LEAF Commemorates Persons Day 

Each year, LEAF commemorates ‘Persons Day’ to mark the Persons Case (Edwards v. Canada (Attorney General). On October 18th, 1929, the British Privy Council (then Canada’s highest court of appeal) ruled that women were to be considered persons under the law and therefore those women that were then eligible could sit in the Canadian Senate.

As an organization, LEAF is committed to challenging all forms of discrimination against women and girls through legal action, public education, and law reform under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, most notably section 15. In doing so LEAF has and will continue to challenge laws, policies and practices that discriminate against women and girls across Canada.

We at LEAF are acutely aware that the 1929 Persons Case only achieved personhood for a certain class of Canadian women with a certain amount of property and excluded Indigenous, and racialized women. However, one way to look at it is that those women with privilege cracked open the door for others to push through. We at LEAF believe that we can work together to crack the door open more widely and more completely to achieve full equality for all women and girls across Canada.

Today, we acknowledge the heroic efforts to eradicate the sex discrimination in the Indian Act over the last half century by the women that Lynn Gehl calls the Indigenous Famous Five: Mary Two-Axe Early, Jeannette Corbiere-Lavell, Yvonne Bedard, Sandra Lovelace, and Sharon Donna McIvor. We also acknowledge the ongoing efforts of Lynn Gehl to address the Indian Act’s continued discrimination and wish her well next week with her court challenge in Ontario Superior Court.

This year, LEAF has been in court to address family status discrimination, the right to bring novel Charter claims in the context of the right to housing, and the need to address systemic discrimination in the criminal justice system through the lens of equality rights. There are many challenges still ahead of us and we want to continue to fight for equality through litigation, law reform and education.

LEAF is needed more than ever to work toward addressing those challenges! LEAF Persons Day events will be held across the country throughout the fall. Help LEAF to improve the lives of Canadian girls and women in the years to come.