Gender-based violence remains a significant yet preventable barrier to equality
TORONTO, June 19, 2017 /CNW/ - Many Canadians still face violence every day simply because of their gender expression, gender identity or perceived gender. It's time for that to change. The Government of Canada is taking action to prevent and address gender-based violence (GBV).
Today, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, announced It's Time: Canada's Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence.
It's Time for a whole-of-government approach to prevent and address this form of violence, with new investments from:
- Status of Women Canada;
- the Public Health Agency of Canada;
- Public Safety Canada;
- the Department of National Defence;
- the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
It's Time builds on federal initiatives already underway and coordinates existing programs. It lays the foundation for greater action and is based on three pillars that will improve Canada's overall response to GBV:
- Support for survivors and their families; and
- Promotion of responsive legal and justice systems.
It will fill important gaps in support for diverse populations which includes but is not limited to: women and girls, Indigenous people, LGBTQ2 members, gender non-conforming people, those living in northern, rural, and remote communities, people with disabilities, newcomers, children and youth, and seniors. Men and boys will also be engaged in awareness initiatives.
Budget 2017 included $100.9 million over five years, and $20.7 million per year ongoing, to go towards the implementation of It's Time. This will include the creation of the Gender-Based Violence Knowledge Centre within Status of Women Canada. The Knowledge Centre will better align existing resources across government and support the development and sharing of research and data to enable more coordinated action on GBV.
"Gender-based violence remains a significant yet preventable barrier to equality. Canada will only reach its full potential when everyone has the opportunity to thrive, no matter who they are or where they come from. To achieve this, we need to work together to prevent gender-based violence. It's time to believe survivors; it's time to gain more knowledge about this problem; it's time to invest in solutions. It's time to act."
Minister of Status of Women
"Gender-based violence is a serious public health issue with immediate and long-lasting consequences on the physical and mental health of survivors, and with social consequences for families, communities and society as a whole. This Strategy will invest in concrete measures to prevent, support and better respond to this issue across Canada. Today, we are re-affirming our commitment to preventing gender-based violence while supporting survivors."
Minister of Health
"Women and children are disproportionately affected by sexual exploitation, abuse and trafficking. These are intolerable crimes and the Government of Canada will continue to work to identify those at risk, to prevent these crimes, and ensure culturally-appropriate tools, training and resources are in place to help federal police and partners support victims."
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
"All Canadians must benefit from the fundamental principles of equality and dignity. Across our country's diverse populations, it is important that every individual – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, economic status, abilities, or ethnicity – is able to live a life that is not overshadowed by violence. Together, we are committed to making this a reality."
Harjit Singh Sajjan
Minister of National Defence
"Canada has a proud tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world. I'm proud that through this Strategy, we are enhancing the settlement services offered so that vulnerable newcomers receive the supports they need to feel safe and secure in their new country. These improvements include the addition of place-based services to provide newcomer women with information and interventions that address isolation and provide important referrals to mental health supports and community resources."
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
- The Minister of Status of Women worked with her Advisory Council on gender-based violence to develop It's Time. Consultations with Canadians from a variety of backgrounds across the country also informed the strategy.
- On June 15, 2017, the Government of Canada tabled its response to the 7th Report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women entitled Taking Action to End Violence Against Young Women and Girls in Canada. The Standing Committee's report supports the development of the federal government's current and planned actions on the issue of gender-based violence.
- In addition to It's Time, the Government of Canada is taking a number of additional actions to address GBV, including:
- launching the independent National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls;
- taking action to prevent harassment and sexual violence in federally regulated workplaces;
- undertaking a review of the criminal justice system to see how it can be strengthened;
- creating the National Housing Strategy to address poverty and homelessness;
- implementing a National Early Learning and Child Care Framework; and
- amending the Criminal Code's hate crime provisions and the Canadian Human Rights Act to include gender identity and expression to increase protections of LGBTQ2 and gender non-conforming individuals to ensure all Canadians enjoy the same rights and freedoms.
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It's Time: Canada's Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-based Violence
Budget 2017 announced $100.9 million over five years, starting in 2017-18, and $20.7 million per year thereafter, to establish a Strategy to Address Gender-Based Violence. The Strategy will create a Gender-Based Violence Knowledge Centre within Status of Women Canada, to better align existing resources to address gender-based violence (GBV), and include other measures that will be implemented by: Status of Women Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Public Safety Canada, the Department of National Defence, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. This will build on initiatives led by other federal departments and portfolio partners, including Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Employment and Social Development Canada, and Justice Canada. The Minister of Status of Women will also work with her colleagues to fulfill mandate letter commitments that pertain to making necessary Criminal Code changes and taking action to ensure that federal institutions are workplaces free from harassment and sexual violence.
The funds will be allocated as follows:
- $77.5 million over five years, and $16 million per year ongoing, to Status of Women Canada for a Gender-Based Violence Knowledge Centre, data collection and research, and programming;
- $9.5 million over five years, and $2 million per year ongoing, to the Public Health Agency of Canada to support implementing and testing ways to prevent GBV, including child maltreatment and teen dating violence;
- $6 million over five years, and $1.3 million per year ongoing, to Public Safety Canada to enhance efforts to address online child exploitation;
- $4 million over five years, and $0.8 million per year ongoing, to the Department of National Defence to increase funding for Family Crisis Teams, to support members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families affected by violence;
- $2.4 million over five years, and $0.6 million per year ongoing, to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for cultural competency training for federal law enforcement officers; and
- $1.5 million over five years to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to enhance the Settlement Program.
The Budget also announced a range of other actions that will help to bolster the impact of the Strategy:
- $118.5 million over five years for Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples, which provides support to organizations that offer programs and services that help meet the needs of urban Indigenous Peoples, support their transition to life in an urban centre or reduce their vulnerability (e.g., help women transition out of shelters, parenting programs).
Support for Survivors and their Families
- $5 billion over 11 years for a National Housing Fund to address critical housing issues, which will prioritize support for populations with distinct needs, including survivors fleeing family violence;
- $2.1 billion over 11 years to expand the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, including support for community projects tailored to the needs of homeless women such as survivors fleeing family violence;
- $204.2 million over five years to increase mental health supports for First Nations and Inuit communities; and
- Proposed changes to the Canada Labour Code to provide federally regulated workers with new unpaid leave to seek care if they are victims of family violence.
Responsive Legal and Justice Systems
- $2.7 million over five years and $0.5 million per year ongoing to support programming on judicial education, ethics and conduct, including gender and diversity training for judges;
- $62.9 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, and $11.5 million per year thereafter, to enhance the delivery of immigration and refugee legal aid services, in partnership with the provinces and territories; and
- $55.5 million over five years, starting in 2017-18 and $11.1 million per year ongoing, to provide long-term and stable investment in the Indigenous Justice Program, which provides funding for community-based programs that use restorative justice approaches as an alternative to the mainstream justice system and corrections.
This builds on the related investments made in Budget 2016, including for shelters and transition housing for individuals fleeing family violence, and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Related investments were also made for Family Information Liaison Units in each province and territory and culturally grounded services and supports for family members of missing or murdered Indigenous women.
SOURCE Status of Women Canada
For further information: Philippe Charlebois, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Status of Women, 613-618-8546; Léonie Roux, Public Affairs Officer, Status of Women Canada, 819-420-6821