Backgrounder - Government of Canada announces investment in women’s organizations in the Greater Okanagan and Columbia Shuswap


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 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. 

Greater Okanagan and Columbia Shuswap Projects: 

Today’s announcement in Kelowna profiled five projects throughout the Greater Okanagan and Eastern British Columbia regions selected for federal funding through the Capacity-building Fund: 

Golden Women's Centre Society

Project title: Policy and Procedure Manual and Promotional Media Upgrade
Funding amount: $16,830 

Golden Women’s Centre Society will update its policy and procedure manual to improve capacity and decision-making. The expected outcome for the community of Golden and surrounding area is improved communication with clients, members and supporters.

Golden Women’s Centre Society is a registered non-profit charity, dedicated to the safety and empowerment of women. It provides a secure environment at its Golden Women’s Resource Centre, including support, information and resources for a greater sense of community. The Society also provides outreach services, education and advocacy for women and the issues that affect them.

 “Enriching the lives of women locally and globally by building women’s capacity, acting as a catalyst for change, and leading the way to a better society is our focus here at Golden Women’s Centre Society. But delivering our services by women and for women cannot happen in perpetuity on a volunteer basis—which is why today’s generous investment from the Government of Canada is very welcome.” 

Linley McLean, Executive Director
Golden Women's Centre Society

 Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society 

Project title: Sisters Inside: Building Capacity to support access to justice and equality for criminalized women
Funding amount: $250,000 

Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society will improve its capacity to provide programs and services to criminalized women, including addressing barriers to justice and long-term reintegration. 

The Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society is an active community-based non-profit agency that offers programs and services in the areas of housing and community justice to people in the Kamloops area, with a focus on women and youth.

 “Criminalized women face barriers to justice and reintegration into society that need our support and advocacy. This funding from the Government of Canada will enable our local staff to empower more families coping with criminalization as they work toward justice and equality.”

Cassandra Schwarz, Executive Director
Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society

 Kelowna Women’s Shelter

Project title: Forty More Years: Building capacity through service expansion
Funding amount: $166,595 

The Kelowna Women’s Shelter will leverage the Government of British Columbia’s commitment to build housing by expanding and improving its shelter, programs, and services to women and their children fleeing violence and abuse. This will position the Kelowna Women’s Shelter to continue its history of helping women and their children escape violence, and its work to advance gender equality in the Central Okanagan region of British Columbia.

The Kelowna Women’s Shelter and its partners provide emergency accommodation for women and children leaving abusive situations. As a non-profit organization, the Kelowna Women’s Shelter is governed by a volunteer board of directors.

 “We are so grateful to the Government of Canada for this generous investment in our ongoing efforts to provide refuge and support for women and children who’ve experienced intimate partner violence and abuse. After almost 40 years serving the community, this investment will allow us to further build organizational capacity as we expand our services to include more supported housing and other support and preventative education services.” 

Karen Mason, Executive Director
Kelowna Women’s Shelter

 Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society

Project title: Ki-Low-Na Strategic Development Project
Funding amount: $250,000 

The Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society will develop strategic partnerships with businesses, governments, and other community partners to support its ability to fund new and existing programs and infrastructure such as its buildings and facilities.

Established in 1974 in Kelowna, the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society provides support for the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being of all peoples through the development of community-based services, while encouraging the community to preserve, share and promote Indigenous culture.

 “There is no identity currently so imposed upon as an Indigenous female’s identity. This most basic inherent right, and its proper reclamation, is the overarching goal towards highlighting our Indigenous sisters’ needs. We thank the federal government for their support to empower us to work diligently towards better futures for Indigenous women.” 

Edna Terbasket, Executive Director
Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society

 Women in Leadership Foundation (WIL) 

Project title: Leadership Circle
Funding amount: $675,144 

Women in Leadership will develop and implement a partnership strategy that will help the organization grow its capacity to seek and retain quality volunteers and partners, who will in turn help the organization deliver leadership programs and opportunities for women.

Founded in 2001 in Kelowna, WIL delivers inspirational programs that bring women together to collaborate in the development of their leadership skills and create positive change in the future of women’s leadership.

 “With these new funds from the Government of Canada, we’ll now be able to reach more women and empower them to become leaders throughout Canada. We are grateful for this support and look forward to continuing our work to advance gender equality.” 

Maya Kanigan, Founder & President 
Women in Leadership Foundation 

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