The Government of Canada provides funding to Ontario to support crisis hotlines, lifelines to survivors of gender-based violence
March 2, 2023 – Toronto, Ontario – Women and Gender Equality Canada - Crisis hotlines are a lifeline to survivors of gender-based violence and are critical support services. During the pandemic, the demand for crisis hotline services significantly increased across Canada and this demand continues today.
Today, the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, was joined by the Honourable Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario’s Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, and the Honourable Charmaine Williams, Ontario’s Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity, to announce $8 million to support crisis hotlines across Ontario.
This four-year funding will help Ontario crisis hotlines offer more robust services, resources, and supports to serve the urgent needs of all survivors of gender-based violence and their families, no matter where they live in the province.
This announcement marks the 9th bilateral agreement recently signed with provincial and territorial governments to support crisis lines. Since August 2022, the Government of Canada has announced agreements in Manitoba, Yukon, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan. The Government of Canada continues to work with other provinces and territories to finalize similar bilateral agreements.
This announcement builds on the historic endorsement of the National Action Plan to End Gender-based Violence by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers responsible for the Status of Women in November 2022. It also builds upon the Government of Canada’s commitment to provide approximately $300 million in emergency COVID-19 funding to support individuals experiencing gender-based violence. Since April 2020, the Government of Canada has invested over $259 million of emergency COVID-19 funding in 1,400 women’s shelters, sexual assault centres, and other organizations, including almost 140 organizations that serve Indigenous individuals.
“Crisis hotlines are a lifeline for women fleeing domestic violence because they serve as a connection to safe resources. Today, we are proud to provide the Government of Ontario with the support they need, as we sign yet another agreement to support crisis hotlines. 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.”
The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth
“Crisis lines in Ontario are free, confidential, and available 24/7 in multiple languages to ensure anyone affected by violence or sexual exploitation can connect to the supports they need. Everyone deserves to feel safe and secure in their community, and this investment to support crisis hotlines across Ontario reflects a shared commitment with our federal and community partners to prevent and stop gender-based violence.”
The Honourable Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services
“It takes courage to make the first call to a crisis hotline, but speaking to a trained professional can immediately reduce the risk of further violence. This additional funding builds on Ontario’s ongoing investments in provincial crisis lines, which means more women experiencing gender-based violence will be able to connect to help when they need it most.”
The Honourable Charmaine Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity
The finalizing of agreements on crisis hotlines complements and supports the implementation of the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence (GBV NAP). The National Action Plan to End Gender-based Violence was launched by the Federal, Provincial, and Territorial (FPT) Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women in November 2022. The Plan sets out a framework for a Canada free of gender-based violence (GBV) – a Canada that supports victims, survivors, and their families from coast to coast to coast. This is a concrete step towards fulfilling a long-standing commitment of FPT governments to working together towards a Canada free of GBV.
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.
Crisis hotlines across Canada saw a dramatic surge in calls from June to October 2020, when the COVID-19 lockdown measures first eased.
Since the onset of COVID-19, Ontario’s dedicated provincial lines have sustained heightened service demand and pressures, including the increased complexity of survivors’ needs and the growing diversity of Ontario’s population.
In 2019, Ontario recorded the highest number of people experiencing intimate partner violence in Canada.
Women and girls in Ontario experience family violence at rates more than double those among men and boys.
Ontario’s dedicated provincial crisis lines include the Assaulted Women’s Helpline, Fem’aide, Talk4Healing, and Findhelp, which operates the Victim Support Line and the Support Services for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Provincial Crisis and Referral Line.
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Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth
Women and Gender Equality Canada
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