CREVAWC awarded $2.088 million for domestic violence training

By: Gerry Rucchin
May 1, 2019

CREVAWC Community Director, Barb MacQuarrie, announces to faculty and staff at the Faculty of Education the new domestic violence training program for federally regulated workers.

CREVAWC Community Director, Barb MacQuarrie, announces to faculty and staff at the Faculty of Education the new domestic violence training program for federally regulated workers.

The Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children (CREVAWC) at the Faculty of Education has received $2.088 million to develop training for federally regulated workers to recognize and respond to domestic violence in the workplace. Funding is provided by the Government of Canada’s Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Fund.

The training is in response to the Government of Canada’s amendments to the Canada Labour Code, which recognizes domestic violence as a workplace hazard and requires employer and employee training concerning domestic violence.

“There’s been an invisible barrier between work and home for a long time. We’ve assumed that what happens at home, stays at home,” said CREVAWC Community Director, Barb MacQuarrie. “The training is part of the bigger picture of creating social change where we, as a society, recognize domestic violence comes to work and impacts the workplace.”

Employers and unions have different training options. They can choose the:

  • Basic suite – an interactive one-hour format that puts employers and employees in different situations
  • Supervisor suite – three hours of online training that educates supervisors on their obligations in preventing and responding to domestic violence in the workplace
  • Facilitator suite – seven-hours of online training that allows participants to interact with a facilitator in real time

The training will also provide employers and employees with confidence when discussing domestic violence, which means they won’t turn survivors away because they don’t know how to respond or they’re afraid of making a situation worse.

“I’m hoping to see a shift in conversations about domestic violence. This training will help reduce the stigma of those experiencing domestic violence,” said MacQuarrie.

Training just under four million workers

CREVAWC has partnered with the Canadian Labour Congress and the Federally Regulated Employers – Transportation and Communications (FETCO) to implement the training.

The training will impact FETCO’s 500,000 members and the 3.2 million members from the Canadian Labour Congress.

“We’ve never had the opportunity to reach these kinds of numbers,” said MacQuarrie.

A successful history in creating safe workplaces

Since 2014, CREVAWC and the Canadian Labour Congress have collaborated on domestic violence initiatives. They’ve worked together to lobby provincial governments to include paid and unpaid leave for domestic violence survivors. They’ve also championed changes to provincial occupational health and safety legislation, which now recognizes domestic violence as a workplace hazard.

“We’ve had remarkable success in a very short period of time when it comes to our legislative agenda,” said MacQuarrie.

CREVAWC and the Canadian Labour Congress have also successfully lobbied the federal government. Federal workers who are domestic violence survivors now have five days paid leave.

“I think paid leave is important but employers also have to educate themselves and their workforce about how domestic violence might show up in the workplace and what the basic response to that should be,” said MacQuarrie.

CREVAWC hopes to expand its domestic violence training to provincial jurisdictions as well as internationally once the 30-month pilot has been completed.