TORONTO, May 3, 2019 /CNW/ - 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 their ability to do this important work is the most effective way to advance gender equality.
That's why today, Julie Dzerowicz, Member of Parliament for Davenport, on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, announced that the Government of Canada is investing over $2.4 million for five women's organizations in Toronto's Davenport neighbourhood.
MP Dzerowicz highlighted the organizations that will receive funding (please see the Backgrounder for more information and testimonials):
- COSTI Immigrant Services;
- The Dandelion Initiative;
- Sistering – A Drop-In Centre for Transient Women;
- South Asian Women's Centre; and
- Working Women Community Centre.
Funding for these projects stems from historic Budget 2018 investments in 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 who experience gender-based violence.
"With our historic investment, we recognize the women and women's organizations breaking through barriers and express our gratitude to those who have been doing this work for decades on little more than a shoestring budget. The women's movement across Canada has been asking for a reliable, predictable and accessible source of funds to ensure the sustainability of their work; our government listened. With stable and flexible funding, we are helping these five organizations in Davenport grow and endure, because we know that investing in women's organizations 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."
The Honourable Maryam Monsef, P.C., M.P.
Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality
The federal government is investing in women's organizations in Canada so they can continue to meet the ever-increasing demand for their services. Today's announcement of over $2.4 million for deserving organisations in Davenport is a game-changer. The federal government is committed to bringing together strong women leaders and supporting organizations advocating on behalf of women. With this funding, we are addressing systemic barriers that women face daily, while maintaining a data-focused approach to policy-making. Canada can only succeed if every Canadian – all men and women – are able to achieve their potential. Gender equality is a key priority not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it is the smart thing to do."
Member of Parliament for Davenport
- Budget 2018 announced $100 million over five years to support a viable and sustainable women's movement across Canada. Adding to this historic investment, Budget 2019 proposes to invest a further $160 million over five years, starting in 2019–20, in the Department for Women and Gender Equality's Women's Program. This means that by 2023–24, the Women's Program, which supports eligible organizations to carry out projects to advance equality by addressing systemic barriers, will total $100 million annually.
- This funding will enable women's organizations and Indigenous organizations serving women to tackle systemic barriers impeding women's progress while recognizing and addressing the diverse experiences of gender and inequality across the country.
- To date, the Government of Canada has invested over $200 million to prevent gender-based violence, support survivors and their families, and create more responsive legal and justice systems.
- Some populations are more likely to experience violence and may face unique barriers and challenges that put them at particular risk. According to the 2014 General Social Survey on Victimization, women are at a 20% higher risk of violent victimization than men when all other risk factors are taken into account. Indigenous women are more likely to experience violence and reported having been the victim of a violent crime at a rate 2.7 higher than that reported by non-Indigenous women (219 incidents per 1,000 population versus 81 incidents per 1,000).
- Gender-based violence can have lifelong impacts on an individual's physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health. Additionally, the effects can be serious and costly. Annually, the economic impact of intimate partner violence and sexual assault is estimated to be over $12 billion.
- Women continue to be disproportionately affected by economic insecurity. In 2015, women in Canada earned on average just 88 cents for every dollar earned by men. They are also much more likely to work on a part-time basis, making up 76% of all part-time workers, with 25% of women reporting childcare responsibilities as their reason for working part-time.
- Canada will host the Women Deliver 2019 Conference from June 3 to 6, 2019, in Vancouver, British Columbia. Held every three years, it is the world's largest gathering on gender equality and the health, rights and well-being of women and girls.
- The conference is part of a global movement to promote gender equality worldwide that gives voice to a broad spectrum of people, including Indigenous peoples, youth and those living in conflict and crisis settings. It will bring together more than 6,000 individuals—world leaders, influencers, advocates, academics, activists, youth and journalists—from more than 160 countries, with an additional 100,000 people joining virtually.
Department for Women and Gender Equality – Women's Program
One of the ways the Department for Women and Gender Equality advances gender equality in Canada is by providing funding to eligible organizations through the Women's Program. Projects are selected via calls for proposals on specific themes, as well as through a continuous intake process that allows the Women's Program to address emerging issues as they arise.
The Women's Program funds projects that address systemic barriers to women's equality in three priority areas: ending violence against women and girls; improving the economic security and prosperity of women and girls; and encouraging women and girls in leadership roles.
Capacity-building Call for Proposals
In October 2018, Minister Monsef announced a Call for Proposals under the Capacity-building Fund of the Women's Program. Projects at the local, provincial, and national level were eligible for different amounts of funding, based on their specific need and reach.
On March 8, 2019, International Women's Day, Minister Monsef announced that over 250 women's organizations across the country would receive funding from the Capacity-building Fund.
The objective is to fund proposals that will increase the capacity of eligible women's organizations and Indigenous organizations serving women, whose initiatives contribute to a viable women's movement in Canada that advances gender equality. Funding will increase the ability of organizations to grow, meet the increasing demands for their services, and continue to work collectively to address gender equality issues. The fund stems from the Budget 2018 announcement of $100 million over five years to help support a viable and sustainable women's movement across Canada.
Today's announcement in Toronto, Ontario, profiled four projects that were selected for federal funding through the Capacity-building Fund:
The Dandelion Initiative
Project title: Safer Spaces Ontario: Strengthening Survivor Centric Work
Funding amount: $740,960
This investment will provide the long-term funding necessary for the Dandelion Initiative to diversify programs and partnerships over time and build capacity to sustain programs and services. Funding will also be used to improve the agency's visibility and capability to share resources and knowledge by strengthening its mission to empower and enhance the community partnerships that are the foundation of advancing gender equality and ending gender-based violence.
Founded by Viktoria Belle in 2016, the Dandelion Initiative is led by survivors of sexual violence and prioritizes the voices of LGBTQ2S+, Black, Indigenous, and racialized survivors
"Racialized women and feminized people face multiple barriers to equality and often find the safe spaces we use every day can be rife with discrimination and the potential for harassment. The funding we received today from the Government of Canada comes at a time when we have a great need to expand and strengthen our network of support for survivors. We can't do this without sustained funding and we are grateful for the chance to build our capacity to serve and give voice to all survivors of gender-based violence."
Viktoria Belle, Executive Director & Founder
The Dandelion Initiative
Sistering – A Drop-In Centre for Transient Women
Project title: Making Visible - Unique Issues of Women's Homelessness
Funding amount: $203,270
With this investment, Sistering will be better able to address the ongoing problem and unique issues related to women's homelessness. The organization will train staff, improve resources, and grow networks to build capacity and promote the use of Gender-based Analysis Plus as tool.
Sistering was created in 1980 by a group of concerned women who came together to meet the needs of the growing number of homeless and transient women in Toronto. Today, the organization serves marginalized and vulnerable women, including women leaving abusive situations, widows without pensions, and young women involved in prostitution and drugs.
"Sistering has always grown and adapted with the community – we've been doing this for almost 40 years. This investment in our organization by the Government of Canada will mean less time spent struggling for funding and more support for the many vulnerable and homeless women who have come to depend on our help."
Judy Virgo, Co-Chair
Sistering – A Drop-In Centre for Transient Women
South Asian Women's Centre
Project title: Developing Agency Sustainability through Capacity-Building
Funding amount: $230,457
The South Asian Women's Centre's (SAWC) seeks to improve and enhance their service delivery and to share their expertise across sectors, including integration of the work being done on the local, regional and provincial level. This investment will facilitate strategic planning, greater financial health and communications to strengthen the organization's long-term sustainability and capacity to advance gender equality.
SAWC was founded in 1982 as a non-profit run entirely by volunteers. SAWC's focus is to raise women's self-awareness and help develop their full potential by increasing their economic, social, and political standing in society.
"The South Asian Women's Centre provides holistic client focused services in over 14 languages – but our needs have been increasing. This funding from the Department for Women and Gender Equality reflects a long-term need, is very helpful and will allow us to invest in building the Centre's capacity. We cannot make this happen without long-term funding and sustainability. It will enhance our work and better support the women who use our services, and who want to contribute to society and help others do the same."
Kripa Sekhar, Executive Director
South Asian Women's Centre
Working Women Community Centre
Project title: Capacity for Equality Project
Funding amount: $247,598
With this investment, Working Women Community Centre will develop a strategic plan to enhance its tools, training, policies, procedures, and best practices. It will ensure the plan is fully implemented by the organization's volunteers and staff in their four locations across the Greater Toronto Area.
Working Women Community Centre was created in 1974 to help newcomer women from Portugal, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa with pre-employment and employment counseling with the view that all women are entitled to meaningful employment.
"Much of our work has been in the area of training and social enterprise. We are constantly challenged to develop new and practical programs that require us to build our capacity to deliver services that work. With this new investment from the federal government, we can establish a wider network and have the confidence in our ability to handle the expansion without compromising our service to the community. This is the kind of funding that makes our work possible and will make a difference in the lives of many women throughout the Greater Toronto Area."
Marcie Ponte, Executive Director
Working Women Community Centre
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.
Today's announcement also highlighted one project receiving funding from the GBV Program:
COSTI Immigrant Services
Project title: Evaluation of wraparound services for Immigrant, Refugee, and Ethnocultural women facing gender-based violence.
Funding amount: $980,000
With this investment, COSTI Immigrant Services will implement a project to identify and fill service gaps to immigrant, refugee and non-status women, and ethnocultural women experiencing gender-based violence. The organization will test two models of service: a single agency model and a multi-agency model, to determine how best to support survivors.
COSTI Immigrant Services is a community-based multicultural agency that has been supporting the needs of a diverse society since 1952. The organization provides employment, educational, settlement and social services to all immigrant communities, new Canadians and individuals in need of assistance. Operating from 18 locations in Toronto, the Region of Peel and York Region, COSTI provides services in more than 60 languages. Last year, over 39,000 individuals received assistance.
"COSTI makes every effort to ensure that individuals from every corner of the world are provided with equal access to our services. Thanks to this federal investment, we can strive to fill people's lives with opportunities for success, free from violence, to build a strong and prosperous community."
Mario Calla, Executive Director
COSTI Immigrant Services
- Capacity-building Fund Call for Proposals
- Gender-Based Violence Program
- COSTI Immigrant Services
- The Dandelion Initiative
- Sistering - A Drop-In Centre for Transient Women
- South Asian Women's Centre
- Working Women Community Centre
- Women Deliver 2019
Follow the Department for Women and Gender Equality:
SOURCE Department for Women and Gender Equality
For further information: Braeson Holland, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality, 343-549-8825; Valérie Haché, Senior Communications Advisor, Department for Women and Gender Equality, 819-420-8684