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Reflecting on 25 years

11/19/2014

This year marks 25 years since the massacre at Montreal’s l’Ecole Polytechnique, which abruptly ended the lives of 14 female engineering students.

The event became a catalyst for the growing movement to end violence against women as well identified the need to strengthen gun control for all Canadians.  This year, the union is commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre by renewing its commitment to take on the issue of gender-based violence – in the workplace and the community

“Violence is connected to sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia and so many other forms of bigotry,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “To end violence against women, we have to see it as all related and stop it in its tracks.” He said the oath that hundreds of men took at the Unifor’s Canadian Council was an important symbolic act, but more importantly men need to find the strength to name sexism when it comes up.

Unifor helped promote the first ever Canadian survey on domestic violence in the workplace conducted by researchers at the University of Western Ontario in partnership with the Canadian Labour Congress. The survey’s goal was to gather evidence to measure the impact of domestic violence in the workplace.  The report, detailing the initial findings on the pan-Canadian survey “Can Work Be Safe, When Home Isn’t?” will be released at parallel media conferences in Ottawa and London on November 27.  Unifor Women’s Director Julie White is a member of the steering committee and will participate in the London media conference with Dr. Peter Jaffe, Western University, Centre for Research on Violence against Women & Children.  

“The initial findings found in the first report will provide us with evidence that will help us negotiate effective policies and practices including the ground-breaking Unifor Women’s Advocate program. Governments have a responsibility to pass strong workplace legislation that will ultimately create safer workplaces in the future,” said White, “The survey results will help us understand for the first time the impact domestic violence has on  Canadian workers  in the workplace -  employers, governments and unions all have a collective responsibility to work together to end domestic violence.”