Skip to main content

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence 2023

November 25, 2023

United Sisters will be participating in the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. We ask that members follow along on our website and social media channels for resources, articles, information, and learning tools to help support an end to gender-based violence.

Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5 - Day 6 - Day 7 - Day 8 - Day 9 - Day 10 - Day 11 - Day 12 - Day 13 - Day 14 - Day 15 - Day 16 

Day 1:

Violence and harassment should never be “just part of the job”

Canada’s unions are calling on the federal government to urgently address third-party violence and harassment at work by implementing ILO Convention 190 (C-190). November 25 marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the beginning of 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence.

For too many workers – especially women and gender-diverse workers – the risk of harassment and violence has become a daily reality. Seven in ten workers have experienced harassment and violence at work, often at the hands of third parties such as customers, patients, and members of the public. The risk is particularly high for those in public-facing jobs, like retail, journalism, health care, education, transportation and hospitality, sectors dominated by women and gender-diverse workers.

Following Canada’s ratification of ILO C-190 earlier this year, the government must implement a comprehensive strategy to enhance safety for all workers. Convention 190 is a global treaty aimed at eradicating violence and harassment in the world of work, and is the product of tripartite collaboration between unions, employer groups and governments.

“With Canada’s ratification of ILO C-190, we have a clear mandate to turn decades of advocacy into safer work for everyone,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “But we have to get it right. Canada needs a comprehensive strategy to implement the convention, which would not only address immediate workplace safety concerns, but also align and incorporate initiatives outlined in the National Action Plan on Gender Based Violence.” (https://women-gender-equality.canada.ca/en/gender-based-violence/intergovernmental-collaboration/national-action-plan-end-gender-based-violence.html)

In recent years, we have seen numerous equity-deserving groups targeted by an emboldened far right. This rising tide of hate has contributed to higher rates of third-party violence linked with pervasive forms of discrimination and marginalization. 2SLGBTQI+ workers, Black, racialized, Indigenous workers, and those with disabilities are most likely to be targeted. Public homophobic and transphobic attacks on members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community are spilling over into workplaces, leaving workers feeling unsafe in an increasing number of places within their own lives.

One worker who participated in the CLC’s 2022 report on harassment and violence in the workplace (https://documents.clcctc.ca/human-rights/Respect-at-Work-Report-2022-03-28-EN.pdf) identified that they didn’t find current solutions intersectional. They explained that the harassing and violent behaviours they experience have overlapping roots, based in racism, homophobia and misogyny. Workers with multiple and intersecting identities in particular need strategic and multi-faceted solutions, that will end workplace harassment on all fronts.

“Dismantling gender-based violence at work also requires a unified response against rising hate. We know there won’t be a one size fits all solution to addressing harassment and violence in the workplace. It’s time for the federal government to bring union, employer and government leaders together to develop holistic strategies to prevent and address third-party violence at work,” said Siobhán Vipond, CLC Executive

Vice-President. “Together we can close the gaps within existing legislation and regulations, and deepen our collective understanding of violence and harassment at work.”

“Everyone deserves to work free from violence and harassment,” said Bruske. “Unions are ready to work collaboratively with employers and governments on a comprehensive strategy to prevent, address and eliminate third-party violence at work, ensuring that everyone can work without fear and making work a safe and dignified place for all.”

To read the results of the National Survey on Harassment and Violence at work click this link: https://canadianlabour.ca/notpartofthejob/ .

 

Day 2:

 

Day 2 of the 16 Days of Activism again Gender-Based Violence.

To help understand the scope and impacts of violence in the workplace, please take a moment to read the following article from the CBC: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/workplace-harassment-and-violence-impacts-over-70-of-employees-in-canada-study-shows-1.6401673

 

Day 3:

The Intersections of Social Identity and Experiences of Harassment and Violence

The Intersections of Social Identity and Experiences of Harassment and Violence Experiences are not the same for everyone. Workers who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination – whether by race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability or Indigeneity – experienced different prevalence rates. Gender-diverse individuals are more likely to report experiencing all forms of harassment and violence (see Figure 2). This was most pronounced for sexual harassment and violence: 73% of gender-diverse respondents experienced this form of harassment and violence compared to 46% of women and 38% of men.

LGBTQ2S+ respondents were also particularly likely to have experienced all forms of harassment and violence (see Figure 3). This is most pronounced for harassment and violence (72%) and sexual harassment and violence (62%).

Racialized and Indigenous respondents also reported different prevalence rates in relation to White respondents. Indigenous respondents experienced significantly higher rates of harassment and violence (79%) and sexual harassment and violence (47.8%). A key contributing factor for the minimal differences in prevalence rates for other racialized groups is due to the significantly higher percentage of respondents in these groups who identified as men (28%).

The racial undertones or underpinnings of how people will see Black women’s bodies that you know White man or just men, generally, think that they have access to it, that they can touch it. They can do whatever they want. White women think they could actually touch my hair. He thought he can grab my face and slobber over me and talk about what our names would be like when we’re married and talk about his Christmas parties. The other one thought that he can press himself up against me after a meeting and that was okay. You know what I mean, like, these are the things that would happen all the time.” (Provincial Government Worker)

 

Day 4:

On Day 4 of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence we explore risk factors for violence and harassment in the workplace and strategies on how to address them.

 

Chart_of_Risk_Factors_for_Harassment_and_Responsive_Strategies_Page_2.png

Chart_of_Risk_Factors_for_Harassment_and_Responsive_Strategies_Page_3.png

Chart_of_Risk_Factors_for_Harassment_and_Responsive_Strategies_Page_4.png

 

Day 5:

 

On Day 5 of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence we are asking members to take a look at a video produced by the CBC on workplace bullying.

 

 

Day 6:

Today is day 6 of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. Our friends at Ontario Tech University are doing important work through the Workplace Bullying Project. We encourage members to watch the video to learn more about the project and about workplace bullying and harassment.

Day 7:

On Day 7 of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, United Sisters would like to direct members to review the 'Negative Behaviour Matrix' produced by the Canadian Department of National Defence. The table does a good job of showing examples of different kinds of behaviours and how they might manifest in the workplace. Link is here.

 

 

Day 8:

On day 8 of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence we draw your attention to the additional challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic created. We encourage members to review a report that the UN has created that breaks down the impact of the pandemic on violence and harassment.

 

 

Day 9:

For day 9 of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence we draw your attention to the mental and physical health consequences of harassment and violence to workers.

The link for the CLC National Survey is here

 

Day 10:

For day 10 of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence we draw your attention to the financial and professional consequences of harassment and violence to workers.

The link for the CLC National Survey is here.

Day 11:

On Day 11 of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence we examine the perpetrators of violence in the workplace.

𝐖𝐡𝐨 𝐢𝐬 𝐁𝐞𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐀𝐛𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐲?
Survey respondents indicated that third parties (customers, patients, or students) and co-workers are the most common perpetrators of harassment and violence (28% and 25% respectively) and sexual harassment and violence (30% and 26% respectively). These findings may reflect the sectors most commonly represented by survey respondents – health care and social assistance, education, and public administration– which involve working with the public and have a significant proportion of women workers (see Figure 15). For those experiencing sexual harassment and violence, almost two-thirds (65.6%) reported their harasser was a man compared to 41.1% of those experiencing harassment and violence. Further research is needed to examine the gender patterns of perpetration for specific behaviours and practices of harassment and violence.

 

 

 

Day 12:

On Day 12 of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence we move to the reasons that people don't report their experiences of violence and harassment in the workplace.

United Sisters have provided the below infographic to show the barriers that exist to reporting.

 

 

Day 13:

On Day 13 of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence we want to highlight the low rate of satisfaction when workers do report workplace violence and harassment.

This is particularly important to note for union reps. There is a lot of work that needs to be done to improve how to respond to worker complaints.

 

Day 14:

On Day 14 of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence we look at online tools to help support victims and survivors of violence.

Using the Digital World to Support Survivors of GBV – Mullberry Finder

In 2020 when the COVID 19 pandemic began, gender-based violence organizations quickly learned how devastating it would be to survivors and their children as the services and systems designed to support them would become limited.

Stay Safe, Stay Home became the message to protect ourselves and others from contracting COVID 19, but for those experiencing gender-based violence a dark reality emerged with increased severity and prevalence of gender-based violence and increased isolation from support and services. Gender-based violence services had to rethink how and where they connected with survivors, delivery of their services and work together in new ways.

As we all became more digitally engaged in online spaces for connection and information, Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses was offered an opportunity through the Rogers Family Foundation to digitally connect survivors to services and workers to existing resources. With that, our journey began to understand the vast landscape of gender-based violence services here in Ontario and the many individuals seeking information to support survivors and their children.

Through engagement with those working in organizations, survivors and a broad range of provincial associations representing hundreds of gender-based violence organizations across Ontario, we began to envision a digital platform that would encompass a space to include all gender-based violence focused services and supports that are available to anyone who is supporting survivors and their safety in Ontario.

With Safety Starts Here as our theme, and a Mulberry Tree as our symbol, each leaf represents trauma-informed prinicples:

  1. Safety
  2. Trustworthiness & Transparency
  3. Peer Support, Collaboration & Mutuality
  4. Empowerment, Voice & Choice
  5. Cultural, Historical & Gender Issues

It is our hope that mulberry is just that–a starting place for survivors and those supporting them to be connected immediately to the right services and supports in communities across Ontario.

Ultimately mulberry is more than a website; it’s an opportunity for new growth, new knowledge and safer tomorrows. At the root of mulberry is our hope that for many survivors across Ontario, safety starts here.

More information about the mulberry development process can be found within our mulberry information document.

WomenatthecentrE

OAITH would like to acknowledge with much appreciation WomenatthecentrE for their contributions to this project. The survivor voices, lived experience and expertise that emerged through WomenatthecentrE were a key component in the development and design of mulberry. Through this process survivor safety, collaboration and transparency have been prioritized throughout development of the mulberry website.

Provincial Networks, Associations and Working Groups

The creation of the mulberry platform would also not have been possible without the help of the many experts among many provincial associations and networks who shared their feedback and visions for mulberry through our surveys and engagement sessions. We greatly appreciate the meaningful collaboration and expertise shared with us from the following organizations. To learn more about the work they are doing and to find more information about their member organizations please visit their provincial websites.

Aboriginal Shelters of Ontario

Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes (AOcVF)

Family Service Ontario

Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC)

Ontario Network of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres

Ontario Network of Victim Service Providers

OAITH Covid-19 Working Group

Please note, accessing any of the above website links will take you to an external website. Some of the built-in safety features, included within mulberry, may not be available among these external websites.

Below is information and resources on how to improve safety and risk management for individuals experiencing gender-based violence and abuse. This library includes both web-based resources and platforms as well as mobile-applications that can be downloaded on a cellular device such as a smartphone or tablet.

Please note that clicking any of the links below will open a new browser and some resources include downloadable PDFs that can be downloaded and saved on your device. Any documents downloaded from mulberry or other resources provided within mulberry will be downloaded and accessible from your device.

Web-Based Resources (accessed via a computer/laptop/web browser)

iDetermine (The Redwood) 2022

  • Target Audience: Women, girls and gender-diverse individuals experiencing violence/abuse
  • Main Features: relationship safety quiz, risk management plan, digital and online safety

Access Via: https://www.idetermine.ca/

Is Our Relationship Healthy? (YWCA Canada), 2018

  • Target Audience: Anyone
  • Main Features: self-paced quiz to evaluate relationship safety

Access Via: https://ywcacanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Healthy-Relationship_EN_Web.pdf

Leaving Home Checklist (Luke’s Place) 2022

  • Target Audience: Survivors escaping/fleeing violence
  • Main Features: Checklist for survivors to improve safety when escaping/fleeing violence (includes downloadable checklist)

Access Via: https://familycourtandbeyond.ca/keep-safe/leaving-home/

Love is Respect (National Domestic Violence Hotline) 2020

  • Target Audience: Teens/Youth
  • Main Features: Information on youth healthy relationships and dating. (Local Resources are for U.S. only)

Access Via: https://www.loveisrespect.org/

New Device Checklist (Government of Canada), 2021

  • Target Audience: Individuals using an electronic device
  • Main Features: checklist to improve safety on new electronic devices

Access Via: https://www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/en/resources/new-device-checklist

Safety Planning for Children (Luke’s Place) 2022

  • Target Audience: Survivors and their children
  • Main Features: Safety planning toolkit for survivors and their children, including considerations for emergency situations, supports for children and documenting experiences/impacts of violence

Access Via: https://familycourtandbeyond.ca/keep-safe/children/

Technology Safety For Virtual Conferences And Services: A Toolkit For Survivors Of Intimate Partner Violence (Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic) 2020

  • Target Audience: Women, girls and gender-diverse individuals experiencing violence/abuse
  • Main Features: Safety recommendations/guidelines for general use and virtual family court appearances

Access Via: https://www.schliferclinic.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Technology-Safety-A-Toolkit-for-Survivors.pdf

WITHWomen - Supporting Safe Relationships (MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions)

  • Target Audience: Women, girls and gender-diverse individuals experiencing violence/abuse
  • Main Features: relationship safety quiz, online safety information and connection to community-based services

Access Via: https://withwomen.ca/resources

You Are Not Alone - A Toolkit for Aboriginal Women Escaping Domestic Violence (Native Women’s Association of Canada), 2015

  • Target Audience: Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit individuals
  • Main Features: overview of colonial impacts on violence, screening tools to identify abuse, tips/recommendations for safety planning and leaving an abuser

Access Via: https://www.nwac.ca/assets-knowledge-centre/NWAC-You-Are-Not-Alone-Handbook-with-weblinks.pdf

Mobile Device Applications (accessed via the Google Play Store, Apple Store, etc.)

THE RED PANIC BUTTON!

  • Platform: Google Play Store, App Store
  • Cost: Free (Offers in app purchases)
  • Main Features: User can enable panic SMS messages to be sent to a customized emergency contact

Access Via: https://www.redpanicbutton.com/

What3words

  • Platform: Google Play Store, App Store
  • Cost: Free
  • Main Features: Provides 3 unique words that correspond to exact location which can be sent through app to a trusted contact or provided to emergency services. Recognized by a number of Ontario police departments, including OPP

Access Via: https://what3words.com/products/what3words-app

Bsafe - Never Walk Alone

  • Platform: Google Play Store, App Store
  • Cost: Free (Offers in app purchases)
  • Main Features: social safety network, timer alarm, voice activated SOS, live streaming and recording capabilities, fake call activation

Access Via: https://www.getbsafe.com/solution

 

www.mullberryfinder.ca

 

Day 15:

On Day 15 of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, we are calling on members to write to their local Member of Parliament to ask them to implement International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention C190 - the first-ever global treaty on ending violence and harassment in the world of work.

While the federal government has ratified the treaty, they have yet to implement the treaty or develop an action plan.

Members can read more about the treaty here: https://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO::P12100_ILO_CODE:C190

Members can use the Canadian Labour Congress’ website to write to their MP: https://donewaiting.ca/sexual-violence-harassment/gender-based-violence/c190/

 

Day 16:

On Day 16 of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, the Society joins with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) in their call for concrete steps towards an end to gender-based violence.

 

𝐍𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐀𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧: 𝐂𝐚𝐧𝐚𝐝𝐚’𝐬 𝐔𝐧𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐤 𝐃𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟔 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐂𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐨 𝐄𝐧𝐝 𝐆𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫-𝐁𝐚𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐕𝐢𝐨𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞

Canada’s unions are marking the 34th anniversary of the attack at École Polytechnique in Montreal by urging the federal government to take concrete steps to prevent and address gender-based violence in Canada. This must include implementing ILO Convention 190 (ILO C-190), the first international standard of its kind, that acknowledges the universal right to a world of work free from violence and harassment; integrating Indigenous rights and justice into practices and policies by implementing the Calls to Justice from the National Inquiry into Missing Murdered Indigenous Women Girls and Two Spirit People (MMIWG); and, implementing the recommendations of the Mass Casualty Commission report, which was released earlier this year.

On December 6, 1989, a male gunman targeted and shot several women students at l’École Polytechnique in Montreal. 14 women died, and 10 others were injured. Every year, on December 6, Canada’s unions join organizations across the country in marking the day, by calling for necessary action to end gender-based violence and femicide.

“We remember those lost and injured that day, targeted because they were women. We also mark December 6, by reaffirming our commitment to act against gender-based violence. We owe it to the memory of those victims, and to everyone lost or injured because of gender-based violence since then, to take decisive action and put an end to this injustice,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “The December 6 murders happened over three decades ago, and yet we’re still fighting for proper protections against gender-based violence. At work, women and gender-diverse workers are more likely to be the targets of violent behaviour, particularly by third parties like clients, customers or patients. Every worker deserves to be safe at work, which is why it’s critical that the federal government collaborate with unions and employers to implement ILO C-190.”

ILO C-190 establishes a clear framework for ending violence and harassment in the world of work, and makes governments accountable for preventing and addressing violence at work. The federal government of Canada ratified ILO C-190 earlier this year but has yet to develop a plan for implementation. Meanwhile, incidents of workplace violence perpetrated against women and gender-diverse workers continue to increase.

Femicide is on the rise: on average, one woman or girl is killed every two days in Canada. We’ve also seen a sharp increase in incidents of misogynist, transphobic and homophobic hate. The alarming proliferation of anti-feminist and anti-trans disinformation online is emboldening perpetrators to commit violence offline. Earlier this year, at the University of Waterloo, a male former student targeted and attacked a woman associate-professor in a gender studies class. Two students were also seriously injured in the attack. Workers with multiple and intersecting identities, like Indigenous women, girls and TwoSpirit people, face especially high rates of gender-based violence. This is why it’s critical that any government plan aimed at addressing gender-based violence also include measures to implement the MMIWG inquiry calls to justice.

“Gender-based violence is a violation of human rights, and refusing to act to end it is not an option. Everyone deserves to be safe at work, and that includes putting an end to gender-based violence in the world of work. But we must be intentional in the way we do this work, and any policy aimed at addressing gender-based violence must adequately reflect intersectional experiences,” said Siobhán Vipond, CLC Executive Vice-President. “It is our duty to honour the memory of those we’ve lost, and to honour those who survived, by ending gender-based violence. For over thirty years, Canada’s unions have called for the prevention and elimination of all forms of gender-based violence, and we remain steadfast in our commitment.”

Canada’s unions are ready to get to work, alongside governments and employers, to ensure workers in every sector and every jurisdiction are safe at work, so no one is left behind.


Discover More
Society President Presents at CNSC Darlington Hearing

Society President Presents at CNSC Darlington Hearing

Society President Michelle Johnston presented at the Canadian...

Read more