(Ottawa, Ontario) December 6, 2016 – On this day, the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) marks the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, and solemnly remembers the 14 women murdered on this day in 1989 at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal. While there has been progress made in the pursuit of a Canada free from gender based violence and oppression, there is still much work to be done.
“Far too often, the everyday injustices and barriers that women experience are shrugged off,” stated CASW President Jan Christianson-Wood, “but we must recognize that these issues are part of a climate of misogyny that lead, in part, to those fourteen young women’s tragic deaths. It is more important than ever to remember and to name the horrific experience of those young women for what it was: gender based violence and misogyny.”
CASW also notes that the purpose of this day is two-fold; both to remember and to inspire action toward a better future. As such, CASW commends the federal government in undertaking a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, but concurrently CASW demands that this inquiry result in concrete actions to create systemic change.
“On behalf of the social workers we represent, CASW wrote letters to each provincial/territorial Premier, calling for full cooperation in the national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls,” noted Christianson-Wood, “and we will continue to demand a Canada in which our laws, policies and procedures – not just individual citizens – support, empower, and protect the dignity and safety of women and girls.”
Additionally, CASW acknowledges the special international circumstances which colour this year’s day of remembrance and action. “The politics of our neighbours to the south often have a huge impact on Canada’s political and social climate as well,” stated Christianson-Wood. “In light of recent events, CASW believes it is important to reiterate that Canadian social workers affirm the lived experiences of women and stand in solidarity with victims and survivors of violence.”
For further information:
Fred Phelps, MSW, RSW
CASW Executive Director