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National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada

A message from President Scott Travers

December 6th is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada.

Today we remember the 14 women killed by a gunman at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal on December 6, 1989; killed only because they were women. This incident of gender-based violence moved Canadians to demand that we, as Canadians, prevent such tragedies from happening again.

Violence against women can be seen as a manifestation of inequality between women and men.
The majority of workers earning minimum wage are women, and women in Canada earn just 72 per cent as much as men do. Aboriginal and racialized women make even less.  Decreased wages and diminished opportunities both contribute to violence and are themselves a form of economic violence against women.

At the same time, 83 per cent of all police-reported domestic assaults are against women. On any given day in Canada, more than 3,000 women are living in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence.
Aboriginal women bear the consequences of marginalization by being Aboriginal and by being women. While Aboriginal women make up only 3 per cent of Canada’s female population, they make up 10 per cent of all murdered women.

The labour movement has long been part of the struggle to end violence against women. Decreasing the wage gap has resulted in union women making 93% of that of men. In 2013, the Canadian Labour Congress launched a research initiative in partnership with the University of Western Ontario to understand the impact of domestic violence on workers and workplaces. It is the first of its kind in Canada and will allow Canadians to develop evidence-based approaches to addressing domestic violence.

Today, as we commemorate the loss on December 6,1989, we also remember the countless women and girls subjected to gender-based violence, in all its forms, at home, in the workplace and elsewhere. We remember that, though we commit ourselves to ending gender-based violence, this violence still occurs every single day and we must help end it.

The Society encourages members to check for and attend December 6 events in your communities. Events we are aware of include:

  • Cambridge: 5:30PM, Newfoundland Club, 1500 Dunbar Road
  • Hamilton: 5:30PM, Workers’ Arts & Heritage Centre, 51 Stuart Street
  • Ottawa: 7:00PM, Minto Park
  • St. Catharines: 12:00PM, TH253, Brock University
  • Timmins: 6:00PM, McIntyre Auditorium
  • Thunder Bay: 12:00PM, Lakehead University Agora, 955 Oliver Road
  • Toronto: 6:00PM, Philosopher’s Walk (south side of Bloor St. W., west of Avenue Road, behind the Royal Ontario Museum)

Here are some other actions you can take to make a difference:

  • Support the YWCA’s Rose Campaign (www.rosecampaign.ca) and/or the White Ribbon Campaign (www.whiteribbon.ca)
  • Support The Society’s Sisters in Society committee, which addresses women’s issues in the workplace and other communities
  • Speak up when you see or hear of violence in your community
  • Place responsibility for violence on the perpetrator not the victim and help each get the help they need
  • Contribute to creating safe spaces for women and girls in your home, workplace and community
  • Advocate with women and girls for the economic and political equality
  • Organize women