April 17, 2016 – The Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) celebrates Equality Day – a day that commemorates the implementation of sections 15 and 28, the constitutional equality provisions in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the Charter).
LEAF was founded on April 17, 1985 – the day the equality law provisions of the Charter came into effect – with the goal of achieving and defending equality rights for women and girls across Canada. These provisions were enshrined in our Constitution thanks to the tireless work and determination of LEAF’s Founding Mothers whose goal was to ensure equality for all women in Canada. These sections of the Charter make it clear that every individual in Canada is considered equal under law.
For thirty-one years, LEAF has worked to ensure that governments do not discriminate through legislation, government services or programs. Through its effective advocacy, LEAF has established legal precedents to ensure substantive equality for all women and girls across Canada.
In numerous ground-breaking cases, LEAF has assisted the courts with the interpretation and application of equality rights under the Charter. In the area of sexual violence, LEAF challenged rape myths and stereotypes in the criminal justice system and was instrumental in advocating for the rape shield provisions in the Criminal Code and for a strong legal standard for consent in multiple interventions before the Supreme Court of Canada. LEAF’s support of a legal challenge of Prince Edward Island’s abortion policy, our work to address the absence of a National Action Plan on Violence Against Women in Canada and to tackle ongoing violence against Indigenous women shows our legal, law reform and public education efforts must steadfastly continue.
We thank our dedicated LEAF branches, volunteers and supporters for their tireless efforts to raise awareness and support for LEAF’s work. Today, in the spirit of Equality Day, we ask for your help to continue to realize our mission and mandate to address inequality and injustice in Canada. Please support LEAF’s work and donate today at leaf.ca.
LEAF wishes all of our supporters a Happy Equality Day!