Government of Canada provides assistance to at-risk women in the South Okanagan

News release

April 24, 2019
Penticton, British Columbia
Public Safety Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting at-risk women and ensuring those in vulnerable situations have access to the help they need to lead safe and healthy lives. Today, Stephen Fuhr, Member of Parliament for Kelowna—Lake Country, on behalf of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, announced $2.13 million for the SAFE eXiting from the Sex Trade (SAFEXST) program, delivered by the South Okanagan Women in Need Society.

SAFEXST provides assistance to individuals in exiting the sex trade through individualized programming to overcome barriers with dignity, self-determination and in an environment of respect.

This 5-year project, which began in 2017, will reach up to 200 participants of all ages. 


“Our government is committed to keeping our communities and citizens safe through community-led programs that are proven to reduce harm and crime in the Okanagan Valley. We are proud to support programming like the one provided by the South Okanagan Women in Need Society that empowers at-risk individuals to make positive and healthy decisions by giving them access to support and opportunities to exit the sex trade they wouldn’t otherwise have. I am confident it will make a meaningful difference.”

- Stephen Fuhr, Member of Parliament for Kelowna—Lake Country 

“This funding for SAFEXST allows us to provide the much needed low-barrier supports to a very vulnerable yet resilient demographic. We believe that the harm reduction approach we are taking has allowed us to connect with people where they’re at – the Mobile Outreach Van provides services to the entire South Okanagan, delivering harm reduction materials, overdose prevention education, and other basic necessities. The Centre is a resource for women who are engaged in or at risk of relying on sex work as a means of survival, and we are dedicated to supporting women toward safety and positive social and health outcomes. We are proud to be a resource for health promotion and harm reduction in our South Okanagan communities, and will always strive to improve accessibility and reduce barriers. ”

- Debbie Scarborough, Executive Director, South Okanagan Women in Need Society

Quick facts

  • Funding was provided under the Crime Prevention Action Fund (CPAF), which supports innovative projects for at-risk children and youth, and high risk offenders in communities.

  • From April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019, the Government of Canada supported 59 CPAF projects across Canada.

  • Up to $35.4 million was committed in 2018-2019 to support CPAF in the implementation and evaluation of crime prevention programs.

Associated links


Scott Bardsley
Manager of Media and Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

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