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Federal Program Responses for Women

The following is a list of federally-funded programs implemented to address the unique needs of women, including culturally-relevant programming for First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and girls in the criminal justice system.

  • Correctional Programs for Women

    Women offenders have unique needs that impact the way they respond to correctional programs. The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) offers programs for women offenders within a women-centered perspective. This is meant to ensure that women's social realities and the context of their lives are recognized. These programs address problematic behaviour linked to crime, such as: violence, general crime, substance use, and sexual offending.

    These programs include:


    Correctional Services Canada - Mother-Child Program

    The purpose of the Mother-Child Program is to foster positive relationships between federally incarcerated mothers and their children, by keeping them together where appropriate, and providing a supportive environment that promotes stability and continuity for the mother-child relationship.


    Walls to Bridges Program

    Walls to Bridges Program (W2B) courses are university or college-based classes taught in jails, prison and community correctional settings. Students who are or have been incarcerated study together with students enrolled in university/college programs. Students who successfully complete courses receive university/college credits. An important principle of W2B courses is that students from outside the correctional system are not “mentoring” or “helping” or “working with” incarcerated/criminalized students: all participants in the class are peers, learning the class content together through innovative, experiential and dialogical processes.


  • Victims and Survivor Programs

    Attending Parole Board of Canada Hearings

    Through the Victims Fund, victims of crime in Canada have the opportunity to attend Parole Board of Canada (PBC) hearings for the offender who harmed them. Victims can do so as observers or to present a victim statement.


    Financial Assistance for Canadians Victimized Abroad

    Financial assistance is available to individual Canadians who are victims of specified serious violent crimes in a foreign jurisdiction for serious situations of undue hardship where no other source of financial assistance is available.


  • Indigenous Women and Girls Specific Programming

    Aboriginal Community Safety Planning Initiative

    The Aboriginal Community Safety Planning Initiative (ACSPI) works to prevent incidents of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), provides a means to enhance accessibility to Restorative Justice programming and responds to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

    The ACSPI supports Indigenous communities in the development of Community Safety Plans (CSPs) which are specific to their unique circumstances. These plans identify community strengths, assets and safety and wellness goals in order for all community members to see themselves involved on a path leading toward a healthier, safer home and community life.


    Family Information Liaison Units

    Family Information Liaison Units (FILUs) provide specialized services to families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. FILUs work directly with families in a culturally grounded and trauma-informed manner to gather the information they seek from government agencies and address outstanding questions about the loss of their loved ones. FILUs work directly with family members to coordinate information gathering from government agencies and services, including: the criminal justice system (police, prosecutions, corrections); social services; child protection; health services; and other Family Information Liaison Units across the country


    Family Violence Prevention Program

    Indigenous Services Canada (ISC)'s Family Violence Prevention Program (FVPP) supports the day-to-day operations of 46 shelters, as well as funding for community-driven proposals for family violence prevention projects on and off reserve. The goal of the FVPP is to improve the safety and security of Indigenous women, children and families.


    Indigenous Healing Lodges

    Healing lodges are environments designed specifically for Indigenous offenders. They offer culturally appropriate services and programs to offenders in a way that incorporates Indigenous values, traditions and beliefs. The main goal is to address factors that led to their incarceration and prepare them for reintegration into society.

    At a healing lodge, the needs of offenders are addressed through teachings and ceremonies, contact with Elders, and interaction with nature. Emphasis is placed on spiritual leadership and the value of the life experiences of staff and community members who act as role models.


    Indigenous Women Offender Correctional Programs

    Correctional Services Canada offers separate Indigenous Women Offender Correctional Programs (IWOCP) to respond to Indigenous women's unique, culturally-related needs. The IWOCP model strikes a balance between a healing and a skills-based approach. It includes culturally-relevant teachings and ceremonies.


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