Twenty-four years ago Canada, and the world, were witness to the violent and senseless murder of fourteen women at Ecole Polytechnic in Montreal.  Twenty-four years later those murders have become a stark reminder to us all of the problem of violence against women. According to the United Nations, at least one in three women in the world has been severely abused in her lifetime. Even more disturbing, many of those abuses are at the hands of a family member and lead to disability or death.

In the years since December 6th, 1989, we have also been reminded that our schools and post-secondary campuses are not immune from violence. And rather than feel intimidated by this reality, more and more Canadians are demanding change and working to reverse this pattern of violence and abuse.

In 1991, December 6th was proclaimed as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. At the time, provincial and federal ministers declared their commitment for change by outlining a plan to ensure safe and healthy communities in which there is a commitment to end violence against women. As well, Canada added its support to the United Nation's Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Unfortunately, this progress is being undermined by actions of the federal government. Soon after taking office in 2006, the Harper government announced a series of policy and funding changes that reverse many of the important gains needed to support safe living and working conditions for women. Federal-provincial child care agreements were cancelled. The Court Challenges Program was cancelled and the mandate of Status of Women Canada was significantly changed. All of these changes have eroded the capacity of women to achieve and secure conditions of real equality.

At both the national and provincial level, FPSE is committed to defending the rights of women. At the bargaining table, in the community and through legislation we will continue to press for measures that ensure violence against women is eliminated and equality for women is secured.

December 6, 2013

About FPSE

The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for faculty and staff in BC teaching universities, colleges and institutes, and in private sector institutions. FPSE member locals, represented by Presidents' Council and the Executive, represent over 10,000 faculty and staff at 18 public and 12 private sector institutions.