Shelters support women and children fleeing violence. We support shelters.

In 2009, drawn together by a shared vision to end violence against women, the provincial and territorial shelter associations began giving shape to Women’s Shelters Canada (formerly the Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters & Transition Houses). Together, we have become a national, collaborative voice for change. The Network was incorporated and became a charitable organization in November 2012.

Our Vision

We are working towards a world where:

  • Everybody matters – people of all genders, all cultures, all faiths, all abilities are valued and have equitable access to resources, power and justice, and all are safe from violence.
  • Society uses an inclusive, intersectional, equity-based lens to make decisions.
  • Organizations and systems are collaborative and accountable.
  • The Earth, on which we all depend for survival, is protected.

Our Mission

We provide a strong, unified, pan-Canadian voice on the issue of violence against women. With our voice, we help increase awareness to ensure that policies, legislation and regulations are informed by the experiences and insights of our members, the provincial and territorial shelter networks.

We create opportunities to exchange ideas, learn from one another and share resources. We connect knowledgeable and dedicated individuals from coast to coast to coast, so that new ideas are born, best practices are promoted and transferred and those who work in our challenging field feel more connected and more supported. All of this helps to ensure the women and children who turn to shelters and transition houses receive the most effective and compassionate support possible.

Our Core Values

  • Women (both cisgender and transgender), girls, non-binary people, transgender men, 2-Spirit people, and their children are targeted by gender-based violence and must receive protection and support. Freedom from gender-based violence is a human right.
  • Protecting and advancing the right to live free from gender-based violence is a public responsibility of all governments and communities.  The women’s shelter movement plays a critical leadership role in the provincial/territorial, national, and global efforts to end gender-based violence.
  • As part of an intersectional feminist human rights movement, it is essential to centre the voices of those experiencing multiple systemic forms of gender-based violence and oppression. This includes but is not limited to women, girls, and gender-diverse people who are also Black, racialized, immigrant, disabled, Indigenous, lesbian, gay, bisexual, 2-Spirit, transgender, queer, asexual, and/or intersex.
  • Ending gender-based violence requires a gender justice perspective that addresses its social determinants. These factors include misogyny and patriarchy which intersect with racism, colonialism, homophobia, transphobia, transmisogyny, ableism, classism, ageism, and more, as well as poverty and lack of access to high-quality infrastructure and services.


Updated March 2021