Each December 6, CUPE Ontario members join millions across the county in recognizing the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. This date marks the anniversary of the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre in Montréal, when 14 women were targeted and killed by a lone gunman.  One of those women was Maryse Laganière, a CUPE member employed at the school.

27 years after this devastating massacre, gender-based violence is still present in our workplaces and communities. Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16. 83% of reported domestic assaults are against women, and a recent study by the Canadian Labour Congress and the University of Western Ontario has shown that this violence often follows women to work.

CUPE Ontario is firmly committed to ending violence against women and girls and to supporting those affected by it. The majority of CUPE Ontario’s 260,000 members are women. Whether by organizing political actions or by bargaining protections into our collective agreements, CUPE Ontario members have a proud history of working together to eliminate gender-based violence inside and outside our union.

At our last Convention, CUPE Ontario members passed a resolution to create more survivor-centric processes for dealing with sexual assault in our union. At the provincial level, CUPE Ontario is working with our labour and community allies to advocate on behalf of Bill 26, the Domestic and Sexual Violence Workplace Leave, Accommodation and Training Act. This legislation would secure paid leave for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and mandate employee training on how to deal with issues of domestic violence in and around the workplace.

CUPE Ontario also recognizes that racialized, indigenous and LGBTQI women, as well as women with disabilities, experience higher rates of all forms of violence in our society. Our union is committed to working through and alongside our Equality Committees to ensure the voices of women facing intersecting equality issues are heard. Through the work of the Aboriginal Council, for example, CUPE Ontario has supported the successful call for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women, and remains engaged in the process around the inquiry to ensure that it reflects and supports the needs of Aboriginal women and their communities.

As always, this December 6, we will remember those who have lost their lives because of gender-based violence and redouble our efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls.

We will never forget…

Geneviève Bergeron was 21 years old

Hélène Colgan was 23 years old

Nathalie Croteau was 23 years old

Barbara Daigneault was 22 years old

AnneMarie Edward was 21 years old

Maud Haviernick was 29 years old

Barbara Maria Klucznik was 31 years old

Maryse Leclair was 23 years old

Annie StArneault was 23 years old

Michèle Richard was 21 years old

Maryse Laganière, CUPE member, was 25 years old

AnneMarie Lemay was 22 years old

Annie Turcotte was 21 years old

Sonia Pelletier was 23 years old

CUPE Ontario joins its labour and community partners in supporting Bill 26, the Domestic and Sexual Violence Workplace Leave, Accommodation and Training Act, 2016. Bill 26 would provide employees who have experienced domestic violence or sexual violence (or whose children have experienced domestic violence or sexual violence) with up to 10 days of paid leave, reasonable unpaid leave, and options for flexible work arrangements, and require employers to provide mandatory workplace training about domestic violence and sexual violence.

Please click here to download the petition to support Bill 26, the Domestic and Sexual Violence Workplace Leave, Accommodation and Training Act, 2016.