“Paid Leave” campaign yields gains across Canada

“Paid Leave” campaign yields gains across Canada Toronto – March 31, 2018 – UFCW Canada and our allies in the Canadian labour movement are celebrating a series of legislative victories for survivors of domestic violence in response to a union-led campaign seeking paid leave and other supports for victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

Eighteen months after the launch of the “Paid Leave for Survivors of Domestic Violence NOW!” initiative, new protections for victims of sexual and domestic abuse have been enacted in four provinces and at the federal level, Quebec has introduced legislation to support survivors, and other provinces are watching closely as these provisions take effect.

Manitoba was the first province to pass legislation that provides survivors of domestic violence with up to five days of paid workplace leave, and as many as 17 weeks of unpaid leave with a right-to-return to work guaranteed under the law.

In January of this year, Alberta passed provisions that allow employees to take 10 days of unpaid leave for each calendar year for reasons such as domestic abuse and stalking.

Also this year, Ontario enacted new domestic leave provisions that provide victims of domestic and sexual abuse with five paid days of leave, and a longer period of 15 weeks of protected leave if needed.

In Saskatchewan, meanwhile, the government has passed legislation providing protected leave for survivors of domestic violence. The new law allows for a maximum of 10 days of unpaid leave, whether the violence is directed at the employee, their children, or a person for whom the employee is a caregiver.

As well, in February of this year, the federal government passed legislation that amends the Canada Labour Code to require five days of paid leave for victims of domestic and sexual abuse, in cases where a worker or their child is a survivor of such abuse.

Finally, the Government of Quebec recently introduced legislation that would provide 10 days of unpaid leave and 2 days of paid leave for victims of domestic violence, and this legislation is expected to pass soon.

“UFCW supports legislation that assists survivors of domestic and sexual abuse by providing them with paid leave, reasonable unpaid leave, and flexible work arrangements,” says Debora De Angelis, UFCW Canada’s Regional Director for Ontario. “And our union will continue to push governments to make paid leave a reality for all victims of domestic violence in Canada.”