CUPE speaks at press conference in OttawaCUPE was on Parliament Hill on Thursday morning, to bring the issue of violence against health care workers to the doorstep of the House of Commons. National President Mark Hancock and Tanya Williams, member of CUPE 1556, stood alongside NDP MP Don Davies as he introduced legislation to take action on violence against health care workers.

“Governments and employers across Canada have starved health care workplaces of the funding and resources they need to keep workers safe. Too many are forced to work alone or understaffed, and patients are left neglected, all of which has made violent incidents more prevalent,” said Hancock. “Finally, this issue is getting the attention it desperately needs.”

Davies’s Bill C-434 takes aim at the growing issue of violence against health care workers. Both the number and intensity of attacks are growing at an alarming rate. “This has become a pervasive and growing problem within the Canadian health care system,” said Davies. “Health care workers take care of us at our most vulnerable. In turn, we have a responsibility to take care of them.”

Tanya Williams, who works as a physiotherapist’s assistant at the University Health Network in Toronto, told her heartbreaking story about experiencing workplace violence, and said the time for action is now. “People like me face violence in the workplace every day. We love what we do. We love helping our patients in their most vulnerable time. But we have to change the culture to one where we no longer accept violence against health care workers.”