NUPGE Annual Report: 2020 in Review is a look back on what NUPGE accomplished in 2020.
Domestic Violence and the Workplace
Domestic violence continues to be an issue that is all too prevalent in Canada. Although domestic violence can impact anyone, it disproportionately affects women and girls, particularly those of marginalized communities, and gender diverse and Two Spirit persons.
For someone experiencing domestic violence, it impacts all aspects of their life, including their work and workplace. Worker protections — as well as community-based supports and prevention — are key to addressing domestic violence; and thus labour unions have an important role to play.
"The demands on shelters—in terms of capacity and in dealing with more severe cases of abuse—have only increased as the pandemic continues.” – Lise Martin, Executive Director of Women's Shelters Canada
"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.
“We are witnessing a pandemic within a pandemic. Physical and social isolation, economic stress, and the overall uncertainty resulting from COVID-19 have created a perfect storm for the increased risk of domestic violence. What's worse, the lockdowns may make it harder for people experiencing violence to seek help.” — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
The increased prevalence of WFH, and the length of time workers are doing it, raises questions about workers’ legal protections for occupational health and safety (OHS). The intersection of WFH and OHS protection is an underexplored topic that will likely present new legal challenges for workers and unions.
The study found that, similar to women’s shelters, a lack of comprehensive and sustainable funding is a major challenge. Many of the shelters have to fundraise to cover the cost of operations and salaries.
This paper is a survey of how non-Canadian jurisdictions have implemented protections, especially job-protected leaves, for victims of domestic violence in the workplace. By examining different international models, this paper seeks to illustrate potential policy options and best practices. In addition, it aims to provide critical commentary to help identify potential gaps or issues with the effectiveness of certain legislative schemes meant to help victims of DV at work.
The report highlights existing gaps, as well as, best practices that may provide lessons for the Canadian context.
In this time of high stress and growing uncertainty, and as people are spending more time in their homes, the risk of domestic violence is high. Employers and governments must ensure the proper protections and additional resources are in place to support victims and survivors of domestic violence.
As we celebrate International Women's Day (IWD), it is important to acknowledge that we still have much work to do. But today, we also take the time to celebrate the gains that have been made.
The NUPGE Women’s Committee meets this week to discuss how workers and their unions have an important role to play in furthering awareness and enhancing supports for victims of domestic violence, as well as, in fighting to end domestic violence altogether.
"Addressing violence and harassment in the world of work is a crucial step in the fight against gender-based violence and inequality.” — Larry Brown, NUPGE President
“On this day, not only do we remember the lives lost to gender-based violence (GBV) and those who continue to be affected,” said Larry Brown, NUPGE President, “but we also renew our commitment to take action to eliminate GBV and misogyny.”