Introducing The Victory Series
By Laveza Khan
Everyday at Change.org, we are inspired by the commitment and determination of the more than five million Canadians creating the change they want to see on our platform by starting campaigns, mobilizing supporters, and working with decision-makers to drive solutions.
That’s why we’ll be posting occasionally about some of our victories in order to highlight some of the most impactful petitions in Canada’s provinces, as well as to recognize the power of Canadian voices and their ability to transform things big and small.
Canadians who organize on Change.org are a significant part of the world’s leading civic organizing hub. More than 180 million people in 196 countries use our platform to support animal protection and human rights, women’s rights and every issue in between.
We’ve been fortunate to witness a number of people-powered campaigns leading to changes in society over the years. I joined Change.org earlier this year because I wanted to help more people make a difference in our country. I’ve always been moved by the stories told on the platform and wanted to help amplify more citizen voices.
One of my favorite campaigns took place last year, when the effort to add women from Canadian history to our bank notes become a reality.
In 2016, historian Merna Forster called for corrective action regarding the removal of important women from Canadian history from its bank notes. On International Women’s Day, Minister Bill Morneau made an announcement culminating Forster’s years-long campaign, including hundreds of letters she wrote to the Bank and elected officials. Morneau stated that Civil Rights activist Viola Desmond — best known for standing up to racial segregation by sitting in the whites only section of a Halifax movie theater in 1946 — would be the face of the next $10 bill.
“Together, we made history,” Forster said. “Let’s continue to be vocal about the need to recognize the contributions of men and women equally. Women hold up half the sky, and should hold up half the bank notes.”
Everyday, we have seen the power of collective voices in communities and cities across Canada. Here are some of the victories we wanted to highlight this month:
Medication Error Reporting Becomes Mandatory in Ontario
After a pharmacy error led to the heartbreaking death of her eight-year-old son, Melissa from Ontario started a petition calling for mandatory medication error reporting. Melissa’s campaign urged the Ontario government to join other provinces to require tracking and reporting of dispensary errors. As her petition built public support, press highlighted her story and the issue at large. She was encouraged by families with similar experiences who were supportive of the effort. After several months of hard work to bring to light the importance of medication error reporting, the Ontario College of Pharmacists announced that it will launch a medication incident program with the support of Dr. Hoskins, Ontario’s Minister of Health. Melissa and her 21,000-plus supporters were victorious.
Gender Identity & Expression as Human Rights
The Transgender community and its allies have long been fighting for equal rights and protections for Trans people in all policies and services. Monik started a petition urging the Senate to vote on transgender Bill C-16 to recognize transgender people under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In just over three weeks, the petition had more than 7,000 signatures. The organizers delivered the petition to Senators and Minister of Justice. Three months after the campaign was launched, Bill C-16 was written into law.
Community Organizing Leads to Justice for Pigs
Toronto Pig Save — a grassroots group organizing for animal rights — mobilized concerned citizens to take action and stop the Pig Scramble, an event where young pigs are confined to a pen and chased by children at the Lombardy Agricultural Fair in Smith Falls, Ontario. In a short period of time, the organizers collected more than 5,500 signatures, putting public pressure on the Lombardy Agricultural Society to cancel the Pig Scramble, which was set to be held later this week (August 5-7).
Citizenship Regained on Canada Day in British Columbia
On Canada Day, Byrdie Funk celebrated becoming a citizen again after she was stripped of her citizenship due to an arcane law. Nearly 1,200 people signed Byrdie’s petition and many more responded with encouraging comments. In Byrdie’s victory update, she acknowledged the support and encouragement from those who signed the petition and how it led her back to her citizenship.
On behalf of the Change.org team here in Canada, I’d like to thank you for your support in advancing pressing issues in your communities, cities, and across Canada. We look forward to updating you again soon with inspiring stories from across our great nation about how people like you are taking action and making progress on issues via Change.org.
Laveza Khan is a Canada Outreach Specialist for the North America Campaigns Team at Change.org