LEAF News
Advancing Equality through Education, Litigation and Law Reform
Women's Legal Education and Action Fund Newsletter-June 2007
In This Issue
New LEAF Logo
Bell Canada donates $20,000
Legal Update
Remembering Canadian Legends
LEAF Supporter wins Woman of Distinction Award
Quick Links
Dear LEAF Supporters,

As communities across the country are busy organizing for Persons Day Breakfast events, we are faced with many reminders of how important it is to continue fighting to improve the lives of women and girls. This month we saw equality officially removed from the mandate of Status of Women Canada, undermining so much crucial work provided to the community by women's organizations. Amnesty International, in its recent report evaluating the international human rights landscape, flags the ongoing violence against indigenous peoples, particularly indigenous women and girls, as a serious human rights violation in Canada. Statistics Canada recently reported that the wage gap among young men and women persists despite the fact that more women are now completing university degrees than their male counterparts. The Persons Day events being organized by dedicated LEAF volunteers and supporters across the country will serve as a reminder that women's equality must continue to be championed to become a reality.


National office staff will be supporting branches to make their Persons Day events a success. Joining the LEAF staff for the summer is Pia Hundal in the temporary position of Education Program Officer. She is working on the development of educational materials and resources related to LEAF's work. We also welcome Kathy Roulston who was recently hired as Fund Development Assistant to provide administrative support to the fund development team. We extend warm thanks and best wishes to Kris Shenvi, who was providing database support in the office for the past four months.


\We are proud to be unveiling to you in this issue our long-awaited new LEAF logo. This issue also takes a moment to commemorate some of the legendary Canadian women we have recently lost. We also provide an update on Persons Day Breakfast information to-date and a brief update on LEAF's legal activities. If you have any questions or comments, we are always happy to hear from you. Contact us at [email protected].


Yours Truly,

Kim Brooks
Board Chair

 

Audrey M. Johnson
Executive Director


Presenting the new LEAF logo

LEAF is proud to announce that the Board of Directors has chosen a new logo to represent the image of the organization - the Justice Circle.

logo

Logo Descriptor

The circle, a symbol of feminine power and unity, speaks to LEAF's work on behalf of women.  The image depicts two circles originating from a centre circle where justice resides in the form of the scales.  The circles expand outward, illustrating our desire to reach new and broader audiences.  Each of the three circles represents one of the three areas of LEAF's work:  litigation, law reform and education. The different colours of each circle reflect our value for diversity.

The three circles together are unified as one resting gently atop the English and French acronyms for our name, which is separated by a soft line to allow the logo to be used independently from the complete title. 

 

Re-imaging LEAF 

The Justice Circle logo will become the official logo of LEAF effective August 1, 2007.  A phasing out of the maple leaf/crown logo will begin immediately with its complete discontinuation across the LEAF family by December 31, 2007.

The new logo is only part of a broader process to revitalize the image of LEAF internally and externally.  The Justice Circle will be integrated in all visual representations of LEAF National, including our new website, which is under construction, print, promotional and other materials.

Acknowledgements

LEAF extends many thanks for Ursula Gallagher of Litmus Design for this work. Thanks also to those committee members and other volunteers, branch representatives, supporters, students, other designers, board and staff members who were involved in, or gave input into the logo process along the way to this achievement.

Bell Canada donates $20,000 to LEAF
   Bell Cheque Presentation
 Pictured here are Lisa Banks of Bell Canada and
Audrey M. Johnson of LEAF.

LEAF extends a special thank you to Bell Canada for its long-standing support of LEAF. In May, Lisa Banks, Senior Director of Community Affairs and Corporate Marketing for Bell Canada came to LEAF National office to present LEAF Executive Director, Audrey Johnson with its annual $20,000 donation. BellCanada has been a loyal supporter of LEAF's work for the past five years.  LEAF is grateful for Bell's contribution and look forward to its ongoing partnership.

Legal Update

Honda v. Keays

LEAF is applying for leave to intervene in Honda v. Kevin Keays, a case of wrongful dismissal to be heard before the Supreme Court of Canada.  The case raises the issue of whether the Supreme Court of Canada should revisit its decision in Bhadauria v. Seneca College and recognize a separate cause of action for discrimination and harassment.  The case also questions whether Courts are empowered to award punitive damages for breach of human rights law.

The trial judge described this case as follows:

"This wrongful dismissal action brings into sharp focus the tension between the expectations of the computer-programmed workplace and the obligations of human rights legislation, in particular the requirement to accommodate employee disability to the point of undue hardship.  I have found on "clear and convincing" proof that the defendant sacrificed the latter in favour of the former and, in doing so, abused a decent and dedicated worker who has the misfortune to be afflicted with what the Centre for Disease Control ("CDC") defines as the "debilitating and complex" disorder of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ("CFS")."

There are a number of reasons why LEAF is interested in this case and why a victim of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, may want to pursue a remedy in tort, in addition to or instead of filing a complaint under human rights legislation.  Time limitations under human rights legislation are less generous than those for tort actions.  An action in tort holds promise for a more sizeable award of damages compared to awards under human rights legislation, which are subject to caps. More sizable damages awards may also provide for more effective deterrence.  Tort actions also afford the plaintiff a greater degree of decision-making control over the conduct of her complaint, whereas human rights commissions have exclusive carriage of complaints under the legislation.  LEAF is also interested in the accommodation analysis applied in this case and the issue of whether punitive damages are available for breach of human rights law.

The oral hearing before the Supreme Court is scheduled for February 20, 2008.  Counsel for LEAF in this case are Susan Ursel and Kim Bernhardt.

Brown v. National Capital Commission and Public Works and Government Services Canada

In March of this year, LEAF was denied leave to intervene in Brown v. National Capital Commission and Public Works and Government Services Canada, a case to be heard before the Federal Court of Canada.  Brown involves a complaint of disability discrimination against the National Capital Commission (NCC) and Canada Public Works relating to the inaccessibility of the York Street Steps (YSS) leading to the lookout at Major's Hill Park in Ottawa.  This case is especially interesting because of the adjudicator's expansion of the duty to accommodate to include "meaningful consultation" with stakeholders.  Unfortunately, the outstanding issue of whether a specific gendered disability safety and security perspective needs to be incorporated into an assessment of the duty to accommodate is unlikely to be addressed without LEAF's intervention in this case. 

LEAF applied for leave to intervene in Brown in partnership with DAWN (DisAbled Women's Network) Canada.  LEAF will continue to monitor this case and will consider an intervention should the Federal Court decision be appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal.

Nairobi Declaration

LEAF, in partnership with Rights and Democracy, the Women's Human Rights in Conflict Situations, and the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) have launched a groundbreaking international campaign to end the stigma, prejudice, disadvantage and exclusion experienced by women who have suffered sexual violence.  The campaign is aimed at ensuring women and girl survivors of violence are provided with adequate reparation and remedy needed to rebuild their lives and communities. 

The Nairobi Declaration is the instrument that has been drafted to achieve the goal of gender based equality for survivors of sexual violence.  It is an innovative mechanism designed to both recognize the unique harm experienced by women in conflict situations, and to achieve the reparation needed to address the violation of women's and children's human rights.  This groundbreaking campaign endeavours to correct the systemic flaws of national truth and reconciliation initiatives and existing reparation schemes and to inform those being developed by the International Criminal Court. The Declaration document is of domestic relevance in Canada for its potential application to the Indian Residential School Truth and Reconciliation process.  

The campaign and its Nairobi Declaration were introduced on May 17 at a press conference co-organized by the Coalition and LEAF. The event heard from Canadian women's rights advocates, including Fiona Sampson representing LEAF and Mary Eberts representing NWAC, and Coalition members from Sierra Leone and Peru.  A copy of the final draft of the Nairobi Declaration will be available on the LEAF website shortly (www.leaf.ca).

LEAF Remembers Three Canadian Legends

Canadians recently lost three monumental women's equality and human rights champions. Whether through avant-garde rulings from the court bench, the founding of women's shelters and hospices, political lobbying for women's representation or in the establishment of women's perspectives in mainstream media, Bertha Wilson, Doris Anderson and June Callwood represent an era of brazen, witty, and tireless advocates for women's rights. These three Canadian women were trailblazers and heroes who each led exemplary lives well into their eighties. Their legacies will continue to be an inspiration for generations to come.

Doris Anderson (1921-2007)

She was a journalist, an author, and a vocal women's rights advocate who cultivated public spaces for women's equality discourse during the 1960s and beyond.

As editor of Chatelaine (1957-1977), Doris Anderson created a women's magazine that tackled a range of crucial equality issues often considered controversial including reproductive rights, divorces laws, the wage gap between men and women, and women's representation in politics. Her provocative writings invoked massive increase in the magazine's readership. Upon retiring from her editorship, she remained a columnist for the Toronto Star for over a decade.

In addition to her autobiography, Rebel Daughter (1996), Anderson authored several novels and an overview of women's rights titled Unfinished Revolution: Status of Women in Twelve Countries (1991).

Anderson's advocacy extended beyond her pen and into the political arena. She was instrumental in lobbying for ensuring gender equality was protected in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms through Section 28 which guarantees male and female persons equal entitlement to rights. Regarding the Charter, she once observed: "It was clear that the charter of rights [sic] could do good things for women or, if it was a bad charter, it could be a terrible problem for women for generations to come."

She subsequently became president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (1982-1984). Throughout her lifetime, Anderson remained committed to increasing women's participation in politics. She was very active in Equal Voice, an organization calling for increased representation of women in politics through electoral reform. Anderson was Chair of the Ontario Press Council in 1998 and is a member of the Order of Canada

In Doris's own words "If there is no future for feminism, then there is no future for the world."

June Callwood (1924-2007)

June Callwood's tireless advocacy and passionate commitment to social justice was steadfast throughout her prolific life. As the author of over 30 books, including Canadian Women and the Law (1974) and The Law Is Not for Women (1976) and journalist for major Canadian media outlets, such the Globe and Mail, Chatelaine, CBC Television, and Vision TV, Callwood was instrumental in bringing  women's issues into the mainstream and providing momentum to the Canadian women's movement.

Inasmuch as she was a renowned journalist, Callwood maintained an extraordinarily active role in supporting her community. Her dedication to social justice was demonstrated in her support for women, gay men and lesbians, and at-risk youth. For her stalwart activism, observers named her "Canada's Conscience", "Canada's Mother Theresa", and "Saint June". She was the founder of numerous organizations, including Digger House (the first hostel for street youth in Canada), Jessie's Centre for Teenage Mothers, Nellie's Hostel for abused women, the AIDS hospice Casey House, the Writer's Union of Canada, the Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation, PEN Canada and Feminists against Censorship. In 2004, the City of Toronto named a street "June Callwood Way" in her honour. Callwood is also a member of the Order of Canada.

In June's own words: "If any of you happen to see an injustice, you are no longer a spectator, you are a participant.  And you have an obligation to do something."

Bertha Wilson (1923-2007)

Bertha Wilson's contributions to enabling women's perspectives in Canadian courtrooms are unrivaled. Even though she was discouraged from applying to law school, instead of staying at home, Wilson became the first woman to embark on many paths in Canadian law. She was the first woman appointed a partner in a major Canadian law firm. Between 1959 and 1975, Bertha Wilson worked at the corporate law firm of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, becoming a partner and the Head of Research. Wilson subsequently became the first woman appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1975 and then the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1982, only days before the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was enacted.

Throughout her legal career Wilson proved her excellence as a thorough researcher and poignant writer with an unwavering dedication to justice and human rights. Wilson developed eloquent and intelligent legal analysis that challenged gender bias in the legal system and laws that discriminate against women. It has been argued that it was in large part Wilson's tremendously influential rulings and analysis of the Charter that gave the legislation the "teeth" that makes it an international model for human rights enforcement.

Bertha Wilson provided rulings on highly significant cases that directly affected the everyday lives of women and minorities, including rulings on reproductive freedoms, domestic violence, and refugee rights. After retiring from the Supreme Court bench in 1991, Wilson was appointed to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People, appointed Chair of the Canadian Bar Association's Task Force on Women, and was appointed as a Companion of the Order of Canada. Upon her retirement, Wilson called for increased legal courses and training to educate judges on gender issues and challenging gender-based myths perpetuated in the legal system.

In Bertha's own words: "The guarantees of the Charter would be illusory if they could be ignored because it was administratively inconvenient."

LEAF Supporter Receives YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Corporate Leadership

kiki delaney

Longtime LEAF supporter, Kiki Delaney was recognized by YWCA Toronto with the 2007 Women of Distinction Award for her outstanding leadership for women in the business community.  Currently the President and Chief Investment Officer of C.A. Delaney Capital Management Ltd., Kiki has provided extensive mentorship to women in business as well as significant support to industry-related organizations and non-profit organizations that work to improve the lives of women. Kiki is valued contributor to LEAF and has provided financial advising both to LEAF National and the LEAF Foundation. Congratulations Kiki!

For more information on Kiki and other 2007 YWCA Toronto award recipients, visit www.ywcatoronto.org.

Branch Annoucements

Preparations for the Persons Day Breakfasts are well underway! See below for confirmed events. Up-to-date information on all breakfasts will be posted at www.leaf.ca.

Kitchener / Waterloo

2007 Annual Persons Day Breakfast
October 19, 2007
Transylvania
Club
16 Andrew Street
, Kitchener
7:00 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.
Speaker:  TBA

For more information visit: http://www.zontakw.com/


Ottawa

2007 Annual Persons Day Breakfast
October 18, 2007
Pinnocle Room, Crown Plaza
8:00 a.m.
Speaker: TBA

For more information contact: [email protected]


Sudbury

2007 Annual Persons Day Breakfast
October 19, 2007
Great Hall, Laurentian University
7:00 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.
Tickets $25.00
Speaker: Lorna Marsden, York University President

For more information contact:Tannys Laughren, (705) 675.1151Ext. 1064, [email protected]


Toronto

2007 Annual Persons Day Breakfast
October 19, 2007
Royal York Hotel
7:00 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.
Speaker: Youth panel moderated by Marcia McClung, more information to follow.

For more information contact: Mitzi Reinsilber, Director of Fund Development, LEAF National (416) 595-7170 Ext. 222, [email protected]


Winnipeg

17th Annual Persons Day Breakfast
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Winnipeg
Convention Centre
7:15 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Tickets $25.00
Tickets available at: McNally Robinson Booksellers

Speaker: Mary Eberts, Legendary Canadian equality rights lawyer will speak about:

"Unequalled Opportunity:  A Vision for the Future"

The equality guarantees of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms have been in effect for over twenty years.  What have these guarantees meant for women?  In light of opposition to women's equality, what strategies are available?  How do Canadians finish what has been called the "unfinished revolution?"

ASL provided and wheelchair accessible

For more information contact: Manitoba Women's Advisory Council (204) 945-1331 or
LEAF Manitoba (204) 453-1379

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New LEAF Ottawa Executive

LEAF Ottawa is pleased to introduce its 2007-2008 executive!

Chair: Erin O'Hara

Communications: Melissa Pereira

Coordinatrice pour Non veut dire non: Stephanie Smith

No Means No Director: Anne-Marie McElroy

Treasurer/Events Coordinator: Megan Whittle

Contact: [email protected]

Donate your Points!

Looking for a creative way to support LEAF in a meaningful way? Consider donating your air travel points or redeeming them for items of benefit to LEAF.

If you collect Air Miles or are an Aeroplan member, LEAF could greatly benefit from your unused points. 

Consider donating to LEAF items that are redeemed with your travel points. These items are eligible for charitable tax receipts and go along way towards raising much-needed revenue for LEAF's equality work.

Or save your points for donating them directly to LEAF. We are in the process of establishing an account so your will be able to donate points directly to LEAF. 

Please consider supporting us in this way. Your generosity will be recognized in our e-bulletin and your donation will go towards raising funds to supplement the recent cuts to critical funding sources for LEAF.  

For more information, or if you have other innovative ways to contribute, we want to hear from you. Please contact Mitzi at 416.595.7170, ext. 222 or by email at [email protected]