Ottawa, March 23 2017

Women’s Shelters Canada (WSC) is pleased to see that the federal government will be pursuing a national strategy to address gender-based violence. The organization has been advocating for a national strategy for several years. “It is essential that the federal government take a leadership position in addressing violence against women and gender-based violence,” Lise Martin, WSC’s Executive Director, said. “If women in all areas of the country are to have access to comparable levels of services and protection, there needs to be leadership at the federal level.”  Although the new investment of $101 million over fiver years is welcomed, it does not reflect the severity of the pandemic that is violence against women.

By announcing a national strategy on both housing and gender-based violence, the federal government has set in motion mechanisms with the potential to have considerable impact on the lives of women and children fleeing violence.  To ensure that this materializes, significant collaboration between the strategies needs to happen. “We are concerned that the link between violence against women, housing, and homelessness will not be reflected in how the programs roll out,” Martin said. “Again, we are calling on federal leadership in this area. It should not be local shelters that need to lobby their municipal governments to ensure that the needs of women fleeing violence will be addressed in local housing strategies. If leadership is not provided at the federal level, women will once again be confronted with a patchwork of services.”

The programs announced in yesterday’s budget provide a unique opportunity for change. WSC would welcome the opportunity to work with the federal government on the development of training programs for judges, police, and the military.

The introduction of a gender-based analysis is a first and important step in the right direction. Status of Women Canada, the federal ministry tasked to lead on gender-based analysis, did not, however, receive an increase to its very modest budget. As we know, there are limits to doing more with less.


For media enquiries, contact:

Lise Martin / Executive Director
613.680.5119 /

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.