This case argued that part of the Yukon Change of Name Act, which denied married women the right to change their surnames, was unconstitutional. 

LEAF sponsored Suzanne Bertrand’s challenge of the Yukon Change of Name Act before the Yukon Supreme Court. The challenge was launched on April 17, 1985 – the day s. 15 of the Charter came into force and the day LEAF was incorporated. This was the first case LEAF sponsored. 


Suzanne Betrand was a French-Canadian woman in the Yukon who wanted to retain her maiden name, as it reflected her French ancestry. The Yukon Change of Name Act prevented her from keeping her maiden name.  


Ms. Betrand, sponsored by LEAF, argued that the Yukon Change of Name Act violated her equality rights under s. 15 of the Charter. The Government of Yukon did not oppose her argument.  


The Yukon Supreme Court agreed that the Yukon Change of Name Act violated s. 15 of the Charter, and struck down the provision which said married women could not change their last names.  

LEAF is grateful to Eloise Spitzer, counsel in this case.  

Our records are imperfect, but we are doing our best to update them – if you were involved with LEAF on this case but your name is not reflected here, please email us at [email protected].