Today, Women’s Shelters Canada released a new report examining the violence against women (VAW) shelter and transition house sector in Canada. The report, Feminist Brain Drain: Labour Issues and Worker Wellness in the VAW Shelter Sector, provides information on: the scope of the labour crisis; elements that contribute to staff retention or turnover; recruitment; systemic issues contributing to labour issues; pandemic-specific challenges; feminist leadership; the study symposium; and recommendations.

Key finding include:

  • Many staff are leaving or thinking of leaving their current positions or even the sector altogether.
  • Staff are struggling with their mental health, and the pandemic contributed to decreased overall mental wellbeing.
  • High workloads and increasingly complex cases are contributing to burnout and retention issues.
  • Several key factors were identified that, if present, support the development of a healthy work environment. These factors are expanded upon as five promising practices throughout the report.
  • Staff largely feel supported in their workplaces and connected to their colleagues.

Key recommendations include stable funding, decent work, and HR supports. The full report, executive summary, videos, and infographics are available on our website here.

WSC will be co-hosting an event with the Ending Violence Association of Canada to launch reports and research on the gender-based violence workforce from both national organizations on March 7th from 6:00 to 8:00pm ET in-person in Ottawa and online. This event will feature a panel discussion and question and answer period with attendees.

You can also read EVA Canada’s Roadmap to a Stronger Gender-Based Violence Workforce report and view additional resources, including an infographic of findings from EVA Canada’s national questionnaire of the GBV workforce.