Government of Canada announces measures to combat gender-based violence

News Release

April 26, 2017 – Ottawa, ON – Justice Canada

The Government of Canada is unwavering in its commitment to ensuring that survivors of sexual assault and gender-based violence are treated with the utmost respect and dignity.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, and the Minister of the Status of Women, the Honourable Maryam Monsef today announced specific measures to better respond to sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence.

To address this issue at the federal level, the Government today announced:  

  • Responding to concerns over the problems associated with the collection of sexual assault statistics, Statistics Canada has established a standardized process which will allow for the collection and use of quality statistics on unfounded criminal incidents, including sexual assaults. This follows close consultation with the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. The first results are expected to be published in July 2018. As the Minister responsible for Statistics Canada, Minister Bains oversees the national statistics agency.
  • The release of the 2006 study entitled Preliminary Study of Police Classification of Sexual Assault Cases as Unfounded by Linda Light and Gisela Ruebsaat on the Department of Justice website.
  • Almost $100,000 in new funding from Justice Canada to the National Judicial Institute to develop training for both federally and provincially appointed judges that will focus on gender-based violence, including sexual assault and domestic violence.
  • Continued funding to programs and services that support survivors of sexual assault and gender-based violence. To date, Justice Canada has approved over $10 million in funding to 46 projects over three years.
  • As announced in Budget 2017, increased funding to $2.7 million over five years and $500,000 per year afterwards for judicial training and judicial conduct, including training on sexual assault.
  • A strengthened federal judicial appointment process to ensure merit-based appointments that reflect the diversity of our country. Under this new process, 60% of federally appointed judges thus far have been women.
  • The Minister of Justice’s ongoing review of the criminal justice system, including Criminal Code provisions related to sexual assault.
  • As announced in Budget 2017, a historic investment of $100.9 million over five years to support Minister Monsef’s Gender-Based Violence Strategy. This strategy will be based on three pillars: 1) Prevention, 2) Support for survivors and their families, and 3) Promoting responsive legal and justice systems.


“A well-functioning justice system is one that serves all Canadians, protects the vulnerable, and makes our communities safer. These measures announced today will work to coordinate and strengthen the criminal justice system in order to stop gender-based violence in this country. All survivors of sexual assault must be treated with the utmost respect and dignity and have access to the services and supports that they need.”
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
“Our Government has heard the call for federal leadership in addressing gender-based violence. That includes the need for more accurate data on sexual assaults. The collaboration between Statistics Canada and its policing partners is an important first step in restoring public confidence that data on unfounded criminal incidents, including sexual assaults, will be collected and recorded in a consistent manner. Canadians who have survived the trauma of sexual assault deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”
The Honourable Navdeep Bains
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
"In order to address gender equality, we must address gender-based violence. That is why our Government is implementing a strategy based on prevention, support for survivors and their families, and a responsive justice and legal system. The reforms introduced today are significant steps toward this goal. Everyone should be able to live a life free of violence, discrimination and harassment, regardless of their gender."
The Honourable Maryam Monsef
Minister of Status of Women

Quick Facts

  • Data from the 2014 General Social Survey on Victimization show that only 5% of sexual assaults were reported to police in that year.
  • Of those sexual assaults reported to police, less than half (43%) lead to charges being laid (2015 Uniform Crime Reporting Survey -police reported crime).

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For more information, media may contact:

David Taylor
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Justice

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada

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