UPDATE: Vancouver City Hall Listened to Women!

We’d like to thank those who joined over 200 community members and hotel workers at Vancouver City Hall on Tuesday July 23 to combat pervasive sexual harassment and assault in the hospitality industry.

The City Council responded to the community on Wednesday July 24 by voting UNANIMOUSLY for Councillor Christine Boyle and Councillor Jean Swanson’s motion to have the City of Vancouver play a leadership role in ending sexual violence in the hospitality and service industries!

READ THE MOTION BELOW

 

This is a FIRST STEP! Raising awareness about this issue is inspiring more women to speak out about their experiences, and employers are starting to take notice.

Thank you to the following organizations that helped to support our campaign​ or joined us at Vancouver City Hall. Your presence made this an issue that the City cannot ignore, and you helped to support the courageous women coming forward to tell their stories of sexual violence in the hospitality industry:

Vancouver District Labour Council
BC Federation of Labour
BC Government and Service Employees Union
Ending Violence Association of BC
Battered Women’s Support Services
The Coalition of Progressive Electors
Canadian Union of Public Employees
Good Night Out
Hospital Employees’ Union
Health Sciences Association
MoveUp
Amalgamated Transit Union
BC Teachers Federation
Building Trade Council
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 213
International Socialists
Living Wage for Families Campaign
Plumbing & PipeFitting Industry Local 170
Ironworkers Local 97
Metro Vancouver Alliance
Public Service Alliance of Canada
Service Employees International Union Local 2
Socialist Alternative
Solidarity Notes
Teaching Support Staff Union
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1518
West Coast LEAF
Women Transforming Cities
Professional Employees Association
Federation Of Post-Secondary Educators of BC

 

VANCOUVER CITY HALL MOTION: Ending Sexual Harassment and Violence in Vancouver’s Hospitality and Service Industries

WHEREAS

1.The safety of women in the workplace remains a top priority for the City of Vancouver;

2.The City of Vancouver has engaged in a variety of ways to strengthen women’s equity, including through the creation of a Women’s Equity Strategy, unanimously adopted;

3.In 2018, the City of Vancouver joined UN Women’s Global Flagship Initiative, “Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces” (“UN Women Safe Cities”);

4.Vancouver City Council recognizes that safe and healthy workplaces help attract and retain families, and individuals to live and work in the city;

5.The City of Vancouver recognizes and supports the growth of the #MeToo Movement across North America, the human rights of Women, and the need to ensure workplaces in hospitality and service industries are free from sexual assault and harassment;

6.The City of Victoria recently passed a motion to require, among other things, sexual violence prevention training in the local service industry to ensure a harassment-free environment;

7​.Recent sexual harassment and sexual assault complaints have been raised at luxury hotels in Vancouver;

8.Sexual assault reports in Vancouver rose more than 16 per cent since 2016, even as rates of other violent crime decreased or remained steady. Nearly 400 of the 1,431 reported assaults over the past three-years came from the central business district, which includes the Granville strip and other nightlife areas;

9.The City of Vancouver has been concerned in the past with the high rate of crime and sexual assault in the Granville Entertainment District;

10.Good Night Out Vancouver was formed in response to high rates of crime and sexual violence in the Central Business District, and Vancouver City Council recently approved additional funding for Good Night Out Vancouver to continue their important education and intervention work, and to build their fundraising capacity;

11.The City of Vancouver has invested greatly in developing a Nighttime Economy, including passing a recent motion to create “A Comprehensive Strategy for Realizing the Full Potential of the Nighttime Economy in the City of Vancouver”. This work includes keeping the safety of the local workforce in mind, particularly as women constitute a majority of workers in hotels, restaurants and bars and commonly experience sexual harassment in these industries;

12.Attracting greater numbers of tourists and local residents to our downtown social district can yield greater nightlife vibrancy and economic growth, and it can place demands on public safety and create additional risks for vulnerable people, including service and hospitality staff.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Vancouver City Council direct staff to report to Council on recommendations and actions to ensure the safety of women working in the service and hospitality industry. In the development of this report Council direct staff to: 

i.Meet with downtown hotel/restaurant ownersVancouver Police Department, related association, service worker advocate groups (unions and community advocates) to formulate recommendations on how to combat the growth of sexual violence in Vancouver’s hospitality and service industries and in the workplace;

ii.Explore ways to end sexual violence in the city, including in Vancouver hotels, restaurants and bars, as part of its work on the UN Women Safe Cities work and the upcoming nighttime economy strategy;

iii.Report back with implications of and options for mandating sexualized violence prevention training for hotel and restaurant staff as part of either the liquor licence or business licence approval process; and

iv.Report back on options for conducting audits of venues to ensure the staff and environment minimize risk of sexual violence incidents; including working toward a common policy for business operators that establishes a best practices standard for conduct.