On December 14 2018, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) made its final submission to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

In its submission, LEAF emphasized the connection between gender inequality, the inequality of Indigenous peoples, colonialism, and violence. These intersecting forms of discrimination call for recognition of collective rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Courts should not consider the cases of individual women without acknowledging how sexism, racism, and colonialism affect their lives.

LEAF made 23 recommendations that would address shortcomings in the legal system that prevent it from adequately addressing violence against Indigenous women. For example:

“Violence against Indigenous women in Canada long ago reached crisis levels”, says Karen Segal, LEAF Counsel. “The time for action to end colonial, gendered violence is now. Indigenous women have a constitutional right to equality. Until they are able to live free from violence, poverty, and systemic discrimination, the promise of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms remains elusive for Indigenous women.”


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 www.leaf.ca.  

For media inquiries, please contact:

Shaun O’Brien, Executive Director and General Counsel,
416.595.7170 x225                                                                            
[email protected]        

Karen Segal, Counsel             
Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund                                    
416.595.7170 x223                                                                            
[email protected]