Unifor’s Social Justice fund has doubled its donations to women’s shelters across Canada this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns put more women at risk of violence at the hands of their partners.
“Local shelters provide vital assistance for women and children living with domestic violence,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.
“These donations certainly help, but can’t replace systemic action by governments and employers to eradicate the need for shelters - including direct action on gender inequality, sexual harassment and violence.”
The fund donated $4,000 each to 79 shelters across Canada, for a total of $316,000. Last year, the SJF donated $2,000 to 75 shelters.
Unifor has been actively campaigning for the development and implementation of a National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence. This must include specific measures to address the recommendations of the MMIWG Inquiry Report.
“During the pandemic, we are seeing increased pressure on shelters to provide services,” said Unifor Women’s Director Lisa Kelly.
“Our donations are coupled with continued activism to address the roots of gender inequality. We have seen pre-existing inequalities exacerbated through the pandemic. We remain committed at the bargaining table, and in our political action, to push for systemic change.”
Several Unifor locals across Canada also made their own donations to shelters in their areas.
Unifor’s ground-breaking Women’s Advocate program trains representatives in the workplace to assist women with issues of harassment and abuse. The program was been adapted by global labour federations and was recently studied by Brazil’s Labour Court.