Every December 6, CUPE Ontario members recognize the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. 2018 marks the 29th anniversary of the tragic events that took place at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal, where 14 women were targeted and killed by a gunman. One of those women, Maryse Laganière, was a CUPE member employed at the school.

Nearly 30 years after this massacre, gender-based violence still exists 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. A study by the Canadian Labour Congress and the University of Western Ontario suggests that domestic violence, which is almost always perpetrated against women, often follows them to work.

CUPE Ontario members are committed to confronting violence against women and girls. The majority of CUPE Ontario’s 260,000 members are women, and we have a history of working to eliminate gender-based violence by organizing awareness campaigns and bargaining protections into our collective agreements. You can participate in our workplace anti-violence campaign by visiting www.cupe.on.ca/antiviolence and our anti-sexual violence campaign at cupe.on.ca/believesurvivors.

Racialized, indigenous and LGBTQI2S+ women, as well as women with disabilities, experience higher rates of all forms of violence in our society. Our union works through and alongside our Equality Committees to fight for the safety of women facing intersecting equity issues, including violence. Through our Aboriginal Council, for example, CUPE Ontario supported the call for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and continues advocacy to ensure it reflects the needs of Indigenous women.

The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women reminds us that we all have a role to play in making our workplaces and communities safe for women. Let’s take action in our communities by supporting initiatives to end violence against women and girls and be active to make our workplaces, unions, homes, and streets safe for everyone.

This year’s National Day of Remembrance coincides with the 2018 CUPE Ontario Women’s Conference: “Fempowerment: Labouring for Change.” Conference participants will attend a Vigil for the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women tonight at 6:00pm at Philosopher’s Walk, 78 Queen’s Park Crescent West. All CUPE members in the area are encouraged to attend.

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

Anne‐Marie 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 St‐Arneault was 23 years old

Michèle Richard was 21 years old

Maryse Laganière, CUPE member, was 25 years old

Anne‐Marie Lemay was 22 years old

Annie Turcotte was 21 years old

Sonia Pelletier was 23 years old