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Ontario Expands Helpline for Indigenous Women Facing Violence

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Ontario Expands Helpline for Indigenous Women Facing Violence

Providing Culturally Appropriate Services Province-wide

Ontario is expanding helpline services to support Indigenous women and their families facing violence.

The province is supporting Beendigen Inc., an Indigenous family shelter in Thunder Bay, to expand culturally appropriate helpline services for Indigenous women across Ontario. For over 40 years Beendigen Inc. has provided safety and shelter to Indigenous women and children experiencing violence, and facilitated the cycle of healing through culturally appropriate programs and services to individuals and families.

This investment builds on the success of Talk4Healing, an Indigenous-designed and delivered helpline for Indigenous women in Northern Ontario.

Expanding helpline services for Indigenous women is a key commitment under Walking Together: Ontario's Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women to help respond to the high rates of violence experienced by Indigenous women.

Supporting Indigenous women is one of many steps on the journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It reflects the government's commitment to work with Indigenous partners and to create a better future for everyone in Ontario.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is investing an additional $500,000 annually in Beendigen Inc. to expand culturally appropriate helpline services for Indigenous women across the province.
  • In October 2017, the province released a call for proposals for an Indigenous partner to develop, implement and operate expanded helpline services for Indigenous women in Ontario.
  • This investment is part of the $100 million, three-year Walking Together: Ontario’s Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women
  • Talk4Healing launched in 2012 and is a helpline for Indigenous women and community members in northern Ontario that is available 24/7, with services in multiple languages, including Ojibway, Oji-Cree and Cree.
  • In Canada, Indigenous women 15 years and older are three to five times more likely to experience violence than non-Indigenous women.

Additional Resources


“I’ve seen first-hand the incredible work being done at Talk4Healing. Expanding this helpline across Ontario is critical to helping women and their families heal from violence through traditional learnings. Our government is committed to working with our Indigenous and community partners to provide culturally appropriate services to improve health and wellness.”

Dr. Helena Jaczek

Minister of Community and Social Services

“Since Walking Together was released in 2016, we have focused on expanding Indigenous-designed and -driven initiatives like Talk4Healing. I want to congratulate Beendigen Inc. and welcome the services they provide. Beendigen Inc. will continue the vision of Walking Together with an expanded helpline that provides accessible, speedier services to Indigenous women - so no matter where they may be in the province, support is only a phone call away.”

David Zimmer

Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

“Indigenous Women in Ontario face unique challenges that require strong solutions. Expanding this province-wide helpline service allows Indigenous women to access important, culturally appropriate services. Services that reinforce Indigenous traditions and cultures, so survivors can rebuild their lives and heal.”

Harinder Malhi

Minister of the Status of Women

“Talk4Healing is a help line that provides culturally safe and appropriate services to Aboriginal women and their families in Northern Ontario. Beendigen Inc. is delighted that this service will be expanded provincially. Soon, regardless of geographical location in Ontario, all Indigenous women will now have 24 hour access to a culturally safe help line. The current Talk4Healing help line has been successfully funded and supported by the Ontario government. We look forward to continued success in working with the ministry and partnering with the Ontario Native Women’s Association on this exciting project.”

Debra Vermette

Executive Director, Beendigen Inc.

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