Government of Canada announces investment to support Canada’s network of women’s shelters

From: Status of Women Canada

May 2, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department for Women and Gender Equality

Women’s organizations provide vital services in our communities, supporting women and girls to be financially secure, free from violence, and able to fully participate in all aspects of our economy and society. Yet for far too long they have been chronically underfunded, underestimated and undermined. The Government of Canada recognizes that women’s organizations are the lifeblood of the women’s movement, and that maintaining and growing their ability to do this important work is the most effective way to advance gender equality.

That’s why today, at an event honouring founders of Canada’s first women’s shelters, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, announced that the Government of Canada will invest close to $1.5 million in Women’s Shelters Canada to increase its capacity, and the capacity, resilience and longevity of 14 provincial and territorial shelter associations to advocate for the end of violence against women and address the needs of women fleeing violence. The funding will also help the organization bring together service providers to create survivor-led, customized safety and support plans for those affected by gender-based violence.

This funding stems from historic Budget 2018 investments in the Capacity-building Fund to support a sustainable women’s movement and the Gender-based Violence Program to address gaps in support for underserved groups in Canada who experience gender-based violence.


“The shelters movement, and the women who founded it, opened the door to survivors of domestic violence and helped them on the road to rebuilding their lives. They also opened the door for hundreds of women’s groups, volunteer agencies and governments to follow in their footsteps, and open more and more shelters in every part of this country. With this investment in Women’s Shelters Canada, we are providing stable and flexible funding that will help them grow and endure, and continue providing essential supports to survivors of gender-based violence. Our government recognizes that investing in women’s organizations is the most effective way to advance gender equality. By supporting a movement that has achieved amazing results, we are growing the middle class, strengthening families and communities, and creating lasting change that benefits everyone.”

The Honourable Maryam Monsef, P.C., M.P.
Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality

“This funding from the federal government will enhance the capacity of Women’s Shelters Canada to further develop its role as a connector, facilitating exchanges amongst Provincial and Territorial shelter organizations, and between the federal government, and Provincial and Territorial shelter associations and individual shelters. It will lead to enhanced services and supports for women fleeing violence and provides us with the potential to help many more women in need. It will make a real difference.”

Lise Martin, Executive Director
Women’s Shelters Canada

Quick facts

  • Budget 2018 announced $100 million over five years to support a viable and sustainable women’s movement across Canada. Adding to this historic investment, Budget 2019 proposes to invest a further $160 million over five years, starting in 2019–20, in the Department for Women and Gender Equality’s Women’s Program. This means that by 2023–24, the Women’s Program, which supports eligible organizations to carry out projects to advance equality by addressing systemic barriers, will total $100 million annually.
  • This funding will enable women’s organizations and Indigenous organizations serving women to tackle systemic barriers impeding women’s progress, while recognizing and addressing the diverse experiences of gender and inequality across the country.
  • To date, the Government of Canada has invested over $200 million to prevent gender-based violence, support survivors and their families, and create more responsive legal and justice systems.
  • Some populations are more likely to experience violence and may face unique barriers and challenges that put them at particular risk. According to the 2014 General Social Survey on Victimization, women are at a 20% higher risk of violent victimization than men when all other risk factors are taken into account. Indigenous women are more likely to experience violence and reported having been the victim of a violent crime at a rate 2.7 higher than that reported by non-Indigenous women (219 incidents per 1,000 population versus 81 incidents per 1,000).
  • Gender-based violence can have lifelong impacts on an individual’s physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health. Additionally, the effects can be serious and costly. Annually, the economic impact of intimate partner violence and sexual assault is estimated to be over $12 billion.

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Braeson Holland
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality

Valérie Haché
Senior Communications Advisor
Department for Women and Gender Equality


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