BPW London April 2009 Newsletter- Making a Difference Our Way
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President's Message• Let Us Build Together...Young BPW Event Report• Not For Sale: Anti-Trafficking Event Report• Ontario Volunteer Award Winners• Report on Commission of the Status of Women - United Nations• London Abused Women's Centre Event Report• Tax Planning for a Family with a Special Needs Child• BPW Ontario News• BPW Canada News • Safe Respectful and Inclusive Workplace Conference• Women's Community House Presents Grand House Party VII• People for Sale in Canada Conference • Executive Meeting Minutes • Notices & Events• Upcoming BPW Events
On behalf of the BPW London Executive Committee I am delighted to inform you of Kathryn Munn’s appointment to the Board of Directors of W.O.R.K. (Women Offering Resources and Knowledge). This is the charitable entity for BPW Canada.
The objectives of W.O.R.K. are:
Kathryn will join four other directors from across Canada with the mandate to make decisions on investing and disbursing funds from BPW Canada’s charitable trust. With her great knowledge of working with boards and her excellent negotiating skills, she will be a tremendous asset to this board.
On behalf of all of us, please accept our congratulations, Kathryn!
As we reflect on the press about the downturn in the world’s economy it brings home that fact that many in our London community and beyond are facing hardships that are likely to increase the number of those in our lower-socio-economic bracket in our society. Prior to this downturn our provincial government chose to tackle poverty under the leadership of London MPP Deb Matthews. Perhaps it is time for us to ask ourselves how too can we engage in helping our city reduce poverty. Although it probably seems an overwhelming task we may be able to find key niches that relate to BPW goals and at the same time be manageable in moving resolutions forward.
You will recall in November, our guest speaker,Lynne Livingston,discussed the ambitious plan that London has developed in reducing the inequalities that exist in our own city. In researching the role of the provincial government I found that since 2000 they have set forward an agenda to decrease poverty rates in the province. And in 2008 under the leadership of Deb Matthews, consultations were held and a plan has been put in place.
To help position our understanding of the issues, I found a brief submitted in January, 2003 by Barata & Hughes on behalf of Campaign 2000 – End Child Poverty in Canada to the Ontario Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. In this brief they provide clarity around key areas that if addressed have a strong likelihood of meeting the planned goal. For us, I have identifiedthree areas that directly affect women: (1) minimum wage rates; (2) claw backs to Canada Child Health Benefits; and (3) child care. Click here to read the complete details of the three areas.
There are certainly others but these three seem to be key to lobbying on which we may wish to focus. Although there are many other areas that can assist in resolving poverty the above three appear to most directly affect women, our mandate. If we, as a club, are committed to assisting both Deb Matthews and the London group focusing in the same area. we will need to focus on one or two issues that have the most significance in helping to overcome the issues that force women and their children into a continuance of poverty. I hope at our April Resolutions Meeting you will begin to discuss what we, as a club, might do to assist in supporting those marginalized in our society who are living in poverty and those advocating for ending child poverty in our city.
Lena Madeson Phillips, founder and first president of BPW International, wrote in 1930: “Let us build together and see what we can make.” From the preparatory planning meetings, to executive committee discussions, to the establishment of the first Young BPW event of 2009, Lena’s vision became our guiding theme and foundation of confidence. Leading up to the planned event on March 25th, we sought to work together to co-create a fresh foundation of London Young BPW.
We believe that our kick-off evening was a tremendous success and we can proudly state that 100% of all guests that evening have signed on to become members of our club. The night began with a gathering circle where all women introduced themselves and our Young BPW representative read the poem, Everywoman. This led into a description of BPW International, Canada, and London and the four cornerstones of our organization, at which time the women learned about the opportunities that exist by joining such a socially-active, collaborative, and influential organization. These opportunities were then brought to life when several current Young BPW and BPW members shared their personal stories about how BPW has invigorated and informed their lives - from travels to the United Nations to attend the Commission on the Status of Women to the powerful networking opportunities within BPW to lasting friendships within BPW London. A particular highlight of the evening was the discussion that ensued after these stories around such powerful questions as: What do young women want in terms of community in London? What components of BPW appeal to current and future needs of young professional women today? What might future Young BPW events look like in the upcoming year and how do we attract women to our club? This collaborative conversation was brought to life by the knowing that we have the power to co-create our future! Ideas swirled and excitement built around the potential for establishing a 2009-2010 program that infuses hope, social awareness and activism, and connection into all monthly events.
A message to current BPW London members: Going forward, we of Young BPW need your help!! The current Young BPW members will be meeting in April to determine a plan of action and draft a program for the next several months. When events are planned, please pass along the posters and information to organizations, teams, groups, and individual women who may be interested. We seek to cultivate Young BPW and your assistance is essential for this growth to occur.
A special thank you to Doris Hall for mentoring me and her sharing her life-wisdom and BPW insights to facilitate the building of Young BPW London. Thanks to Linda Davis and Sheila Crook for volunteering their time to support our March gathering and providing beneficial feedback. Finally, a note of gratitude to Laura Noble for her constant kind words of encouragement, links to key national and international Young BPW members, and help with constructing the key information networks to make this endeavor a success.
Let’s keep the momentum going and see what we can build!
Professor David Batstone, sponsored by the Anti-Trafficking Group in London, spoke to an audience of approximately 50 people at King’s College on Sunday evening about his experience and investigations into human trafficking or human slavery. He prefers to use the term “involuntary servitude”. In his book Not For Sale, he describes situations and specific people who have been forced into sexual service and forced labour in various countries, as well as child soldiers, and some brave individuals who have launched a rescue program. He advised that if one wishes to be an activist, be a “smart activist” and talks about how to do that.
He also gave many suggestions for how individuals can help to combat involuntary servitude without putting themselves in danger. Some of his suggestions are:
I am delighted to inform you that our club application for an Ontario Volunteer Award for all of you has been accepted. The Ceremony will be held on Friday, April 17th at 7:30 pm in the Marconi Club at 120 Clarke Road in London. Each of will be presented with a lapel pin and certification in recognition of their commitment and dedication as a volunteer in Ontario. I will be delighted to be present to honour all from BPW London. Each of will be receiving an invitation to the award ceremony. Thank you so much for taking the time to provide us with your volunteering information. It was truly amazing to realize the contributions that each of you have made. This ceremony will be an opportunity to recognize you and your role with our club!
Recipients are: Norma Yau, Sandy Pearce, Doris Hall, Eva Main, Sheila Crook and Susan Dill.
Congratulations to all of you!
Kathryn Munn and I were fortunate enough to attend the first week of meetings for the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations in New York this year. We arrived in time for opening day; however, because of long lineups to get our security pass, we missed the opening. It was a cold morning one-hour wait, first thing Monday outside the UN in icy slush and wind, but we made it through without a glitch. This year's theme is "Equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS." A sub-theme is "Women and the Global Financial Crisis."
Out of over 2000 NGOs, BPW had a good presence of members worldwide. We met with our International executive and supported the two workshops co-sponsored by BPW, one on Equal Pay Day and the other on Gender Budgeting. The Equal Pay Day Awareness Campaign was structured to encourage every country to stage an Equal Pay Day and garner support for it countrywide. Based on women receiving 68% of the wages paid to a man, calculate how many months in the year that you have to work to obtain an equal pay day. Sue Calhoun and I even protested the budget of the Canadian government in front of the UN.
In the Gender Budgeting workshop, the panel pointed out the benefits of everyone equal and why it makes no sense to do otherwise. If government budgets treated women and men equally, there would be more tax income, fewer people on welfare and in subsidized retirement homes, and children would have more advantages, to name a few. It was stated that on average, a woman will lose approximately one-half a million dollars in income over her lifetime.
The Government of Australia and its Human Rights Commission presented An Amazing Story and Film about how two women lead a change in a remote Aboriginal community which was being destroyed by alcoholism. The two women told how they got all the women in the community together and came up with a plan for change. Their plan worked to get the men back to work, the children back in school and drastically reduced the abuse of women and children and reduced the incidents of rape in the community. It was a great success story that showed how women can lead a community for positive results.
I also attended a seminar sponsored by the Finnish Federation of University Women She Says NO to Violence, featuring keynote speech on Trafficking of Women in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Other speakers were from the UN, Division of Advancement of Women, Minister of Culture and Sport responsible for Gender Equality, World YWCA and the National Committee for UNIFEM in Finland. This seminar highlighted the devastation caused by human trafficking around the world and why it is so important for everyone to take steps to combat it now.
For further details and photos, please check the BPW Canada website and read the President’s blog. She has lots of detailed information for you.
We attended the International Women’s Day Breakfast and Auction for the London Abused Women’s Centre. We were pleased to see London Business and Professional Women’s Club listed as one of the “Friend Sponsors”. The room was filled to capacity with men and women, approximating 1,000 in total. The speaker Lia Grimanis, who rode her pink BMW motorcycle from Toronto to London the night before in temperatures below zero, shared her story about Building a Life from Nothing, being an abused child and how she survived on the streets of Toronto. She is now a successful business woman who is the founder of Up With Women an organization dedicated to helping homeless women and children to rebuild their lives. There were over 100 donations in the silent auction, as well as ticket sale items, door prizes and a live auction.
It was a terrific event and we highly endorse supporting it in the future, both as a sponsor and as attendees.
A lot of people may walk away from claiming all of the tax credits they could be entitled to because initiating the process can be complicated and time consuming. This may also be at the time when they are overwhelmed with all of the issues surrounding their child’s initial diagnosis of Autism/Aspergers. The good news is that you can apply for tax credits back to the year you were originally entitled to them!
The first step is to obtain the disability tax credit certificate (DTCC) using Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) formT2201. This is the “trigger” for the ability to claim enhanced tax credits and benefits, certain medical expenses, and to participate in the new Registered Disability Savings Plan.
The DTCC should be completed by a medical practitioner who can certify all sections of the form applicable to your situation, although individual therapists may also certify in specific areas. You may want to do some “coaching” regarding completion of the form. You will want the medical practitioner to certify that there is “severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions” and the effect or cumulative effect will meet the definition of “markedly restricted in the basic activities of daily living”. Each section should state the year when the restriction began. This is sometimes a grey area because even though you may want it indicated as birth, the practitioner may only show the year the diagnosis was made.
The completed certificate indicating the Autism Spectrum Disorder is filed with CRA, who reviews it and decides on your entitlements. If you receive less than the number of years’ of tax credits you had requested or if they disallow your claim, you can and should challenge the assessment in writing.
Ensure all identification and tax credits applied for are complete. A letter can either accompany an adjustment (T1ADJ) request or be done on its own, asking prior years’ review and reassessment to the timing indicated on the DTCC. Some families have received up to ten years’ in tax credits, providing substantial refunds. CRA is only required by tax law to go back to three prior taxation years, however administratively they have allowed up to ten years. Our opinion on the best approach is “nothing ventured, nothing gained” so you should request as much as you can.
Maximum amounts (rounded $) on which tax credits apply in Ontario for special needs taxpayers and dependents are briefly summarized in the complete version of this article. You should consult a tax professional or do your own research via CRA’s website and publications to ensure that you have obtained the maximum entitlements and are aware of restrictions and income related reductions. Tax credits work differently than tax deductions and are either refundable or non-refundable. Non-refundable credits reduce the amount of tax you owe and can result in a refund of tax amounts paid. Refundable credits give you a rebate whether or not you have tax payable or paid.
Medical Expenses listed in the complete version of this article may be claimed by the lower income person to maximize the credit available. For a complete list showing eligibility requirements, please refer to CRA publication IT519R2.
Also available is the Refundable Medical Expense Supplement (up to $500 for lower income persons), and effective July 1, 2008, the Child Disability Benefit, which supplements the parents’ Canada Child Tax benefit up to $2,400 per child with a DTCC.
GST & PST relief is also available for most healthcare services, personal care and supervision programs used when the primary caregiver is working.
For more information, please contact our office Johnston & Company Professional Corporation or visit our website at www.johnstonandco.ca.
The Niagara Historical Museum is hostingan exciting Exhibition and lecture Series entitled "Through Their Eyes" which celebrates the women of Niagara. Hope is to gain the support of women who are: part of women's associations, business owners or just have a keen interest in uniting for this unique event.
The museum is asking forthat the Business & professionals Women's Clubs of Ontario, might be interested in becoming sponsors to the event, or simply come out and show support.
The Exhibition runs from April 1-September 30, 2009.
Hosted by the Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women and Children
Four Plenary Panels and twenty-four workshops offer an immersion in issues related to workplace discrimination, harassment, bullying & violence. Presenters will share expertise on law, policies and practices. Themes include: standards and strategies for creating and maintaining safe and respectful workplaces; personal & institutional costs of workplace violence; corporate best practice; labour’s responsibility and involvement in creating a safe and respectful workplaces; addressing workplace violence as an occupational health and safety issue; and human rights in the workplace.
DINNER & KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Anita Hill
In 1991, Anita Hill was thrust into the public spotlight when she testified about sexual harassment before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Clarence Thomas.
The conference will appeal to a wide range of stakeholders: labour, management, community advocates, academics, legislators, policy experts, woman abuse experts, human resource professionals, health and safety specialists, trainers, consultants, equity officers, and individuals who have experienced unsafe, disrespectful, exclusionary workplaces.
Early Registration (until April 30, 2009): $350
Registration (after April 30, 2009): $425
Student Registration: $300
Anita Hill presentation and dinner only: $125
Hosted by The Salvation Army Ontario Great Lakes Division. This gathering will help service providers to understand Human Trafficking in their local context, provide tools to identify victims and generate an integrated community response to assist those trafficked.
Best Western Lamplighter - Registration 8:30 a.m. - Conference 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. May 19.
Registration Fee: $75.
Guests Speakers: Victor Malarek, Constable Kris Arnold and Matty Van Doren.
Below is a summary of the March 2009 London Executive Minutes. At the end ofthe summary there is a link to the complete version of the minutes.
BPW London is a member of the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs
Member of The Business and Professional Women's Clubs of Ontario
"Let us build together and see what we can make."
Lena Madesin Phillips, founder and first President of BPW International, 1930
BPWL dinner meetings are 3rd Tuesday of the month: Sept - June
Reserve your spot:
Click here for complete program.
BPW London and Habitat for Humanity Women's Build
40 Teams of 10 Women building a house
BPW London's Team: Building Powerful Women
Click here to learn about The Build and view photos of The Build