Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
By email: email@example.com
Premier Ford: Declare Intimate Partner Violence a Provincial Epidemic!
Dear Premier Ford
I am writing to you as one of many community members across the province who are deeply concerned about the epidemic of gender-based and intimate partner violence (IPV) in Ontario. We are urgently calling on you and the Province of Ontario to recognize and declare gender-based violence (GBV) and intimate partner violence an epidemic.
In 2022, the Culleton, Kuzyk, and Warmerdam Inquest – also known as the Renfrew County Inquest – made 86 recommendations to address IPV. The first recommendation is for the Ontario government to declare IPV an epidemic, which has so far been denied. The Federal Government recently acknowledged IPV as an epidemic in a letter to the Ontario coroner’s office, which underscores the urgency of this matter. Moreover, while over 90 municipalities, including Toronto and Ottawa have declared IPV and GBV as an epidemic, the province of Ontario remains an outlier.
Why This Is Urgent:
- Every six days, a woman is tragically killed by an intimate partner in Canada. Between November 2022-2023, 62 women and children had died by femicide in Ontario. That is more than one femicide a week.
- In Toronto alone, over 1,100 people applied for housing under the “violence against women” priority in the last year, compared to 360 in 2017.
- Women and gender diverse people, especially those with disabilities, those who have precarious immigration status, and/or those who are Indigenous, newcomers, and/or racialized, face a disproportionately higher risk of domestic and intimate partner violence.
- Lack of access to safe and affordable housing and the cost of living crisis are significant barriers to fleeing violence and exacerbate experiences of IPV.
Across the province, violence against women shelters are at capacity. Right now, there are more people who need shelter than there are beds to offer.
Our Calls to Action:
- A Public Declaration and Transparent Plan: We urge the Province of Ontario to declare publicly IPV and GBV an epidemic and present a transparent plan to address it, holding itself accountable to measurable outcomes.
- A Provincial Roundtable on Gender-Based Violence: Reinstate a provincial roundtable dedicated to ending gender-based violence. This roundtable should be comprised of and led by the community, give voice to survivors and victims' families, raise public awareness, and ensure the transparency and accountability of the government in addressing GBV in all its forms.
- Access to Safe, Affordable, and Reliable Housing: Recognize and address the housing crisis by ensuring a range of housing options exist in Ontario, including supportive housing options; permanent, affordable housing; transitional housing; and shelters for those fleeing violence.
- Increase Funding for the Violence Against Women (VAW) Sector: Stabilize the Violence Against Women sector by providing permanent, multi-year operational funding for shelters and transitional housing, and other support services for survivors.
Ontario has an opportunity to make vital commitments to the safety and wellbeing of women, gender diverse people and their families.
We urge you to act now. Let Ontario stand as a beacon of safety and hope and take action to end intimate partner violence and gender based violence today. We cannot change what we refuse to name. Call this violence what it is: an epidemic.
[Name Inserted Here]