​Alberta-based organizations working to build gender equality and eliminate gender-based violence are getting a major funding boost from the federal government.

The Government of Canada will provide $7.3 million in new funding to 18 Alberta-based and national organizations, Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, announced in Edmonton on Jan. 9. The funding will be distributed by Women and Gender Equality Canada, and is dedicated to four different project streams, including increasing the capacity of Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ organizations to address gender-based violence, community-based research, and 2SLGBTQI+ community capacity building.

“Working with grassroots organizations, led by Indigenous and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people is how we will create, and sustain safe communities here in Alberta. It is the only way we understand the diverse challenges faced by Canadians, and how we can work better together to dismantle barriers. Supporting the life-saving work of these 18 organizations in Alberta, brings us one step closer to ending gender-based violence in Canada,” Boissonnault said.

Included in the list of funding recipients announced Tuesday were several organizations and projects dedicated to addressing gender-based violence in Indigenous communities. The Edmonton 2 Spirit Society, University nuhelot’ine thaiyots’i nistameyimakanak Blue Quills, Grande Prairie Friendship Centre, Mannawanis Native Friendship Centre, and the Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association will receive a combined $1.9 million in funding.

This new funding builds on years of community-based work, and acknowledges the important support larger, centralized organizations can provide for smaller groups operating in rural and remote areas of the province, Boissonnault said.

“That’s also why you see a lot of the support going to Native friendship centres. Because we’re talking about the work that started with missing and murdered women, Indigenous girls, and boys and we need to continue the work on that action plan. And this funding is making good on our commitment as a government,” he said.

Indigenous women make up about five per cent of Canada’s total female population, yet 21 per cent of gender-related homicides in the last decade have involved Indigenous women and girls, according to official statistics.

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Most of the selected recipients of this new funding are located in major urban centres, with the exceptions of University nuhelot’ine thaiyots’i nistameyimakanak Blue Quills and Mannawanis Native Friendship Centre, both in St. Paul. To ensure that resources reach rural and remote areas as needed, funds will be distributed using a “hub and spoke” model, Boissonnault said.

“We are funding organizations in larger centres so that they can actually support the work that is in smaller centres,” he said.

A spike in violence directed at pride events last year was first reported by some of the smaller pride organizers from rural Canada, Boissonnault said. “They were able to send a signal to the larger pride centre. That signal got to our team very quickly. Then we went collectively to Public Safety. We got a million-and-a-half-dollar emergency fund that was made available for pride organizations across the country to be able to respond.

“In the same way, when we’re talking about gender-based violence against women and people who identify as women, having those community-based organizations is really important. Knowing that you’re supported by larger organizations also helps.”

By Brett McKay, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jan 15, 2024 at 14:38

This item reprinted with permission from   St. Albert Gazette   St. Albert, Alberta

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