On International Women’s Day Government of Canada announces project empowering survivors of human trafficking to regain independence

News release

March 8, 2022
Burnaby, British Columbia

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented and additional challenges for many of Canada’s most vulnerable citizens. It has underscored the social and economic inequalities that lead to human trafficking and other forms of exploitation, which disproportionately affect women and girls and marginalized individuals. These are heinous crimes that devastate the victims and survivors, their families, communities and society as a whole.

To mark International Women’s Day, the Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Marco Mendicino, met with the Salvation Army’s B.C. Division where the Propel Development Program For Survivors of Human Trafficking project is empowering survivors of human trafficking to reclaim their independence. Fourteen such projects have received a total of $5.12 million over four years through Public Safety Canada’s Program to Combat Serious and Organized Crime.

The Propel Program is supported through almost $850,000 in federal funding over four years and offers support through two specialized streams. The first stream provides subsidized housing within the province for survivors of labour and/or sexual trafficking in need of interim housing to support their transition to independent living. The second stream supports a development centre for survivors of human trafficking aged 16 and older, to access specialized training and education. Survivors are further supported in their transition through access to opportunities like job prospects, volunteering, cultural connections, Indigenous mentorship, and the chance to establish long term community ties.

While significant progress has been made to combat this appalling crime, there is still work to do as we move toward building a safer and more resilient Canada. That is why the Government of Canada will continue to collaborate with its partners to help ensure at-risk populations and victims and survivors of human trafficking have access to the critical supports and resources they need.  


“The work that organizations like the Salvation Army are doing has never been more critical. That is why I was pleased to highlight how federal funding is being used to empower survivors of human trafficking to regain their independence, reintegrate into their communities, and begin their healing and recovery journey. Through projects like this one, we are working together to build a safer and more inclusive Canada, free from exploitation and violence.”

- The Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety 

“Human trafficking sounds like a faraway problem that couldn’t happen in Canada. The reality is, it’s happening in our own backyard occurring at alarming rates, affecting thousands of Canadians each year. But thanks to the generosity and support of Public Safety Canada, and the leadership of Minister Mendicino, we have launched the Propel Survivor Development Centre; the only program of our kind in Canada. This funding and the program stand for Canada’s commitment to support those affected by human trafficking for long lasting change. This is an investment of hope, a resolute belief in resilience, and a declaration to raise the dignity of vulnerable people. Together in support, we boldly stand alongside Survivors to end human trafficking in Canada.”

- Marian De Martino, Salvation Army Illuminate Director

Quick facts

  • In September 2019, the Government of Canada launched a comprehensive National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking that brings together federal efforts. It is supported by an investment of $57.22 million over five years and $10.28 million ongoing.

  • This builds on a previous investment of $14.51 million over five years, and $2.89 million per year to establish the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline, which launched in May 2019.

  • As a result of a joint call for proposals the Government of Canada announced $22.4 million over four years for 63 organizations in 2020-21, for projects focused on providing support services for victims and survivors.

  • Of this, in 2020-2021, Public Safety Canada provided $5.12 million in funding over four years to 14 human trafficking projects through the Contribution Program to Combat Serious and Organized Crime. Eleven of these organizations are Indigenous-led or provide support to Indigenous populations.

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Alex Cohen
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

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