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Support Bill 26 and the fight for gender equity!

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The OPSEU Provincial Women’s Committee (PWC) is calling on all members to support a game-changing bill in the Ontario legislature. Bill 26, the Domestic and Sexual Violence Workplace Leave, Accommodation and Training Act would lend support to survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Introduced by NDP MPP Peggy Sattler, the bill would provide up to 10 days of paid leave for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. It would also provide additional unpaid leave and mandatory workplace training on domestic and sexual violence. Manitoba passed the first bill of this kind in Canada just last spring.

“All workers are entitled to a workplace where survivors of domestic and sexual violence are believed and supported,” said PWC Chair Laura Thompson.

“It’s about time the law recognizes the undue stress and hardship that gender-based violence puts on female workers,” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas commented. “Sexual and domestic violence disproportionately affect women, and often have a negative impact on their lives at work.”

In 2014, the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children and the Canadian Labour Congress conducted a survey on Canadians’ experiences with domestic violence. It found that 54 per cent of survivors of domestic violence reported that at least one type of abuse (e.g., phone calls, text messages, emails) happened at or near work.

Nearly 82 per cent of survivors said domestic violence negatively affected their work. The survey found that survivors tend to report disrupted work histories, including having to change jobs. They are also are more likely to work in casual or part-time jobs than other women.

If passed into law, the leave provisions outlined in Bill 26 will help alleviate inequalities that disproportionately impact women, as well as racialized, indigenous, and immigrant workers, and workers with disabilities.

“In Ontario, too many women are in low wage, precarious work that fails to provide anything close to the leave provisions necessary for survivors to access the services needed to rebuild their lives,” said the PWC’s Thompson.

“This bill will help them access those services – services like seeing a doctor, attending a crisis centre, finding a place to live, and seeking legal advice. This is why the Provincial Women’s Committee fully endorses Peggy Sattler’s Bill 26. It is critical to fostering the kind of workplaces needed to eradicate violence against women.”  

Support Bill 26!