Unifor welcomes news that the Ontario government intends to amend Bill 148 to include five days of paid domestic violence leave.
“Financial independence is a key factor for women who are trying to leave an abusive situation,” said Ontario Regional Director Naureen Rizvi. “Paid leave will help to provide survivors of domestic violence with both the income security and the time required to secure a safe environment and much needed support systems.”
The decision to add paid domestic violence leave days to Bill 148 came following a public consultation process which Unifor actively participated in. The union has been a leader in implementing practical supports for women in abusive relationships, with the negotiation of paid domestic violence leave in many of its collective agreements. Unifor’s groundbreaking Women’s Advocates program trains representatives in workplaces across the country to assist women in safety planning and to help provide access to community resources.
“It is very important that we have legislative and financial supports in place to aid women and children dealing with violence,” said Women’s Director Lisa Kelly. “Income security means workers can take the steps necessary such as attending medical and legal appointments. Having domestic violence leave in legislation can help break the stigma and allow for conversations towards ending gender-based violence.
Unifor was advocating for ten paid days for domestic leave but viewed the amendment for five paid days as vital and necessary for all workers.
“The fact that we achieved this amendment is a reflection that the government is listening, but it was in large part thanks to the activism of grassroots organizations, unions, and workers around the province that raised their voices to make this change possible,” said Rizvi.