Women’s substantive equality… One case at a time
Since 1985, LEAF has shaped the meaning of substantive equality and equality rights law in Canada. LEAF has helped law makers and the courts understand inequality from a feminist perspective. Since 1985, in over 150 cases, LEAF has exposed women’s realities in crucial areas such as:
- Violence against women
- Socio-economic rights
- Workplace discrimination
- Reproductive freedom
- Access to services to people with disabilities
- Aboriginal rights
Advancing equality guarantees in the law
LEAF’s work focuses on shaping the interpretion of Sections 15 & 28 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Using these equality “guarantees”, LEAF works to strike down discriminatory laws and practices in Canada.
Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
Notwithstanding anything in the Charter, the rights and freedoms referred to in it are guaranteed equally to male and female persons.
LEAF also contributes significantly to the relationship between equality guarantees and other sections of the Charter, including Section 2 (Fundamental freedoms) and Section 7 (Legal Rights).
In addition, LEAF’s work has provided analyses helpful to the interpretation and application of statutory human rights law.
Exposing compound discrimination
LEAF has not limited its interest to sex inequality alone. LEAF has developed approaches to equality law that show how sex (women’s) inequality is compounded by other grounds of discrimination that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms prohibits:
- Aboriginal status
- Sexual orientation
- Diversity and Collaboration
Central to LEAF’s mandate as a national, equality rights organization is our commitment to collaboration and consultation with others. This ensures LEAF’s arguments are informed and strengthened by the diversity of women’s experiences in Canada. By reaching into the many communities where women and girls lives are shaped and by learning about their experiences, LEAF becomes accountable to women and girls and the organizations that represent them.
LEAF does not provide funding or sponsor cases. Rather, it monitors the courts for cases that need intervention. If you need assistance with your individual case, public legal education associations or law societies may be able to help you locate a lawyer or another resource in your community or region.