Canada announces support to those experiencing homelessness and women fleeing gender-based violence during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic
April 4, 2020 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
The health and safety of all Canadians is the top priority for the Government of Canada, especially the uniquely vulnerable. That is why the Government is making investments in those who are most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic—those experiencing homelessness and women fleeing gender-based violence.
The Government of Canada is reconfirming its immediate investment of $207.5 million to support these organizations to meet the real and increasing needs they are facing
This funding will be provided in the following ways:
$157.5 million to address the needs of Canadians experiencing homelessness through the Reaching Home program. The funding could be used for a variety of needs such as purchasing beds and physical barriers for social distancing and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters.
$40 million to be given to Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE), up to $30 million of which will address immediate needs of shelters and sexual assault centres as follows:
- Up to $26 million to Women’s Shelters Canada to distribute to approximately 575 violence against women shelters across the country; and
- Up to $4 million to the Canadian Women’s Foundation to distribute the funding to sexual assault centres across the country.
- WAGE is also working with the Government of Quebec on the implementation of this important initiative to support women’s shelters and sexual assault centres in Quebec.
- $10 million to be provided to Indigenous Services Canada's (ISC) existing network of 46 emergency shelters on reserve and in Yukon to support Indigenous women and children fleeing violence.
- These new funds will flow directly to shelters and will provide them with additional operational funding to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities.
- The operational funding will be delivered through ISC’s Family Violence Prevention Program. The amount for each shelter will be determined based on factors such as on-reserve population, remoteness, and number of beds.
The Government of Canada remains fully committed to supporting those who are most vulnerable, and all Canadians, during this global pandemic. The Government will continue to carefully consider any additional steps it can take to do just that.
“Canadians experiencing homelessness are at heightened risk of contracting COVID-19. We must ensure that the homeless-serving sector is prioritized. I believe this investment in Reaching Home will go a long way to effectively supporting those who need it most.”
– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
“We’ve asked Canadians to self-isolate and to stay home in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But not every home is safe. These investments support hundreds of women's shelters, sexual assault centres, and Indigenous women’s organizations across the country. Our goal is to support the organizations who provide vital services to survivors of gender-based violence so they can prevent and respond to COVID outbreaks, stay safe and continue being a lifeline to those who need them most. To those experiencing domestic violence and gender-based violence: speak to someone you trust and seek help. You are not alone.”
– The Honourable Maryam Monsef, P.C., M.P., Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety and security of Indigenous peoples in Canada is my sole focus, especially when it comes to the most vulnerable. Indigenous women and children fleeing violence should get the support they need, when they need it. This is why we are making sure that First Nation communities have the resources they need to prepare for and address the needs of the women and children facing violence during the COVID-19 pandemic and help manage or prevent outbreaks in First Nation shelters.”
– The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services Canada
There are over 15,400 emergency shelter beds distributed in more than 400 emergency shelters across Canada.
Of the $157.5 million in Reaching Home funding, Canada’s largest cities will receive allocations in the following amounts: Ottawa ($7,213,954), Toronto ($22,169,573), Hamilton ($2,548,685), Vancouver ($13,522,453), Winnipeg ($2,936,322), Calgary ($13,517,143), Edmonton ($7,572,510), Halifax ($1,557,674), St. John’s ($979,047), Moncton ($669,162). In Quebec, this Reaching Home funding will be administered through a new Canada-Quebec Agreement that respects the jurisdiction and priorities of both governments.
The $10 million provided to ISC’s existing shelter network will flow directly to shelters through contribution agreements and will provide them with additional operational funding to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities.
The operational funding will be delivered through ISC’s Family Violence Prevention Program. The amount for each shelter will be determined using a formula that includes factors such as on reserve population, remoteness, and number of beds.
Visit the Gender-Based Violence Knowledge Centre (KC) for access to timely and relevant information, evidence, resources and research in a single platform. The KC also provides a searchable database, which brings together existing data and evidence on content related to gender-based violence.
- Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- Canadian Women’s Foundation
- It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence
- Gender-Based Violence Knowledge Centre
- Gender-Based Violence Program
- Women’s Shelters Canada
- Family Violence Prevention Program
For media enquiries, please contact:
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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Director of Communications
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
Women and Gender Equality Canada
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Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller Minister of Indigenous Services
Indigenous Services Canada
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