Yesterday, the Sask. Party missed an opportunity to fully implement changes that are being called for by survivors of domestic violence, labour leaders, the Saskatchewan NDP, and people across Saskatchewan.
“Saskatchewan has the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of domestic violence in Canada and the bill the government presented and we passed yesterday takes an important step toward helping survivors,” said NDP Justice Critic and Critic for Women Nicole Sarauer. “Unfortunately, by presenting legislation that addresses only one of the three changes being called for, the Sask. Party missed a critical opportunity to do more.”
The bill, which got unanimous support through the Legislature yesterday, will help survivors by ensuring their right to get out of rental agreements without penalty when they are fleeing domestic violence. It is one of the three policy changes that were included in a bill Sarauer presented in March, along with her colleague NDP Labour Critic David Forbes. Bill 603 – An act to Provide Critical Supports for Victims of Domestic Violence would have also ensured that victims of domestic violence would be protected while they work and are entitled to paid leave. Despite the support these initiatives received from advocates and frontline workers, they were left out of the Sask. Party’s legislation.
With the passage of the legislation yesterday, one third of Sarauer’s Bill 603 is now on its way to becoming law. As a result, the bill had to be withdrawn but Sarauer said the NDP remains committed to working to pass the workplace supports for survivors.
“This first step is encouraging and shows that, when pressed, the Sask. Party is willing to take action on this important issue,” Sarauer said. “But we know there are a lot of women and children in the province facing desperate situations so we will continue to be a strong voice and push to provide as much support as we can for them.”