The Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters and Transition Houses welcomes the newly elected Liberal government’s commitment to increase investments in Canada’s network of shelters and transition houses, as part of their investment in social infrastructure. The quick reinstatement of the shelter enhancement program would provide a good start. Our annual survey of shelters reported that on one day last spring, 302 women and 221 children had to be turned away from shelters due to lack of space.
We also welcome the recognition that ending violence against women will require systemic change. The commitment to a national inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women and to the development and implementation of a comprehensive federal strategy and action plan against gender based violence are major steps in this direction.
“Leadership at the federal level is essential if we want to ensure that women in all areas of the country have access to comparable levels of services and protection,” says Lise Martin, Executive Director of the Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters and Transitions Houses. This leadership means collaborating with the provinces and strengthening the social policies that affect women’s vulnerability to violence. It also means ensuring that there is reliable data collection and a commitment to measurable goals and timelines and the resources required to meet these.
The Network looks forward to the opportunity to work with the newly elected Liberal government on its promise to deliver a National Action Plan on Violence Against Women and Girls. “Canada’s National Action Plan will need to be developed in consultation with all stakeholders, including frontline workers and survivors and will need to have high-level leadership and accountability from governments at all levels of jurisdiction” says Martin.
As a national organization working with women’s shelters across the country, the Network led a collaborative process to develop a Blueprint for Canada’s National Action Plan on Violence Against Women and Girls. Designed by organizations working directly on the issue, the Blueprint provides a roadmap for Canada’s Plan. The Blueprint addresses the continuum of violence against women from cyber violence to sexual violence to domestic violence.
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ABOUT THE CANADIAN NETWORK OF WOMEN’S SHELTERS & TRANSITION HOUSES
The Network brings together 13 provincial and territorial shelter organizations. It works 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.