‘Women’s Future’ business support program coming to Pickering and Durham Region

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Published May 29, 2023 at 8:50 am

A provincial program that connects women experiencing social and economic barriers connect to supports and the skills they need for financial security and independence is expanding into Durham Region.

The Women’s Multicultural Resource & Counselling Centre of Durham is one of 10 locations across Ontario added to the Women’s Future list, part of a $6.9 million investment over three years by the Province to enhance the two year-old program and create more economic opportunities for women.

The deal is worth $325,000 over three years in Durham Region, with the resource & counselling centre delivering trauma-informed counselling to vulnerable and underserved women who have experienced of violence and abuse. The program will assist with housing, mental health, addictions, safety planning, legal issues, systems navigation and other challenges newcomers face. It will also provide workshops on empowerment and self-esteem building as well as training in technology, interview skills, and workplace culture and negotiations.

“Expanding the Investing in Women’s Futures program to Durham Region will provide more women with the counselling, employment readiness training, and other wraparound supports they need to rebuild their lives, increase their participation in the workforce, and gain financial independence,” said Charmaine Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity, at a news conference in the Friday morning sunshine in Pickering. “Our government is empowering women to achieve the success they deserve because when women succeed, Ontario succeeds.”

The Investing in Women’s Futures program provides a range of flexible services and employment readiness supports for women facing social and economic barriers, including those experiencing gender-based violence and social isolation. These services and supports help women overcome any barriers, increase well-being, build skills and gain employment. The addition of 10 new sites brings the total number of locations to 33 across Ontario.

Ester Enyolu, the centre’s Executive Director, said she “appreciates” the financial support from the provincial program.

“This will enable the Women’s Multicultural Resource & Counselling Centre of Durham to continue to empower newcomers and women from diverse backgrounds experiencing social and economic barriers to connect to social support services and programs that empower them to acquire skills to heal, prevent further violence, and work towards financial independence to support their families.”

This $6.9 million investment builds on the $18 million funding from 2022-2025 to support the Investing in Women’s Futures and Women’s Economic Security programs.

Queen’s Park convened Ontario’s Task Force on Women and the Economy in 2021 to provide advice on addressing the unique and disproportionate economic barriers women face. Building on the work of the task force, the government launched the Women’s Future program the same year.

The program has already helped more than 1,300 women across Ontario secure employment, start their own businesses or pursue further training and/or education.

“This new Investing in Women’s Futures program location will give more women access to a safe space and a continuum of wraparound supports and resources,” said Ontario Finance Minister and Pickering-Uxbridge MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy. “This funding will allow the Women’s Multicultural Resource & Counselling Centre of Durham to continue the great work they have already done in the community and support them in fostering more prosperous futures for women across the Region.”

 

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