By Paula Wells, Social Media Coordinator at WomanACT
This week our Executive Director, Harmy Mendoza had the opportunity to discuss the importance of Bill 26 (formerly known as Bill 177), The Domestic and Sexual Violence Workplace Leave and Training Accommodation Act. The bill was introduced by NDP Women’s Issues Critic Peggy Sattler, MPP London West and endorsed by many organizations including WomanACT. It unanimously passed legislature last March and due to Premier Kathleen Wynne proroguing the legislature in September, it had to be reintroduced and the entire legislative process had to start again.
Alejandro Gonzalez, Resource Development Manager at MCIS Language Services and Dr. Christopher Mackie, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at Middlesex London Health Unit were also on the panel to share their perspectives.
The bill provides survivors of sexual or domestic violence with up to 10 days of paid leave to deal with the harm they experienced (visit a doctor, seek counselling or legal support) without risk of losing their employment.
Peggy shared research from a 2014 National Study "Can work be safe when home isn't" based on a survey of 8400+ employees. "What was particularly striking about the findings was that the violence did not only affect the victims, it also affected their co-workers. For 30% of the co-workers, the stress and concern that they felt because of their awareness of what their colleague was going through had a negative impact on their own performance on the job".