Queens Park – POLITICS – The Ford Government is guaranteeing that victim services programs funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General will have their funding levels maintained in 2019-2020.
“We are committed to helping victims of crime and their families access supports and services that are responsive to their needs,” said Attorney General Caroline Mulroney. “Going forward, we are guaranteeing funding will be maintained while we have a conversation about ways to make victims services easier to navigate.”
While maintaining victim services programs funding, the Ministry of the Attorney General will conduct a comprehensive review across government to ensure victims of crime and their families can access the help they need when and where they need it most.
The Ministry of the Attorney General currently provides $60.2 million in funding across 15 separately funded victims programs. Those 15 programs are provided by 214 agencies across Ontario in accordance with 252 separate transfer payment agreements.
The victim and witness support programs provided by the Ministry of the Attorney General are in addition to the $176 million that the province invests through the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, to support over 400 agencies that provide funding for violence against women services. Additionally, the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care funds 35 hospital-based Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres across Ontario that provide care to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The government will work with service providers to establish a more integrated and effective victim services system, while eliminating unnecessary duplication and overlap. The goal of the review is to ensure that victims of violent crime can access supports and services when and where they need them.
Despite a difficult fiscal outlook and a $15 billion deficit inherited from the previous government, Ontario will also provide $1 million in additional one-time funding to sexual assault centres, increasing overall funding for the centres to $15.8 million in 2019-20. This funding will directly support sexual assault centres across Ontario, including French-language centres, which offer free and confidential specialized support services to survivors of sexual violence. All other victim services program funding will be maintained at its existing level for 2019-20.
“The people of Ontario and their government have zero tolerance for sexual assault, harassment and any other form of violence in our communities. We recognize the important work of victim services organizations across the province and are committed to supporting survivors of sexual violence and their families,” said Minister Mulroney.
Ontario is working to provide those affected by violence and exploitation with the supports they need, while ensuring offenders are held accountable through the justice system. At the same time, Ontario is working to restore accountability and trust in our province’s public finances to protect front-line services and important programming such as support to victims of crime.