Government of Canada Announces Funding to Promote Healthy Relationships to Prevent Teen Dating Violence

News release

Project will educate young men about the root causes of teen dating violence

February 11, 2019 - Ottawa (Ontario) - Public Health Agency of Canada

It is important for youth to learn about healthy relationships and ways to prevent gender‑based violence, including teen and youth dating violence. Gender-based violence has immediate and often long-lasting impacts on a person’s physical and mental health.

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, highlighted the Government’s commitment to ending gender-based violence by announcing more than $1.2 million in funding over five years for the University of Calgary to deliver and evaluate a teen and youth dating violence prevention program called WiseGuyz.

WiseGuyz is a unique program that is delivered in schools and promotes healthy masculinities and positive ways of being a young man to grade nine boys (ages 13-15), which can help prevent teen dating violence. Developed by the Centre for Sexuality in 2010, the program works to identify and break down health-harming gender norms by exploring the issues that young men face during their teens. Through youth engagement, the program helps to raise awareness of the causes of teen dating violence while promoting healthier and more positive ways of being a young man that also promote healthy relationships.

This investment is part of Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence


“I’m proud to announce the Government of Canada’s support for increasing the delivery of the WiseGuyz program to students across Alberta. Educating young men about the connections between negative gender norms, sexuality and teen dating violence is important to fostering healthy, positive relationships. We hope to break down barriers to gender equality and address some of the roots of teen dating violence by exploring these issues through a cultural and feminist lens.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor 
Minister of Health

“We know that everyone has a part to play in advancing gender equality. Enlisting men and boys as partners, advocates, and co-beneficiaries in gender equality is necessary to achieving real and lasting change. That is why our Government has been consulting Canadians on how men and boys can be better engaged in advancing gender equality, including supporting healthy and inclusive gender norms and relationships. Survivors of gender-based violence and their families have asked our government to address the gaps in teen and youth dating violence and to promote healthy relationships. We listened: that’s why we are funding partnerships like this one between the University of Calgary and the Public Health Agency of Canada to ensure that all young people-regardless of gender-can achieve their full potential.” 
The Honourable Maryam Monsef
Minister for Women and Gender Equality

"We are so pleased at the news of this significant investment in promoting healthy relationships through the WiseGuyz program. The Faculty of Social Work-in supporting the innovative work of researchers like Dr. Exner-Cortens-is committed to finding solutions that prevent violence before it happens. The focus on teaching grade 9 boys about positive, respectful relationships will definitely contribute to long-term social change.” 
Jackie Sieppert, RSW, PhD
Dean, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary

“We are honoured to receive this funding and to partner with the Government of Canada to look at innovative ways to prevent gender-based violence in Canada. At the Centre for Sexuality, we know the importance of engaging with young men to prevent gender-based violence. The WiseGuyz program provides guys with skills and tools to create and maintain healthy relationships throughout their lives. With this support we will be able to scale the program and impact young men across Canada.”
Pam Krause
President and CEO, Centre for Sexuality

Quick Facts

  • The Public Health Agency of Canada is investing more than $40 million over five years under its Preventing Gender-Based Violence-The Health Perspective program. The program supports Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence.
  • Violence against women, girls and LGBTQ2 people is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations. It is estimated that, globally, one in three women experiences intimate partner violence in her lifetime. In over 70 counties around the world, laws that criminalize LGBTQ2 people perpetuate gender-based violence against these communities.
  • In Canada, nearly 50% of people aged 15 and older who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual report having experienced childhood physical or sexual abuse, compared to 30% of heterosexual people.
  • In June 2019, Canada will host the Women Deliver conference, the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights and wellbeing of girls and women.

Associated Links


Thierry Bélair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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