Advocacy & Policy

YWCA Reports & Publications


Improving Economic Security for Women

March 2017

YWCA Canada Brief to the House Standing Committee on Status of Women
Study on Women’s Economic Security

A Guide for Trusted Adults

February 2017

Practical Tips and Tools for Supporting Girls and Young Women Navigating Life Online

A woman-centred digital literacy resource to help adults support girls and young women experiencing cyberviolence in a compassionate and non-judgemental way.

Reducing Poverty for Women, Girls, and Gender Non-Conforming People


YWCA Brief to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities


Counting Women and Girls in to the National Housing Strategy

October 2016

Brief to the National Housing Strategy Consultations

Changing Her Story

September 2016

Submitted to Status of Women Canada

Toward an Effective Federal Strategy Against Gender-Based Violence

Creating a safer digital world for girls and young women

September 2016

Presentation to the House Standing Committee on Status of Women
Study on Violence Against Young Women and Girls

Safety for Girls and Young Women Starts with Leadership

September 2016

Submission to the House Standing Committee on Status of Women
Study on Violence Against Young Women and Girls

Salir Adelante

April 2016

A Resource for Service Providers Working with Latinx Women Experiencing Violence

Salir Adelante is a new guidebook grounded in anti-oppression, cultural safety and trauma-informed practices for service providers working with Latinx women fleeing violence. This toolkit was developed to highlight the need for a common understanding of trauma-informed and anti-oppressive frameworks in relation to women from Latin American countries. Issues related to violence, along with additional factors that impact the decision-making process, including physical and mental well-being, are addressed.

Building a Canada that Works for all Women

February 2016

Pre-Budget Submission

Federal Budget 2016


Realizing Rights: From Rape Culture to Consent Culture

May 2015

Presentation to the Select Committee on Sexual Violence and Harassment
Ann Decter, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy, YWCA Canada.


Meeting the Promise of Ending Violence Against Women and Girls

November 2014

Presentation to the House Standing Committee on Status of Women by Ann Decter, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy, YWCA Canada


Prostitution, Sex Work and Women's Safety Policy

November 2014

YWCA Canada national policy on consensual sale of sexual services by adult women.

Building a Canada for the Future

August 2014

Budgeting for the Lives of Women Today

Pre-Budget Submission to the House Standing Committee on Finance
YWCA Canada

The Nunavut Legal Information Manual for Violence Support Services

June 2014

The Nunavut Legal Information Manual for Violence Support Services was developed from the Nunavut Violence Services Legal Training Project hosted by YWCA Agvvik Nunavut in November, 2013. It provides accessible information (in Inuktitut and in English) for Nunavut service providers and service users in areas of law that impact women facing violence and their families, including family, child protection, legal protection orders, and criminal law. It also provides an introduction to working with Nunavut’s Family Abuse Intervention Act (FAIA).

Saying Yes

May 2014


Saying Yes documents changes adopted by violence against women shelters and transition houses to provide wider access for abused women facing mental health and addiction challenges and reduce their risk of homelessness. The report discusses movement toward harm reduction approaches that are inclusive, responsive, trauma-informed, reflective, flexible, client-led and strength-based and the challenges of transferring effective adaptations to more shelters.

Empezar de Nuevo

March 2014

Empezar de Nuevo, una guía en español para mujeres en situaciones de violencia. Esta guía observa las culturas latina americanas y representa las voces de mujeres latinas.

Empezar de Nuevo, a Spanish-language guidebook for women fleeing violence. This guide respects the Latin American cultures and represents the voices of Latina women.


Housing First, Women Second?


Gendering Housing First - A Brief from the Homes for Women Campaign

Homes for Women, a campaign to prevent, reduce, and ultimately end the homelessness of women and girls in Canada is concerned that the existing gender gap in research examining Housing First models will influence the allocation of almost $600 million – $119 million over 5 years – committed by the federal government in Budget 2013 to programs on the Housing First model. Homes for Women recommends adoption of the following measures to help ensure implementation of Housing First funding reduces the homelessness of women and girls.


International Women's Day Bulletin

March 2012


A Snapshot of Women’s Homelessness in Canada in 2012 covering the rise of women losing their housing, the women most affected and the underlying issues in their lives including poverty, legacies of colonialism and racism, violence, women, abuse and trauma, mental health and criminalization.


IN WHOSE INTEREST? Women, Violence and Loosening Gun Controls in Canada

November 2011

YWCA Canada Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on
Public Safety and National Security on Bill C-19

Aboriginal Women’s Initiative Intersectoral Cross Training Manual

September 2011

YWCA Sudbury & YWCA Canada

A manual for agencies, groups, or individuals who are interested in coordinating intersectoral cross training within social service agencies to build the capacity of frontline workers and gain a greater understanding of Aboriginal issues and provision of culturally appropriate services. Training workshops for four sector areas are highlighted: violence against women, mental health, addictions, and homelessness.

Aboriginal Women’s Initiative Literature Review - A Review of the Literature on Intergenerational Trauma, Mental Health, Violence Against Women, Addictions and Homelessness among Aboriginal Women of the North

September 2011

YWCA Sudbury & YWCA Canada

An informative review of the current literature conducted for the Aboriginal Women’s Initiative focusing on the history and impact of abuse on Aboriginal women in the Sudbury area and highlighting needs and gaps. Provides background information including the history of Aboriginal women and the impact of colonization, examines the challenges for women who experience violence, mental health, addiction and homelessness, and reviews the literature on prevention of violence against Aboriginal women and shelters and services.

Aboriginal Women’s Initiative Women’s Wellness Journey Manual

September 2011

YWCA Sudbury & YWCA Canada

A manual for agencies, groups, or individuals interested in hosting a Women‘s Wellness Journey for Aboriginal women. Developed in consultation with Aboriginal women and using the seven Grandfather teachings, the Journey addresses the specific needs of Aboriginal women who are homeless and experiencing other challenges, such as mental health issues and addictions.

Rising to the Challenge

August 2011

Budgeting for the Realities of Women’s Lives in Canada Today

Pre-Budget Submission to the House Standing Committee on Finance
YWCA Canada

Digital Conversations about Women, Gender and Violence in Social and New Media

March 2011

YWCA Canada Brief to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women: Study of the impact of social media and new communications technologies on violence against women and girls

Educated, Employed and Equal

March 2011

The Economic Prosperity Case for National Child Care

Women’s advances in the work force and education over the last three decades demonstrate an unstoppable movement toward equality and mark a quiet revolution in women’s lives. The gender gap has closed in employment numbers and reversed in education without a corresponding social policy response. Canada needs early learning
and child care services, not a social policy gap that is decades behind reality.


Prosperity for the Majority: Toward Economic Security for Women

August 2010

Pre-Budget Submission to the House Standing Committee on Finance calling for the implementation of gender budget analysis, a new federal-provincial agreement on early learning and childcare, a National Housing Strategy with a gender lens, funding for women’s housing in Northern Canada, funding for programs serving homeless women, coordinated policies for violence against women, and increased federal transfer payments for legal aid.

Presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on Bill C-391

May 2010

Connects the long gun registry to women’s safety and  presents cogent reasons to maintain the registry as one piece of Canada’s gun control system.


A Girl’s Guide to Knowing Her Rights

October 2009

Knowing about your rights and responsibilities is an important part of being able to keep yourself safe at home, at school and in your community.

Life Beyond Shelter: Toward Coordinated Public Policies for Women’s Safety and Violence Prevention

October 2009

Extensive policy recommendations to ensure women can live safely in community post-shelter including crucial need for policy coordination across jurisdictions and levels of government.

Broad Investments: Counting Women in to the Federal Budget 2009

January 2009

Recommendations to the federal government to implement economic measures to support Canadian women and their children through the recession.

Fresh Start™


Revised in 2009

Written for women dealing with violence or abuse in their personal lives, Fresh Start™ supports women as they assess their options by detailing the dynamics and likely consequences of domestic violence. This easy-to-use-and-understand reference guide helps to create a detailed safety plan, mapping out steps for women to achieve security, wellness and economic independence. To order copies, visit the online mall.


No More Running In Circles Discussion Paper, Beyond Shelter Walls

September 2008

Discussion paper exploring links between intimate partner violence, lack of supports leaving shelter and homelessness among women and children.

YWCA Canada Report on The Status of Women and Girls in Canada

September 2008

Summarizes key issues facing women and girls; outlines strategies to address these issues and increase women’s equality.


“You Just Blink and It Can Happen”: A Study of Women’s Homelessness North of 60

November 2007

Prepared for: Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council, YWCA of Yellowknife, Yellowknife Women’s Society & Yukon Status of Women’s Council.

Pan-territorial report of conditions across Canada’s North that cause women to become homeless.

A Little Kindness Would Go a Long Way: A Study of Women's Homelessness in the Yukon

March 2007

Prepared for: Yukon Status of Women Council.

Report on the conditions in the Yukon and among Northern territories that contribute to women becoming homeless.

Being Homeless Is Getting to Be Normal: A Study of Women's Homelessness in the Northwest Territories

March 2007

Prepared for: YWCA Yellowknife and the Yellowknife Women’s Society.

Report on the conditions in the Northwest Territories that underlie women’s homelessness.

The Little Voices of Nunavut: A Study of Women's Homelessness North of 60

January 2007

Prepared for: Qulliiit Nunavut Status of Women Council.

Report on conditions in Nunavut causing high rates of women’s homelessness.


Effective Practices In Sheltering Women Leaving Violence In Intimate Relationships

June 2006

Captures the journeys of 368 women as they entered and left emergency shelters across Canada, detailing supports and resources women need in and beyond shelter.

Building a Community Architecture for Early Childhood Learning and Care: Blueprints for Community Architecture for Early Childhood Learning and Care

March 2006

Recommendations for the implementation of early childhood education and child care by four jurisdictions in Canada.

Submission to UN Hope for the Nation

March 2006

Recommendations to the Canadian government to meet its international commitment to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women.


Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance

September 2005

Advocates for the implementation of policies, services and resources to improve the status of women in Canada.

Submission to the UN Regional Consultation on Women and the Right to Housing in North America and Canadian Minister of Labour and Housing

September 2005

Recommendations for creation and implementation of a national housing plan with recommendations specific to the needs of women fleeing domestic violence.

Joint Declaration on Religious Arbitration in Family Law

June 2005

Joint statement opposing introduction of religious arbitration to the Arbitration Act in Ontario.

Protecting Equality Rights of Women in Canada: Opposition to Religious Arbitration in Family Law

June 2005

Analysis of the problems with expanding Arbitration Act in Ontario to allow religious arbitration in family law proceedings.


Brief to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women

December 2004

Details key fundamental issues to address to improve the status of women in Canada.


Playing with Rainbows


A National Play Program

Playing with Rainbows: A National Play Program for At-Risk Refugee Children is an initiative of The YWCA Canada and is supported by YWCA Member Associations across the country.

A manual outlining an innovative play-based therapeutic group model designed to facilitate healing in children who have been traumatized by experiences of war and migration. Simple interventions are used to equip children with age appropriate, culturally sensitive coping skills.

Well organized and accessible, the 300-page manual will be of interest to those working with children and adults in a wide range of settings. It contains useful background information on topics such as how to use play in counselling, understanding child development and the impact of traumatic experiences on children. The manual includes a very detailed description of a model for a 12 session children’s group, with suggestions for a wide variety of activities and exercises.

A flexible framework to suit the needs of children from different backgrounds, content adaptable for children ranging age 4-12. Easily incorporated in other systems such as school and daycare settings.

Due to it's large file size, Playing with Rainbows is made available on a 1GB USB key through the YWCA Canada Online Mall.

Table of Contents:


Introduction to the project
Goals and Objectives of Playing with Rainbows Groups

Background Information

The Impact of War and Migration on Children
Developmental Considerations
Using Ploy in Counselling
The Use of Art in Working With Children

Preparing For Your Playing with Rainbows Group
Group Format
Recruiting Group Participants
Getting Ready For Your Playing with Rainbows Group
Group Facilitators’ Self-Care
Tips on Communicating Through a Cultural Interpreter

The Playing with Rainbows Group

Session 1 Getting to Know Each Other .

Session 2 Feelings

Session 3 Pre-Migration and Migration

Session 4 Families

Session 5 The Concept and Phenomenon of War

Session 6 Goodbyes and Hellos

Session 7 Dreams

Session 8 Anxiety and Not Remembering

Session 9 Coping Skills and Conflict Resolution

Session 10 Stress Management

Session 11 Safety

Session 12 Self-Esteem and Closure

Caregivers Sessions, Managing Problems, Evaluation and Resources

Sessions for Coregivers
Managing Problems In A Playing with Rainbows Group
Evaluation of Playing with Rainbows Groups
Bibligraphy and Resources