Message from Unifor
More than 25 years ago 14 women were murdered at Montreal’s École Polytechnique. And yet, women and girls in Canada still face violence in their homes, schools, workplaces, and communities every single day. According to Statistics Canada, on average a woman is murdered every 6 days by her intimate partner. This is the extreme end of a spectrum that starts in casual sexism. The harassment and demeaning of women that we saw through the US Presidential campaign, that we see aimed at our own female politicians and that occurs in our workplaces must be denounced and addressed.
On December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, Unifor members will take part in events across the country and will recommit to taking action to end gender-based violence and sexism. These actions will include learning more about existing tools such as recent changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act in Ontario and paid domestic violence leave in Manitoba. We will lobby our governments to expand these tools to all provinces and territories. We’ve put together materials to assist our activists in taking these issues forward, the can be found by visiting www.unifor.org/DVleave.
Unifor will continue its fight to keep and expand good jobs in our communities and ensure women have their share of these jobs. We know that economic security is a key determinant of safety for workers in violent relationships. We also know that having a union, a collective agreement with respectful workplace policies and joint investigation language, means a better working environment where we can all become our best selves.
In the community, we will continue to press for a National Action Plan on Violence against Women using the Blueprint developed by labour, women’s and anti-violence organizations. And we will continue to support indigenous voices that are monitoring the progression of the national public inquiry into the deaths and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls.
December 6 is a day to remember the lives lost to violence, but it is also a time to take action on root causes of this violence. Together we can make a difference.
Message from NB Federation of Labour
NBFL Statement: National Day of Remembrance and Action
on Violence Against Women
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday December 2, 2016
MONCTON – On December 6, 1989, a gunman walked into Montreal’s École Polytechnique and fatally shot 14 young women. He separated the women from the men before opening fire. As he pointed his rifle at the women, the gunman said, “You’re all a bunch of feminists, I hate feminists.”
Every year, on the anniversary of the shooting, Canadians remember the 14 victims, and recognize the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. This day is an opportunity to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society. It is also a day on which we can consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
It is estimated that half of all Canadian women will experience at least one incident of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. On any given day, over 3000 women (along with their 2500 children) are staying in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence. In New Brunswick rates of intimate partner violence are higher than the national average.
In addition to the tragic personal costs of violence against women, workplaces are also negatively impacted. Employers lose $77.9 million annually as a result of domestic violence. 1 in 10 women aged 18 to 24 report having experienced sexual harassment at work within the past year.
The New Brunswick Federation of Labour and our affiliates have worked hard to make workplaces safer for women by negotiating anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. Better protection and intervention for female workers who are experiencing violence or abuse at home have been put in place as well as improved employee assistance and support programs.
New Brunswick Unions are currently lobbying governments for workplace violence legislation that requires employers to develop policies and programs to help prevent workplace violence and harassment, as well as take precautions to protect workers from domestic violence in the workplace. While some provinces have strong legislation, we have much work to do to ensure New Brunswick workers have the same protection.
Message from Canadian Labour Congress
To mark December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, Canada’s unions are calling on the federal, provincial and territorial governments to follow Manitoba’s lead by ensuring paid employment leave for victims of domestic violence.
In March, the Province of Manitoba enacted Bill 8, which amended their employment standards to afford workers who are victims of domestic violence with eligibility for five days of paid, protected employment leave (and additional unpaid time) if they need time away from work – whether it is to access medical attention or counselling, seek legal or law enforcement assistance, relocate, or obtain services from victim services organizations.
“This kind of leave is potentially life-saving,” said CLC Secretary-Treasurer Barb Byers, “Someone leaving a violent relationship shouldn’t have to fear losing their job or basic income.”
Paid safe time, or domestic violence leave, is well established in collective agreements in Australia and in legislation in several US jurisdictions. Ontario’s legislature is currently considering a private member’s bill that would grant 10 days paid leave to victims of domestic or sexual violence.
Canadian work on this issue started three years ago, when the Canadian Labour Congress partnered with researchers at the University of Western Ontario on a ground-breaking national study. The research found that one in three workers has experienced domestic violence, and the violence often follows people to work, putting safety and jobs at risk.
Since then, unions across the country have been working to negotiate domestic violence supports into collective agreements, and change legislation to support non-union workers who face domestic violence. For example, in 2012, unions and community allies were successful in getting the Ontario government to amend their Occupational Health and Safety Act to name domestic violence as a form of workplace violence.
Now, unions are urging other governments to follow Ontario’s example, updating health and safety legislation to ensure it recognizes the impact domestic violence has on workplaces, and encourages employers to protect workers from domestic violence at work.
In these efforts, the Canadian Labour Congress is connecting with provincial and territorial federations of labour to coordinate their work, such as by drafting joint letters to governments urging action.
In 2017, the Canadian Labour Congress will be taking additional steps to tackle domestic violence in the workplace, in Canada and abroad.
Here at home, the CLC will be rolling out a series of workshops designed to equip union representatives and leaders with tools to respond to domestic violence at work and refer workers to appropriate work and community support.
“We are working to implement a vision where we have hundreds of union members across the country working to address domestic violence at work at individual and systemic levels,” Byers said.
The CLC, together with Western University’s researcher partners, has also established an international Domestic Violence at Work Network, which includes unions, employers, governments, researchers, service providers and other experts. Network members share information, identify promising practices, and support efforts to expand awareness and action on domestic violence at work across the globe.
Right now, a key focus for the Network is achieving an International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention and Recommendation on Violence and Harassment. There is currently no internationally agreed-upon law that deals with the many different forms of gender-based violence in the workplace, whether it be sexual or psychological harassment, domestic violence at work, physical or sexual violence, or bullying.”
“An ILO convention like this would give workers voice to stand up against gender-based violence in the workplace, and it would send a strong message that violence is not part of the job,” Byers concluded.
For more information and resources, visit our Domestic Violence at Work resource centre: domesticviolenceatwork.ca.
Memorial Events in New Brunswick:
Miramichi – Dec 6th Vigil at Elm Park Chatam 12 noon to 1 pm
Saint John – Dec 6th UNBSJ 2016 Montreal Massacre Memorial Event @ Grand Hall UNBSJ 7 pm – 8:30 pm – As well as commemorating the 14 young women whose lives ended in an act of gender-based violence that shocked the nation, December 6 represents an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society. It is also an opportunity to consider the women and girls for whom violence is a daily reality, and to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence. And finally, it is a day on which communities can consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. UNBSJ is honoured to be working with local community organizations to hold a public memorial on December 6th. Please spread the word, everyone welcome!
Moncton – Dec 6th Memorial @ 6:30 pm at the Dan Bonham Centre, 5 Fatima Drive, next to Riverview Town Hall followed by a candlelight vigil and laying of the roses at the monument at Caseley Park. For more info call: 852-9609
St. Andrews – Dec 6th Memorial 7 pm – 8:30 pm at NBCC St Andrews, 99 Augustus Street – A non-denominational event to remember the women in our community, our country and around the world who have died as a result of violence or who continue to live with violence in their lives. Hosted by Charlotte County Abuse Prevention Network, Fundy Region Transition House and Charlotte County Outreach Services.
Both honouring the past and looking hopefully to the future, there will be an opportunity to light a candle and reflect on both the challenges and progress made in the area of gender-based violence. We will have a brief presentation, with Jane Doull speaking.
Refreshments will be served. We hope you will come along and join us Tuesday from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm o’clock.
There will also be items on display between 4 pm and 5:30 pm at NBCC and an opportunity to dedicate a luminary to someone lost to gendered violence.