Thanks to new funding, more women throughout the Kingston region experiencing social and economic barriers will soon have access to expanded counselling services, according to the provincial government.
Speaking at a press conference at Resolve Counselling Services in Kingston on Wednesday, Jul. 19, 2023, Charmaine Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity, unveiled a $325,000 investment in Resolve Counselling as part of the Ontario government’s Investing in Women’s Futures program. According to the Associate Minister, the funding will allow the organization to provide a wide range of services and employment supports for women who are survivors of gender-based violence.
“I am delighted to announce that Resolve Counselling Services Canada will now be offering our Investing in Women’s Futures program in Kingston and [the] surrounding areas… In addition to employment and training services, the… program will also provide a safe space, wraparound services, and support for women who are experiencing social and economic barriers, including poverty and gender-based violence,” Williams said.
“It is so important that we help women rebuild their lives and [give them] support so they are able to get jobs that will help support them and their families. When women are working and earning an income, they are less likely to stay in abusive relationships. It’s so important that we help women with their economic future and help them get the skills and supports they need.”
In terms of the specific services that will be offered through the program, the associate minister confirmed that women will have access to emotional and therapeutic counselling, as well as workshops on topics like financial wellness and employment readiness. Williams, a former therapist herself, also noted the program will establish support groups for women in remote and rural areas “to reduce isolation and build connections.”
The local funding is part of a province-wide push to invest in women’s futures across Ontario. Over the next three years, the provincial government will invest $6.9 million in the program across 33 service delivery locations, according to Williams. “Our government is taking action on the increase in [the] need for both violence prevention and economic development services for women… We are taking a whole government approach and working with communities to lift women up and empower them to excel in business leadership roles as entrepreneurs, and in sectors where they have traditionally [been] underrepresented,” she stated.
As for how many women the program will be able to support over the next three years, Resolve Executive Director Stafford Murphy confirmed the $325,000 should be able to fund services for approximately 150 women a year. From 2022 to 2023, the program helped approximately 1,300 women throughout Ontario.
While Resolve will act as the local service provider for the program, Murphy said the organization will establish partnerships with other groups in the Kingston region to further support women in need, such as an alliance with the Kingston Frontenac Anti-Violence Coordinating Committee. “That’s a local committee where many of the service providers that focus on this area of intimate partner violence… are already at the table. So we’ve established many partnerships by being active in the community,” he said.
In terms of rural areas, including communities north of Highway 401, Murphy said that Resolve will work with organizations that have office spaces in remote communities in order to break down potential transportation barriers faced by rural clients.