Cindy Lamoureux amendment to Bill 7 ensures people of all genders can access leave when they are victims of interpersonal violence
Thursday December 5th, Cindy Lamoureux moved an amendment to the government bill to ensure people of all genders will have access to leave when they are victims of interpersonal violence. Her comments in the Legislature are below together with the Minister's and my responses.
Ms. Cindy Lamoureux (Tyndall Park): I move, seconded by the member for River Heights (Mr. Gerrard),
THAT Bill 7 be amended in Clause 3 by replacing clause (a) of the definition "interpersonal violence" in the proposed subsection 59.11(1) with the following:
(a) domestic violence, being violence that occurs when a person is subjected to an act or omission mentioned in subsection 2(1.1) of The Domestic Violence and Stalking Act by another person who
(i) is co'-hibiting'–'-habitating' or is 'cohabitated' with another–with the person in a spousal, conjugal or intimate relationship,
(ii) has or had a family relationship with the person, in which they have lived together,
(iii) has or had a family relationship with the person, in which they have not lived together,
(iv) has or had a dating relationship with the person, whether or not they have ever lived together, or
(v) is the other biological or adoptive parent of their child, regardless of their marital status or whether they have ever lived together;
Ms. Lamoureux: It is a pleasure to stand once again to speak to Bill 7.
I will reiterate that it is necessary that survivors of domestic violence are fully supported, and I am pleased that this bill has been brought forward as a step forward to fulfilling that goal.
Manitoba has definitely lagged when it comes to protecting our most vulnerable. As it stands, the definition of interpersonal violence in the Employment Standards Code refers to persons as him or her, or as his or her. Domestic violence, sadly, is not an act that is limited to strictly heterosexual or other typically cisgendered relationships.
If Bill 7 is going to truly support and protect all Manitobans, it must reflect those protections for the gender-diverse members of our society, which it cannot do for our two-spirited, non-binary, gender-fluid or transgender people with the references to him or her or his or her in it.
The amendment I propose would maintain the intent of the bill while expanding it to protect those who do not identify as male or female. I hope that we can unanimously agree that the bill should cover all Manitobans, regardless of their gender identity.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Hon. Cathy Cox (Minister responsible for the Status of Women): It really is a pleasure to be able to speak today to The Employment Standards Code Amendment Act, which is Leave for Victims of Interpersonal Violence.
You know, the member opposite brought forward this–these amendments, and it's very important to us as a government to ensure that there is a gender neutrality in bills, especially this bill.
I just returned from the federal-provincial-territorial meeting of ministers responsible for the status of women just early this morning, Madam Speaker, and it was an important topic that we discussed around the entire table. So ministers from coast to coast to coast have the ability to actually share their comments and the importance of ensuring gender neutrality as we move forward.
You know, we did hear from two youth panels there and they talked about poverty, economic opportunity, health and well-being and the challenges that many of those people from the LGBTQ community face each and every day, so it really is important that we include them in this bill. And this is a big step forward as we move forward with this legislation.
We want to recognize on this side of the Chamber that women deserve to be provided this leave. It's leave that they can use for counselling, to seek legal services, medical treatment, not only for them but also for their dependent children who have been exposed to interpersonal violence or who have witnessed it.
So this is a big step forward, Madam Speaker, and I'm very proud of our government for bringing it forward and thanks to the member opposite for the amendments to ensure that we have gender neutrality.
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Briefly, I just want to thank the MLA for Tyndall Park for bringing forward this important amendment and make sure that all Manitobans are covered in the consideration of domestic violence.