Government of Canada announces investment in women’s organizations on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands

Published May 21st on the NewsWire.ca

https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/government-of-canada-announces-investment-in-women-s-organizations-on-vancouver-island-and-the-gulf-islands-807808086.html

VICTORIA, May 21, 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, Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South, 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 up to $4.2 millionin seven women's organizations and Indigenous organizations serving women on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

Parliamentary Secretary Duguid highlighted the organizations that will receive funding (please see the Backgrounder for more information and testimonials):

  • Bridges for Women Society;
  • Haven Society;
  • Nanaimo Women's Resources Society;
  • North Island Métis Association;
  • SWOVA Community Development and Research Society;
  • Victoria Sexual Assault Centre; and
  • Westcoast Community Resources Society.

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 that experience gender-based violence.

Quotes

"With our historic investments, 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 organizations on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands 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

"With this new approach to sustainable funding, we are enabling women's organizations on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands to provide more services to the communities that need their help. This is an investment in a future where our economy and society will be transformed by advancing gender equality and preventing gender-based violence – for the benefit of all Canadians."

Terry Duguid
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality
Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South

Quick Facts

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 and give 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 7,000 individuals—world leaders, influencers, advocates, academics, activists, youth and journalists—from more than 160 countries, with an additional 100,000 people joining virtually.

Related Product

Backgrounder

Department for Women and Gender Equality's 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.

Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands Projects

Today's announcement in Victoria, British Columbia, profiled six projects selected for federal funding through the Capacity-building Fund:

Bridges for Women Society

Project title: Building Bridges for Women's Economic Security and Prosperity
Funding amount: $250,000

Bridges for Women Society will develop and implement a sustainability plan, a viable social enterprise model, and staff training on grant writing to help diversify their funding. This will make the organization more sustainable and financially healthy so that it can continue to advance women's economic security and prosperity, especially women impacted by violence, abuse and neglect.

Bridges for Women Society was established in Victoria in 1988 as an employment training program for women with a history of trauma and abuse. It operated with an advisory committee until 1993 when it became a non-profit society under the British Columbia Society Act.

"Our need to grow requires capital, time and expertise. This new investment will allow us to become more sustainable and it will enhance our financial health, our services, and our programs. We're grateful for this new investment from the federal government which will improve the lives of women on Vancouver Island."

Alison Watson, Board Chair
Bridges for Women Society

Nanaimo Women's Resources Society (NWRS)

Project title: NWRS Wellness and Health Centre
Funding amount: $180,706

NWRS will develop and examine social enterprise models with the community to see what works best for their organization and the people it serves. This will improve their sustainability and financial health.                                                        

NWRS is a registered non-profit which operates the Nanaimo Women's Centre in Nanaimo. They provide a feminist approach modeled on holistic principles of wellness, health, inclusiveness, and the best interests of the community.

"Next to our staff and our volunteers, funding is our most important resource. This new investment from the Government of Canada will allow us the opportunity to examine new social enterprise models for our fundraising goals and to include them in our programs and services. Our aim is to be sustainable and we think we can get there now because of our new funding and a plan to make it happen."

Chantale Roelens, Executive Director
Nanaimo Women's Resources Society

North Island Métis Association

Project title: Ndayaanaan Famii: Rebuilding Our Strong Métis Community
Funding amount: $238,963

The North Island Métis Association will hire a part-time Executive Director to assist in developing a strategic plan and diversifying funding sources to sustain and eventually expand the organization. This will improve the services and supports it provides community members on northern Vancouver Island and the sustainability and financial health of the organization.

The North Island Métis Association serves the interests of Métis people residing in northern Vancouver Island, from Campbell River to Port Hardy. They are an affiliate of the Métis Nation British Columbia.

"We have always operated on a volunteer basis but we need funding to expand and to ensure we're able to provide for the needs of the Métis community on northern Vancouver Island. Becoming sustainable is our goal and this investment from the federal government will give us the support necessary to find the best way forward for our organization and the people we serve."

Jackie Lever, North Island Métis Association Member
North Island Métis Association

SWOVA Community Development and Research Society

Project title: From Inside Out: Building Organizational Capacity 
Funding amount: $155,400

SWOVA will develop and implement a strategic plan to improve governance and human resources. It will also begin measuring performance and track data, develop a funding and communications plan, and explore viable social enterprises in the form of "train-the-trainer" programs that allow its work to be shared with other communities and build a sustainable foundation.

SWOVA is a research and evaluation incubator where strategies and solutions for violence prevention are created, nurtured and shared. It has been working for two decades to prevent all forms of violence and is a registered charity.

"As we grow as an organization, our need to plan for the future demands resources we don't always have. This new funding from the Government of Canada is exactly what we need to design a plan, put it to work and measure the results to better serve going forward."

Janine Fernandes-Hayden, Acting Executive Director
SWOVA Community Development and Research Society

Victoria Sexual Assault Centre

Project title: Building a Strong Foundation to Transform Culture
Funding amount: $189,852

The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre will develop a staff engagement strategy, a strategic plan, succession plans for key roles in the organization, and formally outline policies and procedures. This will improve the ability of the organization to advance gender equality by building a strong foundation for an innovative, healthy, and stable workplace culture where service providers can focus on healing survivors, providing education, and preventing sexual assault.

The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre is a feminist organization committed to ending sexualized violence through healing, education, and prevention. They were created in 1982 in response to the closure of a local rape crisis centre that lost its funding.

"The funding we are receiving from the Government of Canada will provide us with an invaluable opportunity to reorganize for long-term growth and sustainability. This will enable us to better support survivors in our community for many more years to come."

Jane Sterk, Interim Executive Director
Victoria Sexual Assault Centre

Westcoast Community Resources Society

Project title: Grassroots to Deep Roots: Reaching our Potential 
Funding amount: $157,571

The Westcoast Community Resources Society will build its capacity to meet current needs and anticipate future needs by developing a strategic plan that includes environmental scanning, board development and human resources management. This will expand its anti-violence work and improve its ability to advance gender equality.

The Westcoast Community Resources Society is a non-profit organization, serving Ucluelet and Tofino, that provides various services to women, children, youth, and families, including abuse counselling programs and a transition house.

"Expanding our services is no easy task. We have limited resources but a growing need. With this new funding from the federal government, we can create a network of services and support that is modern, reliable and responsive. Over time, we can build our capacity to be a multi-service organization and be of greater service in the community to advance gender equality and prevent and address gender-based violence."

Margaret Morrison, Executive Director
West Coast Community Resources Society

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.

Vancouver Island Projects

Today's announcement also profiled three projects on Vancouver Island selected for federal funding through the GBV Program:

Bridges for Women Society

Project title: Indigenous Women's Bridging Program: A Promising Practice
Funding amount: $1 million

Bridges for Women Society will evaluate the Métis & First Nations Women's Program to see where improvements can be made. Upgrading capacity and services will be based on the lived experiences of survivors, community response, and the impact on the agency's ability to grow and maintain funding.

The organization was established in Victoria in 1988 as an employment training program for women with a history of trauma and abuse. It operated with an advisory committee until 1993 when it became a non-profit society under the British Columbia Society Act.

"Despite our past success, we find our biggest problem has been funding. With this new investment from the Government of Canada, we have the right financial tools to improve our programs and upgrade our service platforms. Working together is key to combatting the effects of gender-based violence. This is important work that deserves attention, and needs capacity to ensure ongoing service to the women who need it."

Victoria Pruden, Executive Director 
Bridges for Women Society

Haven Society

Project title: Creating a Collaborative and Consistent Social Response for Gender-Based Violence
Funding amount: up to $1 million

The Vancouver Island Haven Society will develop a model of intervention using Response-Based Practice to train and engage service providers to support victims of gender-based violence.

The Vancouver Island Haven Society was started as a non-profit in 1978 in response to how violence and abuse within the community was affecting families and creating a need for women's shelters.

"Last year, we supported nearly 5,000 women, children, youth and families in Central Vancouver Island. With today's funding announcement from the federal government, we may have an opportunity to develop training for service providers who work with survivors of gender-based violence that takes victim experiences and needs into account. We know that when survivors are supported, believed, and connected to local resources, their journey to healing is made easier and the long-term impacts of the violence are mitigated."

Toni Wheeler, Acting Executive Director
Haven Society

Victoria Sexual Assault Centre

Project title: Collaborative Decentralization of GBV Support for Survivors and their Families
Funding amount: $1 million

The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre will test a decentralized model of gender-based violence supports in marginalized communities. This promising practice will be developed and implemented through the Community-Based GBV Response Network and will, along with the leadership of local Indigenous peoples, particularly women, girls, and Two-Spirit people, create and enhance accessible, context-specific, culturally-relevant responses to gender-based violence.

The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre is a feminist organization committed to ending sexualized violence through healing, education, and prevention. They were created in 1982 in response to the closure of a local rape crisis centre that lost its funding.

"We're thankful for the Government of Canada's investment in our project. It allows us to partner with many organizations to develop and create programs for survivors of gender-based violence based on the context, culture and needs of the individuals involved."

Jane Sterk, Interim Executive Director 
Victoria Sexual Assault Centre