It’s time for Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his team to read the fine print in Bill 148.
Once they do, they will realize that along with turning back the clock on workers’ rights and benefits, repealing it will undo an important source of support and protection for survivors of sexual violence and abuse.
This legislation is critical in promoting the safety of any worker, but we know women experience domestic violence at higher rates and are more likely to be seriously injured or killed by a current or former partner.
The law permits people to take up to 10 individual days of leave, five of which would be paid, if they or their children experience domestic or sexual violence or are threatened. And, if the situation is even more dire, workers could take up to 15 weeks of unpaid leave without risking their employment.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to live with constant abuse, harassment and fear at home, and on top of it all, to be anxious about losing my job. Yet this is a daily reality for thousands of people, mostly women – a reality this legislation can help address. People in this situation need time to decide what actions they may need to take – whether risk assessments and safety planning, figuring out where to live, arranging one’s finances, or seeking legal advice and counselling.