The Advocacy Committee’s efforts have been largely the review of various petitions, sign-on letters, commentary and potential pieces of legislation respecting women’s rights. The Advocacy Committee reviews each initiative, facilitating discussion amongst its members, before advising IIWR-MB as to whether or not it would recommend signing on as a supporter, creating our own language around the issue, or hosting our own discussion of the topic in the form of a conversation café. To get in touch with the co chairs of the Advocacy Committee, send an email to

Why Girls Matter: Stories from Nigeria (2014) jointly sponsored by IIWR-MB and Voice of Women for Peace. Badriyya Yusuf discusses “Photovoice” a project on Girl-Child education she led in northern Nigeria. IIWR-MB photo

Why Girls Matter: Stories from Nigeria (2014) jointly sponsored by IIWR-MB and Voice of Women for Peace. Badriyya Yusuf discusses “Photovoice” a project on Girl-Child education she led in northern Nigeria. IIWR-MB photo

Current Advocacy Efforts

From the 2018 Annual Report:

Throughout the year, the Advocacy Committee reviewed various external requests for support concerning local and global women’s rights issues and made recommendations to the IIWR-MB board. The Committee also took on its own advocacy initiatives in which they conducted research and/or assisted in drafting petition and letters of support. In addition, the committee engaged within the community by participating in events and will be growing to led and participate in more events in the coming year. Our largest event in 2018 was creating and amalgamating events for every day of the 16 Days Against Gender-Based Violence in November. At the end of December 2018 Co-Chair of Advocacy Alexandria Kazmerik stepped down to pursue other work, she has remained on the Advocacy Committee. In early January 2019 the board elected in Darci Todoruck-Lazar to fill the role of Co-Chair of Advocacy with remaining Co-Chair Micaela Crighton.

The 2018 Year in Review 

  • Signed onto an open letter by the Feminist Alliance for International Action calling on the Prime Minister of Canada to support the Senate of Canada’s ‘6(1)(a) all the way’ amendment to Bill S-3 and to end the sex discrimination in the Indian Act.
  • Participated in Grandmothers Advocacy Network / Mouvement de soutien des grands-mères All I want for Christmas campaign from December 8th to 20th. The campaign called for social media engagement as well as sending postcards to Prime Minister Trudeau and various MPs calling for Canada to remain committed to the Global Partnership for Education 2018 – 2020 replenishment period.
  • Individual members signed onto a petition to End Home Demolitions in Um al-Khair. The campaign called for Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland; Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Marie-Claude Bibeau; and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to call upon Israel to end the practice of home demolitions in the West Bank Territories.
  • Co-Chair Alexandria and Micaela were interviewed by Radio-Canada on the capitalization of feminism. The article, published on December 19, 2017 was titled Si t’es pas féministe, t’es pas tendance?
  • Attended the launch of the Made-in Manitoba Climate and Green Plan with Minister of Sustainable Development and Status of Women, Rochelle Squires. The purpose of the event was to solicit feedback from the public on the proposed actions. 
  • Attended Human Trafficking Canada’s Secret Shame by the Joy Smith Foundation.
  • Signed onto an Open Letter from Women Cross DMZ calling for the inclusion of women peacemakers and civil society representations to be able to participate in the Ministerial Meeting between the US and Canada discussing the Korean Conflict
  • Participated in the 2018 Women’s March in Winnipeg.
  • Signed onto an open letter from Amnesty International Canada to the Prime Minister of Canada calling for the development of a comprehensive national action plan addressing gaps in current policies, programs and services to address root causes of gender-based violence. As well as the involvement of women and gender diverse individuals, marginalized communities, and representative organizations in every aspect of the national action plan development.
  • Participated in the Community of Conflict Social Justice Fair at the University of Winnipeg.
  • Signed onto open letter from MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj to support MP Wrzesnewskyjs motion on establishing a WPS Ambassador for Canada
  • Signed open letter from the Nobel Women’s Initiative to Minister Chrystia Freeland Calling for support of Korean women’s participation and to ensure Canada’s representatives speak at every opportunity and do whatever possible to facilitate their participation throughout the peace process.
  • Signed an open letter from the Women Peace and Security Network – Canada to Prime Minister Trudeau to End the Safe Third Country Agreement.
  • Attended round table on Women, Peace and Security: Winnipeg hosted by MP Wrzesnewskyj on the subject of Bill M-163 to appoint a Canadian Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security.
  • Participated in the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders focus group on Sustainable Peace.
  • Signed onto a joint statement of support to Minister Freeland from Nobel Women’s Initative on Canada’s support for Women Human Rights Defenders in Saudi Arabia.
  • Worked in conjunction with high school students from Thompson, MB to aid in the creation of the “S.H.E” Feminist student group. The group is a student led initative to further action on feminist issues within the community.
  • Hosted a kick-off to the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (16 Days) at the Forks and collaborated with the City of Winnipeg to turn the WINNIPEG Sign Orange on November 25th, 2018.
  • Hosted and promoted a series of events everyday over the 16 Days including a Table Talk surrounding the #MeToo campaign and social media campaigns.
  • Advocacy Co-Chairs received an official e-mail address to be able to streamline advocacy communications into the new year.
  • Signed on to Amnesty Canada public joint statement “Urgent Action Needed to Ensure Indigenous Women Are Not Sterilized Without Their Consent.” The statement was circulated to the Prime Minister, media, and the public on Monday, December 10th, which is International Human Rights Day .

Past Advocacy Actions

IIWR-MB has been a member of the MMIWG2S -Manitoba Coalition, an organization with Status for the National Inquiry MMIWG. Read their written submission here, presented November 9th, 2018 at the final hearing.  

IIWR-MB was one of the early supporters of the Safe Cities initiative in 2013. A Scoping Study has been prepared and looks at incidents of violence, and sexual violence in Winnipeg, as well as services. The Safe Cities Initiative supports innovative approaches to preventing and reducing harassment and sexual violence against women and girls in public spaces. The study is a good start.

IIWR-MB has prepared letters to the Prime Minister of Canada; the Premier of Manitoba; the Mayor of Winnipeg; the Chief of Police; and the Ex. Director of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights regarding the 16 Days Campaign. These letters, and responses were posted during the 16 Days, from November 25th, to December 10th, 2016.

On November 2016 IIWR-MB signed on to a response letter by the Women, Peace and Security Network – Canada  (WPSN‐C) to the Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development: An Opportunity for Global Leadership: Canada and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. We are number 11 listed in the letter.

October 2016, IIWR-MB signed on to a letter in response to the Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development:  An Opportunity for Global Leadership: Canada and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda

IIWR-MB signed on to an Open Letter to Permanent Representatives to the UN: Recommendations on the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). We are listed as #99.

IIWR-MB joined other groups to sign on to an open letter to HE President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo – An Urgent Call to End the Violence and Protect the Population in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. This action was coordinated by Global Network of Women Peacebuilders

During the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, (November 25 to December 10), IIWR-MB has played an active role in a number of ways. We wrote an Op-Ed for the Winnipeg Free Press, published November 24th, we coordinated a 16 Days Calendar, published in Human Rights Hub, and have promoted and reported on 16 Day events in the city on facebook.

During the Federal Election, the Advocacy Committee took the opportunity to express concern on 2 major issues: The Canada Revenue Agency’s special political-activity audits, which effectively silences advocacy groups, and the recent internal government report on the status of women in Canada, which pointed out that Canada is falling behind the rest of the developed world with respect to women’s equality. To see the letter, click here.

IIWR-MB received a response on October 14, 2015 from Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. His response is here.

IIWR-MB received a response on October 8th, 2015 from Tom Muclair, Leader of the NDP. His response is here.

The Advocacy Committee is working with GRAN (Grandmother’s Resource Advocacy Network) to identify possible issues arising out of the upcoming federal election, such as ensuring Canada’s commitment to the right to school; ending violence against women, and aligning age requirements for marriage.

The Advocacy Committee  focused on reviewing documents related to the meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women.

The Advocacy Committee has recommended IIWR-Manitoba’s support for the Post 2015 Women’s Coalition Vision Statement, which can be used throughout post 2015 inter-governmental negotiations and as a possible feminist alternative approach towards the adoption of the sustainable development agenda and it’s implementation beyond 2015.

The Board has accepted the Advocacy Committee’s recommendation for the Blueprint for Canada’s National Action Plan on Violence Against Women and Girls, as prepared by the Up for Debate Coalition to be a starting point for discussion on this issue


Notable Past Advocacy Efforts

Wrote a letter (May 9th, 2015) to General Tom Lawson, Chief of Defense Staff, Canadian Armed Services, regarding the recent report by former Chief Justice Marie Deschamps on the inquiry into sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Services, calling for implementation of the recommendations. (See Letter)

  Wrote a letter to the Women, Peace and Security Network – Canada regarding correspondence to the Minister of Foreign Affairs The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson, M.P. Our comments while supportive of Security Council Resolution 1325 (and related resolutions), expressed concerns with a military approach that could leave women in an even worse situation. (See letter)

handwriting symbolWrote a letter to Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Status of Women, calling on Canada to use strong language to support women’s human rights in the meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women in March, 2015.  (See letter)

handwriting symbolWrote a letter to the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Manitoba MPs and Senators calling for the denunciation of Afghan Parliament’s passing of a law that silenced women subjected to violence in an effort to urge President Hamid Karzai not to sign it into effect. (See Letter)

handwriting symbolWrote a letter to the Editor of the Winnipeg Free Press encouraging support for the Conflict Minerals Act, in conjunction with Dr. Mukwege’s visit to Winnipeg (See letter)

handwriting symbolCreated a petition addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations, Phumzile Mlambo-Mgcuka of UN Women, the Prime Minster, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister responsible for Status of Women, calling for action in the rescue of the kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria. (See Petition)

handwriting symbolAssisted in the drafting of a letter to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada expressing concern for the current Canadian Immigration and Refugee legislation and policies, specifically as they negatively impacted on women and children, and challenging the government to address those concerns. (See letter)