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Women of Simcoe Say No – Rally at Barrie City Hall, September 21 (new date!)

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

Join "Women of Simcoe Say No", to support the "Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act", and ask all Simcoe County Councils do do so as well.

(Posted on behalf of Emily McIntosh, who's been too busy organizing!)

WHEN: Wednesday, September 21, 6:30pm (re-scheduled from original)

WHERE: Barrie City Hall, 70 Collier Street, Barrie – beginning outside, and moving into Council chambers at 7pm

The demonstration will start outside Barrie City Hall at 6:30pm, with a planned SIT IN at City Council. A motion will be brought forth for Barrie to re-issue its letter of support for Bill 5 to the government, as the died when the provincial election was called. If you can only make it for a few minutes, PLEASE COME. If you are late, PLEASE COME. If you are free at the last minute, PLEASE COME. All of us are needed to make the change. No one else will do it. We NEED to do it. Thank you to everyone for this shared belief that everyone should live free of harassment, especially from those who have the privilege to represent us, the people. See you there!

Standing up for basic human rights is FOR EVERYONE.

Anyone out there believe that local elected officials couldn’t hold office if they were a perpetrator of harassment? Us too. Except we were wrong.

In March of 2021, a bill was put forward: "Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act” by Orleans Member of Provincial Parliament, Stephen Blais. The bill was brought forward to introduce legislation that would deter municipal councillors and board members from engaging in harassment by holding them to account for their actions, including creating a process to remove them from office.

The bill “requires that codes of conduct for municipal councillors and members of local boards include requirements for those councillors and members to comply with workplace violence and harassment policies, and creates an integrity commissioner and judicial process to remove them from office for egregious acts of sexual, emotional and psychological misconduct” (link). Sounds basic, right? Unfortunately, no.

The bill was reintroduced in October of LAST YEAR as Bill 10. In his address to the House, Mr. Blais conveyed the urgency to prioritize and pass this legislation before the most recent provincial election to ensure it was in full effect prior to the upcoming municipal elections. Sounds simple, right?

Women’s rights are workers’ rights and therefore receive full support and protection under the law, correct? Unfortunately, again, no.

Fast forward to TODAY, just weeks before municipal elections in Ontario on October 24, 2022, and, due to the lack of urgency in passing the initial bill, there is now NO guarantee that those who the public elect to be councillors have a blank record when it comes to human rights violations.

This is a non-partisan issue and a piece of legislation that needs to be prioritized to protect people in the workplace from elected municipal officials who abuse power by perpetrating harassment.

As Election Day approaches, the bill is AGAIN on the table, and it needs your attention now.

YOU and your families are invited to a SILENT demonstration at Barrie's next Council Meeting on September 19th (Council starts at 7pm). ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS SHOW UP.

For context, Barrie Council passed a motion to write the government to ask them to support the Bill in April, 2022. A request will be submitted for Council to reissue the letter of support, as it had to be REINTRODUCED as Bill 5 in August.

**The event has this name, because women (*including trans, non-binary and gender fluid people) are more adversely affected. This legislation will protect ALL PERSONS. According to the Angus Reid Institute (2018), 52% of Canadian women say they have been subject to sexual harassment in the workplace, and 28% of Canadian women say they have been subject to non-consensual sexual touching in the workplace.

A lack of accountability for elected officials at the municipal level translates into immunity and this MUST END. AND WE CAN END IT, TOGETHER.



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