The Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) is delighted to announce the appointment of Shaun O’Brien to the position of Executive Director & General Counsel.

Shaun joined LEAF as Legal Director in April of this year. Her extensive experience as a litigator in public law, human rights and Charter cases has enabled LEAF to expand its important work in the courts and in law reform initiatives. Most recently, she argued on behalf of LEAF in R. v. Barton and R. v. Gagnon, two critical cases that concerned the law’s response to sexual violence.

“I have been a huge fan of LEAF’s work for many years,” says O’Brien, “and am very honoured to have participated in our cases over the past few months. I’m also excited for my new role and for the opportunity to lead LEAF in fighting for women and girls’ equality.”

Called to the bar in 2000, Shaun is a skilled and experienced appellate advocate. For many years, she was a lawyer and partner at Cavalluzzo LLP, where she developed a deep commitment to defending and advancing fundamental rights, with a particular focus on the rights of women. Until recently, she also served as President of the Board of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, which provides legal and other services to women experiencing violence.

In-coming LEAF board chair Elizabeth Shilton is excited about Shaun’s new role: “Shaun has already made her mark at LEAF as Legal Director.  Her talent, energy and vision will be a huge asset to LEAF as we confront the many challenges ahead”.

LEAF looks forward to pursuing its mandate to advance the equality of women and girls in Canada through litigation, law reform and public education under Shaun’s leadership.

The Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) works to advance the substantive equality rights of women and girls through litigation, law reform, and public education. Since 1985, we have intervened in landmark cases that have advanced equality in Canada—helping to prevent violence, eliminate discrimination in the workplace, provide better maternity benefits, ensure a right to pay equity, and allow access to reproductive freedoms. For more information, please visit

For media inquiries, please contact:
Shaun O’Brien
E: [email protected]
C: 416.317.4440
P: 416.595.7170