The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), in partnership with the University of Western Ontario’s Centre for Research & Education on Violence against Women & Children (CREVAWC), is offering all workers the opportunity to participate in the first nation-wide survey on the impact of domestic violence on workers and workplaces. Launched on December 6th, the opportunity to complete the survey will end on June 6th during Sexual Harassment Awareness Week. Sexual violence is prevalent in the lives of far too many women. Sexual violence is all too often part of domestic violence.
When workers experience domestic violence at home, the impacts are felt in the workplace. A recent study by Justice Canada highlights this fact by estimating that employers lose $77.9 million annually as a result of domestic violence. But the costs, both financial and personal, go far beyond that. Unions have worked hard to pressure governments to pass workplace violence legislation that offers some protection for workers experiencing violence in the home. Indeed, Ontario’s Bill 168 was implemented after considerable pressure following tragic workplace deaths.
OSSTF/FEESO has provided leadership training on the union’s role in supporting workers who experience domestic violence. AMPA 2014 passed a policy motion that stresses the role of unions in being consulted by employers during the development of any Risk Assessment and Safety Plan required under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (including risks associated with Domestic Violence). However, there is much more we can do.
Canada’s national survey is gathering data about the prevalence and the impact of domestic violence in the workplace. It will provide made-in-Canada research that will help unions, employers, advocates and governments develop good public policy as well as negotiate workplace supports including paid leave, flexible work arrangements or women’s advocates through collective bargaining.
The survey, available in English and French, only until June 6, 2014, is online at: http://fluidsurveys.com/s/DVatWork/
Any worker over the age of 15 is encouraged to complete the survey, whether or not they have personally experienced or witnessed domestic violence. Participation is voluntary, is completely anonymous and takes between 10 and 30 minutes to complete. Neither union representatives, nor employers will know whether or not someone has participated. Upon completion of the survey, respondents have the option to enter a draw for a tablet computer.
All OSSTF/FEESO members are encouraged to complete the survey. Unions are uniquely situated to make a real difference to the lives of workers who may be experiencing violence in the home, and that makes work safer, for everyone. For more information please contact Suzette Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.