Backgrounder - Government of Canada announces investment in women’s organizations in Ontario


Department for Women and Gender Equality – Women’s Program 

One of the ways the Department for Women and Gender Equality advances gender equality in Canada is by providing funding to eligible organizations through the Women’s Program. Projects are selected via calls for proposals on specific themes, as well as through a continuous intake process that allows the Women’s Program to address emerging issues as they arise.

The Women’s Program funds projects that address systemic barriers to women’s equality in three priority areas: ending violence against women and girls; improving the economic security and prosperity of women and girls; and encouraging women and girls in leadership roles.

Capacity-building Call for Proposals 

In October 2018, Minister Monsef announced a Call for Proposals under the Capacity-building Fund of the Women’s Program. Projects at the local, provincial, and national level were eligible for different amounts of funding, based on their specific need and reach. 

On March 8, 2019, International Women’s Day, Minister Monsef announced that over 250 women’s organizations across the country would receive funding from the Capacity-building Fund. 

The objective is to fund proposals that will increase the capacity of eligible women’s organizations and Indigenous organizations serving women, whose initiatives contribute to a viable women’s movement in Canada that advances gender equality. Funding will increase the ability of organizations to grow, meet the increasing demands for their services, and continue to work collectively to address gender equality issues. The fund stems from the Budget 2018 announcement of $100 million over five years to help support a viable and sustainable women’s movement across Canada. 

Ontario Projects 

Today’s announcement profiled six of the Ontario projects selected to receive federal funding: 

Community YWCA of Muskoka 

Project title: YWCA Muskoka's Greening Energy Project
Funding amount: $199,021 

Community YWCA of Muskoka will facilitate a green energy project, requiring the creation and staffing of a new development team to help direct the pilot and possibly develop additional energy projects. The YWCA will ensure that staff are supported by professional development, wellness, a succession plan, and a long-term operating plan. This investment will in turn increase collaboration between the Y, the community, and its members, while developing sustainable community resources. The funding will be shared among project initiatives aimed at building capacity and expertise for leadership, conservation and sustainable funding to ensure the Y of Muskoka can continue to serve the women and girls of the region, and for years to come. 

In 1994, a group of women in Muskoka decided to create an organization to create better opportunities and options for local women and girls. These early meetings led to the establishment of the Community YWCA of Muskoka in the fall of 1997, now one of 32 YWCA member associations across Canada.

“Our future is in sustainability – organizations like ours work and grow with the community every day to improve women’s lives and advance gender equality. The need for stable funding to achieve our goals is being met by this new investment from the federal government. It’s so important to have a funding partner that understands and fulfills our need for long-term planning: this will ensure the services we provide will always be there for the women we help and for the community to enjoy.” 

Hannah Lin, Executive Director
Community YWCA of Muskoka 

Couchiching Jubilee House 

Project title: Diversification of Funding Sources Sustainability Plan
Funding amount: $228,190 

Couchiching Jubilee House (CJH) is creating a new funding plan to ensure their services for women in Orillia are not interrupted due to financial shortcomings. With this investment at least three additional and sustainable funding sources will be in place with an expected increase in donations of 20 per cent. Funds will be shared among several key activities, including; strengthening the existing infrastructure, professional networking, building a planned giving program, and establishing a social enterprise model. They will also enable ongoing research and a review of practices to align this new organizational capacity with the growing needs of the community. 

In 2001, CJH was incorporated in Ontario and opened the doors to a transitional house with four self-contained, fully-furnished apartments. Today, CJH is part of a growing and vibrant movement empowering women to reach their full potentials and fulfill their dreams. 

“Our challenge has never been lack of passion for helping women and children but funding the work that we do.  A stable stream of operational funding is crucial to continuing to deliver programs and services that our community desperately needs. We are pleased to see that the Government of Canada understands and supports this challenge, and has responded to our needs by investing in our organization over the long-term. Over the next few years, we will develop internal sustainable funding models to ensure our services are always available to the women and children who need our help.” 

Courtney Willis, Development Coordinator
Couchiching Jubilee House

Elizabeth Fry Society of Peterborough 

Project title: Building Capacity through development of a Community Hub for Women living with Complex Trauma
Funding amount: $246,000 

The Elizabeth Fry Society of Peterborough, which includes the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, and Peterborough Community Legal Centre, will build capacity to respond to community issues and incidents of gender-based violence (GBV). This investment will generate specific partnerships and targeted collaborations to create a Community Hub model for women living with complex trauma from GBV. Human resource requirements to develop and implement the Hub include developing a strategic plan and an advocacy and fundraising strategy to increase and sustain the capacity of these organizations in the community. 

The Elizabeth Fry Society provides women with compassionate counselling and programs designed to help women avoid incarceration and develop skills to prevent further incarceration. In 1986, community organizer Pat Love established a steering committee that would lead to the founding of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Peterborough in 1987, followed by its incorporation in 1989. 

“Women who need our support rarely have the financial means to cope with multiple barriers to recovery after incarceration. For some, even the attempt to avoid incarceration can create social and administrative obstacles that form a whole other kind of cage. Thanks to the Government of Canada’s new way of funding women’s organizations over a multi-year term, our plan to create a Community Hub for women with complex trauma can proceed and rely on funding for the life of the project. We are grateful for this chance to build capacity and bring hope to women in Peterborough who need our expertise and assistance.” 

Debbie Carriere, Executive Director
Elizabeth Fry Society of Peterborough

Huronia Transition Homes
Project title: Operation Grow Capacity Building
Funding amount: $166,032 

Huronia Transition Homes seeks to address a greater number of issues identified by women. This investment will support those who have experienced violence by allowing for the implementation of a host of programs and activities to help reduce social isolation and food scarcity, and increase employment opportunities. The organization will also seek to expand its ongoing business functions, which will help generate and diversify funding sources while enhancing organizational capacity to provide new opportunities for women with lived experience of violence. 

Huronia Transition Homes is a non-profit organization incorporated in 1984. Today, they operate four primary programs including: La Maison Rosewood Shelter, Athena’s Sexual Assault Counselling & Advocacy Centre, Choices for Children and Operation Grow. 

“Women who have experienced violence often face a society that marginalizes their problems as secondary in the broader context of the community. These obstacles can make it almost impossible for these women to re-enter society and thrive, but removing these barriers takes time and money – it’s that simple. The Operation Grow project is a true social enterprise and provides women time to heal along with skills and education to increase employment opportunities. The new funding we’re receiving from the federal government will support our business plans to expand, diversify and improve the reach and services of the Huronia Transition House.” 

Kathy Willis, Executive Director
Huronia Transition Homes 

Luke’s Place Support and Resource Centre for Women and Children 

Project title: Formalizing the Luke’s Place Centre of Excellence on Family Law and Violence Against Women
Funding amount: $565,477 

Luke’s Place Support and Resource Centre for Women and Children seeks to build its capacity by training their staff and board, and undertaking a number of important measures, including strengthening networks and tools to support advocacy, diversifying income streams, and introducing succession planning. 

At a Durham Region community conference in 1999, over 225 professionals and survivors made the recommendation to develop a women’s resource centre dealing specifically with custody and access issues for addressing the difficulties experienced by women abuse survivors and their children. Luke’s Place Support and Resource Centre for Women and Children was incorporated in December 2000 and opened its doors to deliver service in September 2003.

“Without legal representation, women trying to flee an abusive relationship or gender-based violence within the family court system can find themselves overwhelmed by the process and the lack of information and services. We are grateful for this long-term investment from the Government of Canada. Formalizing our services over time will enable more women to receive our help, and improve our ability to train and support service providers that women turn to across Ontario.” 

Carol Barkwell, Executive Director
Luke’s Place Support and Resource Centre for Women and Children 

Women’s Resources of Kawartha Lakes 

Project title: Capacity Building for the Future
Funding amount: $246,984 

Building capacity to ensure future growth and sustainability is a priority for Women’s Resources. With this investment will support ongoing expert analysis and planning for matching governance expertise with growth and administrative capacity to ensure services are not interrupted by necessary changes in governance or administrative structure. As a new long-term policy, staff will be trained to incorporate Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) into all aspects of the organization to help advance gender quality by meeting their human resources goals to become more competitive and diverse – in leadership and in program staff. 

Women’s Resources of Kawartha Lakes is a charitable organization created and run by local women. Since 1992, they have been providing free and confidential programs throughout the City of Kawartha Lakes to ensure that abused women and their children can get the help they need to lead lives free of abuse and violence.

“Women’s Resources of Kawartha Lakes is so excited to be receiving this new funding from the federal government to provide organizational stability and to support the development of our infrastructure over the next five years. The needs of abused women and children have become much more complex and require specialized counselling skills to meet their needs. We work very hard to maintain our position as a competitive employer attracting well qualified shelter workers and counsellors. This funding will help us to provide the ongoing training and development our staff need to respond effectively to the changing needs of women in our community, and to strengthen our organization and the services we provide, for years to come. Through this, we will be better able to support the needs of women and children in our community.” 

Lori Watson, Executive Director
Women’s Resources of Kawartha Lakes

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: