December 6th marks the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, this day marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young female engineering students at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal for the simple reason that they were women. This event, known as the Montreal Massacre, has become a galvanizing moment for all Canadians to reflect on all forms of gender-based violence in our society and to take action for its elimination.
Violence and harassment against women in the workplace continues to be a serious labour issue in Canada. On November 12, 2005, nurse Lori Dupont was murdered by a co-worker during a shift at Windsor’s Hotel-Dieu Hospital after suffering months of on-the-job harassment and reluctance by hospital management and staff to confront her abuser.
Violence in the workplace, regardless of the gender of the victim or abuser, can take many forms and can include harassment from patients, customers and clients; harassment from managers, superiors, or co-workers; criminal acts such as theft or robberies committed in someone's workplace like a bank or store; and domestic abuse which can carry over into a victim's workplace.
In 2000, the Canada Labour Code was amended Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (SOR/86-304) to include Violence in the Workplace prevention.
On June 15, 2010, the Ontario government amended the Occupational Health and Safety Act to strengthen protections for workers from workplace violence and address workplace harassment.
At 10:00 am on December 6, delegates from the 9th Annual CEP National Women's Conference on a march from the Westin Hotel (downtown Ottawa) to Parliament Hill in recognition of Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
The event will feature:
• First Nations Drummers
• Nycole Turmel, Leader of the Official Opposition, NDP MP for Hull-Aylmer
• Maria Mourani, Bloc Québécois MP
• Wendy Cukier, President, Coalition for Gun Control
• Suzanne Laplante-Edward (mother of Anne-Marie Edward, École Polytechnique victim)
• Rose ceremony, roll call of École Polytechnique victims
Participation is open to all.
For more information on ways to prevent workplace violence check out the Canadian Labour Congress's website here, the Ontario Ministry of Labour website here, and the Department of Justice website here.