MoveUP statement on act of hate at University of Waterloo in Canada

June 29, 2023

Sign that reads

Late yesterday afternoon, June 28, news began to spread across the country of a violent incident that took place at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada that saw three individuals—one professor and two students—attacked and stabbed during a philosophy class focused on gender issues.

Thankfully, according to the latest reports, the injuries are non-life-threatening and the suspect was apprehended. Our thoughts go out to those who are recovering from their injuries, the entire campus community at the University at Waterloo and at post-secondary communities across the country, as well as to anyone in our community who feels less safe today as a result.

If you need support at this time, we encourage you to seek out resources including your workplace’s Employer & Family Assistance Program (EFAP), HealthLinkBC, BC 211, the Crisis Centre, and Qmunity.

Unfortunately, these acts of violence are not isolated incidents. We have seen far too many acts of violence, aggression, and intimidation take place particularly targeting the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, including at supposedly family-friendly events, but also against other communities as well including, but not limited to, Indigenous peoples, other racialized peoples, women, or people with accessibility issues.

We hope that incidents such as these never have to take place. Nobody should have to live their lives fearing for their personal safety just going about their business in the community—whether that’s at work, at school, or during recreational activities.

Incidents like these, however, do remind us why it is continually important for unions such as ours to be allies, to use our voices to denounce these acts of hate, and to hold those who perpetuate and endorse these acts of hate accountable.

That means taking actions like supporting justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives in our workplace. That means fighting for real concrete actions such as free menstrual products in the washrooms at all our workplaces, fighting for paid days for Indigenous cultural leave or paid days for domestic violence leave, or fighting for remote work options at workplaces where it makes sense to. That also means engaging in political action and making sure that candidates who express hateful views are kept out of public office.

It also means publicly showing up so that all our members, and the labour movement, recognize that our union stands up for them—whether that means taking part in festivals such as Pride or demonstrations and rallies for other causes such as the Women’s March, the Red Dress gathering, and many others.

It is now more important than ever to be an ally and to stand up for those who have been marginalized or threatened in our communities. Our union will always do that no matter what. Hate has no place, not at work, not at school, and not anywhere in our communities.

In solidarity,

Lori Mayhew, President
Graeme Hutchison, Secretary-Treasurer
Rysa Kronebusch, Vice-President, Utilities
Christy Slusarenko, Vice-President, Combined Units
Annette Toth, Vice-President, ICBC