OFL STATEMENT December 3, 2010
OFL December 6 Statement
National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. This day marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. They died because they were women.
December 6 has become symbolic in the fight to end violence against women which continues to be pervasive in our society and is rooted in social inequality.
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 us to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society. It is also a time to acknowledge that for many women and girls, violence is a daily reality. It is a day on which we recommit to concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
The Ontario Federation of Labour has been working with our affiliated unions and the women’s community to press governments, employers and unions to take immediate actions to end violence against women. We understand the fundamental fact that, as long as the issue of violence against women is not given priority and prominence, women will continue to live in danger.
Women living in violent situations often lack the financial resources to leave. Their situation is frequently compounded by low wages, cuts to social assistance, inadequate funding for women’s services and shelters and the lack of public housing and child care.
Ontarians must continue to make demands of both provincial and federal governments to take measures that will ensure the safety of women and girls and to implement policies that establish women’s equality through financial equity and strong social programs.
We need immediate increased support for women’s shelters and funding for second stage, transitional housing. We need funding to women’s centres that provide front-line advocacy and support. We need stronger protection and support under law for women who have been victims of sexual assault.
Ontario’s working women need legislative reforms, strong regulations, and effective, timely enforcement of existing legislation.
Ontario’s Pay Equity Act must be enforced and government funding for public-sector proxy adjustments must be restored.
The Ontario Occupational Health & Safety Amendment Act (Bill 168) has been amended to include harassment and domestic violence as it follows women into the workplace. We welcome these protections; however, there must be strong and enforced regulations.
The Employment Standards Act has provisions that include job protection for ten weeks of compassionate leave. The definition for compassionate leave must be expanded to cover abused women who need time to address legal issues, find housing, child care and time to heal.
The Human Rights Code, Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Employment Standards Act need provisions guaranteeing abused women the right to workplace accommodation. Like expanded compassionate leave, the right to alternative work, flexible hours and job transfers to a different work location should be options for women dealing with violence.
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s policy on compensation for chronic stress is too restrictive. The policy must be expanded to cover workers who experience harassment, verbal and emotional abuse.
On December 6, we remember and honour women and children impacted by violence. We are united in our commitment to take actions as individuals and as a social movement to end violence against women in all its forms.
For further information contact:
Sid Ryan Marie Kelly
Ontario Federation of Labour Ontario Federation of Labour
416.209.0066 (mobile) 647.453.7651 (mobile)
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