

Submitted by Maureen Shantz, President, CFUW St Catharines

Protect, Elect & Respect Canadian Women in Politics

posted in: Newsletters | 0

CFUW Ontario Council Speaker Series via Zoom
October 2nd, 2021
10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Senator Marilou McPhedran
Our first Speakers Series of the 2021-22 year will take place on Saturday October 2nd via ZOOM. This session’s topic is Protect, Elect and Respect Canadian Women in Politics. The speaker is Senator Marilou McPhedran who was appointed to the Senate in 2016, and is a human rights lawyer, professor and activist. The event is free but registration is required. Please register by 5 p.m. on October 1, 2021. The Waiting Room for the ZOOM meeting will be open at 9:45 AM. To register, please Click HERE
For the Speaker’s bio, click HERE

Anti-Trafficking Resolution Press Release

posted in: Newsletters | 0

Mississauga, Ont. May 15, 2021: The Annual Meeting of the Canadian Federation of University Women/Ontario Council, representing 49 chapters throughout Ontario, passed and gave full support to a Resolution concerning Human Trafficking Awareness, Prevention and Detection.

Human Trafficking Awareness, Prevention and Detection

Resolved, that Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) Ontario Council urges the Ontario Provincial Government to urgently adopt mandatory instruction in Ontario’s Elementary and Secondary Schools as well as mandatory teacher training to prevent future victimization by educating all students and train all educators to be alert to the luring and coercive control techniques used by human traffickers and similar predators via tools and methods including, but not limited to:

  1. that the Ontario Provincial Government make mandatory additions to the Grade 9 and 10 Health and Physical Education Curriculum how to recognize unhealthy relationships specifically the coercive control and luring techniques used by human traffickers and similar predators, this will complement the Grade 1 to 8 Health and Physical Education Curriculum that includes age-appropriate learning that helps protect students from human trafficking;
  2. that the Ontario Provincial Government require all Ontario educators, both elementary and secondary, complete a mandatory annual anti-human trafficking digital training on awareness, prevention, detection and duty to report followed by comprehension assessment.

This resolution on Human Trafficking was initially researched by a retired teacher concerned about some of her students. She had not recognized or understood what was happening to them.

Sex trafficking is local and home-grown. According to Statistic Canada, Ontario, which accounts for 39% of the total Canadian population, has accounted for just over two-thirds (68%) of all police-reported human trafficking incidents since 2009. The Ontario Government, recognizing this, has created the antihuman trafficking strategy, being enacted via Bill 126. This adopted resolution hopes to encourage the government to look beyond its available current resources, and to establish mandatory training for all teachers.

Ontario Council of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) is a voluntary, self-funded,
non-profit organization with 49 chapters across the province, which is affiliated with the national CFUW, which has NGO consultative status with the United Nations.

Our mandate is to promote education and life-long learning, to encourage the participation of members in their communities and to enhance the status of women and girls.

Our main concerns include high quality public education, universal health care, a clean safe environment, the economic security of women as well as the prevention of violence against women.

Sandra Thomson
President, CFUW Ontario Council

CFUW ONTARIO COUNCIL | info@cfuwontcouncil | Twiitter @CFUWOntCouncil
|Instagram @cfuwoncouncil

Afghan Peace Negotiations: Their Perilous Significance for the Women in Afghanistan

posted in: Newsletters | 0

Webinar – April 24, 2021

11:00 am – 12:30pm EDT

Click here to register

A Graduate Women International (GWI) Membership Marketplace NFA-to-NFA Partnership Project Webinar organized by the Canadian

Federation of University Women (CFUW) and GWI-Netherlands (GWI-NL)

Webinar Concept Notes

 Afghan women are asking for our help: we must listen to them and add our voices to theirs. At the 24 April Webinar, three remarkable Afghan women will tell us personally what must be done to ensure women’s rights in the present Afghan Peace Talks. Please join for this important interactive event.

Peace talks between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban have given the people of Afghanistan optimism that the 40 years of violence and war will end. But they do not want peace at any price and are extremely concerned that the Taliban will try to return the country the dark days of 1996 when women were forced to remain in their homes, veiled from head to foot, denied education and medical care, and whipped, stoned, and killed for small or imagined crimes. They have good reason to be afraid.


The past 20 years have seen women and girls return to school, take their places in all levels of society and work in public service, justice, security services and a range of other occupations. Their rights are guaranteed within the current Constitution and so it remains crucial. The vast majority of Afghans do not want a peace agreement that denies women schooling. They believe women should be able to work outside the home, particularly in occupations such as teaching and in medical settings. There is strong support for women to seek leadership positions.


In many areas currently controlled by the Taliban schools have been closed. Parents fear for their children’s safety and remove their children from school. Women are being forced to leave jobs. The last year has seen more attacks and greater violence than at any time in the last 20 years.


Over the past year the Taliban and other insurgents have targeted places such as maternity hospitals and girls’ schools to murder and intimidate women and their families. Female leaders such as judges, media personalities, and heads of women’s organizations have been assassinated. They tried to kill a woman on the Afghan government negotiating team. There is said to be a “hit list” of high-profile women to be executed. Many women have been forced to flee.


More than 60 per cent of the Afghan population are between 0 and 24 years old. Without a safe, educated, inclusive society, the country will be fertile ground for extremists to attract disaffected youth to their ranks. Girls and boys, men and women, need a chance to have peaceful, productive lives and not be forced to endure an oppressive, violent future.


With the legitimacy given them, and the concessions gained through negotiations with the United States, the Taliban are looking and feeling like victors already. Other fundamentalist groups such as Boko Haram, ISIS, Al-Shabab in other Muslim-majority countries are watching closely and being encouraged. Women in these countries could also see a life as second class citizens.




Virtual Platform Committee – Get Involved

posted in: Newsletters | 0

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and potential public health meeting limitations in the upcoming fall season, the Executive and Program Committees are exploring alternate ways to hold our meetings using a virtual platform (on-line computer).  This would allow all computerized members to participate from home.  We are forming a Virtual Platform Committee to lead us through this process.  We require 2-3 willing members who have the following:

  • Access to a computer with a stable WIFI signal
  • Strong computer skills and experience with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Comfortable with scheduling meetings
  • Experience with Virtual meetings
  • Experience with learning new computer programs
  • Comfortable with explaining the virtual platform to new users

If you have these skill sets and can help, or want further information, please contact

President’s June Message

posted in: Newsletters | 0

Since last writing to you, I have “attended” two CFUW on-line Town Halls (one with GWI) and the virtual Ontario AGM. I have also traded emails with two very knowledgeable club members from Preschat, have just about finished reading “Our Hundred Years” (the history of CFUW), and have studied at least 30 CFUW documents, all in preparation for voting at the National CFUW AGM on June 19-20.

As mentioned in the May Newsletter, I need your opinion on how I must vote at the National AGM, specifically on the proposed amendments to the National Bylaws and the Guelph motion to withdraw from membership in GWI. For background on these issues, please see the October 2018, September 2019, and May 2020 Newsletters, as well as the links listed at the end of this message.

What follows is what I think about the various issues based on what I have learned from the meetings, my readings and discussions with presidents from other clubs. The questions that require your voting decision are listed below. Replies are required by Tuesday, June 16th.

The Articles of Incorporation is the legally registered document under the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporation Act (CNCA) that governs membership class and voting for CFUW which is incorporated. It is these articles that need to be amended to align them with our bylaws and our custom and practice. The Clubs are the members of CFUW, and according to CNCA, have only one vote each at meetings. In practice, however, we use a weighted voting structure, where, depending on its size, a club is allocated a variable number of votes. This change in Section C. Membership Clause #7 is what will be voted on, and I agree with this proposal. Most of the others clarify duties of the Board of Directors, Regional Directors, and the appointment of Committees, and how to discipline members, which seem noncontroversial to me.

The ones I don’t agree with are in Section C. Membership Clause #14 which removes the requirement that annual dues be approved by the membership. The CFUW Board would simply present the dues it deems necessary to run the national organization. Clubs can request changes, but only the Board can change the dues payable. Likewise in Section K Financial and Administration Clause #82, the CFUW Board would simply present the annual budget as information at the AGM, but it would not be approved by the membership. Neither of these changes is required by the CNCA, but is recommended by the CFUW lawyer because it is the Board of Directors that is liable for the financial sustainability of the organization. It seems to me that this amendment reduces the incentive to change to less expensive practices. CFUW, as a member, refused to pay the dues increase which forced GWI to reduce its expenses and resulted in a much more efficient organization.

The original Guelph motion, which called for the removal of Article 4 requiring CFUW membership in GWI, has been modified to just making GWI membership optional. This could mean (if Clause #82 is passed) that if the CFUW Board decides the budget can’t afford GWI dues, it could end its membership in GWI without a vote by the clubs! The result would be the same as the original Guelph motion. CFUW is the largest member of GWI, and withdrawing would mean the end of GWI. The last virtual National Town Hall with GWI on May 25th was the best one so far in my opinion. I learned a lot about both impressive organizations, but especially about the massive amount of international advocacy GWI does, and feel that the plight of women worldwide would be so much worse if GWI ceases to exist. The main point I keep coming back to is that our founding mothers wanted to help promote peace by advocating that women be involved in the process. This meant women needed to be educated. By joining forces, that is, using national and international collective action, we amplify our influence.

Links to background reading:
CFUW Articles and Bylaws Proposed Amendments
Articles and Bylaws Q&A Version 2
Proposed Amendment of Article 4
CFUW Stratford response to Guelph Motion
CFUW North Vancouver response to Guelph Motion
GWI Questions and Answers – Financial Issues
Post CFUW Mediation Town Hall (CFUW participation in UN)

Voting Instructions:

You can send an email to with the numbers 1-7 on it and your answers, Yes, No, or Abstain for each question, by Tuesday June 16th.

The asterisk on Question 5 is to alert you that the Guelph motion contains many unsubstantiated claims and opinions, so the responses from the Stratford and North Vancouver clubs should be read as well as the Guelph Motion to Amend Article 4.

Voting Questions:

  1. I am in favour of amending the National Bylaws to allow a weighted voting structure.

Yes                No          Abstain

A Yes vote allows our current weighted voting system to continue unchanged.
A No vote means each club regardless of size gets one vote.


  1. I am in favour of amending the National Bylaws to allow ONLY the National Board

to decide the club dues payable to CFUW National.                 Yes         No          Abstain

A Yes vote means the National board will dictate what our dues to National per person will be.
A No vote means the clubs can vote to accept or refuse the proposed National dues per person.


  1. I am in favour of amending the National Bylaws to allow ONLY the National Board

to decide the National Budget.                  Yes         No          Abstain

A Yes vote means the National Board will dictate the National Budget and Clubs will have no vote.
A No vote means clubs can vote to approve or not the National Budget.


  1. I am in favour of giving Gail the option to use her best judgment when voting on other

Bylaw amendments and changes.                   Yes         No          Abstain


  1. I am in favour of CFUW remaining a member of GWI. *                Yes         No                Abstain
A Yes vote means voting against the Guelph Motion and remaining in GWI.
A No vote means approving the Guelph Motion and putting GWI membership in jeopardy.


  1. I am in favour of a dues increase of approximately $5.00 if necessary to remain in GWI.

 Yes                No          Abstain

A Yes vote means allowing CFUW to be a member in good standing of GWI.
A No vote means not paying GWI dues in full and leaving CFUW owing GWI again.


  1. I am in favour of allowing Gail to use her best judgment when voting on other motions.

Yes                No          Abstain


Charitable Fund Update

posted in: Newsletters | 0

Charitable Fund Update – May 18, 2020
from Grace-Ann Cambray, Chair
There are some positive things happening, regarding the Charitable Fund.
Despite the cancellation of the House Tour, monies have already been raised for our allocations for next year. Between House Tour ticket monies being donated, businesses turning their sponsorships into donations, and Spring Fling ticket monies being donated, the Charitable Fund is richer by over $8,000.00. Unfortunately, three of the events to which we give money have been cancelled for this year: the Science Fair, Scientifically Yours and the Niagara Symphony Music Camp. But on a positive note, the Charitable Fund will have $950.00 more for next year.
At the Club Executive meeting held on Zoom April 29, I asked the Club Executive to approve the Charitable Fund Allocations for 2019-2020. Usually this would also be approved by the general membership at the AGM in April. As this meeting did not happen and a date for it is unknown, I asked to be able to dispense our allocations now. The High School Math Awards most often are given out in June. Given the unique nature of the world at present and the uncertainty, I felt that, if the students received the awards in June, it may relieve some anxiety for them. The Club Executive voted unanimously in favour of the Charitable Fund allocations for 2019-2020. Thus all education monies and monies to charities can be given out. Very good news!!
Also approved was the idea to put a line on the membership renewal and new membership forms to ask for a donation to the Charitable Fund. For this donation, a member would receive an income tax receipt. I explained to the Club Executive that this idea had been discussed by the Ad Hoc Committee and that it was also the main form of fundraising for many CFUW clubs. The Club Executive voted in its favour.

President’s April Message

posted in: Newsletters | 0

Well, a month ago, COVID-19 was certainly not on my list of topics to write about. As a matter of fact, on March 6th, when I celebrated International Women’s Day with 700 members of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce, I had forgotten all about it! At our March 10th General Meeting, I was thinking that even if I got infected with the virus, I would likely get well because I have a strong immune system. It never crossed my mind that even if I don’t feel sick, I can be a carrier and infect others. Since then, however, like many of you, I have been listening to reports and updates from Public Health Officials and reading articles by doctors and researchers and I am convinced. This is a highly infectious, dangerous virus. Here is some of the over-whelming information I have learned so far.

COVID-19 is part of a large family of coronaviruses which includes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). COVID-19 has never been found in humans and thus is called a novel coronavirus. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, the flu vaccine will not help you, and there are no known health remedies to protect you. The majority of infections are mild with about 80% of people recovering on their own. About 15% will need hospitalization, and approximately 5% will need intensive care. The death rate is between .5% and 5% depending on age and health.

COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus Pneumonia, causes a dry cough. It often starts with a sore throat lasting for 3 to 4 days, which then blends into a nasal fluid 5 to 6 days later that enters the trachea and then the lungs, causing pneumonia. With the pneumonia comes a high fever and difficulty breathing. You feel like you are drowning! At that point, it is imperative that you seek medical attention. It can take up to 14 days to start showing symptoms–thus the instruction to isolate oneself for two weeks after possible contact with an infected person.

In addition to not shaking hands, using your knuckle to touch elevator buttons and a paper towel to lift the gasoline nozzle, Dr. James Robb, a molecular virologist, points out that since this virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing, all surfaces where these droplets land are infectious and need to be wiped down. It is killed by soap and detergent so wash your hands often for 20 or more seconds and wash your shirts, if covering your mouth with your sleeve. The virus can live on fabrics up to a week! He also mentions that gargling with warm salt water, and drinking plenty of warm water is effective against all viruses. It washes the virus away from your trachea and into your stomach where the acid will kill it! The access to your lungs is by breathing in airborne droplets from a cough or sneeze, or through your eyes, nose or mouth from contaminated hands touching your face. The primary value of a mask is to keep you from touching your face an average of 90 times a day!

The term exponential growth is often used when describing the COVID-19 Pandemic, so I decided to illustrate it to myself. I used as my example, a body cell which divides once a day to produce two cells, which each divide once a day and so on. After a week, there are 64 cells, not very impressive. But after the second week there are 8,192 cells, after the third week there are 1,048,576, and after a month there are 134,217,72 cells assuming each cell only divides once! Exponential growth starts small and suddenly produces huge numbers! Such growth is not linear.

The article that made the most impression on me was by Tom Pueyo who analyzed data coming from China, Italy, South Korea, Europe, the US and Canada among others. Pueyo’s background is in growth marketing, not in epidemiology, but he applies the same principles. He argues persuasively that we can learn from data from other countries and by applying the models, can estimate what to expect. According to his model of the data, the United States is currently seeing exponential growth in the number of people contracting the disease and that hospitals are likely to be overwhelmed. His analysis shows over and over that the number of reported cases is much lower than the actual ones which are not yet showing symptoms. Knowing that it takes about 12 days for symptoms to show up, the start of an infection can be estimated. On any given day there are cases that are severe enough to be medically diagnosed, and others that are infectious but haven’t started showing symptoms. For example, when 100 cases were reported, 1500 were actually in the works as evidenced by their appearance 12 days later. Read Why We Must Act Now by Tomas Pueyo by clicking Here.

In a New York Times article by Siobhan Roberts on March 13th, an epidemiologist in London England, Dr. Britte Jewell, described how she used US exponential growth data to predict the effect of preventing just one person from infecting others “today”, as opposed to a “week from now”. Her conclusion was stunning. Just one less person infecting “today” meant 2,400 fewer infections a month later, whereas waiting a week resulted in only 600 fewer cases.

The most efficient way to reduce the rate of infections is extensive testing to find and isolate infected persons not yet showing symptoms. But until we have the tests, preventing large gatherings, using on-line classes, and sheltering in place, has a noticeable effect in reducing the number of cases and can help ease the strain on our health system. But sooner than later is very important. On March 17th, our Canadian Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, stressed the importance of social distancing and called for the restriction of gatherings to 50 or less. This has come none too soon. According to a graph in Pueyo’s report, on March 5, Canada had a daily increase of known cases of about 15%. The threshold for the doubling cases every two days is 40%. Canada had 611, Ontario 177 and Niagara 3 confirmed cases as of March 17th. Time will tell if we are doing a good enough job of social distancing–that is, staying behind closed doors and preventing contact.

CFUW Ontario Council Fundraiser

posted in: Newsletters | 0

The CFUW Charitable Trust of CFUW Ontario Council invites you to join them at the Shaw Festival Theatre for a matinee production of Gypsy. This event takes place at 2:00 pm, Thursday, April 30th, 2020. Tickets are $70.00 and must be ordered by March 9th, 2020. A tax receipt will be provided for allowable portion of ticket price ($16).

To order tickets, please send full name and address of purchaser along with a cheque payable to: CFUW Charitable Trust to:
CFUW Ontario Council
62 Thompson Ave, Toronto,
M8Z 3T4
For further information contact: