The federal government is giving up to $2.6 million stemming from its 2018 budget to four women’s organizations and Indigenous groups serving women in the Yukon.
The four groups are Les EssentiElles, the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre and the Yukon Status of Women Council.
Some representatives were on hand Friday afternoon to announce the funding. They were joined by Yukon MP Larry Bagnell.
“For decades, organizations that provide critical services to help women and their families succeed and live lives free from violence have been asking for reliable, predictable, and accessible sources of funds,” Bagnell said.
That was “to ensure they can keep their doors open and keep momentum going on progress that has been made.”
His colleague Maryam Monsef (the minister for women and gender equality) noted in March that more than 250 women’s groups across Canada will get funding from one of the programs to help with capacity building. One of those recipients is Les EssentiElles, which will be getting a $133,680 nod.
“The French community is very small, and it’s difficult to find people who will engage themselves on a board,” said its executive director, Jocelyne Isabelle.
“The problem we have now is we have board members that are there for one or two years and they’re leaving – same thing for director,” she added.
“And for a small association like Les EssentiElles, when everybody leaves, it’s difficult to keep track of everything that has been done and that has to be done.”
The group will be using the money to get a consultant who will deliver training in communication and create a strategic plan to help its governance and grow the capacity of members.
Founded in 1995, the non-profit group represents francophone women in the territory.
Meanwhile, Kara Garcia-Rideout is a housing navigator with the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre, which will be getting $244,625. She explained the funding would help with changes that have been a long-time coming.
“We’re going to redevelop our HR policies, put in some work that’s overdue to help us function more efficiently,” she told reporters.
“The theme is going to be decolonial, women-focused HR policies in a northern context,” she added, noting it would involve working with the Yukon College faculty and staff to address some of those cultural HR needs.
That could ultimately tackle things like turnover and focus more on retention of workers, said Garcia-Rideout, adding the group can serve between 50 and 70 women on its busiest days.
The Yukon Status of Women Council has received $550,620 and $625,000 for two different projects.
Aja Mason and Heidi Marion are co-directors with the council, which is getting help to expand its capacity and a project titled “A Blueprint for Change”.
The capacity funding is over five years. It will help guide its strategic plan that could mean a rebranding with a new logo and looking at sustainability models.
“So that’s the idea that we can use the money to investigate avenues of being able to get us off grants and dependency on the government,” Mason said.
“Just as an example, other organizations down south investigate areas of feminist book stores and cafés and things like that so sustainability models are something we had emphasized.”
It will also help with digitizing files and records, something that is a long-time coming, Mason added.
“The world is moving more and more towards a digital environment and the majority of the stuff we’ve accumulated has been paper copies.
“What that means is it’s harder to maintain institutional memory, harder to disseminate results if they’re not searchable as PDFs for example,” she added.
The second project that will be getting $625,000 aims to help women who are survivors of sexual exploitation and are looking to leave the sex trade.
Marion added that with a five-year funding period, it helps create predictability for not only the workers but those directly involved in the project.
“It’s so exciting because the women we’re serving, we’ll be able to say to them your group is going to be here for five years and it’s a really good feeling to be able to offer that.”
Meanwhile, the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society will get up to $1 million to help its project.
The group offers programming in a “complex social environment that includes intercultural and political resistance, gender and racial discrimination, cultural displacement and significant psycho-social impediments including addictions and lateral violence,” a release noted.
The project is to test an advocacy model for supporting women and girl survivors of gender-based violence.
“Our new project is an opportunity to increase the capacity of our Kaska communities to support, respond and restore the dignity and safety of survivors of gender-based violence,” executive director Ann Maje Raider said in a statement.
Friday’s announcement comes fewer than six months out from October’s federal election, during which Bagnell will be challenged by the NDP’s Justin Lemphers and Conservative Jonas Smith.
No one has publicly stepped forward to seek a Green Party nomination.