ST. JOHN'S – Today NDP leader Alison Coffin and candidates Jenn Deon and Sheilagh O'Leary announced their party's commitment to supporting women in Newfoundland and Labrador. New Democrats committed to increasing the amount of paid leave for those experiencing domestic violence and permanent funding for regional Status of Women Centres across the province.
"The pandemic has been very difficult for many people but particularly for women. We have seen the gap widening between those who are well supported and those who are struggling to get by," said Coffin. "Unfortunately, decades of Liberal and Conservative governments have let women fall further behind by failing to address the low minimum wage and supports women rely on like affordable childcare and housing. We need to invest in people and ensure they have the services they need to live a good life."
New Democrats fought for three days of paid leave for those experiencing intimate partner violence in 2018. Now, with the province's rate of intimate partner violence six times the national average, New Democrats say additional paid time is needed for those dealing with this traumatic situation.
"Women who are experiencing domestic violence need more support. These additional days of paid leave can help individual take care of themselves without having to worry about the financial strain," said Deon. "Giving women more options financially may actually save lives. We can't afford inaction the cost is too high for women facing violence."
The commitment made by New Democrats would also ensure permanent funding for the province's nine status of women's offices across Newfoundland and Labrador. This initiative supports a Call to Justice from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls report that insists on "Core and sustainable funding, as opposed to program funding" to address the violence members of these communities face.
"The province's Women's Centres do important frontline work, advancing women's causes from workplace equality to surviving intimate partner violence," said O'Leary. "These centres serve some of the most vulnerable women in our communities. People are falling through the cracks created by government's policies. If these organizations have permanent, core funding they can put more time and energy into serving women who really need their help."