FREDERICTON (GNB) – Legislation tabled today by the provincial government will ensure funding and independence for the New Brunswick Women’s Council.

Members of the Voices of New Brunswick Women Consensus-Building Forum were in the legislative assembly as Premier Brian Gallant, who is also minister responsible for Women’s Equality, tabled the New Brunswick Women’s Council Act.

“This act provides the forum with the enabling legislation required to help it fulfil its mandate,” said Gallant. “This legislative framework safeguards its independence from government.”

The forum was created three years ago and is the only public advisory body on women’s issues that is governed without legislation in Canada. The act will establish the New Brunswick Women’s Council, with a mandate and objectives reflecting those of the forum.

“Advancing the status of women is important for the New Brunswick economy and our social fabric,” said Gallant. “With this enabling legislation, these dedicated and passionate women will be able to do their work on behalf of New Brunswickers independently and efficiently.”

The provincial government has worked with the forum in drafting the act. The legislation reflects changes sought by forum members, including changing the name of their body to the New Brunswick Women’s Council.

“We welcome this legislation,” said forum co-chair Jennifer Richard. “It is critical that our work be enabled by an act that enshrines independence and establishes a strong mandate.”