RCMP getting $10 million to re-activate 'unfounded' sexual assault cases

The 2018 federal budget is taking political cues from the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, setting aside $187 million over the next five years to combat gender-based violence, harassment and discrimination.

The funding is part of a $187 million package targeting sexual assault and gender-based violence

Budget 2018 funds the RCMP to re-examine thousands of old allegations of sexual assault. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

The 2018 federal budget is taking political cues from the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, setting aside $187 million over the next five years to combat gender-based violence, harassment and discrimination.

In his speech to the House today, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the two movements "shed light on disturbing situations and behaviours that too often go unreported."

Morneau's new budget provides the RCMP with $10 million, and $2 million per year ongoing, to establish a national unit that will coordinate the review of nearly 25,000 sexual assault cases that were dropped by investigators as "unfounded."

The RCMP undertook a major review of such cases after a Globe and Mail investigation exposed failings in the sexual assault complaints process.

This new money is intended to build upon that work and will allow the RCMP to develop curricula and training to improve sexual assault complaint procedures.

Ottawa is setting aside $86 million, with another $20 million per year ongoing, to expand Canada's Gender-Based Violence Strategy.

That money will be used in part to help fund programs that address teen dating violence, and to expand the High Needs Victims Fund that supports rape crisis centres.

Money also will go toward assisting the RCMP in improving the investigative capabilities of the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, and to support sexual assault centres located near Canadian Forces bases.

Taking on workplace violence and sexual harassment

In an effort to tackle workplace violence and sexual harassment, the government is spending $35 million, with $7 million per year ongoing, to support Bill C-65, which is designed to protect federally-regulated workers.

It's allocating $50 million to provide legal support to victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. Half of that money will go toward boosting legal aid funding across the country, with a focus on supporting victims.

The government also will invest another $25 million in developing a national outreach program to better inform workers about their rights.

Status of Women Canada will receive $6 million to address gender-based violence at post-secondary institutions. The government body — which the Trudeau government is promising to turn into a full government ministry — will work with various stakeholders, provinces and territories across the country.

Starting in 2019, universities and colleges that do not implement "best practices" in addressing sexual assault on campuses will risk losing their federal funding.

A gender strategy that speaks to males

In addition to the money to address gender-based violence and harassment, the government is funding a new gender equity strategy aimed at men and boys.

Status of Women Canada will receive $1.8 million dollars over two years to develop an "engagement strategy" that promotes equality.

The budget document says that "men and boys have a vital role in creating workplaces that are free of discrimination and in helping to build a society where harassment and gender-based violence are no longer tolerated."