Recently, the provincial government has given more attention to intimate partner violence issues. CUPE NB urges the government to enact legislation similar to what was done one year ago in Ontario, with Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. Amongst many other changes, this law provides ten days of leave, with five days of paid leave, as well as unpaid leave and the opportunity for flexible work arrangements for victims of sexual, as well as domestic violence.

“We have one local, CUPE Local 846 in Saint John, who just signed a contract which has similar language to what is written in Bill 148, to deal with domestic violence” said Daniel Légère, President of CUPE NB. CUPE Local 846 represents dietary workers at the Ridgewood Addiction Services in South Bay.

“To my knowledge, I do not know of any other workplace in New Brunswick that has this kind of language. This is groundbreaking, and I am proud that CUPE got it for those members. CUPE will push to spread this language in other agreements. I seriously urge employers and the government to accept this language in their coming negotiations. This should be the norm, not the exception,” said Légère.

“Government is looking to update the Occupational Health and Safety Act. It’s time we also look to update the Employment Standards Act to help all workers dealing with intimate partner violence, unionized or not,” concluded Légère.