NLFL COVID-19 RESPONSE
Eliminating GBV is both a women’s and human rights issue.
November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. November 25 also marks the start of 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based violence.
The 16 days end on December 10, Human Rights Day. Also on December 6 we remember the 1989 Montreal massacre where an enraged gunman roamed the corridors of Montreal’s École Polytechnique killing 14 women.
The Canadian Labour Congress is supporting Women’s Shelter Canada call for a National Action Plan on Violence against Women and Gender-based Violence.
Canada’s unions are marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women by calling on the federal government to establish a National Action Plan on Violence against Women and Gender-based Violence.
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – observed every year on November 25 – also marks the start of 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence.
“Gender-based violence was a crisis in Canada even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the pandemic, domestic violence has increased and measures to slow the spread of the virus have made it increasingly difficult for anyone living in an abusive relationship to escape their abusers,” said CLC Secretary-Treasurer Marie Clarke Walker. “Over a third of women workers have experienced domestic violence – and those numbers are even higher for trans people,”
A woman is killed by her intimate partner every 6 days in this country. Thousands of Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people have been murdered or gone missing. And more than half of women have been exposed to sexual harassment at work.
Shelters and support organizations in many areas have reported alarming increases in demand for services. With many people, working from home and many others laid off, the stress of economic insecurity, social isolation, fear of infection and other pressures raises the risk of escalating violence ꟷ and creates new barriers to support.
Calling a shelter or sexual assault centre can feel impossible when under a partner’s watch. Police interventions and “wellness checks” have proven deadly for Black and Indigenous people in particular.
COVID-19 has also led to a rise in violence and harassment at work, especially for workers on the front lines in health care, food services and retail, and other public-facing jobs. These are sectors where the majority of workers are women, many of whom are BIPOC, immigrant and migrant women and young women.
“We applaud governments’ efforts to support shelters through the increased demand this year, but this pandemic clearly shows the importance of services and supports for women, children and others experiencing violence,” said Walker. “Now more than ever, Canada needs a National Action Plan to tackle this crisis.
The National Action Plan must establish clear targets for eliminating gender-based violence. It must be intersectional and long-term and it must tackle gender-based violence and harassment at work. This means that Canada needs to ratify ILO Convention-190 on violence and harassment, and establish concrete ways to meet ILO obligations. Canada’s unions are ready to work with governments and employers to make this happen.
“Five years ago, Canada’s unions joined feminist and women’s organizations to lay out the blueprint for a National Action Plan. The time to act is now. We are done waiting,” said Walker. ‘
Visit the Done Waiting website for more information.
NL Federation of Labour Outraged at WorkplaceNL Discount Announcement – Injured Workers Lose Out Again
The Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour (NLFL) is outraged at the WorkplaceNL announcement that takes money from the workers’ compensation injury fund to benefit employers.
Each year, at this time, WorkplaceNL announces the upcoming workers’ compensation employer assessment rate for the following year. According to the WorkplaceNL announcement, a 21 cent discount will continue for the “next few years”, until the surplus is gone.
“This is an outrageous announcement,” stated NLFL President Mary Shortall. “This is Injury Fund money. Money that is intended to assist and support injured workers and their families who are trying to recover from work-related injuries or illnesses.”
What makes this announcement more infuriating is that it comes in the midst of the Statutory Review of Workers’ Compensation, which Shortall believes seriously undermines the Review Committee’s work. “Every five years the public and stakeholders are provided the opportunity to make recommendations on improvements to the workers’ compensation system,” Shortall explained. “The process ensures injured workers are treated with dignity and respect and provided the necessary supports to adjust to a work-related injury or illness. If there is a surplus in the injury fund, it should benefit injured workers first and foremost.” The Review Committee are currently in the process of writing their final report and recommendations to government based on what they heard.
The WorkplaceNL announcement actually highlights that there are more serious workplace injuries and longer claims duration. The NLFL believes that the only way to reduce assessment rates is to ensure work sites are healthy and safe. Over the past years, on average there have been 25 work-related fatalities each year, equivalent to one every two weeks. In 2019, WorkplaceNL accepted 5,397 new injury claims – this is equivalent to 15 claims each and every day. In addition, Newfoundland & Labrador (NL) has one of the lowest income replacement rates for injured workers across Canada. Six jurisdictions support injured workers at 90%, while the NL rate stands at 85%. This means injured worker are penalized at a rate of 15% for a work-related injury in a “no fault” system.
Shortall is calling on the Minister of Labour to intervene, to reverse this announcement, and to let the Workers’ Compensation Statutory Review complete their important work.
PDF Version: NLFL Media Release – Workplace NL Discount
Public money for oil and gas must come with strong, clear and stringent conditions that protects jobs, communities and, most especially, strong environmental and worker safety regulations.
We do not support a “blank-cheque” bailout for any corporation that results in bonuses for executives, dividends for shareholders or tax-avoidance through offshore tax havens. We also expect our provincial government to support these conditions in their advocacy with the federal government. To read President Mary Shortall’s entire remarks, click here.