Government of Canada Announces Funding for Innovative Project to Help Prevent Teen Dating Violence

News release

Project will integrate technology and art therapy tools to teach youth how to identify and prevent gender-based violence

March 8, 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 both immediate and long-lasting impacts on a person’s physical and mental health as well as consequences for families, communities and society as a whole.

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, reiterated the Government’s commitment to ending gender-based violence by announcing $1 million in funding over five years to Raison d’art for its PortraitX project. This innovative project—which is in keeping with the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, #InnovateforChange—will integrate technology and art therapy in schools through the use of digital resources to teach students how to identify and prevent gender-based violence.

PortraitX will be delivered at select schools in Montreal, Quebec, and Oakville, Ontario. Students will explore topics around gender-based violence through an online, interactive platform using arts-based approaches that will help build self-awareness, empathy and communications skills. By increasing students’ ability to identify sexual violence and sexist attitudes, PortraitX aims to prevent dating violence. The project will reach youth from a range of backgrounds and communities, including racial and ethnic minorities, Indigenous peoples, and people with diverse gender and sexual identities.

Funding is provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada and is part of Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence.


Educating young Canadians about how to identify unhealthy relationships and ways to prevent dating violence is at the core of the Government of Canada’s efforts to promote gender equality and to end gender-based violence. I am proud to announce our Government’s support for this project, which is developing new ways to #InnovateforChange and to reach youth in a manner that will resonate with them and reflect their experiences and identities.

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Finding new ways to confront and discuss the difficult issue of teen dating violence is important to preventing gender-based violence. Combining art therapy and digital resources, PortraitX provides a creative outlet for young people to express themselves as they seek to understand and prevent violence. This is youth-centred innovation at its best, and our Government is proud to fund this important project as part of our federal strategy to prevent and address gender-based violence.

The Honourable Maryam Monsef
Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Minister of International Development

Raison d’art is committed to creating a world where equality prevails using art and technology as primary tools. Our newest initiative PortraitX educates the next generation to see each other through the eyes of empathy and understanding in order to prevent gender-based violence.

Nathalie Hazan
President, Raison d'art

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 around the world. Globally, it is estimated that one in three women experiences intimate partner violence in her lifetime.

  • In more than 70 countries, laws that criminalize LGBTQ2 people perpetuate gender-based violence against members of 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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