Gender Equality for Migrant Women and Gender-Diverse People in Canada – Reflections from the Middle of the Pandemic was the fourth panel in LEAF’s Personhood Speaker Series. It took place on February 25, 2021.


The Personhood Speaker Series created a space to discuss what makes a ‘person’ and whose voices need centering in conversations about gender equality in 2020 and beyond.

About the Panel

Our fourth panel asked what gender equality means for migrant women and gender-diverse people in Canada in 2021. Specifically, how do Canadian laws and policies on migrant labour impact personhood? How has mainstream feminism historically participated in denying the personhood of migrant women and gender-diverse people in Canada? What is the impact of devaluing groups of people and treating them as expendable sources of labour, despite the fact that their work serves an essential purpose in our daily lives? What steps need to be taken to recognize and affirm the personhood of migrant women and gender-diverse people?

The panel featured Avvy Go, Clinic Director at the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic; Evelyn Calugay, Member and Organizer at PINAY; and Harsha Walia, Executive Director at the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA), Author, and Migrant Justice Advocate. Min Sook Lee, Documentary Filmmaker and Assistant Professor at OCAD University, moderated the discussion.

Panelists discussed how discriminatory labour policies have been reinforced throughout Canadian history, leading to a denial of personhood for migrant workers. Panelists also unpacked how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the existing systemic inequalities for migrant women and gender-diverse people, and discussed ways in which migrant women and gender-diverse people have organized to expose the injustices they face in order to reassert their personhood.

You can watch a recording of the panel discussion below.


This program has been accredited by the Law Society of Ontario and contains 1 hour and 30 minutes of EDI Professionalism content. For Nova Scotia lawyers, consider including this course as a CPD learning activity in your mandatory annual Continuing Professional Development Plan as required by the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society.


LEAF’s work is only possible with the generous support of our donors and funding partners. LEAF relies on donations to fund our work, including, law reform, research projects, and legal interventions. The Speaker Series was a ticketed event which attendees paid between $15-$100 to join. We are now offering the videos available for viewing on our website, but we ask that you please consider making a donation and help us continue to work towards justice and equality for all people – thank you!  

The funds raised through LEAF’s Personhood Speaker Series will continue to support our work to advance substantive equality rights in Canada through litigation, law reform and education.

Thank you to our generous sponsors for making this event possible: CUPE National, UFCW Canada, Delaney Capital Management, BMO, Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, Cavalluzzo, Koskie Minsky LLP, Ontario Nurses’ Association, Goldblatt Partners LLP, The Law Society of Ontario, Stockwoods LLP, Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP, Kastner Lam LLP, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Lerners LLP, AMAPCEO, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) and Madame Premier.