What is the Feminist Strategic Litigation Project?
Who is involved in the Feminist Strategic Litigation Project?
How will LEAF develop its new strategic litigation plan?
Why has LEAF launched the Feminist Strategic Litigation Project?
How can my organization become involved in the Feminist Strategic Litigation Project?
The main objective of the Feminist Strategic Litigation Project is to evaluate LEAF’s past strategic litigation work. We will also develop a new five-year feminist strategic litigation plan. The plan will enable feminists and gender equality advocates to address systemic discrimination more effectively. It will also bring us closer to achieving substantive equality for women and girls in Canada.
In particular, LEAF seeks to develop a plan that will improve equality outcomes for women experiencing multiple levels of oppression, including Indigenous and racialized women, women living in poverty, women with disabilities, women with marginalized sexual and gender identities, and women living in remote and rural areas. The new plan will allow LEAF to better argue for gender equality in courts and in law. It will also strengthen Canada’s position on the world stage with respect to advancing women’s human rights and upholding our national commitments to key international instruments.
LEAF will collaborate and consult extensively throughout the project with other organizations and individuals engaged in feminist advocacy and service delivery.
The Feminist Strategic Litigation Project is funded by the Department for Women and Gender Equality, formerly Status of Women Canada.
The project will be directed by a four-person Steering Committee, made up of the following members:
- LEAF’s Executive Director & General Counsel
- A co-chair of LEAF’s Law Program Committee
- LEAF’s Legal Counsel
- One additional feminist litigator
The project will also benefit from the advice and input of an Advisory Committee, made up of the following members:
- Avalon Sexual Assault Centre
- Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS)
- DAWN Canada
- Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women (IAAW)
- Linda Silver Dranoff: lawyer, feminist, activist, and writer
- Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC)
- Nathalie Léger: lawyer, La Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ); member, LEAF’s Law Program Committee
- Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada
- West Coast LEAF
The project will be phased as follows:
Year One 2019-2020
- Assess the effectiveness of feminist strategic litigation through research and consultation
- Conduct a needs assessment survey to identify intersectional gender equality issues that can be effectively addressed through feminist strategic litigation
Year Two 2020-2021
- Develop a new Feminist Strategic Litigation Plan based on the results of Year One, and with the assistance of a National Symposium (which will bring together stakeholders such as experts on law and gender equality, including those with expertise from their lived experience of inequality)
Year Three 2021-2022
- Pilot the new Feminist Strategic Litigation Plan through test cases
- Adjust Plan as necessary, in consultation with stakeholders
For the past three decades, LEAF has enjoyed considerable success in using litigation grounded in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to promote substantive equality for women and girls. However, despite these efforts, substantive equality has not been achieved in many areas.
LEAF’s current approach to strategic litigation was first developed in the mid-1980s, when s. 15 of the Charter first came into effect. Much has changed within Canada’s legal, social, and economic environments since then. It is timely for LEAF’s approach to be examined anew, to accurately measure its impact and assess its effectiveness.
The planned large-scale analysis of its work will allow LEAF to strengthen its strategic approach and more effectively work towards substantive equality for women and girls in Canada. Close collaboration and consultation with organizations and individuals involved in feminist advocacy and front-line service delivery will help ensure that LEAF’s litigation work reflects the needs of Canadian women and girls, taking into account their lived experiences and the impact of intersecting disadvantages.
Throughout the project, LEAF will engage with other organizations and individuals involved in feminist advocacy and service delivery. This includes through:
- Consultations on the impact of LEAF’s past work, and the impact of feminist strategic litigation more broadly
- A needs assessment survey to identify key issues impacting the equality rights of women and girls through an intersectional lens
- A symposium bringing together experts on law and gender equality, including those with expertise from their lived experience of inequality
- Engagement and communication while LEAF tests its new feminist strategic litigation plan
If your organization would like to become involved, please contact Kat Owens, Project Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let us know if you require any accommodations to participate, and we will be happy to assist.
Project Director, Feminist Strategic Litigation Project
T: 416-595-7170 ext. 2007