On April 17, 2018, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) celebrates Equality Day – a day that commemorates the implementation of the s.15 and s.28 constitutional equality provisions in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the Charter), which took place on April 17, 1985.

These sections of the Charter make it clear that every individual in Canada is considered equal under law. They were enshrined in our Constitution thanks to the tireless work of the LEAF Founding Mothers whose goal was to ensure equality for women throughout Canadian society. These women fought tirelessly to ensure that women’s right to equality was included in the constitutional discussions, and advocated every step of the way to ensure that the newly drafted Charter included meaningful rights to gender equality.

LEAF was founded with the express goal of continuing the work that started with the advocacy for sections 28 and 15 – in 1985, LEAF began a 33 year (and counting!) journey of advocating for women’s right to substantive equality under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Since then, LEAF has advocated for women’s substantive equality in numerous landmark cases, at courts nationwide.

Hailee Morrison, LEAF Executive Director, remarks, “In the past 33 years, LEAF’s efforts have advanced women’s equality in reproductive freedoms, pay equity, employment, housing, immigration, family law, sexual violence, sexual orientation and disability accommodation for women and marginalized groups. This year, LEAF has continued its commitment to an intersectional approach to women’s equality, and has encouraged the courts to recognize how intersecting disadvantages such as age, Indigeneity, race, and poverty, contribute to women’s inequality. LEAF will continue its work to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls across Canada.

LEAF offers thanks to its dedicated LEAF branches and volunteers for their tireless efforts to raise awareness and funds for LEAF and to help LEAF accomplish its goals.

Today, LEAF would like to take a moment to reflect on how much has been accomplished and wish all of our supporters a happy Equality Day!