Lisa Boucher


Feminist anti-violence organizations provide much needed services and advocate for changes to culture and policy. However, their ability to continue with this work is jeopardized by fraught and changing relations with governments. This is especially the case for state-funded feminist service organizations which, through their ties to state funders, risk their ability to engage in advocacy. While scholars and activists warn of the challenges associated with state funding, situating funding relationships within particular social, historical, geographic, and political contexts can illuminate both the threats facing feminist service organizations, as well as openings in the political opportunity structure. Using the Canadian province of Ontario as a case study, this paper highlights changes to funding for anti-violence work between 1990 and 2015 and considers the implications of shifts in the funding regime. My findings indicate that while state resources for anti-violence initiatives have expanded over time in both the province of Ontario and at the federal level, neoliberal governance has altered the distribution of government funding which has contributed to heightened competition between organizations. I conclude by offering reflections on existing political opportunities for the feminist anti-violence movement in Canada.

Author Biography

Lisa Boucher is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Gender & Social Justice at Trent University. Her research examines the ways feminist service organizations negotiate the challenges associated with state funding. She is particularly interested in how relationships with state funders influence advocacy, community building, and coalition work.