Ontario organizations helping to lift women out of poverty

Close to two million women and girls in Canada live in poverty. 

Women are more likely than men to experience poverty, according to the Canadian Women’s Foundation. Workplace discrimination, lack of affordable childcare and unpaid labour all contribute to women’s poverty.

Single mothers, marginalized, disabled, and newcomer women also struggle to find employment in Ontario, according to a government report.

These organizations provide women with housing and employment opportunities. 


Housing is one of the essential factors for safety, survival and protection. Homeless women are at an increased risk of violence, trafficking and sexual exploitation. 

There are charitable and non-profit programs that help women access housing, depending on location. 

A complete list of charitable housing can be found at Canadahelps.com.  


Cornerstone Housing for Women provides affordable housing, an emergency shelter and transitional programs for women in Ottawa.

Tewegan Housing for Aboriginal Youth is a 12-bed transitional home for First Nations, Inuit and Métis women aged 16-29. Tewegan Housing assists women who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The Ottawa-based facility offers a safe, culture-based environment.

Northwestern Ontario

Women’s Shelter Saakaate House serves the Kenora area and surrounding communities. They provide women and children with an emergency shelter, counselling services for abused women, a visiting nurse and referrals. 

New Starts for Women operates in Red Lake. The organization has an emergency shelter that provides short-term shelter and basic needs to women and children. 


The North York Women’s Shelter is a 17-bed emergency shelter. The shelter provides “wraparound services for North York area women who are looking to escape violence” according to their website.

Covenant House Toronto assists youth aged 16-24. They offer homelessness and housing supports, after-care programs, and sex trafficking resources. 

Street Haven at the Crossroads is a Toronto women’s emergency shelter. The shelter provides addiction services, supportive housing, access to counselling and other services.

Eastern Ontario

Dawn House Services and Housing for Women has been offering services for women in Kingston for more than 30 years. They provide affordable supportive housing, transitional housing and wellness support services.

Across Ontario

There are eight Elizabeth Fry Societies across Ontario that help women and children navigate the judicial system. They provide housing, counselling, court support and domestic violence help. 

Jobs and career assistance 

Women have been feeling the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. Many women have had to manage children, caregiving responsibilities, burnout and stress. 

Women’s participation in the labour force has dropped significantly since March 2020, according to the She-Covery Project.

Here are some organizations helping women make the transition back into the workforce.

Across Ontario

The Dress for Success Canada Foundation operates in Orillia-Barrie, Toronto, Kingston and Ottawa. 

Dress for Success supplies women with professional clothes and assists with financial literacy and interview skills. They also provide career development programs, mentorship and personal support. 

The YWCA has recreational facilities and employment services across Canada. They work to promote female economic empowerment and advocate for social justice, gender equality and leadership opportunities.


Toronto organization The Redwood supports women on their employment journey and also partners with community employers. The organization provides a secure shelter and crisis counselling.

Times Change Women’s Employment Service assists women looking for employment in Toronto. They provide online job searches, job matches and placements, online career planning and counselling. They also host computer workshops and events.

Southern Ontario

The Women’s Employment Resource Centre in Woodstock provides job-seeking assistance to women. They offer services like workshops, employment counselling and workplace skills development programs. They also provide resume and cover letter help, career assessments, interview clothes and job matching via work placements. 

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