Campaigns and Issues

History of Women’s Shelters in Canada and Current Facts


October was Women’s History Month, and this Tyee article highlights the women who fought to deal with an issue society wanted to keep in the shadows; the unsung heroes who created Canada’s first women’s shelters.

Darlene Lawson was a 23-year-old student when she joined the call to create the first women’s centre in Canada, called the Interval House in Toronto in 1972. Today, Lawson says, there are some 630 shelters across Canada. Approximately 100 of those shelters are located in British Columbia, according to a list published by BC Housing.

Lawson notes, “that 8,000 women and children stay in shelters every night in Canada proves how much has yet to be done to eradicate the root causes and systemic conditions of violence against women.”

Members of the BC Society of Transition Houses continue to advocate for more affordable housing options for women and their children, more funding for Transition and Second Stage housing and more transportation options in rural areas.