Backgrounder - Government of Canada announces investment in Greater Vancouver Area women’s organizations 


 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. 


Today’s announcement profiled 14 projects selected for federal funding: 

Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C.

Project title: Centering Diversity and Equity at CCCABC
Funding amount: $443,250 

The Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC (CCCABC) advances women’s economic security by advocating for quality, affordable, accessible child care. The capacity-building funding will enable the CCCABC to instill diversity and equity throughout their work, ensuring that both their advocacy and their organization reflect the full diversity of BC women and families. The CCCABC will work with an external expert and a range of partners to undergo an Equity Audit of their operations in order to develop and implement a Diversity Action Plan designed to diversify their leadership, make their organizational culture more inclusive, and ensure equity drives their advocacy.           

The CCCABC was founded almost 40 years ago as a feminist collective working towards gender equality in B.C. by advocating for quality, affordable child care, access to which is the single biggest barrier to women’s full participation in the economy.        

“We, at the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC, are beyond pleased with the financial support offered by the Government of Canada, so that we can continue to support the development of a comprehensive, accessible and affordable public child care system in BC and across Canada.”

Susan Harney, Chairperson
Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC

 Ending Violence Association of B.C.

Project title: Building the Capacity of the Ending Violence Association of B.C. to Support the Anti-Violence Sector and Survivors of Gender-Based Violence
Funding amount: $597,881 

The Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC) will increase their organizational capacity through strategic planning to set the priorities that will guide their work over the next ten years; succession planning to ensure seamless transitions in senior leadership; and sustainability planning to prioritize their organization’s workplace health and financial wellbeing well into the future. The Department’s investment in their capacity as a leading provincial organization will advance gender equality by enabling their ongoing support and coordination of community-based anti-violence programs across British Columbia. 

Incorporated in 1992, EVA BC is a not-for-profit provincial umbrella organization whose mandate involves supporting and coordinating the work of over 300 community-based anti-violence programs and initiatives across British Columbia. EVA BC provides support, information, and referrals, and works to connect programs with one another and solve issues at the regional and provincial level.

“We coordinate lifesaving, cross sector responses to sexual and domestic violence, including violence against children and youth throughout BC. Having strong anti-violence services and multi-faceted responses are key to increasing safety. With this recent investment from the Department for Women and Gender Equality, we are able to further support the BC communities we serve.” 

Tracy Porteous, Executive Director
Ending Violence Association of BC

Ending Violence Association of Canada

Project title: Coordinating National Action Against Gender-Based Violence
Funding amount: $794,800 

This project will develop Ending Violence Association of Canada’s (EVA CAN) organizational structure, a five-year strategic plan, and a sustainability plan. The key focus of organizational development is to ensure membership represents sexual and domestic violence, community-and system-based organizations, all provinces/territories, Indigenous women, francophone women, other cultural groups, immigrants and refugees, and women with disabilities. Strategic planning will include activities to develop a national approach to anti-violence advocacy, influencing social policy, evaluating and sharing member best and promising practices. Activities to ensure sustainability will focus on building partnerships with donors and organizations with which we can undertake shared projects. 

EVA CAN is a national non-profit organization whose main purpose is to educate and respond to gender-based violence at the national level.

“Gender-based violence is a complex issue that requires an integrated analysis and a national conversation to include all of the sectors needed to respond and to foster prevention. With this funding, we are one step closer to ending gender based violence in Canada.”

Deb Tomlinson, Co-Chair 
Ending Violence Association of Canada

Justice for Girls Outreach Society

Project title: Building our capacity: A project to expand & stabilize the financial health of Justice for Girls
Funding amount: $250,000 

The overall goal of this project is to increase revenue and organizational capacity through a five-year financial plan. By expanding, diversifying and stabilizing their funding, this project will be part of their strategic plan to expand and become a Justice for Girls (JFG) Center—a young women’s equality rights organizing center and multi-service hub of support, programs, and resources for teenage girls living in poverty. 

JFG was formed in 1999, in response to local, national, and international calls for “girl only” programs and services that acknowledge and address the specific needs and vulnerabilities of girls, particularly in relation to homelessness, poverty, and violence. JFG believes it is necessary to eliminate violence and poverty in young women’s lives in order to bring about equality. Recognizing and addressing the intersecting/interlocking forms of oppression that young women face is fundamental to their work toward ending violence against girls and young women. 

“With this critical financial support, we will take our mission further to promote social justice, equality, and freedom from violence for teenage girls who live in poverty.”

Tracey McIntosh, Director
Justice for Girls Outreach Society

Métis Provincial Council of British Columbia

Project title: Métis Women in Leadership: Strengthening Our Abilities for Good Governance
Funding amount: $198,190 

This project will provide Métis Women BC Provincial Council (MWBCPC) the opportunity to build their capacity for governance. Through a series of workshops, MWBCPC will receive governance training for all of its members. Planning meetings will allow the organization to utilize their new skills to review documents and policies and recommend changes using gender-based analysis. These sessions will allow MWBCPC members to become strong and knowledgeable leaders, to lead Métis women in BC towards a better future. 

The Métis Provincial Council of British Columbia represents thirty-eight Métis Chartered Communities in British Columbia and is mandated to develop and enhance opportunities for Métis communities by implementing culturally relevant social and economic programs and services.

“With this vital support, the Métis Nation British Columbia Provincial Council will continue to develop and enhance opportunities for Métis communities by implementing culturally relevant social and economic programs and services.” 

Vera Lefranc, CEO
Métis Nation British Columbia

Minerva Foundation for B.C. Women

Project title: Minerva 2.0 - A Way Forward
Funding amount: $189,232 

This project is focused on developing and implementing a strategic plan for Minerva BC’s work in Vancouver, with some programs delivered in other communities across B.C. They will focus on identifying how to grow their services and impact, and developing new skills. 

Minerva BC is a registered, non-profit charitable organization that supports women and girls throughout British Columbia to gain the confidence and skills they need to reach their leadership potential. From leadership programs to education awards, and culturally-relevant programming developed in partnership with Indigenous women, Minerva BC elevates the visibility, influence and contribution of women to change the face of leadership in BC.

“As a society, we’ve come a long way in achieving equal rights for women, but we still have a long way to go. With this new federal support, we can continue to elevate the visibility, influence and contribution of women and girls throughout the province, and help them gain the confidence and skills they need to reach their full potential.” 

Tina Strehlke, CEO
Minerva Foundation for B.C. Women

North Shore Women's Centre Society

Project title: Financial and Human Resources Sustainability Through Capacity Building
Funding amount: $250,000 

This project will develop a long-term financial sustainability and human resources strategy for the North Shore Women’s Centre. Through establishing plans for financial growth and fund diversification, including private sector and community partnerships, as well as creating a structure for Board skill-building in gender analysis and fund development, they aim to bring greater financial and operational stability to the organization. A salary review, reorganization of work structure and creation of best practice policy manuals will ensure greater support to committed staff and volunteers who provide 7000 service contacts annually and are dedicated to pursuing women’s equality across our local community. 

Located in North Vancouver, BC, the North Shore Women’s Centre is dedicated to improving the social, economic, legal and political status of women. It provides women with access to resources and assists them with life choices, actively addresses violence against women at all levels of the community, challenges sexism and discrimination in the community, and works towards the elimination of the feminization of poverty. 

“With the investment granted by the Department for Women and Gender Equality, we can take our work further to improve the social, economic, legal and political status of women across Vancouver’s North Shore on the traditional and unceded territories of the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.” 

Michelle Dodds, Executive Director
North Shore Women’s Centre Society

SCWIST - Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology

Project title: S C A L E - SCWIST Connects, Advocates and Leverages Expertise - to Expand STEM Diversity for Economic Empowerment across Canada
Funding amount: $997,853

To support its pan-Canadian mandate, SCWIST will increase organizational effectiveness by creating a 5-year strategic plan that addresses administrative processes to support the growing organization; develop HR management and board governance structures to incorporate diverse groups; and increase financial sustainability; all of which will be validated by impact metrics. SCWIST will also form strategic partnerships and alliances to work collectively to advance gender equality and advocate for real change at the community, organizational and public policy level. 

The Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST) is a non-profit organization incorporated in1981, that promotes public awareness of opportunities for women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); provides resources to influence public policy; and presents positive messages about women’s achievements and potential; encourages participation of girls and women in STEM education through programs developed and implemented with community partners; and increases representation and advancement of women through networks, mentorship and advocacy for flexible workplace policies.     

“The Society for Canadian Women In Science and Technology welcomes this financing so that we can advance our mission of removing barriers for women and girls interested in and pursing education and careers in science, tech, engineering and mathematics.”

Kelly Marciniw, President  
Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology

ShEvalesco Female Empowerment Association

Project title: ShEvalesco Strategic Capacity Building Project
Funding amount: $80,371

Strategic capacity building is essential to advance the ShEvalesco’s mission and increase community impact. Key objectives of this project are to: (1) Consult with stakeholders on strategic direction, (2) Create and evaluate a 5-year strategic plan, (3) Explore opportunities for sustainable social enterprise, and (4) Provide mentoring for ShEvalesco leadership. Supporting activities will emphasize evaluation and commitment to measurable results. This project will further mobilize ShEvalesco as a force in Vancouver's Lower Mainland, empowering more young women with the confidence to effect change. 

ShEvalesco is actively advancing equality in Canada by building life skills and critical competencies in young women. Through an interactive and strength-based curriculum, ShEvalesco addresses three themes through a female-focused lens: effective communication and self-advocacy, financial literacy, and building resilience through mental and physical wellbeing. 

“ShEvalesco would not exist without financial support from our partners. This funding will allow us to expand our reach across British Columbia, helping us to empower female-identified youth (including Indigenous, two-spirited, LGBTQQIA+, vulnerable and at-risk) with critical life skills.” 

Alison McKenzie, Executive Director
ShEvalesco Female Empowerment Association

Supporting Women's Alternatives Network Society

Project title: Creating a New Pathway to Address Gender Inequality Among Newcomer and Migrant Women Who Do Sex Work
Funding amount: $240,000 

With the right strategic investment and focus, including new fundraising and advocacy plans, Women's Alternatives Network Society (SWAN) will map out a rights-centered pathway to ensure newcomer and migrant women who do sex work in Greater Vancouver are empowered to exercise their human rights to make informed choices about their lives and access equal opportunities and gender equitable outcomes. 

SWAN supports newcomer, migrant and immigrant women engaged in indoor sex work. Our membership includes women from diverse cultural backgrounds who speak various languages. We use this diversity to build a community network that supports women who work in massage parlours, private residences and other indoor sites. Trans and gender-diverse migrant and immigrant women are welcome. 

“We are grateful to the Government of Canada so that SWAN can continue to provide services to newcomer, migrant and immigrant women engaged in sex work. With this funding, SWAN will also address the systemic barriers preventing these women from participating fully in our communities.”

Alison Clancey, Executive Director
SWAN Vancouver  Society

West Coast LEAF Association

Project title: Funding Gender Equality
Funding amount: $610,688 

This project will support the West Coast LEAF Association’s (West Coast LEAF) work to advance gender equality in BC and to make the law accessible for self-identified women and other marginalized groups. Three activities—Building Infrastructure, Building Knowledge, and Building Individual Giving—will be undertaken to (1) promote financial sustainability through increasing individual giving and decreasing reliance on project-based grant funding, and (2) build our capacity to reach current supporters and the public, including women and those who can benefit from their work, to better leverage the expertise and support of their community networks and to increase the reach of their work. 

Incorporated in 1985, West Coast LEAF has the mandate to use the law to create an equal and just society for all women and people who experience gender-based discrimination in BC. In collaboration with the community, it uses litigation, law reform, and public legal education to make change. Its programs include public legal education workshops and materials, policy research reports, submissions to government, strategic litigation, and legal research and information.          

“West Coast LEAF is the first and only organization in BC dedicated to using the law as a tool for systemic change to achieve gender equality. In collaboration with community, we strive to create an equal and just society for all women and people who experience gender-based discrimination. We thank the Government of Canada for this vital support that will enable us to continue this important work.” 

Kasari Govender, Executive Director
West Coast LEAF Association

WISH Drop-In Centre Society

Project title: Building WISH's Capacity to Lead
Funding amount: $193,454 

This project is designed to increase WISH’s capacity to be a leader in destigmatizing street-based sex work and ending the violence and dehumanization towards cis and transgendered women who work in the sex trade. The overall objectives of this project are to 1) increase their organization’s capacity to respond to and advocate for the needs of street-based sex workers and 2) build their capacity to become leaders in reducing the stigma of street-based sex work. They plan to achieve these objectives by improving HR, communications, finance, and fundraising systems that will allow their organization to be more outward-looking. 

The current WISH Drop-In Centre has been in operation since September 17, 2008. This facility is purpose-built to accommodate the needs of sex-working women seeking safety and respite. The Drop-In space has been open all night long since 2013 in response to the recommendations made in the 2012 Missing Women’s Inquiry report. WISH Drop-In Centre serves an average of 6500 meals per month, while the donations and make-up room are accessed over 4500 times each month by some of Vancouver’s most vulnerable women. On any given night there can be between 20 and 30 women inside the space.

“With this vital funding, we can continue our work to sustainably improve the health, safety and well-being of women who are involved in Vancouver’s street-based sex trade, so that every woman has access to opportunities to make free, healthy and positive choices.” 

Mebrat Beyene, Executive Director
WISH Drop-In Centre Society

Women Transforming Cities International Society

Project title: Building Capacity for Women Transforming Cities
Funding amount: $235,020 

 With this project, Women Transforming Cities International Society (WTC) will address their growth needs by: 1) improving governance through Board related activities, strategic planning, effective communications, and a specific mentorship program aimed at underrepresented populations (e.g. Indigenous, immigrant, LGBTQ2S), 2) improving financial health with a sustainable plan implemented during the project, 3) building human resources by procuring support staff and optimizing volunteer contributions and establishing a mentor bank, and 4) expanding networks regionally and nationally. 

WTC educates, promotes awareness and takes action on issues such as affordable housing, violence against women, leadership, electoral reform, aboriginal women’s priorities, and the environment. They examine the impact different public policies will have on women and girls using an equity/intersectional lens that includes sex, race, gender, and income. They want women and girls to be engaged as decision makers, as elected officials, workers, planners, mothers and informed citizens to transform cities to be more equitable and democratic for all. 

“Women Transforming Cities International Society works to transform cities into spaces that work for everyone. We empower self-identified women and girls, in all their diversity, through community engagement, inclusive policies, and equitable representation to create women friendly cities. The Government of Canada capacity building funding will make an enormous difference to our work.  We are very excited to be able to improve and grow our capacity to support women and girls.” 

Ellen Woodsworth, Co-Chairperson
Women Transforming Cities International Society

Young Women's Christian Association Vancouver

Project title: Building Digital Capacity to Advance Gender Equality
Funding amount: $200,000 

Realizing their vision to achieve gender equality depends on their digital capacity. This project will allow the Young Women's Christian Association Vancouver (YWCA Vancouver) to conduct a digital discovery and needs assessment, develop a strategy to implement the findings and work with experts to build a new website that supports their goals and stakeholders’ needs. This will be followed by the integration of their communications and fundraising platforms, building capacity to manage and nurture online stakeholders and refine their strategies. The final stage will focus on long-term sustainability with the creation of a digital governance framework. This project will serve local community members and the many thousands of people they engage online. 

YWCA Vancouver's mission is to touch lives and build better futures for women and their families through advocacy and integrated services that foster economic independence, wellness and equal opportunities. YWCA Vancouver serves more than 3,000 women, youth and children per week in 52 programs throughout Metro Vancouver. They address the needs of individual communities providing affordable housing, employment services, early learning and care, health and fitness, mentorship programs and single mothers' support services. 

“For more than 120 years, YWCA Metro Vancouver has worked to achieve women’s equality. With this federal support, we can continue to touch lives and build better futures for women and their families through advocacy and services that foster economic independence, wellness and equal opportunities.” 

Deb Bryant, CEO
YWCA Metro Vancouver

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