On December 6, 1989 fourteen female engineering students attending Ecole Polytechnique were singled out and murdered in a brutal act of gender violence. In 1991, this date was officially recognized by the Parliament of Canada as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women to remember those women whose lives were ended due to gender-based violence.
As recent cultural conversations have reminded us violence against women remains every bit the reality it did when the Montreal Massacre took place twenty-five years ago.
Gender-based discrimination and violence remain widespread in our workplaces and communities. As demonstrated by recent reports commissioned by the Center for Policy Alternatives and others, rates of sexual assault and intimate partner violence have remained persistently high in Canada and remain particularly acute with respect to Aboriginal women and girls in Canada, with rates of violence that are at least three times higher than non-Aboriginal women and girls.
According to Aboriginal, Metis and First Nations organizations across Canada, more than 1,200 Aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or have been murdered since 1980. A few short months ago, the body of 15-year old Tina Fontaine from Sagkeeng First Nation was found wrapped in a garbage bag in the Red River. Tina Fontaine’s murder highlights the intersection of multiple forms of violence—racism, colonialism and violence against women and girls. The PWC stands with Aboriginal organizations and advocates like the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) and the OPSEU Executive Board who have called for a national public inquiry into violence against Aboriginal women and girls.
The Provincial Women’s Committee also opposes legislation, like Bill C-36 that puts the lives of sex workers at risk. Bill C-36 reproduces and legitimizes the harms of previous anti-sex work laws that have been declared by the Supreme Court of Canada to be unconstitutional. The Committee stands in solidarity with OPSEU Executive Board, sex workers, third parties and advocates in supporting the full de-criminalization of sex work. The PWC believes that as long as sex workers lives and working conditions are regulated by the Criminal Code, the protections and rights (i.e labour/human/legal) that all other Canadian citizens enjoy will continue to be denied thus perpetuating violence against Sex Workers and amplifying marginalization.”
The OPSEU Provincial Women's Committee urges all OPSEU members to pause and reflect upon the negative impact caused by violence against women within our society and to commemorate the lives of women who face gender-based discrimination and violence daily. We invite you to stand in solidarity with us on December 6 by attending Vigils and Commemorative Events in your region.
December 6 Events
Women Won't Forget Vigil
Meeting Time: 5:30 p.m.
Meeting Location: 246 Bloor St W [Tim Horton's]
Vigil Start Time: 6:00 p.m.
Vigil Location: Philosopher's Walk, University of Toronto
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Women-Wont-Forget/149346911780770
December 6 Commemorative Event
1:00-2:00 p.m.–O’Mally Kourt Fudgery located at 55 King St. W. in Brockville
December 6 Candlelight Vigil
5:30 pm Candle Light Vigil, Women's monument – Victoria Park (opposite Williams Cafe)
6:00 pm Reception at CUPW, 344 Sovereign Road, London
December 5 Commemoration
6-7 p.m. Knights of Columbus, 93 Berczy Street
December 5 Candlelight Vigil
5:30 p.m. Candlelight Vigil – Memory Garden in Pinafore Park
December 6 Commemorative Event
12:00–Lakehead University, Agora, 955 Oliver Road