Common Sense Canadian

Study links extractive industries to rise in domestic abuse

PostedJuly 30, 2014 by in Western Canada
A fracking drill near Dawson Creek in northeast BC (Two Island Films)

A fracking drill near Dawson Creek in northeast BC (courtesy of Two Island Films)

Read this July 24 Globe and Mail story by Andrea Woo on a new study which exposes one of the trade-offs associated with expanded resource development, namely an increase in violence against women.

An increase in domestic and sexual violence against women is among the troubling social impacts of resource extraction industries, according to a B.C. victims’ services association behind a new $40,000 initiative aimed at drawing awareness to the issue.

Tracy Porteous, executive director of the Ending Violence Association of B.C. (EVA BC), pointed to recent Canadian and international research showing that factors such as a largely transient and male work force, increases in drug and other substance use and income disparity between sexes associated with such industries contribute to an increase in violence against women.

In response, EVA BC is working to produce a training video aimed at new employees involved in resource extraction, focusing on identifying the risks and responding appropriately. The B.C. government and energy producer Encana Corporation will contribute $20,000 each to fund its production.

“It’s important to be said that the vast majority of men who work in resource extraction don’t commit violence,” Ms. Porteous said. “It’s those people that we want to tap into, so they can speak to the people who are struggling.”

Clarice Eckford, project co-ordinator at Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society, found that in that northeastern B.C. boomtown, the average income for men in 2006 was $56,000 – $12,000 more than the national average – due largely to new jobs in construction, oil and gas, transportation and communication and mining. By contrast, the average income for women in Fort St. John that year was just $27,000. This income disparity results in women becoming financially dependent on their partners, Ms. Porteous said.

Ms. Eckford also found that nearly one-third of men in Fort St. John reported having “no fixed workplace address” in 2005, which was double the national average.

Meanwhile, towns with populations of less than 20,000, such as Fort St. John and Kitimat, do not meet the threshold to have provincially funded community-based victim assistance programs, Ms. Porteous said.

“These are key programs that help [victims] navigate a complex set of systems [such as] child protection, police, corrections, social assistance and social housing,” which all have different policies and procedures, she said.



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Common Sense Canadian



    My husband is one of the Oil Sands workers. He is home for one week every month.
    He works 14 days straight–all 10 hour days. When he gets off the plane he is so tired he can barely talk–comes home after a day of travel that begins at 4:00 am and gets him home at 7:00pm.
    He works at a camp with about 6000 others who are all there–not as a preference but as a necessity. There is no work at home. Although lots of people criticize these workers and their so called “6 figure” income–we accept the reality that at this rate he will be so exhausted after 5-8 years that he will need to retire early.
    We have no young children and I am very self-sufficient with lots of friends.
    I cannot imagine the pressure on one of these men getting home and having 2-3 kids that want something from him and wife who needs him–it would be literally impossible for us if I put any demands on my husband.
    He usually feels like he has “come around” the day before he leaves again. We have one day together which we share with friends usually–just to help him stay connected with home!

    We do not drive a big pickup[ as has been discussed on different online convos.] but 2 small vehicles–and mostly we are trying to pay off debts from all the years of lay offs which often lasted 2-4 months. We hope to be at 0 debt in 2 years–except our big mortgage! But then the furnace and airconditioner were just replaced for another 10 grand! Next year are repairs outside etc.

    Just like all working class families–we do say thank you daily for the chance to work.

    How the country gets the oil to buyers is another issue which all the guys at the tar sands discuss with concern.


    This isnt earth shattering news.

    1. remote construction camps.
    2. transient workers from everywhere garanteeing anonimity
    3. incredible amounts of money earned with zero options for “spending it”
    4. gambling
    5. prostitution
    6. drugs
    7. booze
    8. predominantly male workers
    9. private security, rarely the police overseeing the work camps.

    Have i missed anything?

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