The Mothers Matter Centre National Office will be closed during the holiday season. Our office will reopen on January 2, 2018.

Proud Home of the HIPPY Program in Canada

1.5 million women in Canada live on a low income
We will make a difference by training mothers to help other mothers in their own homes
Helping poor women helps poor children


HIPPY Canada announces its transition to the Mothers Matter Centre, dedicated to helping socially isolated mothers and their families. The Mothers Matter Centre will continue – and expand – the HIPPY program.

What is the Mothers Matter Centre? It is a virtual, national consortium of organizations dedicated to serving socially isolated and low economic status mothers and their families using HIPPY’s proven mother-to-mother approach. It will continue to grow and sustain its flagship HIPPY program and develop other program innovations such as housing assistance, job-skills training, literacy and language training, healthcare, and more.

Piloted in Canada in 2000 at the Britannia Community Service Centre in Vancouver, HIPPY Canada has grown to 28 sites, including 10 Aboriginal and 18 multicultural sites, each of which helps 35 – 100 families each year. The HIPPY programs are operated by settlement (click here to see the sites) and Aboriginal social purpose organizations (SPOs) and First Nations communities (click here to see the sites). This year, the HIPPY sites helped 1,226 families while employing 108 Home Visitors.

The Mothers Matter Centre will continue the work of HIPPY Canada which, over the past 17 years, has helped more than 10,000 mothers gain new skills and build confidence and abilities essential to strengthening mother-child relationships. This means at least 10,000 children were better prepared to get the most from their early school experiences and many more than 20,000 lives have been positively impacted.

The Mothers Matter Centre will work with isolated mothers where they live – at home – and connecting them with other mothers in their communities who share an intimate awareness of the issues and challenges they face. The Mothers Matter Centre will continue training HIPPY Home Visitors to support mothers and their families transition out of isolation and into community and economic life, expanding HIPPY with important program innovations.

How will we achieve this?

Unlike traditional interventions by social workers and other professionals, the Mothers Matter Centre trains mothers to help mothers in their own homes. The trainers, or Home Visitors, all come from the same communities they are supporting.

They are role models, and their most important credential is empathy. With it, they create bondsbased on trust and support mothers' ability to change their own lives, and their children's, for the better.

The Mothers Matter Centre offers several programs designed to meet the unique needs of isolated mothers. It provides employment to the Home Visitors and offers high-quality and systematic professional education opportunities.

A different approach

It is based on the HIPPY program’s novel approach of mothers working with mothers in their homes. It has been used successfully around the world to teach mothers how to teach their children.

Mothers helping mothers

  • Home Visitors have already overcome poverty, language barriers, low literacy, racism, and gender bias.
  • Home Visitors have a deeper understanding of mothers’ problems than anyone else.
  • Home Visitors build trust and empathy with mothers — essential to community change.

Mothers visiting mothers

  • The Mothers Matter Centre understands that isolated mothers and their children face obstacles to using centre-based activities.
  • Home visiting is the important step to break this isolation.
  • Home Visitors help mothers in their homes — where friendships develop, support is provided, and a wide variety of skills are advanced.
  • Together, bridges are built from the home to the larger community – the key to ending isolation.
  • When the mothers are ready, Home Visitors help them connect, participating in community activities and services.

It will work like this


Monthly Stories of Change

Celebrating women who are making a difference.

Maysaa Haj Ali, 2017 Honoured Mother

Maysaa Haj Ali, an Ottawa HIPPY mother is one of the honoured mothers at the Because Mothers Matter Award event 2017. Here is her story:

Maysaa is from Syria, where she happily lived with her husband, who was a farmer and owner of a taxi business, and her children, until the war forced their move. For three years, Maysaa and her family were refugees in Jordan before the United Nations helped them relocate to Canada.

Adjusting to Canadian weather was difficult at first. It was so cold in Ottawa when they arrived in January 2016 that they hardly left the hotel where they were living. Maysaa is happy that her family was able to come to Canada to live a better life and has found many services available to them when they arrived helped to ease the transition.

Maysaa began the HIPPY program with her youngest son shortly after their arrival in Canada. She remembers how shy he was at first, and how he would cling to her when their Home Visitor arrived and at social HIPPY events.

He was a very shy child and the program helped him break his social barriers. 

Now her son is very social and no longer afraid to interact with people; he is comfortable with the program and with the other kids he is meeting.

Although Maysaa has only been in Canada a short time, she is already taking initiative to learn new skills and become involved with her community. In addition to taking English classes and computer courses, she gives back by volunteering at the local community centre.

Tracy Joseph, 2017 Honoured Mother

Tracy Joseph, an urban Vancouver Aboriginal HIPPY participant is one of the honoured mothers at the Because Mothers Matter Award event 2017. Here is her story:

Tracy is from the West Coast of Vancouver Island and comes from a family of eight sisters and six brothers. She is Ditidaht First Nation on her mother’s side and Heshquiaht First Nation on her father’s – both part of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation.
Tracy grew up and graduated from high school in Nanaimo, BC, and moved to Vancouver at age 22. Her first daughter was born in 2007 and, as soon as she was old enough, they started the HIPPY program together. Tracy recalls the most challenging part of the program was getting down and actually playing with her child, because she had never experienced that during her own childhood.

I learned that it’s okay to play and pretend to fly like an eagle, or hop like a frog.

This experience has had a lasting impact – she now takes time to play with both of her children regularly. Her culture is a big part of her life, and she is passing this lesson on to her daughters.

Being a single mom in the city, away from her home community, has been challenging, but Tracy is determined to succeed. She enrolled in classes at the Native Education College and received a diploma in Family and Community Counselling in 2011. This enabled her to get a job as a Family Support Worker at the Vancouver Native Health society, where she now works to help families overcome some of the same challenges she has faced.

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, 2017 Honoured Mother

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau is an engaged advocate for gender equality and a mother of three young children.

During the past 15 years, she has been involved with a variety of causes, including teenage self-esteem, women and girls’ rights and freedoms, eating disorders and mental health.

Recipient of the 2013 UN Women National Committee Canada Recognition Award for her contribution to human rights, she was recently named as an influencer for the Deliver for Good campaign of Women Deliver. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau has lent her support to the Canadian Mental Health Association, Plan Canada’s “Because I am a Girl” initiative, FitSpirit Foundation, Parks Canada as Honourary Guide for Families and has been involved with ANEB Québec.

HIPPY Latest News

Sustain a Reader

Life is better with books! The Mothers Matter Centre online bookstore is an opportunity to access the books from our programs and at the same time, support our program.

HIPPY Videos


HIPPY Sustainers

HIPPY Program Funding

Event Sponsors

Thank you to our 2015-2016 program year sustainers! We would also like to thank our Family Supporters (multi-year donations): Tim and Sheila Casgrain, Barbara and Barry Dong, Carol and Ron Slater, Maureen Boyd, Richard Stursberg, and Ann Cowan.

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508-1190 Melville Street Vancouver, BC. Canada