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Councillor pushes women's bureau in open letter

Councillor Diane Deans providing some clarification on a new idea at Ottawa City Hall.
Ottawa City Councillor Diane Deans, March 2018. (Photo/ City of Ottawa)

OTTAWA — The city councillor who wants a women’s bureau at city hall has written an open letter in the morning newspaper to explain why she thinks the idea is necessary.

In her letter, in this morning’s Ottawa Sun, Gloucester-Southgate Councillor Diane Deans writes that the city needs to consider gender in its appointments to boards and commissions, as well as in creating good policy that includes everyone.

Deans points to Sweden, where a gender lens was applied to snow-clearing policy in Stockholm and has tried to make it more equitable to women — who walk, bike, and take transit more often than men.

Earlier this week, the mayor raised the fear of a women’s bureau creating a large, expensive bureaucracy.

“(T)his is not intended to be a resource-heavy initiative,” Deans writes. “We know that there are many amazing people who work for the city and the goal will be to harness as much existing capacity as possible.”

Deans concedes that some expertise in the field will be required, but that determining the best structure for a women’s bureau would be part of the city’s governance review in 2019.

Deans’ motion that council consider creating a special liaison for women’s issues and a women’s bureau will be debated at city council on March 28.

Jason White

About the Author: Jason White

Jason is an award-winning reporter at CityNews Ottawa. He brings about two decades of experience in news, with stops in Halifax and Toronto.
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