Queen’s Park – NDP Women’s Issues critic Peggy Sattler, MPP for London West, was joined today by supporters of her Private Member’s Bill, which will provide survivors of domestic or sexual violence with up to 10 days of paid leave.
“Half of all Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime,” said Sattler. “Domestic and sexual violence can be devastating for survivors and their families, and can also have a significant impact on their ability to function at work. Ensuring that survivors can get the help they need without risking their employment is critical to help them recover from the violence, and to support their return to work as productive employees.”
If passed, Bill 26 would entitle survivors to up to 10 days of paid leave to obtain specific services related to the violence, such as seeing a doctor, talking to a counsellor, relocating to a new residence, and meeting with lawyers or police. The bill also provides for additional unpaid leave, workplace accommodations and mandatory workplace training on domestic and sexual violence.
Harmy Mendoza, Executive Director of the Woman Abuse Council of Toronto (WomanACT) expressed her organization’s strong support for Bill 26. “WomanACT endorses this bill because we know women experiencing violence will be safer if their employer supports them to the best of their abilities,” she said.
Dr. Christopher Mackie, Medical Officer of Health for the Middlesex-London Health Unit, pointed out that the bill is part of a comprehensive public health approach. “By enabling survivors of domestic and sexual violence to maintain their employment, Bill 26 not only provides the financial security they need to heal and rebuild their lives, but it can also keep them out of poverty,” Mackie said.
Alejandro Gonzalez, a Human Resources Manager at MCIS Language Solutions emphasized that the bill will benefit both employees and employers. “This is a smart and compassionate initiative,” Gonzalez said. “The ability to hold on to their job can be essential for employees to cope with domestic violence.”
A previous version of the bill was passed unanimously on March 10, 2016, but died on the order paper when the Legislature was prorogued. Sattler re-introduced the bill on September 27, 2016, and has been steadfast in her determination to move the legislation forward.
Although Bill 26 was originally scheduled for second reading in April 2017, Sattler was able to secure a much earlier debate date.