Government of Canada invests in organizations across Ontario to help address gender-based violence

News release

Feb. 9, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario – Women and Gender Equality Canada

Everyone has the right to feel safe and live free from violence. Women’s organizations across the country provide vital services and support adapted to the individual realities of survivors of gender-based violence. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring these organizations have the resources they need to continue their essential work.

Today, Gudie Hutchings, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, announced an investment of over $4.76 million for ten projects that will address gender-based violence across Ontario.

This investment will support organizations including:

  • Woman Abuse Council of Toronto (WomanACT) to adapt, test and evaluate a multi-agency risk management model (MARAC) for women experiencing violence;
  • Sexual Assault Centre Kingston, to develop and test best practices for using video counselling to increase access to trauma-informed support services for youth, Indigenous, rural, and ethno-cultural women survivors of sexual violence;
  • White Ribbon for two projects:
    • To inspire men and young men across Canada to change their attitudes and behaviors, to seek help when needed, and to embrace their roles as allies and change makers, via a social marketing campaign featuring compelling calls to action; and
    • to improve engagement on gender-based violence issues through the application of Gender-Based Analysis plus (GBA+);


  • The Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women, to work closely with front line advocates, communities, and aim to improve police, accountability and ensure transparency for sexual violence survivors and the public; 


  • Fire Service Women Ontario, to adapt, test and evaluate a MARAC for women experiencing violence;


  • YWCA of St. Thomas and Elgin, to develop a gendered, multi-sectoral approach to address the root causes leading to homelessness for women and implement strategies and safeguards to ensure they have greater access to stable housing and economic security;


  • Riverdale Immigrant Women's Centre, to increase women’s economic security within the food service and restaurant industry through the development of an action plan to implement institutional change within Ontario’s food sector;


  • South Asian Women's and Immigrants' Services Inc., to address barriers to equality and identify mechanisms to overcome these barriers, train women, youth leaders and volunteers; and,


  • City for all Women Initiative, to advance a feminist municipal recovery plan and ensure a gendered response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the municipal level, and develop province-specific approaches to affordable housing.

Much more work remains to be done to end gender-based violence. Though investments like these, our country is one step closer to addressing the root causes of violence – one closer to a better and safer Canada. 


“Women’s organizations across the country work tirelessly each day to create spaces and services to help women and girls feel safe. This essential work has increased in volume and urgency during the COVID-19 pandemic and our government is pleased to contribute to these organizations to ensure that the resources and services they offer continue. By supporting them, we are providing the most qualified people with the tools they need to better serve their communities.”

Gudie Hutchings, M.P.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

“The Canadian Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference Model project will help WomanACT implement multi-agency high-risk domestic violence tables in three communities across Ontario. Building off the MARAC model, a successful model that has been used across the United Kingdom since 2003, the project brings together justice and community agencies to respond to cases in which women are at risk of serious harm and domestic homicide. The project is implementing the model in Grey Bruce County, Perth County and Toronto and will help reduce repeat victimization and connect women to the services and supports they need.”

Harmy Mendoza
Executive Director, Woman Abuse Council of Toronto (WomanAct)

“This project aims to invest in the critically needed skills and best practices for delivering video counselling to marginalized survivors of sexual violence. Our interviews with practitioners have identified the lack of best practices as a key barrier to adopting video counselling practices and developing more comprehensive and accessible modalities for supporting survivors. As a result, the project focuses on creating best practices to support individuals who identify as Indigenous, rural, youth, and survivors of color. Our organization and the gender-based violence sector recognize these four groups in particular, face significant additional barriers to accessing services. Additionally, COVID-19 has highlighted the critical need for these distance counselling practices specific to the needs of marginalized communities. We hope to share knowledge learned and adopted with other practitioners and community agencies, in order to improve professional growth and better serve our community as a whole.”

Maryam Pandi – Executive Director, Sexual Assault Centre of Kingston, Ontario

“Our Allies for Gender Equality project enables White Ribbon, along with our diverse feminist partners, to embed intersectionality and accountability within the field of engaging men and boys. Those that engage with men as allies in the prevention of gender-based violence and all forms of oppression will benefit from promising practices in the development of programming and organizational policies that are equitable and inclusive for all.

White Ribbon’s Call to Men: Promote Gender Equality and Prevent Violence public education campaign will inspire men and young men across Canada to be agents of change in the social movement to end gender-based violence and discrimination, to seek help when needed, and to embrace their roles as allies in a modern era. Men will benefit from their stance on gender equity, our collective connectedness to humanity, and our value of human rights.”

Humberto Carolo - Executive Director of White Ribbon

Quick facts

  • More than 1,000 women’s shelters and sexual assault centres have received funding through the $100 million announced as part of the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

  • The Promising practices to support survivors and their families call for concepts is the largest amount of funding ever announced for programming to specifically support diverse groups of gender-based violence survivors and their families.

  • In June 2017, Women and Gender Equality Canada announced the first-ever federal Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence. 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.

  • The Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) model has been tested and rolled out in more than 250 communities across the United Kingdom and will be adapted to ensure it meets the needs of diverse Canadian populations. Following testing and evaluation in an urban and rural or remote setting, a flexible and relevant blueprint of the model will be developed and disseminated across the country.

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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