2018-2019 Public Safety Canada departmental progress report for Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security
Public Safety Canada and Women, Peace and Security
Public Safety Canada and its various portfolio agencies are playing an important role in advancing the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda over the span of Canada’s National Action Plan (the Action Plan) on WPS 2017-2022. In leading Canada’s domestic response to radicalization to violence, Public Safety’s Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence (Canada Centre), coordinates and develops policy expertise, mobilizes community outreach, and enhances research in countering radicalization to violence. In addition, Public Safety Canada leads the Government of Canada’s effort to combat human trafficking domestically, including support of Canada’s G7 commitments in this area. The Correctional Service of Canada, an agency within the Public Safety Portfolio, is the federal agency responsible for administering sentences of two years or more, along with supervising offenders under conditional release, as well as capacity building activities in international correctional services.
Countering radicalization to violence
In June 2017, the Government of Canada announced the launch of the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence (Canada Centre), within Public Safety Canada. As a centre of excellence, the Canada Centre engages with and supports the efforts of key stakeholders including federal departments and agencies, provincial, territorial and municipal partners, researchers, community organizations, and frontline professionals working to prevent individuals from radicalizing to violence. Public Safety Canada has additionally been at the forefront of building the evidence base on countering radicalization to violence (CRV) through initiatives such as the Kanishka Project (2011-2015). The Canada Centre’s Community Resilience Fund, launched in 2017, provides funding to improve Canada’s ability to address radicalization to violence at the local level by supporting research, intervention programming and outreach activities.
Gender considerations have a central place in the National Strategy on Countering Radicalization to Violence (Strategy), released in December 2018. Guided by the Strategy, the Canada Centre continues to work with frontline practitioners and subject matter experts across Canada to integrate the tenets of the WPS agenda, with special attention to the specific needs, risks, and strengths of diverse neighbourhoods, communities, families, women and youth that exist in particular places and at specific times. A particular focus of the strategy is to ensure that local intervention and prevention efforts across Canada are integrating a thorough consideration of gender, diversity, and the role of women into policy, program design, research, and measurement and evaluation tools. The Strategy also continues to make connections between CRV approaches and existing capabilities and expertise at the local level or in closely related fields such as crime prevention, efforts to combat hate and conflict, and public and clinical health.
Canada’s 2012-16 National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking underwent a formal horizontal evaluation and the findings were published in December 2017. The evaluation recommendations called for improving capacity to collect national data on human trafficking; implementing a mechanism to connect victims with access to dedicated services; and forging closer partnerships with other levels of government, Indigenous communities, civil society, the private sector, and bilateral and multilateral partners. The evaluation will help inform the Government of Canada’s way forward in combatting human trafficking.
In September and October 2018, Public Safety Canada held human trafficking consultations across the country to gather stakeholder views on existing challenges and gaps in the federal response to trafficking in persons, and to inform the development of Canada’s new national strategy to combat human trafficking.
Federal Budget 2018 announced $14.51 million over five years and $2.89 million per year ongoing to put in place a National Human Trafficking Hotline. In October 2018, following an open call for applications, the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, a non-governmental organization (NGO), was selected through Public Safety Canada’s Contribution Program to Combat Serious and Organized Crime (CPCSOC) to implement Canada’s Human Trafficking Hotline. The Hotline was officially launched on May 29, 2019 and is operational 24/7, 365 days a year with multilingual services to allow victims to easily access the help they need.
Correctional Service of Canada
The work that CSC conducts in advancing the WPS agenda is primarily funded by GAC and thus may change from year to year.
While the department’s primary mission is domestic, it is contributing to the implementation of Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security through its work on countering radicalization to violence, human trafficking, and other internationally connected efforts.
Countering radicalization to violence
The Canada Centre has continued to integrate a thorough consideration of gender, diversity and the role of women in its collaboration and sharing of lessons with partners, internationally and domestically:
- For the 2018 G7 Security Ministers’ Meeting, all concept papers and discussion papers prepared by Public Safety incorporated gender analysis and considerations. The G7 Security Ministers’ commitments included advice solicited from the Prime Minister’s Gender Equality Advisory Council. Through such activities, the Canada Centre contributed to Canada’s G7 leadership by advancing the international discussion on how to integrate considerations relating to women and girls and other gender-related issues into CRV and counter-terrorism (CT) programming and policy.
- In March 2019, the Canada Centre hosted an Event Series on Countering Radicalization to Violence, which included a number of workshops, presentations, and networking opportunities. Participants included frontline practitioners, subject matter experts, members of civil society organizations, and representatives from technology companies.
- During this week, one of the feature sessions was an all-day symposium on ‘Best Practices for Integrating Gender into Countering Violent Extremism Efforts.’ Funded through the Community Resilience Fund, and led by Moonshot CVE, the event brought together international experts and practitioners to share experiences of integrating gender issues into CVE programming aimed at countering violent extremism. The symposium provided a venue for Canadian practitioners to consider the best ways to integrate international gender approaches in their work, as well how they can contribute to implementing CVE-related aspects of Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. Based on the event, Moonshot CVE is producing a summary of international and Canadian best practices on integrating gender into CVE, to be published at a later date, with the goal of assisting design, implementation and evaluation of CVE programs. Topics during the event included the role of media, insights from frontline prevention and response, women and terrorism, and insights from peacebuilding.
In addition, the Canada Centre developed Gender-Based Analysis+ guidance for Community Resilience Fund (CRF) funding applicants, along with criteria for assessing their approach. The Canada Centre will gather and analyze data from CRF projects through performance measurement tools to examine how gender and other identity factors are considered, with the aim of supporting more effective prevention and intervention efforts.
Results and Progress
The Canada Centre has, from the outset, woven gender analysis into countering radicalization to violence (CRV)-related research, partnerships, and program investment through the Community Resilience Fund (CRF). A number of projects funded through the Community Resilience Fund are concerned with the nexus of gender and security. For example, with funding to better understand right-wing extremism in Canada, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology is expected to examine gendered aspects of the movement, including misogynistic violence. Similarly, as part of its work to understand vulnerability to online recruitment, including search and consumption patterns of harmful content online, the Canada Redirect initiative is looking at the links between violent extremism and gender-based violence. As well, several CRF-funded initiatives that are long-term, multi-agency programs to intervene with individuals considered as potentially at risk of involvement in violent extremism are also involved in extensive evaluation studies. The latter include a focus on gender, and are expected to contribute significantly to the evidence base in Canada on GBA+ aspects of program design and implementation for countering radicalization to violence.
- Public Safety Canada’s Contribution Program to Combat Serious and Organized Crime (CPCSOC) supports initiatives, research, partnership building, specialized police services, projects and programs to increase knowledge, raise awareness and/or help advance efforts to combat serious and organized crime, including human trafficking. Through the program, Public Safety Canada funded two multi-year projects (2016-2019) to develop human trafficking survivor housing response models.
- In 2018-19, Public Safety Canada funded $75,000 towards YWCA’s Halifax Safe Landing, a community-based outreach program that works to develop support services that will ensure long-term maintenance of change for victims and survivors of human trafficking. The main objective of the program is to develop and deliver a human trafficking response model and support women who have successfully exited the sex trade.
- The organization conducted consultations with communities and families affected by the issue of human trafficking and sexual exploitation and consulted victims and survivors of sexual exploitation in Nova Scotia. These consultations informed the development of Safe Landing’s educational resources, training materials, and awareness material for a local and national audience.
- Other completed project activities in 2018-19 include:
- Training which focused on indicators of sexual exploitation, appropriate responses, and knowledge transfer to non-profit service providers and local government agency staff across Nova Scotia and some regions of New Brunswick. Training was provided to over 300 front-line works and service providers.
- Research on safe housing practices and programs across Canada in an effort to gather best practices and operational considerations for housing models across Canada.
- In 2018-19, Public Safety Canada funded $77,000 to La Sortie, a help and support centre for victims of sexual exploitation in the province of Quebec. The program’s main objective is to develop and deliver a human trafficking response model with existing shelters in the Quebec regions. The aim is to develop emergency housing for victims of human trafficking, while taking into account different Indigenous and LGBTQ2 needs.
- The program’s completed activities in 2018-19 include:
- Design of educational and cultural awareness training workshop in partnership with Indigenous, youth and LGBTQ2 partners.
- Webinar sessions for regional dissemination of information and in-person workshops to provide targeted training to stakeholders and front-line service partners.
- Online human trafficking awareness materials and dissemination of information through various social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and La Sortie website.
- In the Summer of 2018, Public Safety Canada, in consultation with the federal Human Trafficking Taskforce, developed a Discussion Paper, titled The Way Forward to End Human Trafficking, to guide national consultations in the Fall of 2018. Its purpose was to elicit discussion and comments to inform the Government of Canada in the development of a new national strategy. It aimed to help ensure that the new strategy is evidence-based, and supports the prevention of this crime and the protection of its victims. The Discussion Paper also includes a particular focus on the results of the evaluation of the 2012-2016 National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and lessons learned by the Government of Canada throughout the implementation of the National Action Plan.
- In September and October 2018, Public Safety Canada held consultations across the country to inform the Government of Canada’s way forward, bringing together over 200 stakeholders. In-person consultations were held in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Montreal, a National Summit and a Survivor Roundtable were held in Toronto, and a meeting with sex work organizations in Ottawa. Public Safety Canada also solicited input from targeted stakeholders, including those unable to attend the in-person sessions, via an online questionnaire. Stakeholders consulted included representatives from non-governmental organizations, Indigenous organizations, law enforcement agencies, academia, front-line service providers, different levels of government, civil society, and the private sector. These consultations helped identify issues, gaps and challenges affecting Canada’s ability to combat human trafficking, and information collected is informing the development of Canada’s new national strategy to combat human trafficking.
- Federal Budget 2018 announced $14.51 million over five years and $2.89 million per year ongoing to put in place a National Human Trafficking Hotline. In October 2018, following an open call for applications, the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, a non-governmental organization (NGO), was selected through Public Safety Canada’s CPCSOC to implement Canada’s Human Trafficking Hotline. The Hotline was officially launched on May 29, 2019 and is operational 24/7, 365 days a year with multilingual services to allow victims to easily access the help they need. The Hotline includes an online referral mechanism to connect victims and survivors to local law enforcement, emergency shelters, transportation, trauma counselors and a range of other trauma-informed services and supports. The Hotline also supports data collection efforts to better understand the scope of human trafficking in Canada, increase public awareness around human trafficking and provide a resource for those seeking information on this crime.
- As part of the Public Safety portfolio, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canada Border Services Agency also put forth efforts to combat human trafficking. For example, the RCMP’s Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre has put in place the I’m Not for Sale initiative—a human trafficking awareness campaign targeting youth, which includes a youth-focused booklet, posters and an information sheet for parents and teachers. Operation Northern Spotlight is a joint effort of over 60 police agencies across Canada to prevent vulnerable persons working in the sex trade from being victims of human trafficking. In 2018, police interviewed 351 individuals believed to be at-risk and removed 10 from exploitative situations.
Results and Progress
Building on Canada’s past and existing anti-human trafficking efforts, Canada is exploring options for a new whole-of-government strategy to combat human trafficking, as announced in the 2019 federal Budget. This new national strategy will be informed by the previous National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and extensive consultations with stakeholders held across Canada in 2018.
As a result of Public Safety Canada’s funded contribution programs, a number of resources and support services for human trafficking victims and survivors have been developed, including housing response models for shelters that specifically address their needs. These housing models also focus on the cultural and gender-specific needs of vulnerable and marginalized populations, including at-risk youth, women and girls, Indigenous Peoples, homeless youth, and those identifying as LGBTQ2. In addition, the organizations developed best practices and lessons learned to share with other NGOs and human trafficking service providers across the country.
Correctional Service of Canada
The Group of Friends of Corrections in Peace Operations (GoF) is a forum for the provision of political, technical, and personnel support to corrections work in United Nations (UN) peace operations. Specifically, the GoF aims to strengthen the strategic role of corrections in regards to mandates and resource allocation of UN peace operations, support critical activities for the re-establishment and strengthening of prison services in host countries of UN peace operations, promote the deployment of high-caliber corrections experts, and facilitate the exchange of good practices among international corrections experts on addressing challenges in conflict and post-conflict settings. Canada (as represented by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC)) has been a member of the GoF since 2011, and held Chair responsibilities from 2015 to early 2018. Current and ongoing GoF initiatives related to WPS are as follows:
- Pre-Deployment training: Pre-Deployment training is regularly held with the UN Department of Peace Operations and is offered to an international group of corrections officers selected for deployment to a UN peace operation. Since 2014, these sessions have included Canadian facilitators during which CSC strives for gender-parity and representation. Sessions covered in the training include, among others, the UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (Bangkok Rules), and a session specifically devoted to the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (which acknowledges the importance of the involvement of women within peace and security initiatives to ensure sustainability and stability).
- Gender Responsive Training (GRT): CSC developed and is leading the delivery of an international women-centered training entitled “Effective Practices for Gender Responsive Treatment of Women Prisoners”, which incorporates the UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (Bangkok Rules) and the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules). During FY 2018/19, CSC successfully delivered the training in Namibia (July 2018) and in Haiti (August 2018). CSC also returned to Haiti in March 2019 and delivered the Training of Trainers version of the training to further develop local capacity. All sessions included one or more women within the two-person facilitation team. The participant evaluations received from the training were overwhelmingly positive.
- Fundamentals of Corrections Leadership Workshop: Led by CSC as an initiative of the GoF, the workshop is intended to support international corrections leaders in the planning and implementation of transformational correctional initiatives. The workshop is based upon practices consistent with various international human rights standards and is gender-responsive through promoting the accessibility, equal opportunity and inclusion of women within leadership and managerial correctional roles. The curriculum was successfully developed and piloted in Sierra Leone in March 2019. Feedback received from participants, facilitators, and observers were extremely positive.
Results and Progress
As a leader within the global corrections community, CSC has continued to play a contributory role in the provision of WPS-related priorities of the GoF including:
- Promoting the importance of women correctional officers in peace operations activities;
- Increasing awareness of gender issues and human rights for prisoners; and
- Promoting the inclusion of women within leadership/management positions in correctional organizations.
- CSC continues to lead the provision of correctional training initiatives to further gender-responsivity and leadership and management for women. Striving for gender-balance among participants and the facilitator cadre is a central component in all training delivery models. During the forthcoming year, there are plans to further deliver the trainings internationally within post-conflict and fragile contexts, including through a delivery of both the end-user and train-the-trainer sessions of the GRT training in the Central African Republic. CSC also plans to finalize and deliver another session of the Fundamentals of Corrections Leadership workshop during FY 2019/20 while continuing to contribute facilitators to Pre-Deployment Trainings as required.
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