Saturday, 14 September 2013

Lady of leisure

My fight is over.

As my hand has been healing over the summer months, I have enjoyed the freedoms of exploring a new land and learning a new language. I have read numerous books and have wandered through many parks soaking up the lazy days of summer. My forced vacation and recovery time took a sour turn August 14 when I informed my employer that I was pregnant. They told me that I was no longer able to work. I felt as if my world was turning upside down. In many ways, my identity is inextricably linked to my vocation. Who am I if I am not allowed to work in the job that I love? What am I supposed to do with my time now? Deep inside me, I do not like being told what I can and cannot do. When one's freedom to choose is taken away, it is debilitating. When you speak up and state your case and realize that nobody is listening, you feel like you are being suffocated.

One month after my letter campaign along with what I thought was compelling research literature supporting my right to work, I have been stymied. OH&S has stated that the risk of infectious diseases, exposure to X-rays and anesthetic gases, the long hours, and risk of violence at work is too great for me and the unborn baby. They have washed their hands of my situation. Collecting workers comp for a "disability"such as pregnancy does not sit right with me, especially since I have been informed by one of the top OH&S personnel here that Quebec is the only province in Canada and in fact the only place in the world that has regulations regarding pregnant women working. Sometimes I wonder if I am living in the '50's.

This experience has given me a glimpse of what it must be like for educated immigrants coming to Canada. They have the skills and abilities to work, they are healthy, and more importantly they have the willingness to work hard and make a new life for themselves. I realize that law and regulations have their place. We no longer employ children in coal mines and women have been recognized as capable contributors to the work force. Employers are mandated to maintain safe working environments for their employees. The Saskatchewan government has a new ad campaign coming out concerning "Work Safe" which Daryl has been working on. The images are shocking, but make a point. However, I have had difficulty swallowing the "dangerous work environment" line given to me when there is a whole body of evidence that speaks otherwise to that argument.

What can I say, the French-Canadians value their children through providing $7/day daycare and extended leave for maternity. Vivre le Quebec.

What else is there to say? Sometimes we need to fight against the injustices of this world. Sometimes we need to submit in our fights, especially if they are slowly eating away at the fiber of our being.

Time to start my life as a lady of leisure (at least for the next 6 to 12 weeks).