Members of Canada's largest private sector union stepped into pink high heels on Saturday afternoon and went for a walk in downtown Toronto to raise funds for women and children who have suffered domestic violence.
The members of Unifor, a general trade union that represents 315,000 workers, walked in Nathan Phillips Square, across from a location where the union is currently engaged in auto bargaining.
The walk was led by Unifor National President Jerry Dias and his son Jordan. All members who took part were men.
According to a news release on Saturday, the walk raised $134,000 and all proceeds will go to the Halton Women's Place, which provides shelter and crisis services for physically, emotionally, financially and sexually abused women and their dependent children. It is based in Burlington.
Organizers of the annual event, called "Hope in High Heels," modified the walk due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unifor decided to limit the number of union members who took part and keep the walk physically distanced.
"These much needed funds will provide safe shelter and services to women and children escaping domestic violence at a time when many have been forced to isolate with their abusers," Dias said in the release.
"We've seen a rise in domestic violence during the pandemic so in addition to raising money our goal is to also raise awareness about the ongoing violence that thousands of women across the country are experiencing."
Carm Bozzo, manager of development and communications for Halton Women's Place, said the walk is important because many fundraising events have been cancelled this year due to pandemic.
"It is just amazing to see these men come out every September and stand up against women abuse and raise such an incredible amount of money that directly supports the women and children who use our services."