THUNDER BAY – “Women and Indigenous peoples have been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has deepened the vulnerability of those facing or fleeing domestic violence. This funding to women’s centres and Indigenous organizations will support the incredible work of brave front-line support workers and preserve the services that are so integral to our communities in Thunder Bay and all of Northwestern Ontario,” states Patty Hajdu, the federal Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North.
Women’s safety must be the foundation on which all progress is built. That’s why, in the recent Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada committed to accelerate investments in shelters and transition housing to ensure anyone facing gender-based violence has a safe place to turn.
Today, the Honorable Patty Hadju, Minister of Health, on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, announced up to $50 million in funding to support organizations providing supports and services to those experiencing gender-based violence.
This funding announced today includes:
- Up to $10 million for women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help them continue to provide their critical services safely;
- Up to $10 million to support organizations providing services related to gender-based violence to Indigenous people off-reserve; and
- Up to $30 million for other women’s organizations to support the delivery of GBV supports, to help combat the spread of COVID, and to address the increased demand for services.
Today’s announcement builds on previous emergency funding provided to women’s shelters, sexual assault centres and other organizations providing gender-based violence services to ensure continuity of services at this challenging time. This brings the total COVID-19 emergency funding provided to GBV organizations to $100 million. Through the first $50 million, 291 organizations in Ontario received much-needed funding that helped ensure they could keep their doors open to those in need. Organizations used this funding to enhance cleaning and safety procedures, hire additional staff to manage additional workload, and purchase equipment to help them deliver their services remotely.
While moving swiftly to address immediate needs, our government, in partnership with the Government of Ontario, is also moving forward on a National Action Plan on gender-based violence. This work is focused on ensuring that people who experience gender-based violence have access to timely supports no matter where they live while also laying the foundation to eradicating this unacceptable violence altogether.
The Government has significantly increased funding to grow and strengthen the women’s movement. Between 2015 and 2019, federal support to women’s and equality-seeking organizations increased five-fold, compared to the previous five years. This fiscal year WAGE will make available over $100 million available to these organizations to ensure they can continue their important work, helping to build a stronger, more inclusive Canada. Six million Canadians benefit from the work of these organizations every year.
“No Canadian should have to live in fear. Too many Canadians continue to be victims of sexual violence, domestic violence, online child exploitation, and human trafficking. In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic has created additional and unprecedented challenges for survivors of sexual and domestic violence and the organizations that serve them. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring those who are experiencing violence have access to the help they need,” adds Bill Blair, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.