Government of Canada Highlights Progress on Gender-Based Violence

News release

August 7, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Women and Gender Equality Canada

Gender-based violence holds us all back. It has long-lasting and negative health, social and economic effects that can span generations, often leading to cycles of violence within families and sometimes whole communities. We all benefit when women, girls, and people of all gender identities and expressions, are able to live their lives to the fullest.

Today, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, released A Year in Review, 2018-2019: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, which highlights the Government of Canada’s progress on ending gender-based violence.

Important actions that the Government of Canada has taken during the past year include:

  • Investing more than $80 million in more than 80 projects in communities across the country to prevent gender-based violence and support diverse groups of survivors and their families, including preventing teen dating violence and child maltreatment, and equipping professionals to respond;
  • Training more than 1,300 front-line settlement workers to assist in identifying abuse and making appropriate referrals for newcomer women and youth who disclose abuse, including those in smaller cities and rural communities;
  • Strengthening provisions in the Criminal Code, including increasing the maximum sentence for repeat offences of intimate partner violence, reversing the onus at bail hearings for repeat offenders, recognizing strangulation as an elevated form of assault, and updating the definition of intimate partner to include current or former spouses, common-law partners, and dating partners;
  • Launching the Gender-Based Violence Knowledge Centre’s online platform, a resource for academics, practitioners, and survivors of gender-based violence;
  • Establishing a new advisory committee that is helping to develop a framework to end gender-based violence at post-secondary institutions;
  • Investing in gender-based violence and gender equality research to support evidence-based policy and programs, the first public call for research proposals in over a decade;
  • Investing $22.24 million through Budget 2019 to better protect children from online sexual exploitation;
  • Bringing in a new law that provides five days paid leave for victims of family violence working in a federally regulated sector;
  • Completing the expanded review of over 30,000 sexual assault case files by federal law enforcement in April 2019; and
  • Through Budget 2019, undertaking a new whole-of-government strategy to respond to human trafficking, building on the investments made that launched the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline in May 2019.

These, and other positive actions taken across the federal government, are highlighted in the second annual report of It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence. The full report is available on the Gender-Based Violence Knowledge Centre’s online platform.

Quotes

“From day one, our government has worked diligently to prevent and address gender-based violence. We listened to advocates and survivors, and worked with them to bring in Canada’s first ever Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence. With today’s release of the Strategy’s second annual report, we are not only demonstrating our progress to date, but our continued commitment to do our part to end GBV. GBV must not be tolerated, and we will continue to work with survivors, community partners, the private sector and other orders of government to end it in all its forms.”

The Honourable Maryam Monsef, P.C., M.P.
Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality

“As part of Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, our government continues to establish new partnerships and collaborate with stakeholders to change the culture that allows gender-based violence to exist in Canada. Over the last year, the Public Health Agency of Canada invested in new projects across the country to help prevent teen dating violence and child maltreatment, and to equip professionals with the skills they need to recognize, prevent and respond safely to gender-based violence. These important programs are working to shift gender norms, build positive relationship skills and promote healthy family relationships.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health

“Women and girls are disproportionately affected by sexual exploitation and human trafficking, both abhorrent crimes that we must put to an end. As a government, we stand with women, girls and all vulnerable groups to better protect them from these threats so that they can live their lives free from discrimination, harassment and violence. Public Safety Canada and its Portfolio continue to prioritize important work to raise awareness of these serious issues, pursue and prosecute offenders, and reduce the stigma of victimization.”

The Honourable Ralph Goodale, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“It is important that women and girls know and understand their rights in Canada to end the cycle of gender-based violence. We launched an awareness campaign to better inform newcomer women of the supports available to them, such as women’s only language classes and support groups that create safe and open spaces and information on how victims of abuse can get help. Starting July 26, newcomers facing family violence are able to apply for a temporary resident permit, with a work permit and health care coverage, that will give them legal immigration status in Canada, as nobody should have to stay in an abusive situation for fear of jeopardizing their immigration status. It’s never okay.”

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“The Department of National Defence is committed to ensuring military members and their families work and live free from gender-based violence. In keeping with Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, I want to ensure that each person directly affected can receive integrated and coordinated support, that they know where to go for help, and that they have a range of options available to them.”

The Honourable Harjit Singh Sajjan, P.C., M.P.
Minister of National Defence

Quick facts

  • On June 19, 2017, the Government of Canada announced It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, the first federal strategy of its kind. The Strategy is a whole-of-government approach that brings together all federal efforts to prevent and address gender-based violence (GBV). Funded partners under the GBV Strategy include: Women and Gender Equality Canada (formerly Status of Women Canada); the Public Health Agency of Canada; Public Safety Canada; the Department of National Defence; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. 

  • The development of the Strategy has been supported and informed by the Minister’s Advisory Council on the Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, which was established on June 27, 2016. The Advisory Council serves as a forum to exchange views, promising practices and research on issues related to gender-based violence. The members of the Advisory Council come from a broad range of sectors and areas of expertise from across the country.

  • To date, the Government of Canada has invested over $200 million across government to prevent gender-based violence, support survivors and their families, and promote responsive legal and justice systems.

  • The Promising practices to support survivors and their families call for concepts is the largest amount of funding ever announced for programming to specifically support diverse groups of gender-based violence survivors and their families, including women and girls, Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQ2 and gender-non-binary people, racialized people, those living in northern, rural and remote communities, persons with disabilities, newcomers to Canada, children, youth, and seniors.

  • In addition to lifelong impacts on an individual’s physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health, the effects of gender-based violence have an economic toll. Annually, the economic impact of just intimate partner violence and sexual assault is estimated to be over $12 billion.

Associated links

Contacts

Braeson Holland
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality
343-549-8825

Joshua Kirkey
Manager, Communications Services
Women and Gender Equality Canada
819-420-6884

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