"Canadian governments, employers, and unions all have a role to play in eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work, and to ensure the proper supports are in place for those who are affected. In fact, I believe we have a shared responsibility to do so." — Larry Brown, NUPGE President.
Ottawa (04 Dec. 2020) — On Sunday, we observe a day of remembrance in honour of the 14 women who were killed in the École Polytechnique massacre.
On December 6, 1989, a male gunman opened fire in a classroom at the Montreal engineering school, specifically targeting the women students in an anti-feminist attack. The École Polytechnique massacre is commemorated annually as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
This year, acts of remembrance will mostly take place virtually due to the pandemic. Because December 6 falls within the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence between November 25 and December 10, people can join the conversation by using the hashtag #16Days.
An important reminder
As we remember and mourn the tragic events of December 6, 1989, it is an important reminder that gender-based violence is not something that exists solely in the past.
As NUPGE has previously written about here, gender-based violence, misogyny, and anti-feminist sentiments continue to be all too prevalent in Canada. And we know that gender-based violence (GBV) disproportionately impacts marginalized women and gender-diverse people. Indigenous women, Black women, women of colour, women with disabilities, poor women, newcomer women, and LGBTQI2S+ individuals experience higher rates of violence and harassment.
Honouring the victims
December 6 is also a time to re-commit ourselves to action against GBV and misogyny.
NUPGE and its Components have been calling on the provincial and federal governments to take action to stop domestic violence and support those affected.
Today, NUPGE is also reiterating its call for the ratification of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention on violence and harassment in the world of work (No. 190).
Ratify ILO Violence and Harassment Convention
Violence and harassment continue to be all too prevalent in the workplace.
NUPGE and its Components have called on the federal and provincial governments to ratify the ILO Convention 190. Most recently, Larry Brown, President of NUPGE, wrote a letter to the Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi, urging the federal government to make good on its commitment to ratifying the Convention.
“It is disappointing that Canada has yet to ratify this landmark treaty,” wrote Brown. “The first international standard on violence and harassment in the world of work, Convention No. 190, and its corresponding Recommendation No. 206, outline clear actions for prevention, support, enforcement, and education.”
We all have a role to play
Brown continued: “Canadian governments, employers, and unions all have a role to play in eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work, and to ensure the proper supports are in place for those who are affected. In fact, I believe we have a shared responsibility to do so.”
“As a feminist government committed to advancing equality and safeguarding human rights,” wrote Brown, “ratifying Convention No. 190, and implementing the recommendations, would demonstrate a meaningful commitment beyond mere rhetoric. Ratifying the Convention will also show Canada’s leadership on a global scale.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE