Province creates non-profit to give out $5M in funding to help Manitoba victims of crime

The province has created a new non-profit organization to fund programs that assist victims of crime. 

New organization will give out grants to community agencies

Wilma Derksen, seen here in a 2019 file photo, will be part of the board of directors for a new non-profit provincial organization that will tasked with distributing $5 million to community-based groups for projects focused on helping victims of crime. (Lyza Sale/CBC)

The province of Manitoba has created a new non-profit organization to fund programs that assist victims of crime. 

The new organization, Victims' Assistance Community Grants Inc., will be tasked with distributing $5 million to community-based organizations across Manitoba through a series of grants, the province announced Tuesday.

The $5 million comes from the province's victim surcharge fund, which is a pool of money collected by the courts from people convicted of crimes, Justice Minister Cameron Friesen said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

The non-profit will be led by a board of directors that includes former Norway House chief Ron Evans, Wilma Derksen — who helped found several initiatives to support victims of crime after the killing of her daughter, Candace — and Cydney Bergen, a Winnipegger who has volunteered with numerous organizations. 

"Collectively we bring a diverse experience and will work together on this unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of many Manitobans," Evans, who will chair the board, said at Tuesday's news conference. 

They will have five years to dole out the funds to various community organizations.

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont says "desperately needed funding for organizations that support victims of crime" is welcome, but he believes the province should commit to long-term funding of integral organizations to provide that support.

"It's not clear why a new corporation is need to achieve this goal," he said in an emailed statement.

It's also key to address the root causes of crime, Lamont said.

"The investment in jobs, recreation and community need to be in neighbourhoods where it will make a difference. Today, Manitobans didn't get that assurance from the PC government at all."