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Canada: Unions win paid leave, support for victims of domestic violence

11 April 2019 News
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In response to ongoing union campaigns for paid leave and improved support for victims of domestic violence and abuse, Canada's federal Labour Code has been amended to include a clause requiring all federally-regulated workplaces to provide five days of paid leave for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, in cases where a worker or their child is a survivor of such abuse. Since 2016, beginning in Manitoba, Canadian provinces have been introducing legislation granting new protections and support for these victims, such as five days of paid workplace leave in Manitoba and Ontario with respectively 17 weeks and 15 weeks of unpaid but protected leave if needed.

Provincial legislation remains uneven; five provinces are still without legislation establishing paid domestic violence leave. Quebec law allows 2 days' paid leave under general personal emergency leave provisions, with up to 26 weeks unpaid leave for victims. New legislation in Nova Scotia in effect since January 1 this year provides for up to 16 weeks continuous unpaid leave for victims of domestic violence and their parents. Ten intermittent days are authorized for victims to seek support and services.

Unions are pushing for legislation across Canada guaranteeing 5 days paid leave, and have begun introducing dedicated clauses in their collective bargaining agreements.