More women and non-binary immigrants and refugees who have experienced violence, abuse or trauma will be able to access employment services and supports through a $2.4-million grant to YWCA Metro Vancouver.
The three-year grant will enhance and expand YWCA Metro Vancouver's Axis, a trauma-informed, culturally safe employment program. Since 2021, the YWCA Metro Vancouver has offered the 12-week Axis program, helping nearly 200 women and non-binary immigrants and refugees develop the personalized employment and training plans they need to pursue meaningful employment.
“Immigrant and refugee women and their families who are survivors of violence deserve a good life,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “This employment service we are funding through YWCA’s Axis program will help them gain the skills and jobs to help rebuild their lives.”
Axis provides one-on-one employment services and supports, primarily online, with in-person services available in Metro Vancouver upon request. Its language services are currently in English, Punjabi/Hindi, Cantonese/Mandarin and Farsi. The grant will enable Axis to expand its geographic reach throughout B.C. and add Filipino, Dari and Ukrainian language services.
“When I first began the Axis program, I was a single mother of two and I felt hopeless,” said Mary Jane Salvador, an Axis program graduate. “Thanks to the YWCA Axis program and to my career adviser, I am in a good place with Y housing and working in office administration.”
Women and non-binary immigrants and refugees who have experienced violence can be reluctant to seek traditional employment supports and services or otherwise self-identify as survivors of violence. Without access to the supports and services they need, they can be at greater risk of poverty, social isolation, anxiety and depression, and further violence.
“Not being safe or feeling unsafe is a real obstacle to gender equity. Self-identifying women simply can’t be successful when living in fear and uncertainty,” said Kelli Paddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. “It’s for this reason we are taking action cross-government to help prevent and end violence against women and ensure survivors can access the care and supports they need, including investing in the YWCA’s Axis program.”
The $2.4-million provincial grant to extend and expand YWCA Metro Vancouver’s Axis program comes from the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement. Under the agreement, the Province receives more than $300 million each year to fund employment services and supports, including those provided through the 102 WorkBC centres throughout the province.
Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation –
“Building pathways for survivors of violence to gain confidence and the skills that lead to meaningful employment is not only a lifeline to independence, it’s also a way to find community. The YMCA provides a space for survivors to experience healing, growth, and the supports they need to ultimately overcome barriers to entering or re-entering the workforce.”
Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General –
“Prevention of Violence Against Women Week is April 16-22 in B.C., a somber reminder that we must continue to support and look out for people experiencing gender-based violence. It is also a time to acknowledge the service providers, like YWCA Metro Vancouver, and community groups that are to working to help keep women safe from violence and support the survivors.”
Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills –
“Empowering women to develop their skill sets to get stable, rewarding employment is important so that everyone in British Columbia can reach their full potential, and this is why we are providing supports to help people overcome barriers, including trauma.”
Andrew Mercier, Minister of State for Workforce Development –
“Increasing access to training is a great way to support people as they build up or gain new skills to secure good-paying, family supporting jobs in their field.”
Erin Seeley, chief executive officer, YWCA Metro Vancouver –
“It is essential that women who experience violence have somewhere to turn for support, particularly when they are new to Canada, and without a safety and support network. I want to thank the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction for their generous support of YWCA Metro Vancouver’s Axis program, which offers trauma-informed, multi-language services to immigrant women who have experienced violence.”
Prevention of Violence against Women Proclamation: https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/proclamations/proclamations/PreventionofViolenceAgainstWomenWeek2023
Information on Axis: https://ywcavan.org/axis
Information on VictimLink BC, a toll-free multilingual, confidential service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week: http://www.victimlinkbc.ca