The SHEcovery Project

What is “SHEcovery”?

The Barbra Schlifer Clinic’s #SHEcovery project was a 34-month initiative advancing a more inclusive feminist recovery through systemic change. The project addressed barriers to gender equality experienced by survivors from underrepresented communities who risk being left behind in the #SHEcovery.

Key activities of the project include:

  • Research with service organizations and GBV survivors.
  • Coalition-building with service organizations and other stakeholders supporting survivors from high-need, high-risk, and harder-to-reach communities.
  • Development of a gender equity playbook for supporting survivors in the new post-COVID reality.
  • Creation of an online platform to increase cross-sectoral case management for high-need or high-risk situations.

SHEcovery began in Canada as a policy concept. It was developed by feminists to describe the need for an intersectional, gender-based analysis when considering an economic and social policy. The framework applies this analysis and strategy to Canada’s post-COVID- 19 economic recovery plan.

Research objectives 

 The objectives of the research are to: 


Investigate systemic barriers to gender equality experienced by survivors who are high-need, high-risk, or from harder-to-reach communities.


Identify and analyze the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in exacerbating and/or mitigating systemic barriers to gender equality.


Document promising practices for supporting survivors with complex needs in recovery efforts.

Results of the research will inform future stages of the project focused on coalition-building and the promotion of promising practices that address or remove systemic barriers to support survivors with complex needs.


The severity of COVID’s impact was gendered. Women and those working in the care industry – at home and on the front line – experienced the worst the virus had to offer. Statistics show that 1.5 million women lost their jobs in the first two months of the pandemic due to competing priorities, burn-out, stress or inadequate compensation.

The SHEcovery Project aims to do three things:

1. Research

Work closely with gender-based violence service organizations to identify and analyze systemic barriers (both pre-existing and emerging) that are worsening the impacts of COVID-19.

  •  What are the systemic barriers experienced by high-need, high-risk or from hard to reach communities?
  • What are the impactc of the pandemic on these populations?
  • What can be done to support survivors wieh complex needs to help their recovery?
2. Coalition building

Build a coalition of service organizations and other stakeholders supporting survivors from high-need, high-risk, and harder-to-reach communities to develop a gender equity playbook for supporting survivors in the new post-COVID reality.

3. Case Management

Create a playbook and online platform that can be used to increase cross-sectoral case management for high-need or high-risk situations.

4. Hybrid Work Model Project Consultations Report

In the Spring of 2020, COVID19 forced the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic to create a hybrid work environment. The Clinic evolved with the pandemic, responding with agility to public safety protocols and client needs. This involved supporting clients to access virtual services and providing staff with the support to work safely from home.

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5. The SHECovery Project Playbook

In the aftermath of the pandemic, social service providers and organizations dedicated to addressing gender-based violence (GBV) must prioritize the recovery and empowerment of marginalized communities. This playbook outlines strategic initiatives and best practices to support #Shecovery efforts, focusing on fostering inclusivity and addressing poverty issues among diverse populations.

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“All inequality is not created equal.”

Kimberlé Crenshaw

Intersectional feminism examines the voices of those experiencing overlapping, concurrent forms of oppression to understand the depths of the inequalities and the relationships among them in any given context.

Project Description and Focus

Produce a research report on the systemic barriers experienced by this population in accessing GBV services, disaggregated by race, gender identity, sexual identity, immigration status, ability, as well as forms of GBV/types of support needed (GBA+ analysis). This would include a rigorous method of assessment of systemic and socio-cultural inequalities which includes but is not limited to identity factors such as gender diversity, race, ethnicity, religion, age and mental or physical disability.  Highlight emerging needs related to COVID-19, as well as promising policies/practices for GBV prevention and effective case management supports.

Modify the project’s Theory of Change and Evaluation Plan with the support of an External evaluator based on the research findings. Monitor the project’s progress quarterly.

Additional Information



Disproportionate Hardship

In Canada, the Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to extreme hardship for equity-seeking groups, including Indigenous communities, Black communities, immigrant, refugee and non-status communities, the poor, marginalized racialized communities, gender diverse folks and women.  During the pandemic, equity seeking organizations that usually provide support services to these marginalized groups, were forced to grapple with existing structural and social discrimination on top of the fall out of the COVID-19 pandemic.  [1]

Pre-existing inequities were exacerbated during the pandemic. Those most affected were populations and communities already prone to experiencing poorer health, living in poverty, working minimum wage jobs, and living in rental or crowded conditions.


How did COVID-19 impact marginalized communities ?

  • Black women in Toronto made up 16% of COVID- 19 positive cases despite being only 5% of the city’s population
  • People with low incomes under $50,000 made up half of Toronto’s COVID -19 cases and represent only 1/3 of populations.
  • Women of color experienced elevated risks arising from the intersections of gender and racialization.
  • People of color in Toronto found to be overrepresented in COVID 19 cases include: Arab, Middle Eastern, West Asian, Black, Latin American, South Asian or Indo Caribbean and South East Asians.
  • In June 2020, newcomers, immigrants, and refugees accounted for 43.5% of all COVID 19 cases in Ontario, despite being only 25% of the population
  • Nearly 40% of recent immigrant women reported symptoms associated with moderate to severe generalized anxiety disorder during the pandemic.[1]

[1] Research Purpose (




  • Women were more likely to work in fields where COVID-19 exposure was higher and fields that had layoffs such as hospitality, retail, education, healthcare, and social assistance.
    • 1.5 million Canadian women lost their jobs in the first two months of the pandemic.
  • IPV increased over the pandemic as victims were forced to stay at home with their abusers in stressful circumstances with fewer opportunities to leave the home.
    • 118 girls and women were killed in 2019. In 2020, that number went up to 160. In the first six months of 2021, 92 women were killed by their intimate partner.
  • Survivors of IPV lacked privacy from their partners and were isolated from other social support
  • Women were also more financially controlled and dependent on their abusers as many struggled with financial difficulties.

Shecovery project Fact Sheet

Contact Us

To learn more or to become involved in the program, please contact us.

The SHErecovery Project is funded by