TORONTO, ON —/COMMUNITYWIRE/— As instances of domestic and intimate partner violence continue to spike during the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of emergency frontline workers at North Bay’s Nipissing Transition House issue a call for expanded programs and enhanced workplace protections to better support women and their children.
“We simply don’t have the resources or space we need to meet the needs of women and children fleeing violence. We have to turn them down or refer them to other services that are also at capacity and scrambling to meet the increased needs for supportive housing during the pandemic,” says Danielle Foren, Vice-President of CUPE Local 4720.
CUPE members at Nipissing Transition House run the region’s primary 24-hour, 7 days a week emergency shelter for women. Programs they run provide ongoing emotional support and education and assist women with finding long-term housing.
“Staff retention is a huge issue a Nipissing Transition House,” continued Foren. “Workers with 20 and 30 plus years of experience are leaving because working conditions have gotten so bad and we can’t retain relief staff. Over the years, we’ve seen a devastating erosion of programs that help women get back on their feet after fleeing violence.”
Nipissing Transition House has eliminated a staff position that addressed the needs of children in the shelter, removed a program that assisted survivors of abuse in navigating the court system, and closed a housing facility designed to help women transition from shelter to independent living.
“Our employer isn’t providing us with the resources we need to meet the needs of women and their children who are fleeing violence,” continued Foren. “We need the management of Nipissing Transition House to care for its workers as diligently as our members care for women and their children.”
CUPE Local 4720.3, representing 16 members at Nipissing Transition House, have been in collective agreement negotiations since 2019. The local’s expressed goal at the bargaining table is to protect and enhance services for women and their children fleeing violence by enhancing working conditions so that the agency is better able to recruit and retain qualified staff. The local will be in legal strike position effective 12:01am on Monday, June 28, 2021.
For more information and media requests: