21 Sep The Women Of Simcoe Say No
United Ways across Canada are committed in our efforts to advocate for “Healthy People and Strong Communities”. One of the ways we do this is through public education and advocacy on issues of abuse and domestic violence. This is why your United Way is taking a stand with the “The Women of Simcoe Say No” movement in support of Bill 5 “Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act”.
In March of 2021, Member of Provincial Parliament Stephen Blais put forward a bill that would deter municipal councillors and board members from engaging in harassment by holding them accountable for their actions, including creating a process to remove them from office. The bill called for “codes of conduct for municipal councillors and members of local boards (to) include requirements for those councillors and members to comply with workplace violence and harassment policies and creates an integrity commissioner and judicial process to remove them from office for egregious acts of sexual, emotional and psychological misconduct”.
The progress of the Bill was halted with the prorogation of the legislature (end of the parliamentary session) by the provincial government until after the Federal Election.
In October of 2021, the Bill was introduced again, but died when the provincial election was called.
As municipalities approach October 24th elections across the province, there is a groundswell of individuals and organizations in our community demanding that our Provincial Government amend the respective Municipal Act, 2001 and the City of Toronto Act, 2006to address this important issue.
Essentially, the “Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act” (Bill 5) would ensure consistent safety standards by mirroring legislation introduced by the Provincial Government in 2018 that mandated all workplaces in Ontario have a Workplace Violence and Harassment policy to protect all workers: as of today, this does not apply to municipally elected officials who are able to retain office and even seek subsequent re-election despite substantiated claims of harassment (the current maximum consequence is a 3- month suspension without pay).
Enough is enough.
Everyone deserves to feel safe in their workplace.
Everyone should be held accountable, including, and especially, those in positions of authority and power.
If you believe that your elected municipal leaders ought to be held accountable for abhorrent acts, contact your local member of Provincial Parliament NOW and advocate for change by letting them know that you support Bill 5 “Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act.” Waiting another day is too long.
Chief Executive & Philanthropy Officer
United Way Simcoe Muskoka
When we work together on important community issues, the results are game-changing.