The Ontario government is addressing the growing strain on services due to COVID-19 by investing $3.6 million in rural frontline agencies that support survivors of human trafficking and women who have experienced violence. The additional investment will provide agencies with more resources, strengthen culturally responsive supports for Indigenous women, and reduce geographic and transportation barriers which will significantly improve access to quality care and services to victims in rural and remote communities.
“Someone’s location should not act as a barrier to access quality care and services,” said Jane McKenna, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. “We want to make sure that everyone affected by violence and sexual exploitation receives the supports they need, no matter where they are in the province.”
The $3.6 million investment will also help promote awareness of available local services, address service gaps and build community capacity to support women in rural and remote communities who have experienced violence and sex trafficking.
The funding includes:
Up to $2.4 million to enhance the capacity of service providers to deliver crisis and community supports and improve access to services for women who have experienced violence in a rural community, including Indigenous-led services.
Up to $1.2 million to improve access to culturally responsive anti-human trafficking services and supports in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous communities.
“It is important that the ministry and rural service providers work collaboratively to deliver specific supports and implement local projects that build positive outcomes for women living in or from rural communities,” said Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.
As a result of COVID-19, women and gender-diverse Ontarians have faced additional challenges, such as increased economic insecurity, greater burden of caregiving responsibilities and a rise in the incidence of domestic violence and human trafficking. Ontario established the Ontario’s Task Force on Women and the Economy to identify how the government can address these challenges.
Ontario’s Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy represents the largest total investment dedicated to anti-human trafficking supports and services in Canada.