The Centre exists as a drop-in space for University of Toronto students and community members to hang out, meet, learn, and share experiences in a safe, anti-oppressive and communal environment.
The Centre is committed to offering access to food security, alternative media, peer support and referrals in a women and trans-centred, family friendly space.
The Centre is committed to facilitating individual and collective creativity, self expression and empowerment by supporting local artists, conducting workshops and seminars, and providing space for community meetings.
The Centre is committed to working collaboratively with other social justice organizations on and off campus, and providing avenues for individual and collective activism by taking a leadership role in campus organizing and community building.
The Centre is committed to decolonization and supporting marginal voices, in particular, those that have been left out of mainstream political mobilizing. The Centre works to dismantle oppressive privileges and inequitable power structures.
The Centre is governed by a feminist Collective that operates through consensus decision making and is volunteer driven. The Centre is entirely student-funded.
The Centre envisions itself as a safe and inclusive community space on the University of Toronto campus that strives to be free of violence in all its forms, including physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, economic and spiritual. The Centre promotes progressive personal and community growth, accessible support and alternative information, based on an anti-oppression philosophy and framework that includes but is not limited to addressing issues of patriarchy, colonialism, racism, classism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia.
Through coalition-building and alliances, The Centre strives to be a strong advocacy and support organization that works towards empowering peoples in our own self-determination and to be recognized as such by its peers and community.
The campus newspaper, The Varsity, has called The Centre “a hotbed of political activism and a cool place to hang out.” The Women’s Centre was established in 1986 after a group of women pitched tents in front of Simcoe Hall to rally for a safe space for women on campus.
In 1997, The Centre was moved from the original space at 49 St. George St. to the current location at 563 Spadina Ave. During this transition, The Collective fought successfully to ensure that The Centre would be in a wheelchair accessible building. In 2006, The Women’s Centre changed its name to The Centre for Women and Trans People, and in 2008, passed its first Trans Inclusion Policy. The Centre proudly negotiated its first Collective Agreement in 2006 with full-time staff, all of whom are now represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 1281.
The Centre has been the site of many political movements on campus, struggled alongside various progressive student organizations, and been engaged with many community building initiatives through the years. The Centre was also the starting place for initiatives such as the U of T Food Bank and the production of an Accessibility Report and the Racism in the Curriculum Report.