In the ongoing struggle to end violence against women, much has changed since December 6, 1989 and, unfortunately, much has stayed the same. On that day, 31 years ago, a gunman entered L’Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal and separated the women from the men yelling “I hate feminists.” He then systematically murdered 13 students and 1 worker – women who were shot dead solely because they were women.
As Unifor marks December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, the trial of the Yonge St van attacker is in progress, an act of misogynist violence that killed 10 people and injured 16 more.
At that same time, the Portapique inquiry, on the deadliest rampage in Canadian history, is set to begin. It began with a horrific act of domestic violence.
In addition, it has been well over one-year since the release of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Inquiry Report, and the federal government has yet to adopt a concerted federal strategy to stop the violence.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, gender-based violence is accelerating and inequality is increasing, undermining women’s ability to live lives free of violence.
Unifor continues to focus on collective bargaining and political action to address this in the immediate crisis and to build back better. Members are encouraged to wear the “End Gender-Based violence” masks produced this year to spread the message wherever you go.
The union’s Social Justice Fund is meeting intensified community needs this year by doubling donations to $316,000 distributed between 79 shelters across the country that provide life-saving services to survivors of domestic abuse.
This year the union is holding a vigil online to remember the 14 women killed in an act of violence. Vigil participants will then be asked to take action and call on of the federal government to implement a National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence and to implement the Calls for Justice in the MMIWG Inquiry Report.
Members who are not attending the vigil can take action online by calling on their MPs today, and then spread the word.