The Kamloops, British Columbia, Local 993 women's committee has been
hard at work collecting all kinds of items, from clothing to toothpaste
to pillowcases, for "comfort cases" for sexual assault survivors.
|Signatory contractor Houle Electric donated $1,200 and two gift cards to the Kamloops, British Columbia, Local 993 women’s committee for their comfort cases.
"We think it's a great way to help," said Local 993 Assistant
Business Manager Mollie Routledge, who serves on the women's committee.
"It's been an awesome experience to see so many people pitching in."
In many instances of sexual assault, a person's clothes are
badly torn or damaged or needed as evidence. Sometimes, the survivors
simply don't want to put them back on. That's where the comfort cases
"They're a small piece of consolation at an incredibly difficult time," Routledge said.
As Local 993 noted in its blog post about the cases, one
side effect of large construction projects that require a lot of
travelers is that spin-off jobs are created, which attract transient
populations to surrounding communities. History shows that, with the
influx of people, paychecks and those on the periphery seeking to profit
from the boom, there is often an increase in the crime rate, including
British Columbia's skilled trades are fortunate to have
three major projects running concurrently for the next few years: the
Site C dam in the northeast, which is ongoing; the LNG project in
Kitimat in the northwest; and a hospital project in the central interior
area. The total number of electricians alone is expected to be in the
"Some folks talk about 'man camps,' like there's a horde of
rapists or something, and that's not it. Most of the people are just
construction workers trying to feed their families," said Local 993
Business Manager Glen Hilton. "But sometimes you do get an uptick in
violence, but not necessarily from the camp workers. It is usually from
transient populations following the camps seeking to profit from them,
and these comfort cases are a good thing. I'm glad our women's committee
is taking this on."
The cases are packed with items including clothes and
toiletries and can be personalized for the individual in need. Committee
is collecting apparel for men and women in sizes from small to XXL, as
well as items like bras and feminine hygiene supplies.
"Anyone can be a victim," said committee member Angie
Camille. "We're not pointing fingers. It could be drug-related, who
knows. We just want to help and let people know that Local 993 is here
The cases cost about $100 each, said Camille and Routledge.
They have received donations from groups including signatory contractor
Houle Electric, Vancouver Local 213, Victoria Local 230, the Western
Joint Electrical Training Society, the British Columbia and Yukon
Territory Building and Construction Trades Council, the British Columbia
Federation of Labour, United Association Local 170 and Pile Drivers
Routledge and Camille say the women's committee, which is
about five years old, is also working on other projects, including
putting together an all-women crew to upgrade the electrical work at a
local women's shelter. They also held a holiday party at the shelter in
December with a "Mrs. Claus" in attendance. Previously they've
participated in the Women's March Canada; the Cupcakes, Cocktails and
Conversation event for women in the trades; and lobbying events.
On Dec. 7, the women's committee were co-organizers for the
Red Dress ceremony and a shoe memorial. The latter is to remember the
women who have lost their lives to violence, for which the committee
collected gently used shoes. The Red Dress ceremony, part of the Red
Dress Project, is a national day of remembrance for Canada's missing and
murdered aboriginal women.
Hilton says Local 993 has been increasing its efforts to
recruit more women to the trade, hoping to eventually get to 20%. It's
currently at about 8%, which is well above the national average of
"It's an ambitious goal, but it's trending that way," Hilton said.
For questions or to donate items for the comfort cases, contact Routledge at firstname.lastname@example.org or Camille email@example.com.