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Across Canada, organizations providing services to women and children experiencing gender-based violence (GBV) are dealing with extraordinary circumstances as violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As public health measures are expanded to contain the spread of the virus, women experiencing violence find themselves isolated from the people who can help them, and demand for community-based support has increased as a result. On October 2, 2020, in response to this increased demand, the Government of Canada announced additional funding of up to $50 million to over 1000 organizations serving women and children experiencing gender-based violence, bringing the total emergency funding for these organizations to $100 million.

Today, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, announced that an agreement had been reached with Women’s Shelters Canada and the Canadian Women’s Foundation to disburse up to $36.3 million of the funding from October 2020, to women’s shelters, sexual assault centres and other organizations providing supports and services to women experiencing violence.

This funding will continue to help address the immediate needs of organizations that provide a range of gender-based violence supports and services, such as emergency helplines, crisis and resource centres, counselling support, crisis intervention, drop-in services and support groups. It can be used, for example, for protective equipment, childminding, helping women find alternative housing, and additional staff coverage and capacity. It is being distributed in provinces and territories outside of Quebec as follows:

  • $15.7 million to Women’s Shelters Canada:
    • $6.8 million to non-Indigenous shelters; and,
    • $8.9 million to off-reserve Indigenous shelters.
  • $20.6 million to the Canadian Women’s Foundation:
    • $1 million to sexual assault centres; and,
    • $19.6 million to women’s organizations and other organizations offering significant GBV supports and services to women. This funding will be distributed following an open registration process by the Canadian Women’s Foundation. For more information, please visit

In addition, up to $5 million of the $50 million announced in October will support the mobilization of grassroots and community organizations to further coordinate and support their important work.

The Government of Canada is also currently working with the Government of Quebec on an agreement to flow funds to support organizations in Quebec.

Today, Minister Monsef is also announcing the membership of a renewed Advisory Council, which will be advising her on matters related to gender-based violence, including the development of a National Action Plan to end gender-based violence in Canada.


“COVID-19 has severely impacted the most vulnerable, including women and children facing violence, but there can be no full recovery from this pandemic unless women are safe, working, and their families are cared for. The $100 million in emergency funding our government has provided will help frontline organizations keep their doors open to those in need and continue their lifesaving work at this challenging time. To those facing violence at home, help is available. Our government has provided funding to over 1500 women’s and equality-seeking organizations since 2015, including, most recently, 63 organizations receiving funding to support survivors of human trafficking.”

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

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, gender-based violence, including sexual abuse and exploitation, and intimate partner violence was far too common in Canada. This unprecedented time has brought with it challenges that many organizations could not manage alone. Thanks to this funding, women and girls in need can continue relying on timely services which will save lives.”

Paulette Senior, President and Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Women’s Foundation

“Women’s shelters and transition houses have worked for decades to support women and children experiencing violence, often with limited funds to do so. We know that the rates and severity of domestic violence have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, with shelters needing even more support just to keep their doors open. This funding will help ensure that this lifesaving work can continue.”

Lise Martin, Executive Director
Women’s Shelters Canada

Quick facts:

  • Today’s funding announcement is in addition to the federal strategy to prevent and address GBV – a $200 million investment from 2017/18 to 2022/23, with $40 million annually ongoing.
  • As part of the federal strategy, Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) has created the Gender-based Violence Knowledge Centre, an online source of information for research, data and promising practices.  The Knowledge Centre is intended to inform coordinated and evidence-based approaches to preventing and addressing GBV across Canada.
  • Understanding experiences of GBV across the country is critical for eliminating GBV and better supporting those who have experienced violence. In 2019 and 2020, the Government of Canada released data from two new national surveys on GBV in Canada and experiences of GBV by post-secondary students.
  • Since 2018, WAGE has provided nearly $17 million to 54 organizations to address gaps in supports for Indigenous and underserved groups of survivors in Canada. In addition, WAGE has provided nearly $2 million to organizations for the development of resources and tools to support post-secondary institutions in addressing GBV on campuses across Canada.
  • Since 2015 the Government of Canada has helped one 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.
  • Since 2014, online child exploitation increased by 1106 percent. To combat the online sexual exploitation of children, the RCMP has invested $3 million to enhance law enforcement services. In addition, Public Safety Canada has invested $2.8 million to raise awareness and protect children from child exploitation.
  • Since March 2020, the Government of Canada has distributed $50 million in funding to over 1000 shelters, sexual assault centres and organizations providing supports to women and children experiencing violence.

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