Government of Canada accelerates investments in shelters, transition housing and other organizations providing gender-based violence supports and services

News release

October 2, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – Women and Gender Equality Canada

The COVID‑19 pandemic has highlighted gaps in the very systems designed to keep people safe. It has created unprecedented challenges for those experiencing gender-based violence and the organizations that provide supports and services to them.

Women’s safety must be the foundation on which all progress is built. That’s why, in the recent Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada committed to accelerate investments in shelters and transition housing to ensure anyone facing gender-based violence has a safe place to turn.

Today, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, announced up to $50M in funding to support organizations providing supports and services to those experiencing gender-based violence.

This funding announced today includes:

  • Up to $10 million for women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help them continue to provide their critical services safely;
  • Up to $10 million to support organizations providing services related to gender-based violence to Indigenous people off-reserve; and
  • Up to $30 million for other women’s organizations to support the delivery of GBV supports, to help combat the spread of COVID, and to address the increased demand for services.

Today’s announcement builds on previous emergency funding provided to women’s shelters, sexual assault centres and other organizations providing gender-based violence services to ensure continuity of services at this challenging time. This brings the total emergency funding provided to GBV organizations to $100 million. Through the first $50 million, over 1000 organizations across the country received much-needed funding that helped ensure they could keep their doors open to those in need. Organizations used this funding to enhance cleaning and safety procedures, hire additional staff to manage additional workload, and purchase equipment to help them deliver their services remotely.

While moving swiftly to address immediate needs, the Government, in partnership with provinces and territories, is also moving forward on a National Action Plan on gender-based violence. This work is focused on ensuring that people who experience gender-based violence have access to timely supports no matter where they live while also laying the foundation to eradicating this unacceptable violence altogether. In response to the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the Government is also working with Indigenous partners, and provinces and territories, to develop and launch a National Action Plan to address violence against Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit and LGBTQ people.   

The Government has significantly increased funding to grow and strengthen the women’s movement. Between 2015 and 2019, federal support to women’s and equality-seeking organizations increased five-fold, compared to the previous five years. This fiscal year WAGE will make available over $100 million available to these organizations to ensure they can continue their important work, helping to build a stronger, more inclusive Canada. Six million Canadians benefit from the work of these organizations every year.


“COVID-19 is a crisis unlike any other and it has laid bare the cracks in our support systems. This crises has thrown into sharp focus the needs of organizations serving women and children who are fleeing violence. No one should be left without a place to turn at this difficult time and our government have moved swiftly to provide $100 million to these critical front-line organizations, ensuring their doors can remain open and they can continue their lifesaving work.”

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

“No Canadian should have to live in fear.  Too many Canadians continue to be victims of sexual violence, domestic violence, online child exploitation, and human trafficking. In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic has created additional and unprecedented challenges for survivors of sexual and domestic violence and the organizations that serve them. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring those who are experiencing violence have access to the help they need.”

The Honourable Bill Blair, P.C., M.P. 
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified systemic racism and the longstanding inequalities across our society and exacerbated the threats to the safety of Indigenous women, girls, and Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ people. Our government’s support of the organizations that provide safety to those fleeing violence is critical to ensuring Indigenous women, girls, and Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ people are safe wherever they live.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Quick facts

  • Data collected through Statistics Canada in March and April 2020 suggested that 1 in 10 women in Canada were very or extremely concerned about the possibility of violence in the home early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • On September 21, 2020, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation announced $1 billion to help address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians by rapidly creating new affordable housing.

  • Since 2015 the Government helped 1 million Canadians get access to safe and affordable housing, including the creation or enhancement of nearly 7,000 units that provide safe housing to survivors of domestic violence. 

  • 40,000 childcare spaces have been created since 2015 and the 2020 Speech from the Throne committed to a significant, sustained investment to create a universal child care system in Canada.

  • In 2020, Canada placed 1st in North America according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, having improved 11 places globally since 2015, compared to 153 countries.

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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