Government of Canada to Fund Crisis Hotlines Responding to Gender-Based Violence in Nova Scotia

News release

November 10, 2022 – Halifax, Nova Scotia — Women and Gender Equality Canada

Crisis hotlines are a lifeline for survivors of gender-based violence and are critical support services. During the pandemic, the demand for crisis hotline services has significantly increased across Canada. 

Today, the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, announced $700,000 to support crisis hotlines across Nova Scotia. Minister Ien was joined by the Honourable Karla MacFarlane, Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women, to announce the bilateral agreement. 

This funding will help Nova Scotia crisis hotlines serve the urgent needs of Canadians. The crisis hotlines will offer more robust services, resources, and support to prevent the escalation of gender-based violence. 

This announcement marks one of the bilateral agreements recently signed with provincial and territorial governments. Over the next few months, the Government of Canada will continue to work with other provinces and territories to finalize similar bilateral agreements. 

This announcement builds on yesterday’s historic endorsement of the National Action Plan to End Gender-based Violence. This endorsement fulfills a longstanding commitment of Federal-Provincial-Territorial governments to work together toward a Canada free of gender-based violence, a Canada that supports victims/survivors and their families from coast to coast to coast. 

Minister Ien also announced $525,000 for GuysWork, a pilot project aimed at developing a transformative school-based program for male-identified students across elementary, middle, and high school grades. The program is designed to help boys navigate the intense pressures and expectations around masculinity that shape their identities as men. The pilot project will see it expanded to more schools and other provinces throughout Atlantic Canada. The Government of Nova Scotia will also provide $525,000 towards this project. 

Today’s announcements further support the Government of Canada’s commitment to providing approximately $300 million in emergency COVID-19 funding to support individuals experiencing gender-based violence. Since April 2020, we’ve invested over $240 million of emergency COVID-19 funding in 1,400 women’s shelters, sexual assault centers, and other organizations.


“Crisis hotlines are a lifeline for women fleeing domestic violence because they serve as a connection to safe resources. We will continue working closely with provincial and territorial governments to prevent and address gender-based violence — a pervasive, deadly, and deeply rooted human rights violation. Today, we are heartened to continue to work with Nova Scotia as we sign yet another agreement to support crisis hotlines.”

The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth 

“Gender-based violence can happen in any relationship, and we want Nova Scotians to have access to services and supports they need to ensure their safety and mental and physical well-being. By working with the federal government and other partners, we can develop approaches and build capacity to address this complex issue and break the harmful cycles of violence.”

The Honourable Karla MacFarlane, Nova Scotia Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women

“Our evaluation of GuysWork shows a shift in attitudes towards healthy masculinity that promises both the short and long-term health of boys and those around them, specifically their future partners. With this funding, we can expand the program throughout the Atlantic provinces and do a longer-term evaluation, which I’m hoping will demonstrate a significant behavioural change in young men and prevent gender-based violence.”

Dr. Chris Gilham, Evaluation Lead, GuysWork

"The Transition House Association of Nova Scotia (THANS) is pleased with the announcement of this investment that will further strengthen and build the capacity of provincial GBV helpline supports in Nova Scotia. Throughout the pandemic, transition houses across the province saw a sharp increase in demand for services and an increase in crisis calls. This funding has to ability to save lives by improving existing 24/7 helpline supports to better meet the needs of women and children experiencing violence in our province."

Ann de Ste Croix, provincial organizer, Transition House Association of Nova Scotia (THANS)

Quick facts

  • Since April 2020, the Government of Canada has invested over $240 million of emergency COVID-19 funding in 1,400 women’s shelters, sexual assault centers, and other organizations, including nearly 140 organizations that serve Indigenous individuals. 
  • GBV disproportionately affects women and girls. Certain intersectional populations also experience high levels of violence or are underserved in the GBV sector, such as Indigenous women and girls; Black and racialized women; immigrant and refugee women; members of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities; people with disabilities; and women living in Northern, rural, and remote communities.  

  • In 2019, Nova Scotia conducted opinion polling and found that 24% of Nova Scotians surveyed did not know where to go for help related to intimate partner violence (IPV).

    • This poll also suggested that 58% might reach out to a helpline if they needed support.
  • Crisis hotlines across Canada saw a dramatic surge in calls from June to October 2020, when the COVID lockdown measures first eased. 

  • The number of people in Nova Scotia seeking help during a mental health crisis has risen by 30% since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Nova Scotia reported that:

    • The number of calls to the provincial mental health crisis line rose to 24,265 in 2020, up from 19,115 in 2019.

    • Between January and November 2021, the number of calls to provincial mental health crisis hotlines totalled 23,752 and exceeded 2020 numbers by the end of the year.

Associated links


Johise Namwira
Press Secretary and Issues Manager
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

Media Relations
Women and Gender Equality Canada

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