Brampton opens gender-equality training to city staff on anniversary of École Polytechnique massacre

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Published December 6, 2023 at 3:29 pm

École Polytechnique victims

The City of Brampton is stepping up its commitment to taking action against gender-based and intimate partner violence with enhanced gender-equity training introduced on the anniversary of one of Canada’s most horrifying mass shootings.

Fourteen women were killed by a gunman at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique in an anti-feminist rampage on Dec. 6, 1989. The date is now also the  National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, which serves as a reminder of the violent misogyny that shocked the nation.

Now 34 years after the massacre, Brampton City Council is honouring the memory of the victims and others killed suffering from gender-based and intimate partner violence with enhanced equity training for all city staff members.

“I took the training, and I have to give you fair warning that it is difficult,” Coun. Rowena Santos said of the training, who put forward the motion along with Coun. Navjit Kaur Brar. “It is not easy.”

Santos said opening up gender-equity training to all staff “not only pays tribute to the victims of the Montreal massacre…but also to encourage all staff to be part of the movement.”

Brar and Santos have challenged all city departments and councillors’ offices to see which can complete the rigorous training first.

The city declared a gender-based and intimate partner violence epidemic earlier this year, calling on the federal government to follow suit and add femicide to the Criminal Code of Canada following the killing of Brampton woman Davinder Kaur.

Kaur died on May 19 after police say she was repeatedly stabbed by her estranged husband Nav Nishan Singh. The 44-year-old father has been charged with first-degree murder in Kaur’s death.

At the time the alleged murder was at least the third suspected femicide of a South Asian woman from Peel in less than a year.

The Peel Committee Against Women Abuse (PCAWA) has said there were 52 women in Ontario killed as a result of gender-based violence in 2022, averaging out to one woman killed for every week in the year.

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