December 6 is the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. 14 young women were killed at École Polytechnique, because they were women, on this day in 1989. We mourn them today, and all days.
There are moments when we see women and those affected by family violence take to the fore and make real change. We stand as allies in the #MeToo movement that has given voice to the stories of women fighting against violence and harassment in their workplace, in their homes and in their communities. Here in Canada, the federal government has recently introduced legislation to address harassment and sexual violence in the workplace.
On the Prairies, there have been other such moments that we can point to:
- In Saskatchewan, interim NDP leader Nicole Sarauer has re-introduced legislation to support survivors of domestic violence.
- In August of 2016, legislation came into effect in Alberta allowing domestic abuse victims to end leases early, and therefore leave violent situations more quickly.
- The previous government of Manitoba passed ground-breaking legislation to ensure ten days of domestic violence leave, five of which are to be paid by the employer.
We can celebrate these moments, but we can never forget the violence and intimidation against women that continues every day. We must all stand together in the struggle to end gender-based violence.
Governments can’t do everything, but they can show how seriously they take this issue and lead a conversation that puts the voices of women and victims of domestic violence first. It is clear that people who have experienced domestic violence need more support in the workplace. To that end, PSAC is calling on governments to implement 10 days of paid domestic violence leave across Canada.
On this National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, we stand even more strongly in our commitment to eliminate all forms of violence against women.