Victoria – People in British Columbia have an opportunity to voice their views on strengthening support for working people who have been subjected to domestic or sexual violence.

An online questionnaire about possible paid leave is open for public feedback until October 8. Interested groups can make written submissions.

The consultation, launched by Dean and Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, will help inform further improvements to the Employment Standards Act.

The survey can be found here:
https://engage.gov.bc.ca/domesticviolenceleave

All questions on the feedback form are voluntary and will be confidential. All responses will be compiled and analyzed as a group. Responses will not be identified by individual.

B.C. and Alberta are the only two provinces in Canada that do not offer paid leave for people who have been subjected to domestic or sexual violence. Dean and Bains will make recommendations to cabinet in fall 2019 based on the results of the consultation. This would be the next step following recent changes to employment standards that, for the first time, provide job-protected, unpaid leave for people trying to escape domestic or sexual violence.

The act provides up to 10 days per calendar year of unpaid leave, as well as up to an extra 15 consecutive weeks of unpaid leave. These provisions help people take the time needed to go to medical appointments, look for a new home and restore their lives without having to worry about losing their job. Before the changes to the act, workers could take time from their job only if their employer agreed to the leave.

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