Sask. NDP renews calls for paid leave for domestic violence victims

Nicole Sarauer in the Legislature. Photo courtesy Facebook/Nicole Sarauer

The Saskatchewan NDP is calling on the provincial government to follow the federal Liberal government’s lead and allow victims of domestic violence paid days off.

The party has campaigned for paid leave for domestic violence victims in the past, but is renewing its call this week after a federal government announcement.

This week, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals announced the government will allow employees in federally-regulated workplaces five days paid time off to leave abusive partners and to deal with the trauma and turmoil of domestic violence.

“We all know that the impacts of domestic violence are devastating to the victims, which is why providing the necessary supports is so crucial,” said NDP Justice Critic Nicole Sarauer in a press release.

“After seeing the steps that other provinces, and now the federal government, have taken on this file, we are hopeful the Sask. Party will follow suit and finally support the legislation we and so many others have been calling for.”

Manitoba and Ontario also offer five days paid time off for domestic violence survivors and New Brunswick’s Premier Gallant announced this summer to introduce that policy as well. PEI and Quebec are also developing paid leave for domestic violence victims.

According to the NDP’s press release, Sarauer has introduced a bill several times that would give Saskatchewanian domestic violence survivors the right to five days paid leave and up to 17 weeks unpaid leave if needed, as well as ensuring that survivors living with PTSD are supported.

“The Sask. Party have not shown the willingness to take this step,” The NDP said in a press release.

“What’s worse, the Sask. Party’s sell-off of the STC has further hurt victims of domestic violence, according to a survey just released by the Provincial Association of Transition Houses.”

Last year, the Saskatchewan Party introduced legislation that would allow tenants on a fixed-term rental agreement to end the agreement with 28 days notice if they or their family members are being abused by someone else who lives or has lived in the home. Compensation for counselling costs was also expanded to parents, siblings and adult children who have had someone die as a result of violent crime. The law was previously limited to only allowing compensation for the spouse or children of an adult victim, or the parent of a child victim.

The NDP called that move a “small step” to support domestic violence survivors.

Saskatchewan has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the country.