Department for Women and Gender Equality’s Gender-Based Violence Program


Following the June 2017 announcement of It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, the Department for Women and Gender Equality (formerly Status of Women Canada) launched the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Program in January 2018.

The GBV Program complements the department’s Women’s Program, and helps organizations working in the GBV sector to develop and implement promising practices to address gaps in supports for survivors and their families.

While violence affects people of all genders, ages, cultures, ethnicities, geographic locations, and socio-economic backgrounds, some populations are more at-risk and face additional barriers to accessing services. The GBV Program responds to this need by providing funding to eligible organizations at the local, regional and national levels for projects that address gaps in supports for specific groups of survivors, including Indigenous women and their communities, and other underserved populations, such as children and youth, LGBTQ2 communities and gender non-binary people, non-status/refugee/immigrant women, seniors, women living in official language minority communities, women living in northern, rural and remote communities, and women living with disabilities.

Call for concepts: Promising Practices to Support Survivors and their Families

In January 2018, Minister Monsef announced $20 million in funding for a call for concepts as part of the new Gender-Based Violence Program. Following Budget 2018, the funding for the Gender-Based Violence Program more than doubled so that more organizations, such as sexual assault crisis centers, are better able to help population groups at the highest risk of experiencing violence.

The GBV Program piloted an innovative approach to supporting community organizations, which includes:

  • a longer funding period of up to five years;
  • a two-stage application process, which reduced the administrative burden for applicant organizations. Less information was required in the initial concept phase, which meant a leaner application process for organizations;
  • eligible recipients were expanded to include labour groups and unions; provinces, territories, municipalities and their agencies; research organizations and institutes, centers of expertise, educational institutions (i.e. universities, colleges, CÉGEPs, secondary schools, school boards/school districts), as well as public health institutions, hospitals, and health care service providers; and
  • testing and evaluation of promising practices is emphasized, which will lead to clear impact and results for Canadians.

Manitoba Projects

Today’s announcement profiled two projects from Manitoba that are each receiving funding up to $1 million:

Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc.

Project title: Heart Medicine Lodge: A Promising Practice in Supporting Indigenous Women Survivors of Sexualized Violence

This project will test an existing healing program, the Heart Medicine Lodge, as a best practice in supporting Indigenous women survivors of gender-based violence in rural, northern and First Nation communities in Manitoba. The Heart Medicine Lodge offers culturally-based support and advocacy services for Indigenous women who have experienced sexual assault and gender-based violence. Services provided include sharing circles, advocacy, traditional ceremonies, Elder support and counselling services.

Incorporated in 2002 as a not-for-profit organization, Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc. is an Indigenous-led organization located in Winnipeg. It offers culturally-safe programs and services, focusing on wholeness and wellness while building on the inherent strengths, perseverance and resilience of Indigenous peoples. Meaning “those who lead,” Ka Ni Kanichihk helps people to help themselves, build healthy relationships, and create a sustainable future for the community.

West Region Child and Family Services, Inc.

Project title: Reclaiming Wellness – Mino Ayaa Daa

The project will test the promising practice “Reclaiming our Voices,” an annual land-based cultural healing gathering, in order to address issues related to the lack of access to culturally-appropriate services and resources for First Nations survivors of gender-based violence.

West Region Child and Family Services Inc. (WRCFS) is a non-profit organization based out of Erickson, Manitoba, that provides a full-range of child and family services to nine Indigenous communities in the West Region Tribal Council area, including; the protection of children, reunification, prevention programming, and family enhancement services. Over the last 35 years, WRCFS has developed various community-based initiatives such as treatment, gender-based violence prevention, community-capacity development, wrap-around services for youth, and training.

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