Backgrounder - Government of Canada announces investment in women’s organizations in the Greater Montréal area 


Women and Gender Equality Canada’s Women’s Program  

One of the ways Women and Gender Equality Canada 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. 

Montréal Projects 

Today’s announcement profiled 14 projects in the greater Montréal area selected for federal funding through the Capacity-building Fund: 

Action des femmes handicapées (Montréal) (AFHM) 

Project title: From “I” to “We”
Funding amount: $185,820 

AFHM will increase membership, train staff, renew succession plans, and retain skilled workers to grow the organization. Governance and marketing tools will be renewed and a new program to train new staff will be implemented. The results of these changes will be shared in a two-day seminar that will enable the organization to share its expertise on issues facing women with disabilities. 

AFHM (Montréal), is an independent, non-profit organization founded in 1986 and led by women. AFHM works to advocate for and to promote the autonomy of women with disabilities in Montréal in order to increase their full participation in the city’s social, cultural, political and economic life.  

 “We are very pleased to receive this investment from the federal government. Our needs to expand are constant but until now, we have had only limited funds which have made long-term plans quite the challenge and almost impossible to implement. We will now be able to reorganize and grow our organization to ensure we remain a strong advocate for women with disabilities in Montréal and surrounding areas. We want to promote the autonomy and full participation in the social, cultural, political and economic aspects of these women’s lives.” 

Rose-Marie Wakil, President
Action des femmes handicapées (Montréal) 

 L’Alliance des maisons d'hébergement de 2e étape pour femmes et enfants victimes de violence conjugale 

Project title: Consolidation of the Domestic Violence Second Stage Housing Network in Québec
Funding amount: $750,000 

L’Alliance will expand its support for transitional housing in Québec to help meet the growing demand. It will update its services to be more effective, train staff in post-separation violence, develop harmonized response protocols, and track and analyze post-separation violence faced by women in Québec. 

L’Alliance includes 19 houses in 10 regions in Quebec, offering 118 housing units and 16 rooms as well as specialized services in post-separation domestic violence. L’Alliance members help abused women break the cycle of spousal violence and make the transition to regular housing to reclaim their emotional and financial independence. The first second-stage shelter in Québec opened in 1984, and as others followed, they were united under the group name, L’Alliance, in 2003. 

 “The 22 member homes of l’Alliance des maisons d’hébergement pour femmes et enfants victimes de violence conjugale have been integrated into the provincial action plan since 2018. The important federal funding over four years we are announcing today will allow to develop the network of domestic violence services, post-separation, in Quebec. Member homes need training, the exchange of best practices, research and financial frameworks to provide adequate services in good conditions for residents, and work for interveners. The population needs to be informed about the reality of post-separation violence, its impacts and the resources that exist to help. Our partnership with the Government of Canada is critical to expanding these services, and tomorrow for building a national action plan against domestic violence so that all women living in Canada are safe.” 

Gaëlle Fedida, Policy Coordinator
L’Alliance des maisons d'hébergement de 2e étape pour femmes et enfants victimes de violence conjugale 

 CALACS – Laurentides

Project title: Plan, Act and Evaluate: Strategies and Innovations to Optimize Efficiency and Meet the Challenge of Deployment
Funding amount: $229,427 

This community-based initiative is a response to the challenges faced by vulnerable women in the region. Outreach and advocacy strategies will be evaluated and updated, and funding sources and partnerships will be reviewed. It will consolidate internal knowledge to strengthen the organization’s ability to respond and better serve the community. 

CALACS–Laurentides is a sexual assault help and crisis centre for women and girls aged 12 and older. It offers a variety of free services such as a telephone hotline, individual and group counselling, information about survivor’s rights and recourse, self-defense classes, awareness workshops, and conferences. These activities are offered regardless of sexual orientation, physical limitations, ethnicity, nationality, or religion. 

 “Providing services in our vast region presents special challenges to survivors of sexual violence. The Government of Canada’s investment, which is increasing our capacity, will allow us to achieve our goal of improving the accessibility of services while connecting more women throughout the six RCMs south of the Laurentians. We’re glad to have the chance to move forward with this reliable funding and develop more effective methods of drastically eliminating sexual violence against women.” 

Sophie Gilbert, Coordinator

 CALACS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île 

Project title: Strengthening the CALACS Organization to Adapt to the Increase in Services and Staff, in Order to Respond More Effectively to the Demands of Women and the Community
Funding amount: $208,649                                                                               

CALACS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île will review its management operations, upgrade its services, and train staff. They will develop a strategic plan to improve, modernize, and track program and service delivery. The plan will introduce systems for staff to better respond to women served by the CALACS, including anglophone clients.

CALACS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île is a non-profit feminist organization advocating against sexual assault. It provides services to women aged 14 and up who are survivors of sexual violence and advocates against sexual assault within the community. Its policy to provide services is exercised without discrimination to ensure equitable and inclusive treatment for a diverse group of women.

 “The way we work with our community is changing rapidly over time. Our need to move to a more modern management approach has been addressed through the federal government’s investment in our work. This financial support will all us to renew our efforts to support women and girls in the West Island and to help them regain power over their lives.” 

Ghada Makhlouf, President
CALACS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île 

 Centre des femmes d’ici et d’ailleurs (CFIA) 

Project title: Strategic Planning and its Implementation
Funding amount: $197,594 

The Centre des femmes d’ici et d’ailleurs will develop a strategic plan to support its outreach, grow its sustainability, and improve management through training, planning tools and participatory evaluation. The plan will focus on general services, education, community life, and advocacy. This will help strengthen bonds with community partners to build new collaborations and help people better understand the issues and specialized needs of the community’s racialized women.  

CFIA started in 1985. Through individual and collective intervention, CFIA works to fight for the rights of women of all origins and promote intercultural exchange and solidarity between them. Activities are conducted in French, but services are also available in English, Spanish and Arabic. CFIA is a member of the L’R des centres de femmes du Québec. 

 “Our organization is rooted in the communities and neighbourhoods where our members live. With this new funding from the Government of Canada, we are now able to improve the way we deliver services, advance gender equality, and bring positive change for women of all backgrounds living in Montréal.” 

Potisa Skalkogiannis, Vice President
Centre des femmes d’ici et d’ailleurs 

 Collectif des femmes immigrantes du Québec 

Project title: Immigrant Women: Better Equipped to Move Forward!
Funding amount: $196,798 

The Collectif des femmes immigrantes du Québec will introduce new governance policies and procedures to revitalize its board of directors. It will develop a retention policy for experienced staff and create tools to advance gender equality in the long term. It will also try to create new long-term partnerships. 

In 1983, 75 women representing various organizations founded the Collectif des femmes immigrantes du Québec with the mission to promote the integration of immigrants to Québec society. It administers intervention activities and programs, conferences, employment support, intercultural training, radio shows, photo exhibitions, publications and more. 

 “We are very pleased with the federal government’s decision to support immigrant women in our province. Helping unite immigrant women should be fundamental to every community. By empowering them to grow and lead others who are on a similar journey, we help immigrant women achieve a proactive and healthy future – something we want for all Canadians.” 

Aoura Bizzarri, Director General and Founder
Collectif des femmes immigrantes du Québec 

 Conseil d’intervention pour l’accès des femmes au travail (CIAFT) 

Project title: Creation and Implementation of a Strategic Development Plan
Funding amount: $444,577 

CIAFT will develop a long-term strategic plan to support internal management and improve internal procedures. It will create an action plan and host a symposium with partners across the province to help implement, evaluate, discuss and promote findings. 

CIAFT consists of groups and individuals working to defend the rights of women in the workplace. Since its creation in 1982, CIAFT has developed the expertise to be recognized by union, community and institutional partners. CIAFT members come primarily from community-based labour market integration, women’s committees, labour organizations and regional and national feminist organizations. 

 “Working women often need help to ensure their rights are upheld. Thanks to this new investment from the federal government, we can realize a professional strategy to support our growth that will strengthen our capacity for partnerships and collaborations. This work will bring more attention to the inequities women face in the workplace and assess how knocking down barriers to gender equality is fundamental to ensure women in our society and our economy are better able to prosper.” 

Kim Paradis, Director General
Conseil d’intervention pour l’accès des femmes au travail (CIAFT) 

 La Marie Debout, Centre d’éducation des femmes 

Project title: La Marie Debout, the Place where Positive Leaders Emerge, Looking to the Future!
Funding amount: $160,327 

La Marie Debout will create a strategic plan to meet the evolving needs of women in their community. The organization’s existing practices and projects that advance gender equality will be formalized and presented in a practices and training guide to equip current and future staff and volunteers. These activities and tools will have help with succession planning and allow La Marie Debout to continue to support and foster positive leaders in the community. 

Established in 1982 in Montréal’s Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood, La Marie Debout offers hospitality, listening and a place of belonging, socialization, mutual aid, solidarity, cooperation and action with an approach that assists women to reclaim their lives. Accessible to women with reduced mobility, La Marie Debout is managed by and for women in a space where everyone can express themselves, regardless of age, marital status, origin or sexual orientation. 

 “The realities experienced by women in Montréal’s Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood are changing rapidly and becoming more complex. At La Marie Debout, we are delighted to receive funding from the federal government to implement our plan for updating and documenting our popular feminist education practices with the goal of promoting gender equality.” 

Agathe Kissel, Marilène Berthiaume, Fabienne Mathieu, Co-coordinators
La Marie Debout, Centre d’éducation des femmes

 Partance, centre d’emploi pour femmes 

Project title: From Strategy to Governance, Partance Soars!
Funding amount: $245,696 

Partance will grow to become a key partner in the professional development of hundreds of women who are looking for work. It will review and improve managerial functions, and create new partnerships and collaborations to help women in the Drummondville area to have access to the same opportunities as men and to find rewarding employment. 

Since 1982, Partance has been present in the lives of hundreds of Québec women who want to re-enter the job market or enrich their careers. Partance offers women the tools, training, and personalized support to help them to achieve professional autonomy in traditional and non-traditional workplaces. 

 “Promoting women’s well-being and gender equality go hand in hand. Our efforts to bring more women to the workplace and promote inclusion and diversity has resulted in small culture shifts that are showing the benefits of eliminating the barriers to women’s success in the workplace. Thanks to this investment from the federal government, we can now bring change to the workplace and empower women and employers to collaborate toward an equal work environment.” 

Julie Bourassa, Director General
Partance, centre d’emploi pour femmes 

 Regroupement québécois des centres d'aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel (RQCALACS) 

Project title: Mobilization of Sexual Assault Knowledge and Integration of Reflective-Interactive Practices to Strengthen the Capacity of the Sector to Participate in the Constant Evolution of its Management and Intervention Models
Funding amount: $604,846 

RQCALACS will renew current models of intervention in sexual assault and forge collaborations within the sector to address emerging issues. It will build its capacity by updating succession planning, renewing management models, and reviewing funding streams. It will develop common tools and basic training for members and exchange expertise with partners. Finally, it will create permanent groups to contribute expertise and advice on sexual assault. 

RQCALACS is a non-profit feminist organization founded in 1979 that brings together and supports the CALACS. Guided by the values ​​of equality, respect and solidarity, RQCALACS is known and recognized for its expertise in addressing sexual assault and for an intersectional feminist approach to the problem of gender-based violence. 

 “It is difficult to sustain lasting and positive change for survivors of sexual assault and society as a whole, but we continue to strive to discover new ways to address the ever-changing issue of sexual assault, and at the same time, provide support to survivors while upholding our principles of equity, respect and solidarity. We are very fortunate to have the support of the federal government which will enable us to expand and improve our ability to deliver services for women throughout Québec.” 

France Clément, President
Regroupement québécois des centres d’aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel 

 Réseau des lesbiennes du Québec (RLQ) 

Project title: LGBTQ+ Women’s Empowerment: Progressing Toward a De Facto Equality
Funding amount: $544,159 

The RLQ will develop and evaluate a strategic plan. It will create partnerships at local, regional, and provincial levels, including community and government partnerships. The RLQ expansion will make it possible for the organization to advocate more effectively for gender equality. 

Réseau des lesbiennes du Québec was established in 1996 during the Québec gay and lesbian general conference, when 30 women decided to come together to form an interim committee. The RLQ acts as spokesperson and interlocutor with decision-making bodies, both political and social, regarding the quality and living conditions of lesbians, women of sexual diversity and their communities. They have intervened on many social and political issues over the years, ranging from the invisibility of older lesbians to legal recognition of same-sex couples. 

 “Our members and partnerships are at the core of our success and a large part of how we manage growth and achieve the service capacity required to build on the progress already made. We are very pleased with today’s funding announcement by the Government of Canada; it will provide the financial means to enable us to develop stronger advocacy for LGBTQ2 women’s issues and allow for expansion and upgrades to our organization that will improve our advocacy efforts.” 

Julie Antoine, Director General
Réseau des lesbiennes du Québec 

 Société Elizabeth Fry du Québec (SEFQ) 

Project title: Strengthening the Capacities of Société Elizabeth Fry du Québec
Funding amount: $211,155 

The SEFQ will improve its programming by offering gender-specific services to women offenders. It will look at how technology can improve how gendered data is collected and analyzed, and use that data to advocate for systemic changes that promote gender equality. It will also share its expertise nationally. 

SEFQ was founded in 1977 when only a few community organizations worked with court cases. SEFQ helps women in conflict with the law to facilitate their integration into the community. Over the years, SEFQ has grown to address the needs of women in the criminal justice system with transition houses, prison activities and programs, economic crime prevention programs, legal services, regional centres and networks of volunteers. 

 “Thanks to the support of the Government of Canada, we are now able to use information technology for the analysis and management of data to assist women in conflict with the law. The improvement in our processes will allow us to more effectively promote systemic changes aimed at advancing gender equality.” 

Ruth Gagnon, Director General
Société Elizabeth Fry du Québec 

 Table de concertation des groupes de femmes de Lanaudière (TCGFL) 

Project title: GBA+ for the Economic Security of the Women of the Lanaudière Region
Funding amount: $171,820

TCGFL will work to improve the use of a fairness lens called Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+). Workshops for GBA+ learning will be organized to strengthen the involvement of women’s groups and other public organizations in Lanaudière, which will help raise awareness on specific issues experienced by women in their communities. Other regional initiatives for inclusion will be supported, and many activities will be carried out in partnership with the Table des préfets Lanaudière, the Table des partenaires du développement social de Lanaudière and the Centre regional de formation de Lanaudière.

Founded in 1991, TCGFL is a regional association seeking to empower the interests and well-being of women. It promotes the active participation of the Lanaudière women's movement in the socio-economic development of the region, with an aim to improve the living conditions and health of women from a gender perspective. 

 “With today’s investment from the federal government, we will take action to improve the lives and living conditions of women in Lanaudière by working to ensure greater economic security for all.” 

Francine Rivest, Coordinator
Table de concertation des groupes de femmes de Lanaudière 

 Table des groupes de femmes de Montréal (TGFM) 

Project title: Women and Their Relationship to the City
Funding amount: $200,000 

TGFM’s will grow to be better able to act, do outreach, and engage the community. It will work to strengthen its collaborations with members and partners and solidify ties with women’s groups in the surrounding area, those working with Indigenous women, and those working with Anglophones to create collaborations across the city promoting gender equality.

TGFM started in 1996 with a mission to promote and defend the interests of women from a feminist perspective. It promotes gender equality and women’s health in all aspects of social, political, economic and cultural life that influence the living conditions of Montréalers.

“We’re thankful for the Government of Canada’s generous support, which will help us strengthen our collaborations and better unite women across Montréal. This funding will energize the women’s movement and help remove urban barriers to gender equality.” 

Sylvie Majeau, President
Table des groupes de femmes de Montréal

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