By Christina McAllister
Manitoba’s NDP government in its speech from the throne Monday announced it will provide paid leave for victims of domestic abuse.
The annual throne speech, which is both ceremonial and functional, signals the opening of a new legislative session and outlines what the government hopes to achieve.
Listed in its agenda, read by Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon, is the promise to offer victims of domestic violence legal right to paid leave from work and to offer support to children in foster care.
Premier Greg Selinger said paid leave would allow victims to avoid the daily routine of travelling to and from work, where they could be further victimized.
A provincial spokesperson told Humber News on Tuesday the Manitoba government is taking action to prevent domestic violence and help victims escape from abusive situations.
The spokesperson also said this new policy will provide paid leave and job protection to enable victims to deal with situations without having to worry about about losing financial stability.
It will also strengthen protection orders, said the spokesperson.
This legislation will be the first of its kind in North America and builds on Manitoba’s ongoing work to prevent family violence and support victims, the source said.
Statistics Canada reported there were more than 85,000 accounts of family violence in Canada in 2013, with spousal violence being the most common.
The same report said victims of family violence have increased risk of joblessness and economic vulnerability.
According to another report published by the Manitoba government, women constitute the majority of victims and are more likely to be victims of severe forms of domestic violence.
Manitoba also recorded one of the highest rates of family violence among the provinces.
This is the last throne speech before an expected Manitoba provincial election in April.