Seven projects from Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Brantford are receiving funding to ensure women's organizations can continue providing essential supports to women and their families
OTTAWA, April 17, 2019 /CNW/ - Women's organizations provide vital services to 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, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Member of Parliament for Waterloo, Raj Saini, Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre, and Marwan Tabbara, Member of Parliament for Kitchener South-Hespeler, 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 over $1.3 million in women's organizations and Indigenous organizations serving women in Ontario's Tri-Cities area.
Government House Leader Chagger, along with Members of Parliament Saini and Tabbara, highlighted the seven organizations that will receive funding (please see the Backgrounder for more information and testimonials):
- Coalition of Muslim Women of KW (Kitchener West);
- Focus for Ethnic Women, Waterloo Region Inc.;
- Kitchener-Waterloo Young Women's Christian Association;
- Nova Vita Women's Shelter Inc.;
- Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region;
- Sexual Health Options, Resources & Education Centre; and
- Young Women's Christian Association of Cambridge.
These organizations are 7 of the more than 250 women's organization, and Indigenous organizations serving women across Canada receiving funding under the Capacity-building Fund. This investment stems from the Budget 2018 announcement of $100 million over five years to support a viable and sustainable women's movement across Canada.
"With this 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 in the Tri-Cities area, we are helping organizations scale up so they can 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
"Our Government is working hard to advance equality for women and girls in Canada and around the world. Focus for Ethnic Women (FEW) Waterloo Region works with women who are immigrants, refugees, or visible minorities with skills development programs close to their homes that give them the tools they need to succeed in our economy. This funding will ensure FEW has the capacity to develop new tools and programs to better serve Waterloo Region."
The Honourable Bardish Chagger
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Member of Parliament for Waterloo
"This investment is wonderful news for the entire Waterloo Region community. The funding will strengthen the capacity of organizations in our region that already work tirelessly to address gender equality in society. I look forward to seeing the heightened impact our community organizations will have from this investment as they continue working to ensure that every woman and girl is able to fully participate and thrive in Waterloo Region."
Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre
"This funding allows local organizations that are doing incredible work to support women in our community to increase their capacity and continue to deliver their vital programs."
Member of Parliament for Kitchener South-Hespeler
- 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.
- Women continue to be disproportionately affected by economic insecurity. In 2015, women in Canada earned on average 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.
- Some populations are more likely to experience violence and may face unique barriers and challenges that put them at particular risk (Statistics Canada, 2015).
- 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 profiled seven projects selected for federal funding:
Coalition of Muslim Women of KW
Project title: AMAL: Towards a Sustainable Future
Funding amount: $244,750
AMAL is Arabic for hope. With this funding, the Coalition of Muslim Women of KW will advance gender equality for Muslim women in the Waterloo Region by empowering them to be leaders and change makers, addressing issues of racism, discrimination and Islamophobia, facilitating Muslim women's active participation in civic and democratic life, and increasing their economic prospects. It will enhance the Coalition's effectiveness through evaluation, training, and the development and implementation of appropriate policies, processes and strategies. The organization plans to increase its financial sustainability, develop a strategic plan to work with other organizations in the sector and stimulate advocacy efforts, and train 50 Muslim women leaders to serve on boards and committees.
The Coalition of Muslim Women of KW seeks to build bridges of understanding with the larger community and to strengthen the voices of Muslim women in the region. The Coalition is an incorporated not-for-profit organization with over 40 members and 100 volunteers, offering high quality events and programs. They are the only organization managed solely by Muslim women in Kitchener-Waterloo but membership and volunteer opportunities are open to all women who uphold the Coalition's values and code of conduct regardless of their religious or non-religious affiliation.
"Our organization started small but we have grown with the community to help create a just and harmonious place where Muslim women are valued, engaged and empowered. Our funding needs have also grown, and we are grateful for support from the federal government. Knowing that we have the financial resources to bring more services to meet the community's needs allows us to plan with confidence and make real progress on Muslim women's health, equality and their participation in the community as future leaders."
Ghazala Fauzia, Acting Chair, Board of Directors
Coalition of Muslim Women of KW
Focus for Ethnic Women (FEW), Waterloo Region
Project title: Dynamic development and delivery of local programming for visible minority and immigrant women
Funding amount: $198,232
FEW will look at how the organization can re-organize around a dynamic, evidence-based approach to help visible minority and immigrant women. The approach recognizes the ever-changing demographics of immigrant, refugee, and visible minority populations and the need for women to be able to access programs close to their homes. It will leverage their historical reputation for success to achieve the central goal of improving the economic and social success of visible minority and immigrant women in the Waterloo Region. This funding will help the organization focus on governance and management skills, structure and organizational infrastructure, and stable funding to enable a new model of service delivery.
FEW was created in 1986 to support women immigrants and was incorporated as a charitable organization in 1987. The founding members wanted to create an organization that supported the holistic nature of women's needs, including the physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual. They have worked since to create a safe space for immigrant women to feel personal empowerment while enhancing their self-esteem.
"Focus for Ethnic Women (FEW) is an agency that serves the needs of immigrant, refugee, and visible minority women. Recognizing that the proportion of women among migrants has rapidly increased in Canada, and that displacement has particular challenges and opportunities for women, FEW offers dynamic programs that assist in facilitating migrant women's successful integration into Canadian society. The tremendous support of Women and Gender Equality Canada will allow FEW to develop new management tools, improve our strategic planning and perform a thorough organizational analysis to better assist the diverse needs of the growing number of immigrant, refugee, and visible minority women in our community. Strengthening the capacity of our structure and services will translate to more creative and comprehensive programming that will help these women flourish as members of our community."
Dr. Sylvia Terzian, President of the Board
Focus for Ethnic Women, Waterloo Region
Kitchener-Waterloo Young Women's Christian Association
Project title: Woman Up Waterloo
Funding amount: $200,000
Through Woman Up Waterloo, the YWCA will organize, analyze, and make available gender-based data that is currently not readily available in one place for planning or program development. This will help overcome barriers that affect the YWCA's capacity to provide support and services to the women in the community. Woman Up Waterloo will help the YWCA and the general community to keep up with modern digital support methods of serving women who need help and guidance when dealing with issues of sexual violence and sexual assault.
The Waterloo YWCA was founded in 1905 at Zion Church, Berlin, Ontario – today's Kitchener. The Kitchener-Waterloo YWCA has grown to become a treasured regional institution devoted to the health and well-being of women and their families. Today, the Kitchener-Waterloo YWCA operates almost two dozen programs across the region. It offers services in the areas of early learning and child care and summer camp, girls' recreation and leadership, emergency and supportive housing, and employment training.
"Women's organizations know the importance of advocacy work. We know that while the support we provide through our programs and services improves the lives of individual women, only large-scale social change can improve the lives of all women. But delivering our programs and services keeps us very busy, and uses up all our financial resources. This investment gives YW Kitchener-Waterloo, and our sister agency YWCA Cambridge, the capacity to create and animate an advocacy campaign that will raise public awareness of issues affecting women and girls in Waterloo Region, and engage the broader community in advancing gender equality."
Elizabeth Clarke, CEO
Nova Vita Women's Shelter Inc.
Project title: Embracing Diversity and Inclusion to Build Nova Vita's Organizational Capacity
Funding amount: $197,729
Nova Vita Women's Shelter Inc. will use this funding to foster relationships with multicultural and Indigenous communities, develop a strategic fundraising plan, improve human resource policies, and strengthen the organization's sustainability.
Nova Vita Women's Shelter Inc. has provided holistic, client-centred residential and counselling services to abused and homeless women and their children, and counselling services to the perpetrators of domestic violence in Brantford and Brant County.
"Since 1983, Nova Vita Women's Shelter has offered help, hope and healing to abused women and their children. We are thankful for support from the Government of Canada. Our project will strengthen our sustainability, enable us to foster stronger relationships with multicultural and Indigenous communities, and ultimately help reduce violence against women in Brantford and the County of Brant."
Natasha Dobler, Executive Director
Nova Vita Women's Shelter Inc.
Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region (SASC)
Project title: Creating Capacity in the #MeToo Era
Funding amount: $250,000
Through Creating Capacity in the #MeToo Era, SASC will be able to meet the increased needs of the community in the context of the #MeToo era. The Centre will hire a Development Coordinator to work with the Executive Director and develop and implement a capacity and sustainability plan to improve donor relations, explore partnerships with the private sector, create relationships with new funding bodies, and develop a social enterprise model. It will also fund the technology upgrades necessary to support expanded services and help the Centre move forward with its mission to end violence against women and girls.
In 1978, the three-year-old Waterloo Rape Distress Centre was forced to close when its funding was cut. Local women, many of them survivors themselves, began to strategize and, with the help of some staff and tireless volunteers, the SASC was established. SASC has grown to 15 staff members, 80 volunteers, and three locations. They offer free, wrap-around services and support to people and their families who have experienced sexual violence, and provide individual and group counselling, a 24/7 support phone line, and advocacy and accompaniments for those navigating court, police and medical processes.
"Community-based Sexual Assault Support Centres are often in a leadership position in the women's movement in communities across Canada – both in terms of direct service provision and prevention-work aimed at social change. With the recent cultural shifts that culminated in the #MeToo Movement, survivors of sexual violence are reaching out to us in record numbers. Our public education programs have also seen a significant spike in demand. Our capacity to respond in a timely, effective manner to this new reality is the single biggest issue we're facing as an organization. Over the next five years, we're delighted to announce that this $250,000 grant will support us in creating a staff position focused on gift development and community engagement. The ultimate goal is to strengthen our own capacity to serve survivors and Waterloo Region in the years ahead."
Sara Casselman, Executive Director
Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region
Sexual Health Options, Resources & Education Centre (SHORE)
Project title: Growing Through Partnership: Expanding sexual health education and pro-choice services across Southwestern and Northern Ontario
Funding amount: $179,809
With this funding, SHORE will be able to strengthen the women's movement by ensuring that issues of sexual and reproductive rights are advocated for across the province. It will develop and implement a comprehensive five-year strategic plan in preparation for the expansion of pregnancy options support, medical abortion clinics, and sexual health education programs to three new satellite locations within Southwestern and Northern Ontario. It will also engage in operational planning, environmental scans and setting criteria for community selection, building relationships with feminist leaders and organizations, and securing sustainable funding.
SHORE was founded in 1972 and originally named Planned Parenthood Kitchener-Waterloo, followed by Planned Parenthood Waterloo Region. The Centre grew out of the Birth Control Centre at the University of Waterloo to provide all residents of the community with sexual health information and support.
"Promoting choice when it comes to sexual and reproductive health is our focus at SHORE. Like many feminist organizations, we struggle to develop long-term programs that depend on funding. The Government's new approach to funding organizations like ours will mean progress and better health for women and trans people who rely on our services and our inclusive values."
Lyndsey Butcher, Executive Director
Sexual Health Options, Resources & Education Centre
Young Women's Christian Association of Cambridge
Project title: Needs & Market Assessment for the Viability of a Social Enterprise
Funding amount: $95,750
This funding will support the YWCA Cambridge to lay the groundwork for a successful, intersectional, and inclusive social enterprise with a pay-it-forward system to increase women's economic security and prosperity. This will be accomplished through meaningful employment, volunteerism, and business opportunities. Through a community needs and market assessment, tried and trusted practices for launching the social enterprise will be established to ensure that the space has a positive net return to YWCA Cambridge, both financially and intellectually.
As a member agency of YWCA Canada for over 65 years, YWCA Cambridge is part of Canada's oldest and largest women's multi-service organization. The YWCA is the largest national provider of shelter, literacy, life skills, employment and counselling programs, and second largest provider of child care services in Canada.
"Social enterprise is a powerful way to create social transformation. A core value at the YWCA is to have more women in leadership roles, a key feature of our social enterprise strategy. The funding we are receiving from the Government of Canada will help us bring more young women into the field where their talents and dedication to improving women's lives will have an impact and help us create a model for future women leaders who will develop their own innovative enterprises and programs."
Kim Decker, Executive Director
Young Women's Christian Association of Cambridge
- Capacity-building Fund Call for Proposals
- Coalition of Muslim Women of KW (Kitchener West)
- Focus for Ethnic Women Waterloo Region Inc.
- Kitchener-Waterloo Young Women's Christian Association
- Nova Vita Women's Shelter Inc.
- Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region
- Sexual Health Options, Resources & Education Centre
- Young Women's Christian Association of Cambridge
- 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