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


Department for Women and Gender Equality’s 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.

Northern Ontario Projects

Today’s announcement profiled six projects in Northern Ontario selected for federal funding through the Capacity-building Fund:

Aboriginal Peoples Alliance Northern Ontario (APANO)

Project title: Building Our Future

Funding amount: $295,975

APANO will develop new, sustainable programs to address gender inequality and increase opportunities for Indigenous women and girls. It will create awareness of the circumstances, myths and conditions that allow for gender bias and discrimination to take root, and empower women and girls to become their own advocates, break down barriers to gender equality, and create a more equal society.

APANO supports individuals and communities through healthy mental, physical and spiritual development while preserving traditional and cultural lifestyles. Although APANO is an Indigenous organization, they welcome the participation of all people in support of cross-cultural understanding, acceptance and awareness. APANO is dedicated to providing a better quality of life for urban Indigenous people.

“Thanks to the support of the federal government, our project to advance gender equality will see our organization meets the needs of a modern community. Empowering women and girls to reclaim their lives by becoming agents for positive social and systemic change is a step in the right direction. We look forward to strengthening our ability to work with the community to ensure meaningful and lasting change.” 

Blaire Westberry, Executive Director of Programs
Aboriginal Peoples Alliance Northern Ontario

Centre Passerelle pour femmes du nord de l’Ontario

Project title: Overcoming the Challenge of Staff Turnover for a Stable Future

Funding amount: $211,637

The Centre Passerelle pour femmes du nord de l’Ontario will improve human resources management to expand organizational capacity and deal with staff turnover and training by using modern training methods and an employee orientation manual and establish an employee recognition policy. It will be able to grow its programming and strengthen its commitment to advancing gender equality through social and systemic change.

Centre Passerelle pour femmes du nord de l’Ontario serves Francophone women over the age of 16 who are survivors of sexual assault or seeking help to cope with an abusive relationship. To meet the needs of these women, it operates as a non-profit organization run by and for women, and offers a range of comprehensive and quality French-language services in the District of Cochrane. The Centre is committed to promoting healthy and safe living conditions for French-speaking women.

“It can be challenging for us to provide services in such a vast and diverse area as Northern Ontario. With this new investment from the federal government, we can move forward with our plans to improve our staffing with updated training and better management of our human resources. This type of funding is the way forward for women’s organizations like ours; without it, we wouldn’t be able to build for our future and for the safety and well-being of the francophone women who come to us for assistance.”

Chantal Mailloux, Executive Director
Centre Passerelle pour femmes du nord de l’Ontario

Chapleau, Hornepayne, Algoma District Women in Crisis (CHADWIC)

Project title: Building Capacity to support Northern Women & Girls

Funding amount: $250,000

CHADWIC will develop a new online communications strategy, which will better support clients. It will also improve the capacity of its board and staff, IT, and digital communications. To complement this transition, it will support the upgrading of human resources policies and procedures and improve training for staff, including the development of a new employee support plan. 

CHADWIC was established in 1985 after a study determined a need for a shelter for abused women and their children in the North Algoma and Chapleau area. CHADWIC is non-profit, community-based, and serves North Algoma, Chapleau, and all First Nations within the area. They operate 24/7 and provide a safe and secure refuge for women in crisis.

“The modern world communicates at a fast pace and with the rise of social media, advancing gender equality has a new platform for getting the message out there and for connecting with today’s women and girls. We are thankful for support from the federal government. It will help us continue to provide the types of supports women need for themselves and their children.”

Paula Valois, Executive Director
Chapleau, Hornepayne, Algoma District Women in Crisis

Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC)

Project title: Fostering Capacity in Sexual Assault Centres in the #MeToo Era

Funding amount: $512,450

The OCRCC will integrate a new strategy for the sexual violence sector that considers modern needs. It will create a long-term strategic plan for advocacy based on the current context of the #MeToo era and the changing attitudes towards sexual violence and gender equality. OCRCC will also improve its financial health with administrative support and grant-writing capacity.

The OCRCC is a network of 29 English-language sexual assault centres across Ontario that offer counselling, information and support services to survivors of sexual violence, including childhood sexual abuse and incest. The OCRCC partners with various community and academic allies to develop professional training models to improve skills in responding appropriately to sexual assault disclosures.

“Awareness of sexual violence is increasing —a significant and positive achievement. With the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements addressing the prevalence of sexual violence, community-based sexual assault centres have seen a significant upswing in calls and requests for support. Right now is the most opportune time to work on our strategic plan to keep abreast of social changes. This Project will help us develop this plan as a Coalition and maximize opportunities to engage with other partners about sexual violence.”

Deb Singh, Interim Chair
Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres

Sudbury Women’s Centre (SWC)

Project title: Building Capacity

Funding amount: $231,899

SWC will work with a professional development officer to build relationships and partnerships with donors and foundations along with planned community activities and events that will show first-hand the impact it has on women in the community. This will help support the sustainability of the SWC and advance gender equality, diversity and inclusion in and around Sudbury.

SWC is a non-profit charitable organization committed to serving the needs of women in the community and dedicated to providing information, referral, and support services to women who have been impacted by violence and difficult life circumstances. It offers key tools and resources that assist women with issues of systematic discrimination and violence and works daily to create and maintain a safe environment that is inclusive and respectful of diversity.

“With the federal government’s investment in our work, we plan to pursue a new kind of partnership that sees the donor and the community coming together where they can witness for themselves the impact their donations are making on the lives of the women and families in Sudbury.”

Giulia Carpenter, Executive Director
Sudbury Women’s Centre

Sudbury Young Women’s Christian Association (Sudbury YWCA)

Project title: Building Sustainability to Advance Gender Equality

Funding amount: $191,856

The Sudbury YWCA will grow to enable it to better promote social and systemic change on gender equality. It will ensure successful transitions of management with a results-based management approach. It will develop and implement new fundraising strategies that include revenue diversification, strategic community partnerships, and supportive collaborations.

The first meeting of YWCA Sudbury was held in 1955, followed by its incorporation in 1958. It is dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls. Its programs promote equality, economic security and lives free from violence.

“The YWCA Sudbury has a history of adapting to the changes and challenges of a growing community. Our world is getting more complex and our financial resources and leadership need to be maintained to match our level of service. This new funding from the Government of Canada will allow us to diversify and expand our donor base through results-based management and Gender-based Analysis Plus. This will result in greater organizational capacity to advance gender equality and modern leadership within the workplace that connects with the people who come to the YWCA for help.”

Marlene Gorman, Executive Director
Sudbury Young Women’s Christian Association

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 other underserved populations, such as children and youth, LGBTQ2 communities, 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.

Northern Ontario Projects

Today’s announcement also highlighted one project in Northern Ontario receiving funding from the GBV Program:

UCCM Anishnaabe Police Service

Project title: Lighting the Fire Within

Funding amount: up to $1 million

The UCCM Anishnaabe Police Service will reduce risk factors and incidents of domestic violence in Anishnaabe communities on Manitoulin Island through the introduction of three interconnected police service initiatives. Anishnaabe police officers will receive trauma-informed training to ensure its responses to incidents of domestic violence are appropriate and will also learn how to prevent survivors from being re-victimized by the reporting process or ensuing legal proceedings. A mandatory culturally-sensitive training program targeting non-criminal offenders will be developed and facilitated to prevent the escalation of domestic disputes in the communities. Finally, a sports-based program targeting children and youth will be developed and implemented to promote healthy living and the development of positive relationships with police officers.

The United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising Tribal Council began the proposal for a regional police service for Manitoulin Island in the early 1990s. In 1995, a formal tripartite agreement between the Council and federal and provincial governments created the UCCM Anishnaabe Police Service. The Service is a community partner for safety and wellness and provides culturally-sensitive service while respecting existing laws, customs and traditions.

“The Government of Canada’s investment into our police service will help create the necessary social and systemic change required for people and police to fully understand that violence of any kind hurts everyone in the community. In partnership with other local police services, we will learn better ways to counter incidents of domestic violence and help to make a safer place for all First Nations on Manitoulin Island.”

Rodney Nahwegahbow, Chief of Police
UCCM Anishnaabe Police Service

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