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Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters Launches New Online Course, Leading Change™ at Work: Addressing Domestic Violence 

May 23, 2023 

Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters Launches New Online Course, Leading Change™ at Work: Addressing Domestic Violence 

Workplaces suffer too. Learn about employer accountability when domestic violence comes to your organization.

Edmonton, Alberta—The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) has launched a new course on their online training platform, Leading Change™ at Work: Addressing Domestic Violence. The self-directed, 120-minute course is now available to the public and will help participants better understand the scope of domestic violence and common signs of how it can show up in the workplace. 90% of people experiencing violence will disclose to a co-worker.[1]

Employers have obligations under Occupational Health & Safety legislation to help foster safety at work, and Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Act identifies domestic violence as a workplace hazard. In a recent survey, 25% of Alberta workers reported experiencing the effects of domestic violence at work and 78% wanted organizations to do more to address domestic violence.[2]

Organizations have a legal and fiscal imperative to create safe worksites and help avoid tragic incidents, such as the case of Lori Dupont, an Ontario nurse who was stabbed to death in 2005 by her ex-boyfriend and colleague, Marc Daniel, who then killed himself as well. The hospital where Lori and Marc worked eventually settled out of court with the Dupont family, who sought $13.3 million in damages for the terrible and untimely death of Ms. Dupont while she was at work.[3] The subsequent inquest that followed highlighted 84 accounts of foreseeable harm, where it was identified that Lori’s employer missed 84 separate chances to take action and end the harassment she was facing. 

“Companies that engage in these learnings are not only saving costs but more importantly, they are saving lives,” said ACWS Executive Director, Jan Reimer. “By demonstrating organizational leadership, they are helping to change the culture of gender-based violence. We are pleased to see employers working towards positive change for those living in violence – it’s everyone’s responsibility.” 

“Alberta businesses have suffered huge losses because of domestic violence, due to lost hours, absenteeism, retraining, accidents and near misses, as examples, related to both women living with violence and the perpetrator. Adjusted for inflation, this equates to over $110,000 per 100 employees per year[4]—as one employer we worked with described it, depending on the size of the company, it can be a ‘million dollar problem,’” said ACWS Leading Change Call to Action Coordinator, Jill Shillabeer. 

Made possible by funding provided by Servus, the course is available on the ACWS website for $25 per participant and was developed as a virtual alternative to the in-person workshops that ACWS continues to offer. ACWS also works with companies and organizations on policy consultation to design workplace interventions and responses and provides intensive training for on-site responders. 

About Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) 

Together, ACWS and its members work to end domestic violence—in our homes and throughout our communities.  A registered charity, ACWS is the provincial network organization of women’s shelters in Alberta. We bring close to four decades of experience and knowledge to serve our 39 members operating over 50 shelters across the province for women, children, and seniors facing domestic abuse. We advocate for ACWS members and work with them to end domestic violence through culture-shifting violence prevention programs, collective data and research, and front-line training. With support from ACWS, Alberta shelters are helping to provide safety, support families, and improve communities. 


For further information or to arrange for an interview, please contact: 

Olivia Street, Coordinator of Communications and Social Advocacy


[1] Ontario Safety Association, 2009

[2] Violence and the Workplace Study. Leger, 2019

[3] Hospital settles with slain nurse’s family. CBC News. Jan 4 2010

[4] Based on work conducted by Butler and Associates, 2010