33 years later, we still need safer workplaces, safer schools and safer homes. In 2021, 173 women and girls were murdered in Canada. That represents a 26% jump from 2019. More than half of the victims were Indigenous, Black and/or racialized.
At work, women continue to face disproportionate levels of harassment and violence – especially in sectors serving the public. Earlier this year, the Canadian Labour Congress released a groundbreaking study on workplace violence and harassment. The study found that violence from patients and clients is startlingly common for workers and that unions and employers need to create targeted prevention strategies to keep workers safe.
As we fight gender-based violence at home and at work, we also need to tackle violence within the labour movement. Too many workers – especially women and workers who experience oppression – have been subjected to violence and harassment in union spaces. CUPE’s National Safe Union Spaces Working Group, which is made up of women members of the National Executive Board, is looking at ways to make CUPE union spaces safer and more welcoming for everyone. It is critical we all recognize our collective responsibility to eradicate gender-based violence and harassment in our union as well.
On this day, and every day, we join those across the country demanding an end to gender-based violence everywhere that it occurs.
What can you do?
- Use CUPE’s Stop Workplace Sexual Violence guide to raise awareness, support survivors and challenge sexual violence.
- Download and share CUPE’s Violence Prevention Kit.
- Organize or attend a December 6 event in your workplace or neighbourhood. Bargain for paid leave and other protections for workers facing domestic violence. See CUPE’s Domestic Violence and the Workplace Bargaining Guide.
- Use the CLC’S Domestic violence at work resource centre, including a Canadian map of legislated leave.
- Lobby your provincial elected representative for domestic violence measures in occupational health and safety legislation. Currently, only Quebec, Ontario and Alberta have those protections.
- Support organizations like women’s shelters, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the Canadian Council for Refugees, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, or the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity.
- Read the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and support the work of the Native Women’s Association of Canada to challenge this genocide. Help CUPE hold governments and our own union to account on implementing the calls to justice.