By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government says it’s broadening the eligibility for its current domestic violence leave.
Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox said Monday that amendments to the Employment Standards Code will include victims of interpersonal violence, meaning the eligibility will apply to all victims of sexual violence and stalking regardless of whether they know the assailant.
The government says employees would be able to take up to 17 weeks per year in one continuous period in a way that best meets their needs.
The proposed changes would also ensure an employee could take leave if their child or a person under their care has witnessed or been harmed by interpersonal violence.
The government says it would bring Manitoba into alignment with British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
Cox notes the proposed legislation is consistent with the recently passed Residential Tenancies Amendment Act, which expanded early lease-termination provisions for victims of domestic violence and stalking to also cover victims of sexual violence more generally.
The province says Manitoba recorded the highest rate of police-reported sexual assault among the Canadian provinces in 2018, with 113 cases per 100,000 population — almost twice the national rate of 77.