$2.4-million grant will help survivors of violence on path to employment

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, on Monday. “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.

Information on VictimLink BC, a toll-free multilingual, confidential service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week: http://www.victimlinkbc.ca