REGINA – Saskatchewan will be offering paid leave to victims of domestic and sexual violence who require time off from work.
The government has introduced and passed legislation that it expects to take effect later this month.
The change means employees, who were previously entitled to take 10 unpaid days of leave, can take five paid days and five unpaid days off.
The government says employees can use the leave to move, obtain support services, get medial help and attend court appearances.
Justice Minister Don Morgan says he hopes the change means victims can get the help they need without worrying about money.
The Opposition NDP has been pushing for the government to introduce paid leave for domestic violence victims and presented a private member’s bill last year.
Saskatchewan struggles with high rates of domestic violence.
The Saskatchewan Coroners Service says that over the last 14 years, 71 people have died in domestic homicides – more than half of them women.
The province on Monday also released a formal response to recommendations made one year ago by a panel that studied domestic homicides in Saskatchewan.
The government said at the time that it accepted the panel’s 19 suggestions, which ranged from providing better education for students about healthy relationships to establishing a provincial call line to provide information and support to victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.
The province listed Monday existing measures that address the recommendations, including its 811 health line with online information about resources and information about healthy relationships.
The government hasn’t said whether there will be a future study of deaths in the province related to domestic violence.
“Every domestic violence death case should be reviewed using this process,” the panel recommended in its 2018 report. “The review should be mandated through legislation or amendments to existing legislation or … it should be established as a study commission under the Public Inquiries Act.”