National Women’s Symposium brings participants from across Canada to examine women’s rights

February 23, 2016

OTTAWA – About 100 participants from across the country representing teacher organizations, educators, Indigenous women, labour and women’s groups will gather in Winnipeg to explore Social Justice Education at the Heart of Women’s Rights, Feb. 28 to March 1, 2016.

The Women’s Symposium, organized by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) in cooperation with The Manitoba Teachers’ Society (MTS), will be an opportunity for participants to discover the journeys women and girls faced and are still facing to gain human rights in Canada thanks to a special presentation by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR).

Guest speakers include the Honourable Patricia Hajdu, Minister of the Status of Women, federal NDP Member of Parliament Niki Ashton, Equal Voice Executive Director Nancy Peckford, Canadian Labour Congress Secretary Treasurer Barb Byers, just to name a few.

The symposium will address issues such as murdered and missing Indigenous women, oppression, domestic violence at work, human trafficking, the representation of women in leadership positions as well as feature education tools to promote social justice and human rights.

“As the national body representing teacher organizations, we are delighted to bring together participants from a wide cross-section of society to examine women’s challenges and victories, to share their perspectives and to demonstrate how social justice education in our schools can help to shape the future,” says CTF President Heather Smith. “We are extremely grateful to the MTS for hosting the symposium in the province located in the centre of Canada.”

“Before we can be allies in addressing inequality and social injustice, everyone needs to understand the issues from the perspectives of women,” says Norm Gould, MTS President. “To truly address society’s most vexing problems, we need to hear from brilliant women who approach the issues from a series of ages, lenses, cultural experiences and marginalizing factors which have a huge effect on us all. We’re proud to deliver this enlightening and empowering event along with our partner, the CTF.”

Highlights, speakers and topics:

February 28

7 p.m.

Victoria Inn Hotel
1808 Wellington Ave, Winnipeg

  • Norm Gould, MTS President and CTF Vice President, and
    Heather Smith
    , CTF President
  • Niki Ashton, federal NDP MP
    Political perspective on the status of women in Canada

February 29

9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

85 Israel Asper Way, Winnipeg

  • Dr. John Young, CMHR President and CEO
  • Heather Smith, CTF and Rosemary Sadlier, Ontario Black History Society
    New human rights teacher resource “Speak Truth to Power Canada”
  • Isabelle Masson, CMHR Researcher-Curator
    Women’s Rights Today

7 p.m.

Victoria Inn Hotel
1808 Wellington Ave, Winnipeg

Celebration of the centennial of the first women to achieve the right to vote

  • The Honorable Patricia Hadju, Minister of Status of Women
  • Musical performance by Good Karma Co. (a.k.a. the Good Karma Collective)

March 1

9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Victoria Inn Hotel
1808 Wellington Ave, Winnipeg

  • Dr. Alex Wilson, University of Saskatchewan
    Anti-oppression education workshop
  • Bobbi Taillefer, MTS
    Nancy Peckford, Equal Voice
    Catherine Hart, Teacher
    Panel discussion on women in political leadership positions
  • Barb Byers, Canadian Labour Congress
    Domestic violence at work
  • Diane Redsky, Redsky Vision Consulting Development
    MMIW and human trafficking
  • Closing remarks

Sessions are open to the media. For more information:

About MTS

Founded in 1919, The Manitoba Teachers' Society is the collective bargaining and professional development organization for all of Manitoba's 15,000 public school teachers.

About the CTF

Founded in 1920, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation is a national alliance of 16 teacher organizations representing nearly 200,000 teachers across Canada.


Media contacts:

Raman Job, Public Relations Facilitator, The Manitoba Teachers’ Society, [email protected], 204-888-7961

Francine Filion, Director of Communications, Canadian Teachers’ Federation, [email protected], 613-899-4247