Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

December 05, 2007 12:45 ET

OFL Statement Dec 6 - Day of Remembrance on Violence Against Women

Attention: Assignment Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 5, 2007) - "Violence against women is constant and unrelenting," said Irene Harris, secretary-treasurer of the Ontario Federation of Labour. "It has been 18 years since the Montreal Massacre but the threat of violence is still a constant reality for all women. The violence is there in our workplaces and in our homes. We know that workplace violence takes a tremendous toll on women both psychologically and physically and there is the reality that workplace violence can be lethal."

The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women is a day commemorated in Canada each December 6, the anniversary of the 1989 École Polytechnique Massacre, in which 14 women were singled out for their gender and murdered.

"As long as the issue of violence against women is not given priority and prominence, women will continue to live in danger," Harris said.

"The recommendations from the 2002 coroner's inquest into the death of Gillian Hadley would go a long way to protect women from harm," Harris said. "The Hadley Inquest was the first to address violence in the workplace and it recommended that all employment-related legislation: the Employment Standards Act; the Human Rights Code; the Occupational Health & Safety Act and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act be reviewed and amended to ensure that violence is defined to include harassment, stalking and threats of violence.

"The OFL has long been committed to pressure legislators to enact laws to prevent the senseless violence that women face and we will continue to press all levels of government for the enforcement of the laws that are currently on the books," Harris said.

On June 2, 1996, Theresa Vince, was shot to death by her harasser in the Chatham, Ontario Sears store where she had worked for the last 25 years. On November 12, 2005, Lori Dupont, a nurse at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital in Windsor, was murdered at work by her ex-boyfriend who worked as a doctor in the same hospital.

"We must be proactive in ensuring that there are no more murders in the workplace," Harris said.

At the recent Ontario Federation of Labour Convention delegates spoke out against the continuing violence and what urgently needs to be done. OFL members from many unions directed the Federation to continue to build on the work that has already been done and continue to bargain and strengthen collective agreements, increasing workers' education and continuing to work in coalition with womens' equality-seeking groups for effective government action to end domestic violence.

In November 2006, the OFL and womens' groups launched the Step it Up campaign. The campaign outlines ten immediate steps that all levels of government can take to end violence against women and children. The campaign involved lobbying government, raising issues during election campaigns and public education.

"To honour the memory of Teresa Vince, Gillian Hadley, Lori Dupont and the thousands of women who have faced violence we must take every measure possible in the Legislature, at the bargaining table and in the workplace to ensure that violence against women in all its forms is ended," Harris said.

"Our vision of equality must lead to a world in which girls and women are safe in their homes, schools, the streets and in their workplaces. It is a world we can create."

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/For further information: Dana Boettger
OFL Communications
416.443.7665 (direct)/ IN: LABOUR, MEDIA, POLITICS, OTHER

Contact Information

  • Irene Harris, OFL Secretary-Treasurer
    Primary Phone: 416-347-0454
    Toll-Free: 800-668-9138