Government of Canada Supports Initiatives to Prevent and Address Family Violence in the Greater Toronto Area

News release

Project will support families who have experienced, are experiencing, or are at-risk of experiencing violence.

October 19, 2022 | Toronto, Ontario | Public Health Agency of Canada

Family violence and gender-based violence are serious public health issues that are strongly linked to mental health concerns and can have long-lasting consequences for survivors and for those around them. These issues touch families in all parts of Canada, and include many different forms of physical and emotional abuse and neglect. The Government of Canada is committed to supporting all survivors of family and gender-based violence and safeguarding the health and safety of those at risk.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health announced more than $3.5 million in funding over four years to support four initiatives from the Greater Toronto Area. These projects will support the mental and physical well-being of persons experiencing, or who may be at risk of experiencing, family and gender-based violence.

Access Alliance will receive $799,088 to implement and evaluate the Hubs of Expressive Arts for Life (HEAL) initiative, an arts-based family violence prevention program to reach newcomer populations. The Hubs will provide safe, supportive, healing, and resilience-promoting spaces and communities to those who are experiencing, or are at high risk of experiencing, family violence.

The Canadian Mothercraft Society will receive $878,010 to scale-up and continue testing the effectiveness of its group intervention for mothers and children experiencing violence in relationships in 15 communities across Canada. The goal is to help mothers experiencing family violence learn about its impacts on their parenting and their children's development, while building mothers' self-esteem and improving their positive parenting and healthy relationship skills.

The Toronto Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) will receive $451,962 to implement and evaluate two 11-week expressive-arts based programs (Here to Help and Warrior's Journey) with children ages 4-16 years and their mothers who have experienced intimate partner violence. Caregivers and their children will be provided with more tools for self-expression and empowerment to better manage their emotions, strengthen their resilience and develop new ways to cope with the impact of their exposure to domestic violence, while reducing the risk of re-traumatization.

The Women’s Centre for Social Justice will receive $1,391,644 to implement and evaluate a program to improve the health and wellbeing of women survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) who have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Given the unique target population, this project aims to create a model for evidence-based IPV-TBI services for those affected across Canada, regardless of their identity or geographical location.

Today’s funding comes at a critical time as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to negatively impact children and families at risk of violence due to disrupted services and additional emotional stressors affecting caregivers such as parental stress, depression, and substance use.

This investment is an important step in the right direction, and will help build evidence on what health promotion interventions and supports work in Canadian communities.. The federal government will continue working to prevent family and gender-based violence, support survivors, and break the cycle of violence in families and communities from coast to coast to coast.


“Our government is committed to supporting survivors of family and gender-based violence as well as families experiencing or at risk of violence, so they can get the help they need to heal and build better lives for themselves. The funding announced today will work to bridge the gaps in services while making it easier for people to access the culturally relevant and effective services they need. This investment is an important step forward, but we know we have more to do and we will continue to take action to help prevent family violence and support those who have been affected.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

“Improving the mental health and wellbeing of newcomers at risk of, or experiencing, gender-based domestic violence is the focus of the Hubs for Expressive Arts for Life (HEAL) project. This unique and participatory expressive arts intervention will increase the capacity of participants and the public health sector to effect systemic changes to address and prevent domestic violence.”

Axelle Janczur
Executive Director, Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services

Quick facts

  • One third of Canadian adults report having experienced maltreatment as a child.

  • Family violence affects future relationships and future generations: children who have been abused, neglected or exposed to intimate partner violence are at risk of experiencing or perpetrating violence in adulthood.

  • The Survey of COVID and Mental Health indicates risk factors for child maltreatment and family violence have increased. Risk factors include depression, parental stress and alcohol consumption. Additionally, five percent of Canadians reported concerns about violence in their homes during the third wave of the pandemic, between February and May 2021.

Associated links


Maja Staka
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

Public Inquiries:

Page details

Date modified: