On December 6, 1989, 14 young women were killed at the Polytechnique of Montréal because they were women. The horror of this tragedy brought us to pay greater attention to gender-based violence.
The outrage triggered the need for more awareness, which led to creating the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women commemorated on December 6 every year. Gender-based violence is a global issue. December 6 is also part of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, a global campaign that runs from November 25 and to December 10.
According to the WHO, 1 in 3 women has been the victim of physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a sharp increase in all types of violence, particularly domestic violence against women and girls.
According to agencies helping Canadian survivors of domestic violence, not only has the frequency increased, but the violence has also intensified, as reported in a CBC article published earlier this year. Gender-based violence has become so severe during the pandemic that is has been dubbed the "Shadow Pandemic" by the United Nations.
For many victims of domestic violence, the workplace is a refuge and a source of support, an escape. During COVID-19, telework has partially taken away that refuge, that support system and has further isolated women at risk.
Taking action in the workplace
We encourage our members to take an interest in the safety and well-being of their colleagues. To check on them regularity, as appropriate and to reach out if you see something.
The statistics show that violence against women is most prevalent in their homes. If you experience domestic violence at home, don’t hesitate to seek help.
A new clause for victims of domestic violence
As part of its commitment to supporting victims of violence, CAPE successfully negotiated the inclusion of a “Domestic Violence Leave” in the new collective agreements*. This was a compassionate decision to better assist our members who may be victims of abuse. The specific articles are listed below:
Article 21.18 for ECs
Article 21.24 for TRs
LoP and PBO members may refer to Article 19.18 “Leave with or without pay for Other Reasons” of their respective collective agreements to acquire leave for spousal/domestic abuse. Members will need to consult with their immediate supervisors.
As these matters are sensitive, we strongly advise you to contact your Labour Relations Officer as well.
Are you at risk?
Victims of abuse have many options to get help and we encourage them to do so.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can:
Contact: Regroupement des maisons pour femmes victimes de violence conjugale to find help in Quebec
Ending Violence Association of Canada (EVA CAN) for the rest of Canada
Contact your Workplace Occupational Health & Safety Committee representative