You’re concerned about the shocking setbacks to gender equality in the pandemic.
You’re taking action to support vulnerable communities through the crisis.
You’re focused on better futures for women, girls, and gender-diverse people.
You’re building gender justice.

“We need funds and resources to be able to pivot … And in a time when risk of harms has increased, we need to up those protective factors, not take them away.”

Shahnaz Rahman, Executive Director, Grantee Partner, Surrey Women’s Centre (BC)

“This kind of hit is quite a shock … We’re there for girls no matter what, that’s the message we’re putting out.”

Nanase Tonda, Executive Director, Grantee Partner, Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta (AB)

You’ve Been There From the Start.

When the pandemic hit Canada in March 2020, the whole nation was stunned. The disproportionate impact on vulnerable women and communities was clear almost immediately.

Women-serving programs and gender equality organizations supported by the Canadian Women’s Foundation expressed being overwhelmed by community needs. Their services were more vital than ever, but they struggled to keep doors open and keep everyone safe.

When the Foundation launched the Tireless Together Emergency Fund in April 2020, you responded in an incredible way.

In a matter of months, you generously donated over $600,000 to help gender equality programs continue to help women, girls, and gender-diverse people move out of violence, out of poverty, and into confidence and leadership.

Our grantee partners throughout Canada expressed deep gratitude for your fast action. As Julia Grady, Executive Director of 10C in Guelph, Ontario so aptly shared, your support filled a sudden financial gap for community programs and, “most importantly, gives us COURAGE to continue and support the work and social change action led by women.”

Donors and partners like you rallied together across regions in this challenging moment and gave the most priceless gift of all: courage to keep going.

One Year Into the Gendered Pandemic: COVID-19 Timeline

  • March 2020: Women account for 63% of the 1 million jobs lost and 70% of losses by workers aged 25 to 54 (Statistics Canada).
  • April 2020: 1 in 10 women reports being very or extremely concerned about the possibility of violence in the home. Women’s shelters and organizations sound alarms (Statistics Canada). Women’s labour force participation dips to 55% for the first time since the mid-80s (RBC Economics).

  • May 2020: University-educated immigrant women experience the largest unemployment rates, 7.3 percentage points higher than previous year (Statistics Canada).

  • June 2020: Calls for police service related to domestic disturbances increase by 12% between March and June (Statistics Canada).

  • July 2020: The gap between fathers and mothers going back to work goes from 0.8 to 7.3 percentage points for parents of school-aged children (Canadian Public Policy).

  • August 2020: 63% of people in Canada are concerned about women facing more exposure to COVID-19 due to work in high-risk service and care industries (Canadian Women’s Foundation).

  • September 2020: 71% of Canadian women report feeling more anxious, depressed, isolated, overworked or ill because of increased unpaid care work caused by COVID-19 (Oxfam).

  • October 2020: Shelters and transition houses experience a 61% increase in calls from June to October (Women’s Shelters Canada).
  • November 2020: A 55% jump is reported in the number of mothers who worked less than half their usual hours, when compared to the previous year. Childcare responsibilities are cited as a key reason (Statistics Canada).

  • December 2020: The unemployment rate for women of colour rises to 10.5% compared with 6.2% for white women (Statistics Canada).

  • January 2021: Women are more likely to report their mental health as bad or very bad, especially between the ages of 18- 34 (Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies).

  • February 2021: 10 times more women than men have fallen out of the labour force since last year (RBC Economics).

Your Tireless Impact.

Your generous donations and support from the Government of Canada help gender equality programs deal with unexpected staffing and volunteer shortfalls, intensified support needs for people they serve (e.g. childcare, food, transit), higher operational and safety supply costs (e.g. gloves, masks, cleaning supplies, utilities), and technical upgrades to offer digital services.

Funds Received: March 15, 2020-March 15, 2021
Tireless Together Fund Donations (1,134 donations from individuals, family foundations, and
Federal Government Emergency Funding (via Women and Gender
Equality Canada for organizations providing sexual assault and
gender-based violence services in all provinces and territories, except
TOTAL $34,209,236
Impact of Funds: 2020 onward
25 emergency grants (of $10,000 each to organizations with annual operating budgets of less than $1.5M, focused on employment, girls, newcomers and refugees, and other gendered issues) $250,000
683 emergency grants (of $5,000-$200,000 each for organizations providing crisis support for survivors of sexual violence and gender-based violence, addressing an influx of people seeking support and expenses due to the pandemic) $23,245,238
Gender-based violence grants in progress (approx. 150-170 more grants to be distributed by March 31, 2021) $7,506,762
Multi-year support (funds to organizations impacted by the pandemic that are currently receiving multi-year project funding in 2020/21 and
National emergency preparedness research: best practices to prevent gender-based violence surges in future pandemics and other disasters $340,000
Granting support costs (e.g. translation/interpretation, equipment, financial oversight) $2,508,000
TOTAL $34,209,236

Grants Distributed by Region

Region and Total Value of Grants Number of Grants % of Grants % Pop. of Canada
Territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut): $265,000 11 1.1 0.32
British Columbia: $4,776,815 142 20.3 13.22
Prairies (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba): $6,354,195 191 27.0 18.33
Ontario: $81,867,081 267 37.7 38.25
Quebec*: $50,000 5* 0.3* 23.23
Atlantic (Newfoundland & Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick): $3,182,147 92 13.5 6.65

Note: Does not include multi-year support and approx. $7.5M to be granted to 150-170 organizations by March 31, 2021.

*Emergency grants for Québec organizations were provided directly by the Government of Canada. The Foundation provided some additional support to Québec organizations through Tireless Together Grants.

You’re Staying the Course.

Impact grows impact. Your quick action helped build a compelling case for a deeper partnership with the Government of Canada to make sure the gendered impacts of the pandemic are addressed. Since April 2020, the Foundation has secured over $33 million in federal emergency pandemic response funds for gender equality organizations all over the country.

These funds helped organizations focused on gender-based violence deal with an influx in demand and enable them to keep addressing, preventing, and reducing violence.

Tireless Supporters Keep Rising Up

Show Up For Girls: Championed by Christine Sinclair, FIFA all-time goal leader and star of Canada women’s soccer team, our supporters made this October 2020 campaign a great success. Over $285,000 was raised to help girls’ empowerment programs be there for diverse girls in the pandemic—especially important at a time when the mental health of girls is worsening.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence: Our supporters came together yet again to raise over $200,000 for Out of Violence Programs. On top of that, with a dynamic fundraising and awareness campaign bolstered by The Body Shop, thousands of people signed petitions, participated in livestreams, and took digital actions to challenge the rising risk of violence.

Signal For Help: Launched in April 2020 and promoted throughout 2020 and 2021, people all over Canada and across the globe have turned this into a vital tool to address the elevated risk of gender-based violence in the pandemic. The Signal For Help is a one-handed gesture you can make on a video call to communicate you need someone to safely check in with you. It has been covered by dozens of news outlets and shared millions of times on social media by people like you. A 2020 poll found that about 1 in 3 people in Canada know of or have seen or used the signal. And it is being or has been shared in 44 countries including Japan, Italy, England, US, Brazil, and France.

Grantee Highlight: Beauséjour Family Crisis Resource Centre

“Women living with violence are walking on eggshells, trying to keep everything afloat so that it doesn’t cause an explosion. A lot of women are just trying to survive …”

Grantee Partner, Beauséjour Family Crisis Resource Centre

Beauséjour Family Crisis Resource Centre offers an array of services for women facing gender-based violence in Shediac, New Brunswick. They work with many survivors, including francophone women living in rural areas, women with complex mental health or addiction concerns, and women with accessibility needs. One of the services they provide is short-term housing for women and their children who are leaving violent situations.

When the pandemic hit, many in this community lost their jobs. Some women living with violent partners became more isolated at home. Their concerns about firearms in the home increased. And no access to public transit made it hard to get away.

The need for the Centre’s services spiked, with 2,100 people seeking their help at the start of the pandemic. Emergency shelter beds were full. Staff struggled to keep up with the need for housing support. And the pandemic created other challenges, like the need for frequent cleaning, using personal protective equipment, and virtual meetings.

With support of donors and partners of the Canadian Women’s Foundation, the Centre can now:

  • Offer another year of housing to help survivors of violence continue their journey to safety.
  • Provide more help for women escaping violence.
  • Better support their front-line workers who are at higher risk of virus exposure.
  • Help more women through their housing program.
  • And better manage needs of people reaching out for support with the right digital tools.

You’re Building a New Normal for Better Futures.

To rebuild after this pandemic and set Canada up for gender equity, we need to pursue fundamental change. You’ve enabled the Canadian Women’s Foundation to facilitate and co-author Resetting Normal, a series of influential policy papers outlining steps for decision-makers to take for a gender equal Canada. We’re heartened that our voice and the voices of our incredible gender equality partners have influenced the beginning of a national action plan on gender-based violence and federal task force on women in the economy.

With your steadfast support, we will continue to urge our governments to put gender equality at the centre of post-pandemic recovery efforts, amplify the promise of gender justice to help everyone, and generate public awareness to bring together people who want to support the cause in their communities and workplaces.

One Thing is Clear: We Won’t Turn Back.

“Communities that were struggling before are just facing an abundance of issues now … My real concern is that we’re sitting on an explosion of people who are going to be in need, following the pandemic.”

Cheryl Bujold, Executive Director, Grantee Partner, Dragonfly Counselling & Support Centre (Bonnyville, AB)

“Gender justice is both the tool and the goal to ensure Canada’s recovery.”

Paulette Senior, President & CEO , Canadian Women’s Foundation

In all the ways you’ve taken action in this difficult year, thank you for sending a strong message to all of Canada: gender justice must be our ultimate goal.

Gender inequality didn’t start with the COVID-19 virus. And it’s been a matter of “pandemics within the pandemic” for women, girls, and gender-diverse people who face multiple barriers such as poverty, racism, and ableism.

You know we’re not facing a short-term problem because its roots run so deep.

Thank you for demonstrating your drive for gender justice to address the generational impacts of the pandemic on women, girls, gender-diverse people, and their families and communities.

You are helping to reverse the dire trajectories for those who face the highest barriers. Please stay close to us and keep raising your voices with us to call for nation-wide solutions where no woman, girl, or Two Spirit, trans, or non-binary person is left behind.

We will work together to build gender justice.

We Need Your Thoughts and Ideas.

Please join us at a virtual focus group in April or May to share your thoughts on barriers you see for women, girls, and gender-diverse people and opportunities to advance inclusion.

Thank You

Women and Gender Equality Canada

Government of Canada


Private Giving Foundation (available through TD)


Groupe Dynamite Inc.
The Gupta Family Foundation
The Houssian Foundation
Carolyn Hursh


Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada
Emma Donoghue
Earnscliffe Strategy Group
Hazelview Properties
Joan Lozinski
Margaret Newall
Superior Plus LP
Yaletown Partners Inc.


Addition Elle / Penningtons
Fleck Law Charitable Fund
Ruth Mandel – WHO GIVES Fund
Kathy McMillan
Ruchi Mohindra
The Sprott Foundation
Vicki Warner

Our deepest thanks to our many tireless individual donors, foundations, and corporate partners throughout the country.


The Canadian Women’s Foundation is a national leader in the movement for gender equality in Canada. Through funding, research, advocacy, and knowledge sharing, we work to achieve systemic change. We support women, girls, and gender-diverse people to move out of violence, out of poverty, and into confidence and leadership. Since 1991, our partners and donors have contributed more than $130 million to fund over 2,000 life-transforming programs throughout the country.

More Relevant Reading and Listening

We Need Your Thoughts and Ideas

Please join us at a virtual focus group in April or May to share your thoughts on barriers you see for women, girls, and gender-diverse people and opportunities to advance inclusion.

Join Us: Women of the Pandemic Online Book Discussion

Women of the Pandemic Book

Friday April 30, 2021, 12:00 PM EST
With Author Lauren McKeon and Paulette Senior, President and CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation

More: Watch our Digital Town Hall (February 2021)