"We have a role to play in holding our institutions — the military, the police, the judiciary — to account when they allow violence to be perpetrated. As unionists, we have the responsibility to support the vulnerable in our midst." — Elisabeth Ballermann, NUPGE Secretary-Treasurer
Ottawa (02 Dec. 2016) — On December 6, 1989, 14 young women attending L’’École Polytechnique in Montreal lost their lives to violence. A gunman entered the engineering school, segregated the women from the men, and then commenced firing at the female students. This tragic event is known as the Montreal Massacre and has become symbolic of the need to end violence against women and girls.
In 1991, December 6 was declared a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. Every year on this day, women and men across the country gather together to remember women and girls we have lost in the struggle for equality and to commit to action to address the ongoing violence in our communities.
Our work against gender-based violence honours the women and girls touched by abuse
The Advisory Committee on Women's Issues (ACWI) of the National Union of Public and General Employees' (NUPGE) has been participating in various projects to ensure women and girls can live and work without the fear of violence.
"On December 6, we recommit to working to eliminate gender-based violence in our communities, at work, in schools or on the street," said Elisabeth Ballermann, Secretary-Treasurer of NUPGE. "We are committed to continuing our work to ensure women and girls can participate without fear in all that life has to offer. In order to make that a reality, we must protect and improve the health and community services that make it possible for women to leave abusive situations."
Violence against women is more than a domestic affair, we need to take action wherever it exists
Through the Canadian Labour Congress, NUPGE has participated in its initiative to address the impact of domestic violence in the workplace. According to a recent cross-Canada survey conducted by the CLC and researchers at the University of Western Ontario, 1 in 3 workers has experienced domestic violence, and this violence follows them to work. Over 80 per cent of victims reported that their performance was negatively impacted, and more than half said the abuse occurred at or near their workplace.
The National Union has also been a partner with the Sisters in Spirit campaign for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls through the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC). "We have been vocal about the need to have a national inquiry, with the full resources and support necessary to address the violence affecting Indigenous women and girls," said Ballermann.
"We must remember that violence isn't simply a domestic matter," added Ballermann. "We have a role to play in holding our institutions — the military, the police, the judiciary — to account when they allow violence to be perpetrated. As unionists, we have the responsibility to support the vulnerable in our midst."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 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