The concrete impacts of developments in family law legislation, policy, and case law on the day to day lived reality and well-being of women and gender diverse people cannot be overstated. Heterosexual spousal relationships are marked by gender inequality. Women continue to earn less than men and to have primary responsibility for childcare and domestic labour. Over 50 percent of the issues and cases brought to LEAF’s attention through emails and telephone calls involve women and some aspect of family law. These numbers reflect the extent of the law’s impact on women and the importance of highlighting and centring the equality rights of women and children in family law.
LEAF has intervened before the Supreme Court of Canada in numerous family law cases to ensure that the court understands the gendered implications of the legal issues in question, including:
- Moge v Moge, a case about the principles to be applied when considering applications to terminate spousal support;
- Thibaudeau v Canada, a case challenging the constitutionality of an income tax law that required individuals who received child support payments to report them as taxable income;
- Goertz v Gordon, a case about the ability of custodial mothers to relocate with their children;
- Boston v Boston, a case about the availability of spousal support for senior women under the Ontario Family Law Act;
- Quebec (Attorney General) v A, a case about the exclusion of unmarried spouses from the protections existing for married couples under Québec’s family law regime.
- Colucci v Colucci, a case concerning the principles to be applied when judges are asked to retroactively decrease outstanding child support orders
LEAF will continue to advocate to ensure that women’s substantive equality rights are centred and advanced in the family law context.