1.09.03 - “Respect the vulnerable: Commit resources to combat domestic abuse, including elder abuse”
The 2021 Ontario budget outlines $18.2 million over 3 years to support First Nations, Inuit, and Métis woman and girls who can face higher rates of violence than others, and well as $18.5 million to support victims of domestic violence and human trafficking survivors find and maintain safe housing. The budget does not however address elder abuse, therefore the promise is partially kept.
“We are investing an additional $18.2 million over three years to protect and support First Nations, Inuit, and Métis woman and girls who can face higher rates of violence than others. And $18.5 million to support victims of domestic violence and human trafficking survivors find and maintain safe housing. We remain committed to supporting victims of domestic violence, human trafficking and other violent crimes.”
In 2019, the Ford government cut funding to Ontario rape crisis centres and other women shelter services, thus taking an action to contradict the spirit of this promise to commit funding to combat domestic abuse. It should also be noted that the 2019 budget does not include any financial resources allocated to combatting domestic abuse or elder abuse. In 2020, the Ontario government introcuced a Bill which was criticized for protecting Ontario care homes from being liable for harms caused during the COVID-19 pandemic. This runs counter to the promise of investing in resources to prevent elder abuse, and the promise is therefore broken.
“On Tuesday, the Ford government introduced legislation that the province said, if passed, will provide liability protection to workers and businesses in a number of sectors who make ‘an honest effort’ to follow public health guidelines and laws. The bill, dubbed Supporting Ontario’s Recovery Act, would protect businesses and employees in the health care field, frontline workers in grocery and retail stores, charities and non-profit organizations, as well as coaches, volunteers, and minor sports associations. But the legislation has prompted outcry from some who say the bill would make it ‘significantly harder’ for residents and families to hold long-term care homes liable for any harm caused by exposure to COVID-19.”
“The Ford government cut funding to Ontario rape crisis centres, leaving a paltry $1 million funding boost to be divided between 42 centres after the previous Wynne government promised some $4 million extra. The 42 centres currently receive some $14 million in annual funding. The Ford government also folded the roundtable on violence against women.”
“Ontario is building on its commitment to create a province free of gender-based violence through its comprehensive new strategy — It’s Never Okay: Ontario’s Gender-Based Violence Strategy — announced in March 2018. The Province is investing up to $242 million over three years to help support survivors and their children and to end the cycle of violence. This new strategy provides an overarching framework to respond to an increased need for core and culturally appropriate services such as shelters, counselling, sexual assault centres and assistance in navigating the court system; and to address further needs of survivors of gender-based violence.”