November 14, 2014 5:30 pm
Updated: November 16, 2014 8:01 pm

Controversial centre for men set to open in Toronto

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Alfonso Cacciola/E+

TORONTO – Toronto’s first centre for men is scheduled to open on Monday.

And the organizers know there is a good chance the opening will be met with protests.

The Canadian Centre for Men and Families (CCMF) will focus on “men’s issues,” including providing help for fathers, men, boys and their families and is located in unit 201 at 152 Carlton Street.

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“The centre is a social service facility. We think it’s the first of its kind, certainly in Toronto, perhaps in Canada, that serves as a hub for men’s and boy’s issues and for the health and well-being of boys more generally,” the group’s director Justin Trottier said in an interview Friday.

The centre is being set up by the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE), an organization that says it works towards equality for all men, women, girls and boys.

“This has led us to a current focus on the status, health and well-being of boys and men, where attention, investment and support for educational and social programs stands at a level that is far from equal to the seriousness of the problem,” according to the group’s mandate.

While Trottier insists his programs are inclusive to everyone, he knows there are vocal critics of his organization.

A CAFE-sponsored talk by Dr. Warren Farrell, a controversial American men’s rights activist, held at the University of Toronto in 2012, drew dozens of vocal opponents and a YouTube video of the protest went viral.

Many of the people in the video suggested Farrell’s teachings were misogynist and suggested they constituted hate speech.

“In no way is this an attack on women. This is simply expanding those services to yet more people,” Trottier said.

In a Toronto Star article published in August, 2013 Sarah Blackstock, the YWCA’s director of advocacy and communications suggested men’s rights groups tend to be more “frustrated” by the promotion of women’s rights than the violation of men’s.

“If we’re trying to build a society marked by compassion and equality, this centre won’t help us do that,” she told the newspaper.

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