Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 10, 2007
CWL take concerns about police checks to Ottawa
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
Police record checks are a "tremendous drain" on volunteer organizations, says Catholic Women's League (CWL) president Lorette Noble.
That's why getting federal funding to cover the cost has become a priority for Canada's largest women's organization.
Noble spent Nov. 28-29 lobbying politicians and civil servants in Ottawa, with two other members of the CWL executive.
The delegation took the league's concerns about police checks to Attorney General Rob Nicholson. They asked whether Ottawa could underwrite the cost of checks that can cost anywhere from $10 to $50. Sometimes the checks must be done more than once a year.
Protecting the vulnerable
Noble said Nicholson, a Catholic, spent a long time with the delegation and told the women he would "look into it."
As part of the fallout from the sexual abuse crisis, many volunteer organizations require mandatory police checks of people who serve the vulnerable, whether children or elderly.
Police checks are included in the guidelines in From Pain to Hope, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' (CCCB) response to the sexual abuse crisis.
Whether at the local parish level for those running programs for children or visiting shut-ins or at charities like Meals on Wheels, the cost of these checks impede the work of groups that serve the community.
Noble described this as "a reality of society today."
CWL resolutions committee chair Betty Anne Brown said she recently was barred from accompanying her daughter's elementary school trip without a mandatory police check.
Noble, Brown and community life committee chair Rayleen De Luca also talked with Nicholson about human trafficking, refugee protection and Bill C-2, an omnibus justice bill that includes provisions for raising the age of protection from 14 to 16 for consensual vaginal sex.
The delegation also brought resolutions to Ottawa concerning global accountability for Canadian mining companies and on making good palliative care an integral part of the health system. Their lobbying efforts took them to meetings with representatives from Foreign Affairs and Health Canada.
De Luca said the delegation's two-day visit was "very beneficial to get our word out there."
Noble stressed how people who had not encountered the CWL before were surprised the organization covered so many different issues.