Canada’s Cabinet Ministers Urge United Action Against Gender Violence

Women and Gender Equality Canada

The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, supported by federal cabinet ministers* issued the following statement today to urge collective, whole-of-society action to end gender-based violence and to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence:

“Gender-based violence is too often described as an isolated incident, when it is a deeply rooted issue that has far-reaching impacts on individuals and entire societies – and can result in fatal outcomes. Survivors, their children, and those supporting them, carry physical, emotional, financial, health and mental health problems long into the future. These factors are compounded when we consider people from intersecting identities are disproportionally impacted, such as Indigenous women and girls, and Black and racialized communities, and people experiencing homelessness.

Violence at home follows children and youth to school and is a barrier to them reaching their full potential and can have repercussions that last many generations. These personal impacts are in addition to the billions of dollars that are indirectly spent annually in Canada to deal with the aftermath.

The solutions to this problem are not found in one person or one institution. They are found in every one of us, and in the institutions that uphold our country.

This is why we have taken an all-of-government approach to support the victims and survivors and worked alongside provinces and territories through the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, and funded Crisis Hotlines in every jurisdiction.

The Government has also come together across many departments to end gender-based violence and support victims and survivors through:

  • A plan to put an end to the national crisis of missing, murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people, which includes working in partnership to introduce an alert system so that when an Indigenous woman, girl, or 2SLGBTQI+ person goes missing, they can be found.
  • Investments in at least 178 new shelters and transitional units in Indigenous communities across the country to help those fleeing gender-based violence access culturally appropriate services and address urgent housing needs.
  • Supporting Health promotion interventions promoting healthy relationships, equipping service providers, and reducing risk factors for family and gender-based violence. Supporting survivors to rebuild and maintain their health through Wellness Together Canada, which provides free mental health and substance use support.
  • Supporting the equitable access to culturally safe and relevant health care and resources for all Canadians, no matter their gender identity. This includes standing against any violent actions such as forced and coerced sterilization, as well as assaults, threats, harassment and intimidation of health care providers.
  • Supporting community service organizations to adapt, modernize and build internal organizational capacity through the Community Services Recovery Fund, a one-time, $400 million investment. Projects include shelters for women and children, centres for female immigrants and refugees, victim services and legal support organizations, sexual assault hotlines and resource centres, as well as programs supporting the healthy development of children and youth.
  • An investment of up to $22.4 million through the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking. 63 organizations are working to prevent human trafficking and support at-risk populations and survivors providing services including, transition and second stage housing, mental health, employment and legal aid, as well as training, tools and assistance to gain financial independence.
  • A national public education campaign aimed at raising awareness about the warning signs of human trafficking and how to safely report suspected cases, with focus on youth, parents, and at-risk populations.
  • Enacting Criminal Code reforms to empower victims of crime by giving them a greater voice in our criminal justice system and making it more onerous for someone with a history of intimate partner violence to get bail.
  • An investment of nearly $4 billion over nine years to address homelessness through Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy. This initiative helps communities address local priorities and deliver programs designed to meet the needs of specific groups, including women and children fleeing violence and 2SLGBTQI+ people.

As Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, and on behalf of my colleagues, I urge everyone to use the next 16 days to put into practice this year’s theme of Listen. Learn. Act.

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