NDP leader pushing for 10 days paid leave for sexual and domestic assault victims
New private members bill would also include up to 15 weeks of unpaid leave
Provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath introduced a private member's bill at Queen's Park this morning that would give 10 days of paid leave to people enduring domestic abuse or sexual violence.
The Hamilton MPP says the bill would give time off to survivors to ensure their safety, go to police, attend court proceedings and get medical care. The NDP says there have been 290 domestic homicides in Ontario between 2002 and 2014.
According to the Ontario Network of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres, women are three times more likely to have to take time off paid or unpaid work to deal with the consequences of the violence.
"It's time to protect survivors," Horwath said in a statement. "By giving people 10 days of paid leave as well as up to 15 weeks of unpaid leave, we're giving them one of the pieces they may need to get their lives back."
The bill proposes that the province would cover the cost of extending paid leave to people who need it, and in a statement, said that "ending intimate partner violence is the responsibility of everyone."
Dawnmarie Harriott, a survivor of domestic violence, also spoke about the issue.
"When I decided to leave my abusive partner, I was forced to quit a good, steady job. I ended up on the street," said Harriott. "This paid leave and the right to 15 weeks unpaid leave would have helped me. It would have given me the time I needed to find a safe place to live. It would have made all the difference."