In 2010, LEAF released a backgrounder outlining the context in which the organization developed its approach to two cases involving women’s equality and the niqab.

On April 12, 2010, LEAF filed an intervener factum in a case (R. v. N.S.) which is proceeding to the Ontario Court of Appeal. The case involved a sexual assault complainant who was ordered to remove her niqab at the preliminary inquiry of two men charged with abusing her as a child. LEAF’s position was that N.S. is entitled to access the Canadian justice system wearing her niqab, including testifying at the preliminary inquiry and trial.

On May 7, 2010, LEAF filed a Brief with the Quebec National Assembly opposing Bill 94. Bill 94 was proposed legislation which effectively banned niqab-wearing women from basic government services such as health, education and childcare. LEAF’s position was that the Bill was inconsistent with the equality rights of niqab-wearing women and would in fact exacerbate and perpetuate the stigma, isolation and disadvantage already experienced by this group of women.

LEAF’s concern in the context of these cases was how to best respect and promote the equality rights of women, including those who wear the niqab.

Download the backgrounder below.

Niqab-Backgrounder-May-11-2010