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 the ability of these organizations to do this important work is the most effective way to advance gender equality.
Yesterday, June 25, 2019, Paul Lefebvre, Member of Parliament for Sudbury, on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, announced that the Government of Canada will invest up to $2.7 million in seven women’s organizations and Indigenous organizations serving women in Northern Ontario.
MP Lefebvre highlighted the following organizations that will receive funding (please see the Backgrounder for more information):
- Aboriginal Peoples Alliance Northern Ontario;
- Centre Passerelle pour femmes du nord de l’Ontario;
- Chapleau, Hornepayne, Algoma District Women in Crisis;
- Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres;
- Sudbury Women’s Centre;
- Sudbury Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA); and,
- UCCM Anishnaabe Police Service.
Funding for these projects stems from historic Budget 2018 investments in both 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 that experience gender-based violence.
“In making these historic investments, we recognize the women and women’s organizations that have long been breaking through barriers, and we express our gratitude to them for what has often been decades of important work, on little more than a shoestring budget. The women’s movement across Canada has been asking for too long for a reliable, predictable and accessible source of funds to ensure the sustainability of their work: our government listened. I am proud now, that with stable and flexible funding, we are helping organizations in Northern Ontario grow and endure, because we know that investing in women’s organizations and Indigenous organizations serving women 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.” explained The Honourable Maryam Monsef, P.C., M.P., Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality
“I am proud of the fact that our government has made women’s rights and gender equality a priority. Every Canadian should enjoy the rights and privileges of living in a modern, successful society where each person is treated equally and with respect. We will continue to work with women’s organizations in Ontario to ensure the vital services they provide are supported and maintained, for now and for the future.” said Paul Lefebvre the Member of Parliament for Sudbury
In Wawa, Paula Valois, Executive Director for CHADWIC Home (Chapleau, Hornepayne, Algoma District Women in Crisis) explained that they have received funding for their project Building Capacity to support Northern Women & Girls, iwth a funding amount of $250,000. CHADWIC Home will develop a new online communications strategy, which will better support clients. It will also improve the capacity of its board and staff, IT, and digital communications. To complement this transition, it will support the upgrading of human resources policies and procedures and improve training for staff, including the development of a new employee support plan.
Paula explained that “The modern world communicates at a fast pace and with the rise of social media, advancing gender equality has a new platform for getting the message out there and for connecting with today’s women and girls. We are thankful for support from the federal government. It will help us continue to provide the types of supports women need for themselves and their children.”
The other five projects in Northern Ontario to receive funding are:
Aboriginal Peoples Alliance Northern Ontario (APANO)
Project title: Building Our Future
Funding amount: $295,975
APANO will develop new, sustainable programs to address gender inequality and increase opportunities for Indigenous women and girls. It will create awareness of the circumstances, myths and conditions that allow for gender bias and discrimination to take root, and empower women and girls to become their own advocates, break down barriers to gender equality, and create a more equal society.
APANO supports individuals and communities through healthy mental, physical and spiritual development while preserving traditional and cultural lifestyles. Although APANO is an Indigenous organization, they welcome the participation of all people in support of cross-cultural understanding, acceptance and awareness. APANO is dedicated to providing a better quality of life for urban Indigenous people.
“Thanks to the support of the federal government, our project to advance gender equality will see our organization meets the needs of a modern community. Empowering women and girls to reclaim their lives by becoming agents for positive social and systemic change is a step in the right direction. We look forward to strengthening our ability to work with the community to ensure meaningful and lasting change.” – Blaire Westberry, Executive Director of Programs, Aboriginal Peoples Alliance Northern Ontario
Centre Passerelle pour femmes du nord de l’Ontario
Project title: Overcoming the Challenge of Staff Turnover for a Stable Future
Funding amount: $211,637
The Centre Passerelle pour femmes du nord de l’Ontario will improve human resources management to expand organizational capacity and deal with staff turnover and training by using modern training methods and an employee orientation manual and establish an employee recognition policy. It will be able to grow its programming and strengthen its commitment to advancing gender equality through social and systemic change.
Centre Passerelle pour femmes du nord de l’Ontario serves Francophone women over the age of 16 who are survivors of sexual assault or seeking help to cope with an abusive relationship. To meet the needs of these women, it operates as a non-profit organization run by and for women, and offers a range of comprehensive and quality French-language services in the District of Cochrane. The Centre is committed to promoting healthy and safe living conditions for French-speaking women.
“It can be challenging for us to provide services in such a vast and diverse area as Northern Ontario. With this new investment from the federal government, we can move forward with our plans to improve our staffing with updated training and better management of our human resources. This type of funding is the way forward for women’s organizations like ours; without it, we wouldn’t be able to build for our future and for the safety and well-being of the francophone women who come to us for assistance.” = Chantal Mailloux, Executive Director, Centre Passerelle pour femmes du nord de l’Ontario
Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC)
Project title: Fostering Capacity in Sexual Assault Centres in the #MeToo Era
Funding amount: $512,450
The OCRCC will integrate a new strategy for the sexual violence sector that considers modern needs. It will create a long-term strategic plan for advocacy based on the current context of the #MeToo era and the changing attitudes towards sexual violence and gender equality. OCRCC will also improve its financial health with administrative support and grant-writing capacity.
The OCRCC is a network of 29 English-language sexual assault centres across Ontario that offer counselling, information and support services to survivors of sexual violence, including childhood sexual abuse and incest. The OCRCC partners with various community and academic allies to develop professional training models to improve skills in responding appropriately to sexual assault disclosures.
“Awareness of sexual violence is increasing —a significant and positive achievement. With the #MeToo and #TimesUpmovements addressing the prevalence of sexual violence, community-based sexual assault centres have seen a significant upswing in calls and requests for support. Right now is the most opportune time to work on our strategic plan to keep abreast of social changes. This Project will help us develop this plan as a Coalition and maximize opportunities to engage with other partners about sexual violence.” = Deb Singh, Interim Chair, Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres
Sudbury Women’s Centre (SWC)
Project title: Building Capacity
Funding amount: $231,899
SWC will work with a professional development officer to build relationships and partnerships with donors and foundations along with planned community activities and events that will show first-hand the impact it has on women in the community. This will help support the sustainability of the SWC and advance gender equality, diversity and inclusion in and around Sudbury.
SWC is a non-profit charitable organization committed to serving the needs of women in the community and dedicated to providing information, referral, and support services to women who have been impacted by violence and difficult life circumstances. It offers key tools and resources that assist women with issues of systematic discrimination and violence and works daily to create and maintain a safe environment that is inclusive and respectful of diversity.
“With the federal government’s investment in our work, we plan to pursue a new kind of partnership that sees the donor and the community coming together where they can witness for themselves the impact their donations are making on the lives of the women and families in Sudbury.” – Giulia Carpenter, Executive Director, Sudbury Women’s Centre
Sudbury Young Women’s Christian Association (Sudbury YWCA)
Project title: Building Sustainability to Advance Gender Equality
Funding amount: $191,856
The Sudbury YWCA will grow to enable it to better promote social and systemic change on gender equality. It will ensure successful transitions of management with a results-based management approach. It will develop and implement new fundraising strategies that include revenue diversification, strategic community partnerships, and supportive collaborations.
The first meeting of YWCA Sudbury was held in 1955, followed by its incorporation in 1958. It is dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls. Its programs promote equality, economic security and lives free from violence.
“The YWCA Sudbury has a history of adapting to the changes and challenges of a growing community. Our world is getting more complex and our financial resources and leadership need to be maintained to match our level of service. This new funding from the Government of Canada will allow us to diversify and expand our donor base through results-based management and Gender-based Analysis Plus. This will result in greater organizational capacity to advance gender equality and modern leadership within the workplace that connects with the people who come to the YWCA for help.” – Marlene Gorman, Executive Director, Sudbury Young Women’s Christian Association
Department for Women and Gender Equality’s Gender-Based Violence Program
Following the June 2017 announcement of It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, the Department for Women and Gender Equality (formerly Status of Women Canada) launched the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Program in January 2018.
The GBV Program complements the department’s Women’s Program and helps organizations working in the GBV sector to develop and implement promising practices to address gaps in supports for survivors and their families.
While violence affects people of all genders, ages, cultures, ethnicities, geographic locations, and socio-economic backgrounds, some populations are more at-risk and face additional barriers to accessing services. The GBV Program responds to this need by providing funding to eligible organizations at the local, regional and national levels for projects that address gaps in supports for specific groups of survivors, including Indigenous women, and other underserved populations, such as children and youth, LGBTQ2 communities, non-status/refugee/immigrant women, seniors, women living in official language minority communities, women living in northern, rural and remote communities, and women living with disabilities.
The GBV Fund also will fund one project in Northern Ontario:
UCCM Anishnaabe Police Service
Project title: Lighting the Fire Within
Funding amount: up to $1 million
The UCCM Anishnaabe Police Service will reduce risk factors and incidents of domestic violence in Anishnaabe communities on Manitoulin Island through the introduction of three interconnected police service initiatives. Anishnaabe police officers will receive trauma-informed training to ensure its responses to incidents of domestic violence are appropriate and will also learn how to prevent survivors from being re-victimized by the reporting process or ensuing legal proceedings. A mandatory culturally-sensitive training program targeting non-criminal offenders will be developed and facilitated to prevent the escalation of domestic disputes in the communities. Finally, a sports-based program targeting children and youth will be developed and implemented to promote healthy living and the development of positive relationships with police officers.
The United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising Tribal Council began the proposal for a regional police service for Manitoulin Island in the early 1990s. In 1995, a formal tripartite agreement between the Council and federal and provincial governments created the UCCM Anishnaabe Police Service. The Service is a community partner for safety and wellness and provides culturally-sensitive service while respecting existing laws, customs and traditions.
“The Government of Canada’s investment into our police service will help create the necessary social and systemic change required for people and police to fully understand that violence of any kind hurts everyone in the community. In partnership with other local police services, we will learn better ways to counter incidents of domestic violence and help to make a safer place for all First Nations on Manitoulin Island.” – Rodney Nahwegahbow, Chief of Police, UCCM Anishnaabe Police Service