Government of Canada provides emergency COVID-19 funds to nearly 1,000 organizations delivering essential frontline supports to those fleeing violence and abuse

News release

July 20, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – Women and Gender Equality Canada

Even before the COVID-19 emergency, too many Canadians were victims of sexual violence, domestic violence, online child exploitation and human trafficking. In recent months the pandemic has created additional and unprecedented challenges for survivors of sexual and domestic violence and the organizations that serve them. As we asked Canadians to stay home to protect public health, we also recognized that home is not a safe place for everyone. That is why the Government of Canada acted immediately to support women and children fleeing gender-based violence.

As part of the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, $50 million was allocated to support organizations providing services to women and their families fleeing violence, $40 million of which is flowing through Women and Gender Equality Canada. As previously announced, $30 million of this funding has already been directly delivered to nearly 700 women’s shelters and organizations serving survivors of sexual assault.  

Today, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development announced that $10 million in announced funding is being distributed to other organizations that provide important services to those experiencing gender-based violence. This funding began to flow in June as part of the second phase of the Government’s collaborative response to increased demands from frontline organizations working to heal and support women and children fleeing abuse.

Through both phases of this funding, the federal government is supporting nearly 1000 organizations across the country. The government is grateful to our partners, the Canadian Women’s Foundation and Women’s Shelters Canada, for swiftly distributing these much needed funds.

To date, more than 200 of these organizations have received funding and an additional 145 eligible organizations are expected to receive their funding in the near term. This includes organizations like the Community Resource Centre (Killaloe) in Renfrew County, Ontario, which has used the funding to offer virtual programming like group sessions, one-on-one counselling and online apps, in order to better reach those who may be isolated with their abusers. It also includes the Victoria Immigrant & Refugee Centre Society in British Columbia, which has used the funding to tailor their services to the needs of vulnerable women newcomers.

The Government is deeply appreciative of the hard work of frontline organizations across the country. See the full list of supported organizations, here.

Today, Minister Monsef is also announcing that an agreement has been reached between the Governments of Canada and Québec that will provide funding directly to the province to distribute to organizations throughout Québec. The $2.3 million that will be transferred to the province is in addition to the previously announced $40 million, which included $6.46 million in dedicated funding for women’s shelters and sexual assault centres in Québec.

Today’s announcements build on the work the Government of Canada has already undertaken to advance gender-equality and address gender-based violence, including the development of the first federal strategy to prevent and address GBV and the introduction of our $75 million National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking. To keep communities and Canadians safer, we have taken action to prohibit over 1500 types of the most dangerous firearms. We have also taken steps to strengthen our justice system to ensure it is more responsive to the needs of survivors of gender-based violence. Recognizing the critical role they play in creating a stronger Canada, since 2015 we have provided more than $230 million in dedicated funding to women’s and equity-seeking organizations across the country and are supporting more than 500 organizations with multi-year funding. 


"Gender-based violence remains an unacceptable reality in Canada, one that has been exacerbated by COVID-19. That’s why our government moved swiftly to ensure that nearly 1000 organizations providing services to women and children fleeing violence could access the support they needed to keep their doors open. I am deeply grateful to those working tirelessly to support some of the most vulnerable as they navigate this challenging time. As we move into the next phase of this crisis, our government will continue to focus on helping those who need it most, including ensuring that women and others hit hardest are at the centre of our recovery.”

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

“This funding from the Government of Canada will provide additional critical support to local organizations in order for them to continue to reach and support victims of sexual and domestic violence. Once again, we are taking strong action to ensure the continuity of vital services to women and girls during the pandemic.”

Paulette Senior, President and Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Women’s Foundation

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada is investing $157.5 million to address the needs of Canadians experiencing homelessness through the Reaching Home program. The funding will cover a variety of needs that can range from purchasing beds and physical barriers for social distancing and securing accommodation to reduce overcrowding in shelters.

  • Indigenous Services Canada is currently distributing $10 million to its existing network of 46 shelters on First Nations reserves and in Yukon to support Indigenous women and children fleeing violence through the Family Violence Prevention Program.

  • The Government of Canada is investing $350 million in the Emergency Community Support Fund to support charities and non-profit organizations requiring financial assistance to address the pandemic.

  • On May 29, 2020, the Government of Canada announced new funding to provide critical support to Indigenous families and communities during this crisis, based on needs that have been identified. The funding includes $44.8 million over five years to build 12 new shelters, which will help protect and support Indigenous women and girls experiencing and fleeing violence. 

  • Visit the Gender-Based Violence Knowledge Centre (KC) for access to timely and relevant information, evidence, resources and research in a single platform. The KC also provides a searchable database, which brings together existing data and evidence on content related to gender-based violence.

  • In June 2017, Women and Gender Equality Canada announced the first-ever federal Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence. To date, the Government of Canada has invested over $200 million to prevent gender-based violence, support survivors and their families, and create more responsive legal and justice systems.

Associated links


Marie-Pier Baril
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

Media Relations
Women and Gender Equality Canada

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