Plan Nord needs to pay attention to women: Quebec status of women council
"It's time to adopt a plan that takes women into account"
The Quebec’s status of women council says Quebec’s Plan Nord must meet the pressing needs of Inuit communities and of women who live in northern Quebec.
The council issued a report Oct. 18 that contains 14 recommendations on how the Quebec government must improve its 25-year plan to develop northern Quebec.
Its recommendations, spelled out in a lengthy, French-only document, are aimed at increasing the participation of women in the economic and social development of northern Quebec.
The council calls for:
• more training, employment and housing;
• a study on the impact of the massive hiring of permanent non-residents on people who live in northern communities, including the risks of prostitution and harassment for women in these communities;
• adequate infrastructure and operating budgets for health agencies and social services agencies in northern Quebec to deal with the population growth generated by the arrival of temporary workers;
• an information campaign aimed at youth, especially girls, to raise awareness of the dangers of dropping out of school;
• training for mining jobs in or near communities close to mines, which are tailored to the needs of northern aboriginal women, so they aren’t forced to move south to study;
• action on housing in northern communities as a priority of Plan Nord;
• cultural awareness training, developed in partnership with indigenous peoples impacted by Plan Nord’s development;
• an advertising campaign to encourage women to apply for jobs available in the areas of construction and mining; and,
• mining companies, benefiting from tax credits of $100,000 or more, to set up equal access programs to promote women’s access to jobs traditionally held by men.
The Quebec women’s association, the Fédération des femmes du Québec, praised the council’s recommendations on Plan Nord, saying thats “it is now clear: the government must take into account what women want.”
“For several months we’ve been questioning the lack of attention paid to women in Plan Nord,” said the association’s president, Alexa Conradi, in an Oct. 18 news release.
“No gender-based analysis has been made for the Plan Nord, there is no study of the impacts of Plan Nord. Before developing resource industries in the North, the government has a responsibility to ensure that Plan Nord is viable socially, economically and environmentally. It’s time to adopt a plan that takes women into account.”