Backgrounder - Government of Canada supports survivors of gender-based violence in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland


Women and Gender Equality Canada’s Gender-Based Violence Program 

Following the June 2017 announcement of It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, Women and Gender Equality Canada (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. 

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

In 2018, Minister Monsef announced $20 million in funding for a call for concepts as part of the new GBV Program. Following Budget 2018, the funding for the GBV Program more than doubled, meaning that more organizations, such as sexual assault crisis centres, 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 at the front end of the process;
  • eligible recipients were expanded to include: labour groups and unions; provinces, territories, municipalities and their agencies; research organizations and institutes, centres 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 evaluating of promising practices, which will lead to clear impacts and results for Canadians. 

British Columbia’s Lower Mainland Projects 

Today’s announcement profiled four projects selected for federal funding which will take place throughout British Columbia’s Lower Mainland: 

BC Society of Transition Houses 

Project Title: Reducing Barriers for Indigenous Women & Children to Transition Houses & Safe Homes
Funding amount: $800,000 

The work being undertaken will improve access to transition houses and safe homes for Indigenous women and children by testing a service model called “Reducing Barriers for Indigenous Women and their Children,” which will assist in developing culturally informed practices. 

The BC Society of Transition Houses is a member-based, provincial umbrella organization that, through leadership, support and collaboration, enhances the continuum of services and strategies to respond to, prevent and end violence against women, children and youth. It provides support, training, education, resources and advocacy to the network of over 120 Transition Houses and Safe Homes and 86 PEACE programs for women, children and youth across the province. 

“Gender-based violence affects countless women throughout British Columbia and Indigenous women are disproportionately victimized by violence, a result of the complex and ongoing implications of colonization. The promising practices in the Cedar Blankets Project have the potential to reframe how transition houses and safe homes provide responsive services and shelter to Indigenous women and their children. We are grateful for the support from the Government of Canada to facilitate meaningful and transformative change. With this investment, we will take another step toward ending gender-based violence by providing cultural safety and trauma- and violence- informed shelter and supports to Indigenous women, children and youth in British Columbia.”

Amy S. FitzGerald, Executive Director
BC Society of Transition Houses

DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society 

Project Title: Mainstreaming Culture in Safety Planning for Survivors of Violence and their Children: the Impact of the Signs of SafetyTM Model on the Cultural Safety of Vulnerable Immigrant and Refugee Women and Children experiencing Domestic Violence
Funding amount: $600,000 

DIVERSEcity will work to maximize the safety of immigrant and refugee women and children in situations of domestic violence. This project will test how the Signs of SafetyTM model adapts to a settlement context, in order to increase cultural safety for families in service provision, and how it will help DIVERSEcity to better collaborate with other gender-based violence service providers. 

DIVERSEcity is a registered charity devoted to helping newcomers to Delta, Langley, Surrey and White Rock, British Columbia. It offers many specialized services, such as counselling, language training, and employment and skills training. 

“Immigrant and refugee women tend to not access services to address gender-based violence due to a perceived lack of cultural safety with conventional safety planning. We are working to change this through promising culturally appropriate safety planning because we believe that all women should feel safe and connected in their country and community. Funding from the Government of Canada makes a necessary contribution to ensure a more inclusive and secure world for women and girls no matter where they are from.” 

Neelam Sahota, Chief Executive Officer
DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society 

Vancouver Women's Health Collective 

Project Title: Expanding on the Promising Practice of the Aboriginal Women's Intervention
Funding amount: $400,000 

Vancouver Women's Health Collective will test and evaluate the application of the Aboriginal Women’s Intervention as a promising practice in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver. Its goal is to provide better alignment between services available and the specific health and wellness needs of Indigenous women who are survivors of intimate partner violence, by integrating western medicine with traditional healing practices. 

The Vancouver Women's Health Collective is a non-profit organization helping self-identified women foster health, wellness and equity through feminist approaches to advocacy, shared knowledge and low-barrier programs and services. 

 “Since 1971 we have been helping empower women to take control of their health through self-advocacy, information and knowledge, and activism. We are grateful for the funding from the Government of Canada because grappling with the root causes and complex impact of gender-based violence requires support from all levels of stakeholders. Indigenous women, particularly those who have experienced violence, often report discriminatory treatment in the healthcare system and we are committed to addressing key barriers and systemic biases that prevent survivors from accessing the support they need to improve their emotional, mental and physical challenges.” 

France-Emmanuelle Joly, Executive Director
Vancouver Women’s Health Collective 

 WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre 

Project Title: Meaningful Inclusion
Funding amount: $985,000 

This initiative will address gaps in service provision for LGBTQ2 communities and gender-non-binary survivors of gender-based violence through a gender affirming inclusion process. 

WAVAW is a feminist, anti-oppressive, decolonizing rape crisis centre operating on unceded Coast Salish Territories. It provides support services to survivors of sexualized violence who have shared experiences of gender marginalization, including cis and trans women, Two-Spirit, trans and/or non-binary people. It strives for social and systemic change through education, outreach and activism. 

“By serving survivors of sexualized violence, including LGBTQ2 communities and people of all marginalized genders, we are committed to centering the voices of survivors and providing paths to healing and justice. We are also dedicated to increasing awareness about sexualized violence, and dismantling gender-based oppression in our communities. We know that social and systemic change is often slow and difficult, which is why support from the Government of Canada is so critical to what we do to support survivors and shift society – building a safer world for people of all genders.” 

Dalya Israel, Executive Director
WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre 

 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 internal needs 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. 

Today’s announcement in Vancouver, British Columbia, profiled one organization selected for federal funding through the Capacity-building Fund: 

Stó:lō Service Agency

Project title: Women of Stó:lō
Funding amount: $243,675 

Together with various stakeholders, agencies and communities, Stó:lō Service Agency will seek to develop a coordinated approach to address the challenges and inequities facing Indigenous women in Stó:lō territory, which include sexual abuse and assault, incarceration, drug overdose, homelessness, apprehension of their children and endemic poverty. 

The mission of the The Stó:lō Service Agency is to support social and economic development within the Stó:lō community through facilities and programs in the areas of education, human resource development, early childhood and youth services, health, elderly care, and social development. 

 “We are vigilant in our efforts to address the systemic inequities and gender-based violence faced by Indigenous women. Naturally we cannot do this alone. There is an urgent need for social change and action, which cannot happen without large-scale support. Women have the right to feel protected and safe and we will continue working to realize a safer future for Indigenous women and girls.” 

Kelowa Edel, Health Director
Stó:lō Service Agency 

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