The Rideau Hall Foundation (RHF) is pleased to announce the recipients of the eighth annual Governor General’s Innovation Awards (GGIA). These awards recognize and celebrate exceptional and transformational Canadian innovations, which are creating a positive impact in Canada and beyond, while also inspiring the next generation of innovators.

Canadian Women’s Foundation is thrilled to have been chosen as a recipient.

In 2020, the Canadian Women’s Foundation launched the Signal for Help to help abuse survivors in the pandemic’s spike of gendered violence. The hand gesture innovation is simple – tuck the thumb into the palm and cover the thumb with fingers to ask for help without leaving a digital trace. Used in over 45 countries and shared virally around the world, it has saved lives and continues to be used. In Canada, 41% of people know about the signal and 9% have used it or seen it used. To support the use of the signal, the Canadian Women’s Foundation developed Signal for Help Responder digital learning tools, as research shows that many people do not have the confidence and knowledge to offer abuse survivors non-judgemental support.

If you see the Signal for Help:

1. Reach out to the person safely.
2. Be supportive: acknowledge their experience, listen, and let them tell you what they need.
3. Refer them to services or offer resources, as needed.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911 or your local emergency services (police, fire, ambulance).

If you’d like to learn more about how you can support a friend, family member, or colleague who is experiencing abuse, here’s what you can do: