Organizers at Ottawa women's shelter worried over funding Women’s shelter fears loss of funding

Organizers with 'A New Day' women’s shelter in Ottawa are voicing concerns about funding as they approach a new fiscal year.

“Part of the challenge with a new government coming in is making sure we receive the revenue to keep the home open,” said Wendy Gee, the Executive Director for A New Day Youth and Adults Services.

The residential shelter offers a safe space for victims escaping sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

Gee, says it costs approximately $850,000 to operate the shelter.

The previous Liberal Government pledged $1.5 million to the shelter over three years, according to Gee. With a new fiscal year beginning in April, organizers are holding out hope the remainder of that funding will be released by the Ford Government.

“It changes with government – the priorities change, money shifts, so yes I am concerned,” Gee said.

Thursday, Children, Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod was in New York speaking on Women’s Issues at the United Nations.

“Ontario's Government for the People is strongly advocating for gender equality with a commitment to end violence against women and sex trafficking,” a statement said.

CTV News reached out to Minister MacLeod to ask if funding previously allocated to ‘A New Day’ was under review. She did not comment of this budget, but in an e-mail said “We’re currently investing $176 million in agencies that provide violence against women services, and $5 million in funding for programs designed to prevent human trafficking and help survivors rebuild their lives.”

“This includes a project led by A New Day to deliver peer support and wraparound support services in the areas of trauma and loss, mental health, addictions, and relationships, with individual and group counselling.”

In Ottawa, there is at least ‘one sex trade worker in every single hotel across the city,’ according to the Ottawa Police Human Trafficking Unit.

Across Canada, there were 865 victims of human trafficking between 2009 and 2019, according to Statistics Canada. 122 cases were recorded in Ottawa.

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg because women we work with have not necessarily reported,” said Jodi Mosley, the co-director of Stepping Stones Foster Care.

‘A New Day’ is a 12 to 18 month program that opened last year. 

The shelter also relies on community donations and private sponsorships.

More information of funding and the shelter can be found here.