A leader at the Regina YWCA says societal issues that existed when 14 women were murdered in Montreal remain in Saskatchewan nearly three decades later.

The L'Ecole Polytechnique massacre happened 28 years ago, but Kendra Strong-Garcia said violence against women is still prominent.

Over half of Canadian women are said to experience violence in their lives, the majority before they turn 25.

Kendra Strong-Garcia

Kendra Strong-Garcia, YWCA senior director of programs, says violence against women is an issue in the province that needs more attention. (CBC News)

In Saskatchewan, the rate of domestic violence per capita is the highest in the country.

"It's something that is increasing annually," Strong-Garcia, who is the YWCA senior director of programs, said. "The awareness around domestic violence, around violence against women, around all issues looking at sexual assault, sexual harassment, cyber bullying, are issues that we need to have front and centre.

"It needs to be on people's minds everyday so that we can come towards change."

December 6 is Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. At noon, the YWCA Regina held a vigil honouring the lives of the women killed in 1989.

On that day, a Montreal man deliberately targeted women at a post-secondary institution, L'Ecole Polytechnique, killing them simply because they were women.

YWCA vigil

Candles were lit at the vigil held by the YWCA on Wednesday. (CBC News)

"This issue is worldwide. Even though it happened in Montreal 28 years ago, it's something that's still very much happening in society today, across Canada, across the world," Strong-Garcia said. "We bring recognition to these issues every opportunity we have."

YWCA Regina has an ongoing Rose Campaign with an aim to end violence against women and girls and increase public awareness.

In the evening, businesses around the city will "light the night," by lighting their storefronts red. Strong-Garcia said she hopes it will draw attention to the need for action on violence against women.