March 7, 2022 – It’s time for the Canadian movement for women’s and gender equality to have sustained and adequate federal funding, says the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF). LEAF makes this call on the eve of International Women’s Day, together with 26 other women’s and gender equality organizations and their allies.

In its recent budget submission, LEAF made two primary recommendations for the 2022 budget to build on the federal government’s commitment to advance gender equality:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant gendered impact on people in Canada”, says Pam Hrick, Executive Director & General Counsel of LEAF. “Two years into the pandemic, there is an urgent need for the services of women’s and gender equality organizations. We require adequate and sustained funding to meet this moment, and to strengthen the movement for women’s and gender equality in Canada.”

Canadians broadly support better funding of organizations that advance the equality of women and gender-diverse people. A recent survey conducted by Environics Institute Focus Canada, in partnership with Senator Donna Dasko, found that 90% of Canadians agree – 60% strongly – that more should be done to promote the equality of women. In the same survey, 80% of Canadians said that the women’s movement has made things better for women.

“Women’s and gender equality organizations need core funding to take timely, responsive, and nimble action to address emerging issues impacting women, girls, and gender-diverse people,” says Hrick.

Until 1998, half the budget of the federal government’s Women’s Program was allocated to core funding. Implementing LEAF’s budget submission would give effect to a 2005 recommendation of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women to reintroduce core funding. It would also fulfill objectives set out in the mandate letter for the Minister of Women and Gender Equality and Youth to sustain this government’s historic funding commitments to Canadian women’s organizations and equality-seeking groups.

“The federal government has the opportunity now to cement a legacy as one truly dedicated to meaningfully enhancing the equality of women and gender-diverse people,” adds Hrick.

LEAF gratefully acknowledges the support and collaboration of the following organizations who have endorsed this federal budget submission:

1. B.W.S.S. (Battered Women’s Support Services Association)
2. Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS)
3. Canadian Council of Muslim Women
4. Canadian Federation of University Women
5. Canadian Labour Congress
6. Canadian Women’s Foundation
7. Child Care Now
8. Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice
9. Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW-ICREF)
10. DAWN Canada
11. Disability Justice Network of Ontario
12. Ending Violence Association of Canada
13. Feminist Alliance for International Action
14. Feminists Deliver
15. Keepers of the Circle
16. National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL)
17. National Council of Women of Canada
18. New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity
19. OCASI (Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants)
20. Oxfam Canada
21. Platform
22. South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO)
23. Unifor
24. West Coast LEAF
25. Women’s Shelters Canada
26. YWCA Canada

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected].

About the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF)  

LEAF works to advance the substantive equality of all women, girls, and people who experience gender-based discrimination 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.