New Brunswick regulations providing workplace leave for people experiencing domestic, intimate partner, or sexual violence will take effect September 1st .
Finance Minister Cathy Rogers says this kind of violence impacts our entire society, with research from the Justice Department of Canada estimating spousal violence cost the Canadian economy $7.4 billion in 2009.
“Domestic and intimate partner violence affects many people in New Brunswick way beyond those that are directly victimized,” says Rogers. “It affects the families, it affects the places they go to work, it affects their neighbours, it affects their schoolmates, it affects everyone.”
Rogers also brought up further data, showing in 2015 nearly 92,000 people in Canada reported intimate partner violence to police, four out of five were women, and in New Brunswick there were 2,122 of those.
She adds New Brunswick “ranked fourth highest amongst all provinces and the highest in Atlantic Canada” for incidents of intimate partner violence.
Crossroads for Women Executive Director Tina Thibodeau applauded this change, adding this kind of violence affects essentially the entire society and country in one way or another.
“It affects your family, it definitely affects your workplace,” says Thibodeau. “If you’re at your workplace, and you’re in this trauma, and you can’t function, your work is not getting done and it’s affecting everybody else around you, and that’s costly for employers.”
Thibodeau adds New Brunswick is the sixth province in Canada to institute regulations like this, adding it will help people get the time and space they need to get support.
The five other provinces which provide leave for people experiencing domestic violence are Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
The new regulations would allow people experiencing domestic, intimate partner, or sexual violence to 10 days off, taken separately or together, or one continuous 16 week block of time with the first five days paid.
Later Wednesday afternoon, government spokeperson Derek Carlisle clarified whichever option was chosen, a maximum of five days would be paid for.
Rogers says that would give people time to get support including dealing with safety concerns, seeking legal, medical and law enforcement assistance, as well as relocating either temporarily or permanently, and finding appropriate support services.
According to the government they consulted with 120 stakeholders when preparing these regulations, which were approved after a two week public review period at ended August 14th.