Local 79 comments on Domestic and Sexual Violence Workplace Leave, Accommodation and Training Act, 2016

Local 79 strongly endorsed the Ontario NDP Bill calling for more supports for women who are victims of domestic and sexual violence.  Bill 177 recommends paid leave, flexibility in the type of evidence required for accommodation and more workplace training.


 

Dear MPP Sattler:

RE: Ontario NDP, Private Member’s Bill on Domestic and Sexual Violence Workplace Leave, Accommodation and Training Act, 2016.

Thank you for the opportunity for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 79 to have input into this very important Bill on Domestic and Sexual Violence Workplace Leave, Accommodation and Training Act, 2016.

On behalf of all of our members (20,000 approximately) who work at the City of Toronto, Toronto Community Housing and Bridgepoint Hospital, I would like commend you, as NDP Women’s Critic, and the NDP for bringing forward this Private Member’s Bill. Keeping women safe in their lives ̶ at home, in their communities and in the workplace ̶ is vital. We must all work towards keeping women safe – through legislation, contract language, and societal change. We must act together to build a support system to protect women who are coping with violence.

On November 30, 2015, CUPE Local 79 provided the Toronto Board of Health (BOH) with our review of the recommendations contained in the BOH report “Action on Intimate Partner Violence”. The report was dedicated to the memory of Zahra Abdille and her sons, who were killed on November 29, 2014. Zahra was a public health nurse and a member of CUPE Local 79. (A copy of our deputation to the Board of Health is attached for your reference.)

CUPE Local 79 strongly endorses this Private Member’s Bill. The accommodation clauses are particularly pertinent to women facing violence or potential violence.

It is vitally important that employers provide accommodation to employees affected by domestic violence or sexual violence. This Bill, if enacted, will go a long way to support women facing violent situations at home and in the workplace. Provisions related to alternate work locations and hours, paid and extended leave, flexibility in the type of evidence required to prove the need for accommodation, and the proposed amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Occupational Health and Safety Act will provide needed supports for women in the workplace coping with the impact of domestic violence.

Mandatory training in how violence can affect employees in the workplace would contribute to the employer’s capacity to show appropriate judgement and flexibility in these instances. Training of all management and workers is needed to ensure that this Bill, and the sections of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that pertain to domestic violence in the workplace, can be implemented in a consistent, appropriate, and sensitive manner.

I would like to thank the NDP for its leadership role in bringing forward MPP Sattler’s Private Member’s Bill. This Bill is critically important to women; CUPE Local 79 looks forward to seeing the Bill passed unanimously when it is before the House on March 10, 2016.

Sincerely,

Tim Maguire
President