A step in the right direction – The beginnings of a more coordinated approach to addressing violence against women

Ottawa, 19 June 2017

Women’s Shelters Canada (WSC) welcomes the release of the federal government’s strategy to address gender-based violence. It is recognition of the problem and how it impedes women’s equality.

The intent of the strategy is to take a holistic approach at the federal level with Status of Women Canada (SWC) playing a leadership role. The strengthening of SWC is essential if the government is to walk the talk in terms of having a feminist approach to governing and policy making.

Women’s Shelters Canada has been advocating for a national strategy for several years. The strategy announced today is a big step forward. “We are encouraged by the fact that the government views the strategy announced today as a first step towards a national strategy,” said Lise Martin, WSC’s Executive Director.  At the centre of our call for a national strategy is the fact that we want to ensure that women in all areas of the country have access to comparable levels of services and protection. The role of provincial and territorial governments in addressing gender-based violence is key in making this reality. “In many instances, there are policies in place; the problem is that they are not implemented,” said Jan Reimer, co-chair of WSC. “Cuts in public funding, most notably in the area of social programs, at all levels of government is directly linked to how we can or cannot effectively respond to violence against women,” said Manon Monastesse, co-chair of WSC.

As per Justice Canada estimates, violence against women costs Canada $7.4 billion per year. The cost of addressing the issue needs to take this into consideration. The investment of $100 million over the next five years is a first step. It is, however, not reflective of the extent of the problem.

WSC and its provincial and territorial shelter associations look forward to working with SWC and other federal bodies to begin the implementation of this strategy.

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For media enquiries, contact:

Lise Martin / Executive Director
613.680.5119 (w) / 613.899.3392 (c) / lmartin@endvaw.ca

Women’s Shelters Canada brings together 14 provincial and territorial shelter organizations. We work as a unified voice to collaborate, educate, and innovate for systemic change that ends violence against women, making Canada a model for safety in the world.