Thirty years ago, on December 6, a tragic shooting at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal ended the promising lives of 14 young women. Their deaths shocked the country and led Parliament to designate December 6 as The National Day of Remembrance and Action Against Women.

Today, we wear white ribbons in remembrance of Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colga, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte, and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.

Today, we also reflect on the troubling rates of violence that women, girls, and LGBTQ2 individuals – of all social, economic, and cultural backgrounds – continue to experience throughout this country.

  • Women have a 20% higher risk of being victimized by men.1
  • Indigenous women experience violence at a rate 2.7 times higher than that reported by non-Indigenous women.2
  • Somewhere between 1,000 and 4,000 Indigenous women and girls are missing and murdered in this country.3
  • Women living with physical and/or cognitive impairments are 2 to 3 times more likely to experience violence than women living without such impairments.4
  • Senior women are 24% more likely than senior men to face family violence.5
  • Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.6
  • Northern Saskatchewan has the highest rate of violent crime against young women and girls in the country with a rate of 13,886 victims per 100,000 people.7

With numbers this high and disproportionate, December 6 must not only be a day of remembrance and reflection. It must also be a day of meaningful action for citizens throughout Saskatchewan and across Canada.

We all have a responsibility to raise awareness, to speak up, and to develop tangible, sustainable plans to eliminate violence against women and girls.

We all have a role to play in creating a culture of respect and inclusion.