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Ontario investing $6.9 million to create economic opportunities for women

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The Ontario government announced an expansion to the Investing in Women's Futures program Monday morning, to create more economic opportunities for women and help women who experience social and economic barriers to connect to supports.

Ten additional locations across the province will be receiving approximately $150,000 in funding over three years as part of a $6.9 million investment.

"All of the organizations that are recipients of the investing in women's future fund are going to provide vital valuable services to our women who are either entering or re-entering the workforce," says Minister Charmaine Williams, the Associate Minister of Women's Social & Economic Opportunity.

Two organizations are local including the Huronia Transition Homes in Midland and the Women's Centre of York Region.

"We are so excited here at the Women's Centre that we will be able to offer more wrap-around services to more women. We know that the increase in amount of intimate partner violence in our community is rising. We know that these women deserve a chance to leave these abusive situations safely and the economic supports to live independently," says Women's Centre of York Region Executive Director Liora Sobel.

The Women's Centre will use the funding to offer a new program called 'The First Step' program to help women find a career or exit an abusive relationship safely.

The program will also have a component of service navigation, both virtually and in person.

"Often, when women are experiencing gender-based violence, they can't get out of their homes easily and safely. So now we will actually have a staff here where someone can drop in and immediately get support, make a safety plan to make sure we know when is safe to do a follow-up and what her next steps are," says The Women's Centre Director of Development Allison Hermann.

"It will help get women out of abusive situations into another place to go to, and even a change in life situation right, so those things aren't happening at the rate they should be in this will help facilitate those kinds of changes," said Kelly Redmond, Huronia Transition Home program supervisor.

Throughout 2021-22, the Investing in Women's Futures program has helped more than 1,300 women across the province secure employment, start their own businesses or pursue further training or education.

"When women are active and working, women are the heart of not just their family but their community. So when women are invested in, you can change the financial future for your community, for the whole of Ontario. I always say when women succeed, Ontario succeeds," says Minister Williams.

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