Government of Canada to Invest $100 Million to Support Women Impacted by the Pandemic

News release

Funding for projects helping those in greatest need to ensure a more inclusive response and recovery

February 11, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario – Women and Gender Equality Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified systemic and longstanding inequalities, with women and girls disproportionately affected by the crisis. The Government of Canada is taking strong action to prevent the pandemic from rolling back progress or reversing the hard-won gains of women in Canada.

Today, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, launched a new call for proposals through Women and Gender Equality Canada’s Women’s Program. The call, entitled “Feminist Response and Recovery Fund”, will provide $100 million for projects helping those in greatest need. The funding will allow recipient organizations to launch new projects or scale up past projects that increase women and girls' participation in Canada’s economic, social, democratic and political life.

Eligible projects will tackle barriers, address harmful gender norms and attitudes, or improve policies, practices, resource distribution, networks and relationships. Recognizing the need for a feminist, intersectional response to COVID-19, Women and Gender Equality Canada will direct funding to projects supporting marginalized or underrepresented people, including Indigenous women, Black women, women of colour, women who are members of LGBTQ2 communities, and women living with disabilities or in rural or remote communities.

The call for proposals aims to provide flexibility, allowing organizations to respond to a wide range of issues in order to accelerate progress on gender equality and ensure that Canada’s response to and recovery from COVID-19 is inclusive of diverse women. These projects will serve as building blocks for long-term, lasting change to advance women’s equality.

The women’s program provides funding to eligible organizations in three priority areas:

  • Ending violence against women and girls
  • Improving women’s and girls’ economic security and prosperity
  • Encouraging women and girls in leadership and decision-making roles

Today’s announcement builds on previous steps taken to ensure an intersectional response to the pandemic, including commitments in the 2020 Speech from the Throne to create an Action Plan for Women in the Economy and move forward on a Canada-wide early learning and childcare system.

Recognizing that COVID-19 has increased the rates and severity of gender-based violence (GBV), the Government of Canada has provided $100 million directly to organizations that support survivors and their families. Combined with new flexibilities to existing programs, this funding has supported over 1500 organizations, helping them keep their doors open at this challenging time.

The call for proposals is open until March 25, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. (Noon) Pacific Standard Time). Visit for more information and for details on how to apply.



“The feminist response and recovery fund will support local; regional and national efforts to end violence against women and girls, improve women’s economic security and to increase the participation of women and girls in decision making roles. Women have been hardest hit by COVID. They continue to take on the majority of the work on the frontlines of the pandemic. The shecession is real and unless Canadian women are working, safe, with their families cared for, we will not fully recover from the pandemic. Our government is investing in women’s and equity seeking orgs because it’s one of the best ways to advance gender equality. Each year, our partners across the country improve the lives of millions of women, children and families and we thank them for their essential work.”

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

Quick facts

  • In June 2020, Canada was recognized by CARE as having the most gender-responsive plan to address COVID-19

  • Budget 2019 committed $160 million over five years to the Women’s Program to enable further community action to tackle systemic barriers impeding women’s progress, while recognizing and addressing the diverse experiences of gender and inequality across the country.

  • Projects funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada are estimated to have reached approximately six million people in 2019-20, reducing barriers in areas of economic equality and gender-based violence, and building capacity and confidence in the areas of leadership.

  • Between 2015 and 2019, the Government of Canada increased funding to support the work of women’s and gender equality seeking organizations from under $20 million per year to over $100 million available in 2021/22.

  • In the Fall Economic Statement, the Government of Canada committed to sustaining investments in early learning and accessible, affordable child care, including by proposing to make funding permanent at 2027-2028 levels, providing $870 million per year and ongoing, starting in 2028-2029. 

  • The Government of Canada is helping women entrepreneurs through the pandemic by providing up to $15 million in additional funding through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES). 

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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