Due to the wide-ranging interaction of its federated organizations, NCWC has been a leader in bringing developing issues to the government. For example, the call for equal pay for work of equal value was first made at the annual meeting of 1907.
In the early years of the twentieth century, NCWC resolutions were calling for such public health measures as a safe water supply, pasteurized milk, and medical inspection in schools.
The Dominion Women’s Enfranchisement Association had been one of the first national organizations to federate with Council in 1893, and in the early 1900’s, Council members began to work towards gaining the vote for women both provincially and federally. In 1917, a Council resolution demanded the federal vote for all women who had not obtained it through provincial legislation. Legislation to extend the franchise to all women was enacted later that same year, and took effect on January 1, 1919.
NCWC members have played an active role in the formation of many vital Canadian institutions, including the Victorian Order of Nurses, Children’s Aid Societies and the Consumer’s Association of Canada. Council also key to the formation of the Women’s Bureau of Labour Canadian 1954, and the Federal Bureau on Ageing in 1978.
Throughout its history, Council has supported having women appointed to senior positions within government and the judicial system. It played a vital role in supporting the five Alberta women, all of them Council members, whose appeal to the judicial Committee of the British Privy Council finally resulted in women being declared “persons” in 1929, leading to the appointment of the first woman Senator in 1930. The Council supported the call for a Royal Commission on the Status of Women in 1967, and the resulting formation of the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women.
NCWC was active in having provisions against discrimination included in the Human Rights Act. The inclusion in the Act of equal pay for work of equal value was the culmination of Council urging on this subject, which began with a demand for equal pay for equal work, approved by members at the 1907 Annual Meeting.
Responding to the variety of interests embraced by its affiliates, the NCWC has often been a leader in presenting a wide range of information regarding developing issues to the government. From women’s equality to children’s rights, public health reforms to inner-city playgrounds, consumer protection to citizenship work, the concerns of the NCWC have been wide-ranging, and its influence far-reaching.
This pro-active instructional and educational approach continues, in the last few years, through its annual briefs to the government. Council has asked for gender equality in the judicial system, participated in budgetary consultations with the Minister of Finance, and made submissions to the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies and the Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women. Recent Council Policy includes statements on pornography prevention, workplace childcare, development assistance, and disarmament.