Government of Canada Announces Funding for the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services Association

News release

New project will support the prevention of teen dating violence

March 5, 2019             Antigonish, Nova Scotia                          Public Health Agency of Canada

Gender-based violence—which is violence against people based on their gender expression, gender identity or perceived gender—is a preventable and significant barrier to gender equality, and it persists in Canada. It is increasingly important for our youth to learn about healthy relationships and ways to prevent gender-based violence, which has immediate and often long‑lasting impacts on a person’s physical and mental health.

Today, on behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, Sean Fraser, Member of Parliament, highlighted the Government’s continued commitment to ending gender-based violence by announcing nearly $1 million in funding over five years to the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services Association to support its Healthy Relationships for Youth initiative. The MP made the announcement while visiting the Centre to learn more about the services they provide to the community and to hear first-hand of the positive experiences from youth facilitators involved in the initiative.

This unique project will provide more than 1,200 grade nine students in four different regions in Nova Scotia with skills to help them build and maintain healthy relationships. These students are primarily from rural-based communities, including Mi’Kmaq and African Nova Scotian communities, and newcomers to Canada. Research shows that programs that promote healthy and supportive relationships among youth can contribute to the prevention of violence. Through interactive sessions delivered by youth facilitators, supported by their teachers and staff at the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services Association and partner organizations, students will increase their awareness and knowledge surrounding dating violence and the underlying factors that contribute to it.

This investment by the Public Health Agency of Canada 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 this important project that will have a positive impact on youth and communities across Nova Scotia. We all have a role to play in ending gender-based and teen dating violence. By engaging youth through this project and providing resources and opportunities to learn, we can foster positive relationships, build healthy families, change attitudes and promote gender equality.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

“Young Canadians are making life-changing decisions in their teenage years, especially about dating and relationships. Those decisions can have lasting consequences and the numbers tell a horrifying story: nearly half of all sexual assaults are committed against young women aged 15 to 24. In developing Canada’s first strategy to end gender-based violence, experts, survivors and their families asked our government to address the gaps in teen and youth dating violence, and promote healthy relationships. Our government listened. That’s why we are funding partnerships like this one with the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services Association and the Public Health Agency of Canada to help ensure our kids live free from gender-based violence and abuse.”
The Honourable Maryam Monsef
Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality

“We are thrilled to be a part of this funding initiative through PHAC. The Healthy Relationships for Youth program creates the opportunity for youth to be change agents in their schools and communities, providing them with the information and resources necessary to navigate relationships and empowering them to address issues they identify as impacting themselves and their peers. We are excited to expand and grow the program and continue working towards creating healthier communities in Nova Scotia and ending gender based violence.”
Arwen Sweet
Provincial Coordinator for the Healthy Relationships for Youth Program,

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 across the globe. Globally, it is estimated that one in three women experiences intimate partner violence in her lifetime. In over 70 countries 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
(613) 957-0200

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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