Backgrounder -  Government of Canada announces funding for women’s organizations in Edmonton and Northern Alberta


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. 

Alberta Projects 

Today’s announcement in Edmonton, Alberta, profiled 11 of the projects selected to receive federal funding through the Capacity-building Fund: 

Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters Society (ACWS)

Project title: ACWS Building Collective Capacity
Funding amount: $750,000 

With this funding, the ACWS will be better positioned to support member shelters, and ensure that resources and staff are available to support member shelters and respond appropriately to their changes and evolving needs. They are working to grow their membership and create a province-wide institution dedicated to ending gender-based violence (GBV). 

ACWS is an ambassador for women’s shelters in Alberta, providing support to members and leadership to leverage their collective knowledge with the goal of ending domestic violence. ACWS is a founding member of both the global and Canadian networks of women’s shelters. 

“The needs and challenges facing women and women’s shelters is rising and the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters requires stable funding to meet our members’ growing needs, to expand our capacity to serve our members and to build a sustainable provincial network of women’s shelters. We’re grateful for this new investment from the federal government so we can move beyond our present capacity to provide enhanced supports and continue to build the services and benefits our members need. With this new investment, our collective work will have a greater impact ending gender-based violence in Alberta: ‘if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to far, go together’.” 

Jan Reimer, Executive Director
Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters Society

Alberta Native Friendship Centre Association  

Project title: Working in Friendship to Eliminate Violence
Funding amount: $500,000 

With this investment, the Alberta Native Friendship Centre Association will be able to better address gender-based violence in Alberta’s urban and rural centres. It will focus on developing an Indigenous-led framework that will help deliver culturally informed, long-term action, advocacy, and partnership development. This will support research and culturally appropriate programs and activities aimed at ending gender-based violence.

The Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association is the Provincial/Territorial Association of 21 member Friendship Centres. They provide opportunities for cultural sharing with a focus on bridging the gap between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous worldviews.

“We appreciate the Government of Canada’s investment in supporting Friendship Centres to address the serious issue of violence against urban Indigenous women and girls across Alberta. The development of a provincial framework to prevent and address gender-based violence is a vital first step for our 21 member Friendship Centres communities and will lay a foundation for culturally relevant supports to be embedded at the community level.” 

Joanne Mason, Executive Director
Alberta Native Friendship Centre Association

Bonnyville Canadian Native Friendship Centre 

Project title: Empowering Women Program
Funding amount: $81,066 

With this investment, the Bonnyville Canadian Native Friendship Centre will increase its capacity to provide services and supports for Indigenous women and families to increase their economic security. This  includes by increasing the training of local agencies to support Indigenous women and developing a service directory for clients and agencies. The organization will communicate its progress on a regular basis and maintain service provisions for Indigenous women and families with expanded outreach into the community.

The Bonnyville Canadian Native Friendship Centre incorporated on January 30, 1975. It promotes equal access and participation in Canadian society and is committed to communication and cooperation among all Indigenous and non-Indigenous people; federal, provincial and municipal government agencies; local business and organizations.

“Upgrading our skills and our capacity to deliver innovative services to our clients is not always possible with sporadic and limited funding. With this new, stable, predictable funding from the Government of Canada, we can upgrade and expand our training, programs and services while actively engaging the community for feedback and consultation.” 

Lauri Fitzpatrick, Executive Director
Bonnyville Canadian Native Friendship Centre 

InMotion Network
Project title: InMotion Network Capacity Building
Funding amount: $593,220 

InMotion Network will use this investment to speak with external experts on fund development, communication and measurement to strengthen its existing practices and continue to support women and girls in Alberta. By partnering with sports organizations and through its advocacy efforts, InMotion will advance gender equality and inspire transformative change.

InMotion Network is a non-profit organization that engages women and girls in sport and leadership roles while promoting and advocating for equitable opportunities for women and girls in sport. 

“Giving women and girls more access to sports and leadership opportunities along with an understanding of gender equality is a win-win situation for everyone in our community. Our capacity to serve has been met by this invaluable support from the Government of Canada. It will allow us to see how and where we can grow to ensure our programs are available and remain relevant in today’s rapidly changing world.” 

Sharon Evens, Chair
InMotion Network

Mountain Rose Women’s Shelter Association (MRWSA)

Project title: Developing a Sustainable Social Enterprise in Rural Alberta
Funding amount: $156,765 

MRWSA will secure more reliable funding and establish a workplace environment that encourages women’s leadership while increasing their economic security, self-esteem, and individual decision-making. They will create a business plan to establish a successful, sustainable social enterprise, which will help women become more financially secure and independent.

The MRWSA is a non-profit charitable organization located in Rocky Mountain House and Clearwater County that provides resources and support to individuals and families impacted by domestic violence. They were incorporated in 1990. 

“We have a small but powerful and dedicated team of staff and volunteers. What we need is funding and more ways and means to bring women closer to economic security. We are pleased to say that with this new funding from the federal government, we can take the time and resources to develop a social enterprise model that will see us become more financially independent. Women’s groups have needed this sort of help for years and we’re glad to have the chance to build our capacity and continue serving our community.” 

Cindy Easton, Executive Director
Mountain Rose Women’s Shelter Association

Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA) 

Project title: Buffalo Sage Wellness House Indigenous Women's Capacity Building Program
Funding amount: $60,472 

The NCSA will address violence against Indigenous women by training support staff at the Buffalo Sage Wellness House to understand the traditional role of Indigenous women, recognize the impact that historic trauma has had on it, and restore that traditional role through education.

NCSA started in 1974 with one court worker. Since then, NCSA has grown to include 170 staff who help Indigenous people gain fair and equitable access to the justice systems and children’s services in Alberta. 

“The funding provided by the Government of Canada will enable us to build our capacity for healing by reaffirming our women to their rightful places as teachers of gender roles and givers of life. This will greatly reduce incidents of violence in the community, change attitudes and help ensure healing in our community.” 

Claire Carefoot, Director of Corrections
Native Counselling Services of Alberta

Pace Community Support, Sexual Assault, & Trauma Centre

Project title: Pace Strategic & Succession Planning
Funding amount: $233,775 

One of the most underfunded aspects of operating a charitable organization is staff training, retention and turnover. Delivering consistent programs, building capacity, and providing dependable service requires trained staff, a clear corporate vision and effective succession planning. The Pace Community Support, Sexual Assault, & Trauma Centre will grow its capacity through strategic planning, succession planning, and revised recruitment and retention practices. Experts will oversee updating policies, project outcomes, and job descriptions. A new framework for recruitment and retention of executives and board members is planned in addition to the overall restructuring.
The Pace Community Support, Sexual Assault, & Trauma Centre was founded in 1980 as P.A.C.E: Providing Assistance, Counselling and Education. In 1993, P.A.C.E was a founding member of the Alberta Association of Sexual Assault Centres. 

“Staffing issues and changeover of executives and board members can have a negative impact on our operations. We are pleased to have this capacity funding from the federal government to prepare a professional strategic plan that is overdue. By upgrading and updating our training and human resources policies, we can ensure that, moving forward, we will have the people and the processes in place to serve our community’s needs.”  

Jacquie Aitken, Executive Director
Pace Community Support, Sexual Assault, & Trauma Centre 

The Red Road Healing Society 

Project title: Strategic Plan Update and Succession Planning
Funding amount: $50,000 

The Red Road Healing Society will be better suited to reduce the abuse, apathy, isolation, and general pain in the lives of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples by focusing on internal administrative activities including succession planning, board governance, strategic planning, and results-based management. This will build a stronger organization which can better serve the Indigenous community in Alberta. An Indigenous lens will be used during the project and 'Indigenomics', an Indigenous perspective on economic and social development, will be incorporated. 

The Red Road Healing Society is a not-for-profit that is accessible, welcoming and free. Its holistic wellness programming for children, youth and families uses a variety of Indigenous cultural perspectives, knowledge and practices. 

“Our holistic approach to healing is essential for our clients to move forward in life. The Government of Canada’s support comes at a time when we need to expand. It will provide the necessary funds to reorganize and improve our capacity to deliver professional Indigenous services to our Indigenous children, youth, adults and families in an Indigenous environment that promotes a sense of belonging and empowerment.” 

Joanne Lethbridge Pompana
The Red Road Healing Society

SAFFRON Centre Ltd.

Project title: Building Momentum at SAFFRON
Funding amount: $222,000 

SAFFRON will develop a strategic plan that includes long-term goals for outcomes aligned with responses required from survivors of sexual assault or gender-based violence. Funding streams, staff training, retention policies and overall governance structures will also be reviewed and strengthened. This will help improve the vital services the organization provides to the community. 

SAFFRON Centre Ltd. began in 1998 as “A Safe Talk”. From one counsellor trained to support survivors of sexual violence, it grew and changed its name from the Strathcona Sexual Assault Centre to SAFFRON in 2007. 

“Thanks to the support from the Government of Canada, we can restructure to meet the growing demand for our services and programs. Sexual assault and sexual violence are a significant problem and we plan to become better aligned as an essential service provider with the types of responses survivors need to heal, move forward and recover.” 

Katie Kitschke, Executive Director
SAFFRON Centre Ltd.

Today Family Violence Help Centre 

Project title: Creating Financial Sustainability through Community Engagement
Funding amount: $250,000 

The Today Family Violence Help Centre will hire a community engagement specialist to help build relationships with potential donors, funders and volunteers, to increase revenue streams through community engagement. Along with making the organization more financially stable and connected to the community, this will also help raise awareness and leverage community knowledge to improve their programs for women impacted by family violence and gender inequality. 

The Today Family Violence Help Centre began in 2004 with representatives from 26 family violence stakeholders including shelters, not-for-profit organizations, Indigenous and ethno-cultural communities and all three levels of government. They opened their doors in 2009 and were awarded charitable status in 2012. 

“Our relationship with the community continues to evolve. Keeping up with demands without stable funding is challenging. We are thankful for the Government of Canada’s support, which will help us design a plan and a program that increases our revenue while expanding our capacity as a service provider. This will make a positive difference in the lives of women who rely on us for assistance.” 

Cindy Furlong, Executive Director
Today Family Violence Help Centre

YWCA Edmonton 

Project title: YWCA Edmonton Revenue Diversification
Funding amount: $150,000 

The YWCA Edmonton will restructure the organization to increase its financial viability by comprehensively reviewing its funding strategy, and developing a plan to diversify revenue streams to improve its financial health and sustainability in the long-term.

YWCA Canada, founded in 1870, is the oldest and largest women’s social service organization in the country. YWCA Edmonton started in 1907 and has been involved in many important social service programs for women and children in Edmonton, including the city’s first sexual assault center. 

“We know from our own history and experience that reorganizing and reprogramming for the needs of the community is a monumental undertaking. With this investment from the Government of Canada, we are more confident in our long-term growth.” 

Leslie Allen, Chief Executive Officer
YWCA Edmonton

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.

Alberta Project

Today’s announcement also profiled one project in Edmonton selected for federal funding through the GBV Program:

Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) 

Project title: Enhancing Women-centred Practice using Assessment Tools with Survivors of Domestic Violence
Funding amount: up to $1 million 

ACWS seeks to test enhanced risk assessment tools, processes, and protocols to support the work of shelters and women-centered service delivery for survivors of gender-based violence. 

ACWS is an ambassador for women’s shelters in Alberta, providing support to members and leadership to leverage their collective knowledge with the goal of ending domestic violence. ACWS is a founding member of both the global and Canadian networks of women’s shelters.

“Alberta has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the country. Shelters save lives, support women’s safety and help protect children from abuse. We are grateful to the Government of Canada for supporting our work across the province in developing effective tools grounded in shelter expertise. We hope these tools can become models for promoting safety from domestic violence in families and communities across the country.” 

Jan Reimer, Executive Director
Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters

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