Regional Covid-19 Resources and On Reserve Stats by Region Below:
Black = New Cases, Green = Recovered, Red = Deaths, Blue – Hospitalized, Purple – ISC reported total –  Updated Daily

14 458 158 8,632 8,804
9 1,046 185 20,082 20,311
0 495 129 16,186 16,343
4 901 155 25,118 25,283
81 365 80 21,111 21,459
86 115 26 13,653 13,793
0 14 9 4,614 4,658
10 326 56 19,406 19,499

National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking Annual Report 2020-2021

Press Release

As the Minister of Public Safety, and on behalf of all federal partners, I am pleased to present the second annual report on Canada’s National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, also known as the National Strategy. This report outlines the progress and achievements made from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.

Human trafficking is one of the most horrific crimes imaginable, with certain groups within our community at an increased risk of being trafficked, including: women and girls; Indigenous peoples; migrants and immigrants; 2SLGBTQQIA+ persons; persons living with disabilities; and at-risk children and youth. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the risks that these groups face, and has led to the isolation of victims and survivors, including reducing their access to supports and services needed to escape from exploitative circumstances.

The Government of Canada recognizes the need to fight this abhorrent violation of human rights and dignity, and do everything possible to support those who are at risk as well as those who have been trafficked. Under the National Strategy, efforts have focused on increasing supports and services to protect and empower victims and survivors of human trafficking. In 2020-21, we worked to ensure victims and survivors had access to these supports and services that they so critically need. The Government of Canada announced up to $22.4 million over four years for 63 organizations across Canada for prevention projects, focused on providing support services for victims and survivors, including tools and resources, to assist them in regaining control and independence in their lives.

Building awareness is essential to prevent human trafficking in all its forms. In 2020-21, we launched the first phase of a five-year human trafficking awareness campaign. The advertising targeted Canadian youth, parents, and the general public with the aim of increasing awareness of human trafficking, addressing public misconceptions of the crime, and creating awareness of the warning signs and ways to report suspected incidences.

At the international level, we recognize the importance of a global response to this crime. Canada continues to work with its international partners to prevent and respond to international criminal activity, including human trafficking. This report highlights domestic and international achievements and partnerships, including Canada’s contribution to the fight against human trafficking in Central and South America.

In 2020-21, our efforts to fight human trafficking continued to be informed by the Interim Special Advisor to Combat Human Trafficking, Shirley Cuillierrier. In this role, Ms. Cuillierrier continued to advise on the development and establishment of specific initiatives under the National Strategy, engage with key stakeholders and partners to identify opportunities for collaboration, represent Canada on the international stage, and inform the Government of Canada’s overall response to human trafficking. I would like to thank Ms. Cuillierrier for her work and dedication to fighting human trafficking in Canada and abroad.

Public Safety Canada will continue to work with all partners to adapt to the challenges posed by the pandemic, and provide at-risk populations, victims and survivors of human trafficking with the critical resources and supports they need.

Through efforts made under the National Strategy, the Government of Canada has taken strong action to end human trafficking in Canada. I look forward to continuing to work with federal, provincial and territorial colleagues, civil society and the private sector in our collective fight against this heinous crime.

The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Public Safety

Executive Summary – Annual Report on Progress

This is the second Annual Report on the progress of Canada’s National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, which launched on September 4, 2019. This report covers anti-human trafficking activities between April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 and identifies areas of future federal focus and action.

The horizontal five-year National Strategy consolidates the efforts of the federal departments and agencies that contribute to addressing human trafficking both domestically and internationally. It builds on existing efforts to combat human trafficking, supports the broader Government of Canada commitment to preventing and addressing gender-based violence (GBV), and aligns with Canada’s international commitments. Anti-human trafficking activities are framed under the pillars of empowerment, prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships. Under the National Strategy, over $75 million in funding is being invested in federal measures to combat human trafficking over 6 years, which includes a 2018 investment of $14.51 million for the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline, with $2.89 million ongoing, as well as a 2019 investment of $57.22 million over five years and $10.28 million ongoing (See Figure 1). This funding does not include additional resources that departments and agencies may direct towards activities linked to combatting human trafficking as part of their broader departmental mandates.

The National Strategy is led by Public Safety Canada and provides funding for anti-human trafficking related initiatives to the following partner departments:

  • Canada Border Services Agency
  • Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada
  • Public Services and Procurement Canada
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • Women and Gender Equality Canada

In addition to providing leadership for the National Strategy, Public Safety Canada is responsible for policy and program-related responses to human trafficking, including: coordinating the overall federal policy response; providing funding to organizations that address human trafficking in Canada; raising awareness of the crime; strengthening knowledge of the crime; and increasing partnerships.

As the scope and nature of human trafficking in Canada changes, the Government of Canada continues to refine its efforts on an ongoing basis, informed by its engagement with partners, stakeholders, survivors, and experts across the country, toward combatting human trafficking in all its forms.

While they are not funded through the National Strategy, the following departments and agencies support a range of anti-human trafficking activities through existing resources, and therefore contribute to Canada’s work to combat this heinous crime.

  • Global Affairs Canada
  • Justice Canada
  • Employment and Social Development Canada
  • Indigenous Services Canada
  • Statistics Canada
  • Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
  • Public Health Agency of Canada
  • National Defence
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Figure 1. Dedicated Government of Canada investments made since 2018 to combat Human Trafficking ($M)Figure 1 footnote *

2020-21 Key Achievements

  • Funded 14 human trafficking related initiatives through Public Safety Canada’s Contribution Program to Combat Serious and Organized Crime
  • Launched the National Human Trafficking Public Awareness Campaign to raise awareness among Canadian youth and parents
  • Funded over 11 projects through the Victims Fund for a total of $930,198 to support victims and survivors of human trafficking
  • Issued over 90 Temporary Resident Permits to foreign national victims and survivors of trafficking in persons and their dependents
  • Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) continues to prioritize disclosures related to Human Trafficking through Project Protect
  • Six projects began funding through Global Affairs Canada’s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program


Canada’s Goals and Priorities

Canada has committed to incorporating a trauma-informed, culturally-relevant, gender-responsive and victim-centered approach to deliver programs and develop resources and tools that meet the needs of victims and survivors of human trafficking and increase awareness among all Canadians and foreign nationals in Canada.

Overall, the National Strategy sets out to achieve measurable progress against the following outcomes:

  • Victims and survivors of human trafficking have access to trauma-informed services tailored to their needs
  • Canadians, permanent residents, and foreign nationals are protected from all forms of human trafficking and associated harms
  • Federal suppliers mitigate human trafficking risks in federal procurement supply chains

A range of federal measures and initiatives across many federal departments and agencies are contributing to the outcomes of the National Strategy. This annual progress report covers anti-human trafficking efforts between April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.

What is Human Trafficking

Canada ratified the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its supplementary Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, in 2002. The Protocol defines trafficking in persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

Human Trafficking in Canada

Canada has been identified as a source, transit, and destination country for individuals subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. Human trafficking is a complex crime. It is facilitated by many factors, including the targeting of particular populations for exploitation, and the demand for low-cost goods and services. Women and children from Indigenous communities, low-wage migrants and new immigrants, 2SLGBTQQIA+ persons, persons with disabilities, and children and youth in the child welfare system are especially at risk. It is a crime that is highly gendered, with root causes that include a lack of education, social supports and employment opportunities, compounded by poverty, sexism, racism, and wage inequality.

Human trafficking for sexual exploitation continues to constitute the majority of trafficking cases encountered by law enforcement across Canada, most often in large urban centres and with most victims being Canadian women and girls, with Indigenous women and girls being disproportionately represented as victims. About one in five (17%) of human trafficking incidents reported in 2019 were in the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Toronto, and 9% were reported in Halifax. These were followed by Montréal (7%), Ottawa (7%) and St. Catharines-Niagara (6%).Footnote 1

Findings from the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline’s first year of operations also indicated that the vast majority (90%) of victims/survivors were female. The Hotline data also revealed that transgender and gender non-conforming individuals experience trafficking at disproportionately higher rates relative to their population. This group represents 2% of all victims/survivors calling into the Hotline despite comprising 0.24% of the Canadian population. Findings from the report also indicate that the vast majority of victims/survivors were Canadian with only 14% of victims/survivors being foreign nationals.Footnote 2

Although it is still too early to comprehensively assess the trends and trafficking risks that have arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic, anecdotal information obtained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) suggests that there has been a shift of trafficking in persons (TIP)Footnote 3 activities to online platforms.

While measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic, such as social distancing, quarantine requirements, and travel restrictions, are crucial for the protection of Canadians, these measures can also increase the risk of human trafficking. Due to the economic slowdown, existing socio-economic disadvantages are amplified for marginalized populations, such as greater economic need, unstable living conditions, and increased prevalence of substance abuse, which can make them more susceptible to sex and labour trafficking.

Project SAFEKEEPING, an assessment of domestic human trafficking for sexual exploitation in Canada conducted by the RCMP in 2013, found that human trafficking in Canada is as likely to be orchestrated by individual or family-based opportunists with little formal structure as it is by transnational organized criminal networks. Findings from this assessment remain valid for 2020-21.

Instances of human trafficking for the purpose of forced labour continue to also be reported in Canada. Human trafficking can occur in almost any industry, including agriculture and domestic service. Migrant workers continue to be at higher risk of forced labour due to language barriers, working in isolated/remote areas, lack of access to services and support, and/or correct information about their legal rights. Victims may suffer physical, sexual, financial, emotional and/or psychological abuse, and may live and work in brutal conditions.

Migrant victims of trafficking are often promised high-paying jobs, education or travel opportunities; however, when they arrive they are forced to work long hours under unsafe working conditions for little or no money. Labourers are often forced to pay back large (illegal) recruitment fees that are separate from the immigration services fee they can legally be charged.

Human Trafficking in Canada Statistics

The National Strategy relies on the data collected by Statistics Canada’s Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety Statistics (CCJCSS), which is based on data from the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Survey. This survey includes only incidents that have been detected and reported to police. Through the UCR survey, Statistics Canada collects detailed information about human trafficking incidents which are captured through Criminal Code human trafficking offences or through cross-border trafficking offences under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Data from the Integrated Criminal Court Survey captures information about human trafficking offences in criminal courts, including court outcomes.

Statistics Canada’s Juristat report provides a picture of the number of police-reported incidents of human trafficking in Canada (see figure 2). It is important to note the available data only provides a partial view of the scope of human trafficking in Canada, due to the hidden nature of the crime and the fear of victims to come forward, resulting in underreporting to police. In terms of findings overall, both the number and rate of police-reported human trafficking incidents have been generally trending upward. The number of human trafficking incidents reported in 2019 marked a 44% increase from the previous year. This follows a slight decline in 2018, the only year-over-year decline reported since 2010. In total, from 2009 to 2019, there were 2,468 police-reported incidents in Canada where human trafficking was the most serious violation related to the incident. The average annual rate over the 11-year period (2009-2019) was 0.62 incidents per 100,000 population.

Figure 2. Annual counts of police-reported human trafficking incidents in Canada, by type of violation, 2009 to 2019


Note: This analysis is based on aggregate data, and counts are based on the most serious violation in a criminal incident. Rates are calculated on the basis of 100,000 population. Populations are based upon July 1 estimates from Statistics Canada, Centre for Demography. The Uniform Crime Reporting Survey was amended partway through 2011 to allow police services to report the specific offence of human trafficking under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Once the specific violation code was introduced, a small number of incidents which took place prior to this date were reported.

The vast majority (95%) of human trafficking victims were girls and women, and overall, most (89%) victims were below the age of 35 (Chart 2). More than one in five (21%) victims were girls below the age of 18, and 43% of victims were young women aged 18 to 24. Just over one-fifth (22%) of victims were women aged 25 to 34.

Figure 3. Victims and accused persons in police-reported human trafficking incidents, by age group, Canada, 2019


Note: Analysis of victim information is based on Criminal Code human trafficking incidents only, where human trafficking was the only or the most serious violation in the incident. For accused persons, this age group includes persons between the ages of 12 to 17 only. Children under 12 years of age cannot be prosecuted for criminal activities. Police services can report up to four violations for each incident. Calculations for accused persons are based on incidents where human trafficking was any violation in the incident. Victims and accused persons aged 90 years and older are excluded from analyses due to possible instances of miscoding of unknown age within this age category. Excludes persons where the gender or the age was unknown. Given that small counts of victims and accused persons identified as “gender diverse” may exist, the aggregate Uniform Crime Reporting Survey data available to the public has been recoded to assign these counts to either “male” or “female”, in order to ensure the protection of confidentiality and privacy. Victims and accused persons identified as gender diverse have been assigned to either male or female based on the regional distribution of victims’ or accused persons’ gender.

The number of completed human trafficking cases processed in adult criminal courts have been on an upward trend. However, challenges in prosecuting human trafficking cases remain prevalent. From 2008-2009 and from 2018-2019 there were a total of 697 completed cases processed in Canadian adult criminal courts with at least one human trafficking charge, and in about a third (32%) of the cases, human trafficking was the most serious offence in the case. Among these cases, about two-thirds resulted in criminal proceedings being stopped with a decision of stayed, withdrawn, dismissed or discharged.

Read More:


NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More