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


The Mothers Matter Centre is a virtual, national consortium of organizations dedicated to serving socially isolated and low economic status mothers and their families using our proven mother-to-mother approach. We will continue to grow and sustain our flagship program – Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) – 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.

Over the past 18 years, Mothers Matter Centre 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.


Ghadir is a HIPPY mom from Nanaimo, British Columbia. She was born in Gaza and, in 2010, due to safety concerns, moved to Canada along with her husband and three daughters.  This was followed by her son’s birth in 2012.

Ghadir’s two biggest struggles as a Canadian immigrant have been her separation from family in her home country combined with lack of friends in her new community. She found out about HIPPY through the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society while she was taking ESL lessons and, since joining, her son has excelled in the program.

Besides acquiring academic skills, Ghadir also noticed changes in her son’s attitude. He became more patient, organized and cooperative. His self-confidence grew and his leadership skills improved.

Taking part in the HIPPY program made Ghadir realize the importance of quality, one-on-one time, and she now strives to spend at least 15 minutes a day with each of her children. HIPPY has ultimately affected her views on life and motherhood, while enabling her to socialize with other mothers in the program.

Ghadir is currently working as an English-Arabic translator having completed her diploma in this field. She would like to return to school to work toward a diploma in Medical Interpretation so she can extend her knowledge to help more people, including new immigrants.


Sophie immigrated to Canada from Cameroon in 2012, with her husband and son. In 2014 she had a second boy.  Her biggest obstacle as a new immigrant was learning English, and she found it difficult to communicate even basic needs.

Sophie learned of HIPPY from her family doctor, which was ideal because she had been looking for a way to teach her elder son English. She remembers first meeting her Home Visitor and feeling worried about communicating well enough. However, with the encouragement of her Home Visitor, she has worked hard and is improving both her reading and speaking skills.

The HIPPY program has given Sophie strategies about how to help her son with his reading comprehension, how to get him to do homework even when he doesn’t want to, and how to play with and engage her two children regularly.

The HIPPY program has had a beneficial impact on her son as well.

He is very brave. I see the improvement in his studies.

Sophie has also enjoyed a stronger mother-son relationship as a result.

We grew closer. I want to know what he is doing at school. This is a connection I didn’t expect him to tell me…so it means he is close to me.

Sophie would like to go back to school and become a social worker or a teacher. She says that HIPPY is the inspiration for her desire to work in the education field and to help others.


HIPPY Latest News

Organisations who provide HIPPY programming

Learn more about the extraordinary work our program delivery partners undertake every day in their communities

Working Women Community Centre of Toronto

Working Women Community Centre of Toronto is a charitable organization that provides a variety of programs and services to help immigrant women adjust to living in Toronto. What sets Working Women apart from other charities in the sector? Its enterprising spirit and approach with clients.

The Working Women Centre of Toronto has the distinguished honour of hosting the oldest and largest site in Canada. In 2003, HIPPY Toronto opened its first site in the Jane and Finch community, a Toronto neighbourhood known for youth violence and troubled schools. After the news got out about the success of that first HIPPY site, it did not take long for Working Women’s entrepreneurial executive director, Marcie Ponte, to secure funding for an additional three sites.

Working Women has continued to sustain its program and innovate others, such as the Young Moms HIPPY program and the Refugee program. They now serve more than 300 families at six sites. Working Women is the home of five HIPPY programs and the AFIP project (Accelerated Family Integration Project) dedicated to refugees in the Toronto regional district. Sylvie Charliekaram manages all the HIPPY Hub Models in Toronto.



Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST)

We do not inherent the Earth from our ancestors we borrow from our children. 

Native American Proverb

Native and Child Family Services is the newest member of the Aboriginal HIPPY team. The program that operates in Scarborough is funded by Grace Church on-the-Hill and SNC Lavelin.  Like our other urban Aboriginal sites, the program meets the complex needs of urban Aboriginal people. Native Child and Family Services of Toronto serves families and children in the Toronto area, including First Nations, Métis, Inuit and all those with Aboriginal heritage who choose to be served by the Agency. The Aboriginal HIPPY site at the Native Child and Family Services of Toronto opened in spring 2017 at the Scarborough Family Life Centre.


Read More

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.

Become a Sustainer

Learn More


508-1190 Melville Street Vancouver, BC. Canada