Alberta Liberal Leader Dr. David Swann seeks to amend Bill 2 to ensure its protections apply to a broader category of survivors.
“I support the intent of this bill, but I am concerned that its protections may not be afforded to all survivors due to a technicality,” says Swann.
Bill 2, An Act to Remove Barriers for Survivors of Sexual and Domestic Violence, currently covers survivors who were either a minor, in an intimate relationship with or were dependent on the perpetrator at the time that the sexual misconduct or non-sexual assault occurred.
However, a relationship of dependency might not be an accurate description of incidences where the survivor and perpetrator(s) are co-workers with the same level of seniority, such as in a recent high-profile case of a female police officer who resigned from the Calgary Police Service after enduring years of harassment from her colleagues.
Likewise, it is unclear if dependency applies to harassment or exploitation of an adult student by a university professor or post-secondary instructor.
The bill cannot be amended to include references to co-workers since that would involve altering legislation not currently under consideration. Consequently, Swann proposes reducing the bill’s ambiguity by inserting an additional category of protection:
“the person who committed the misconduct was in a position of trust or authority in relation to the person with the claim,”
“It’s unfortunate that specific mention of co-workers and instructors was left out of the original proposal. Perhaps this is something the NDP can change in the future.” says Swann.
“In the meantime, I call on my colleagues to support my amendment to ensure more survivors are included under these important protections.”