Annual Report 2016-2017

Shortly following the Status of Women Minister's July, 2016 announcement that the federal government would be restoring the eligibility of advocacy activities, NAWL submitted a draft proposal to SWC based on a project idea that focused on NAWL's traditional area of strength and expertise: to rebuild feminist capacity to engage in the law reform process. NAWL was then invited to submit a full proposal for this multi- year project, the preparation and submission of which took up a significant portion of our time and focus in 2016-2017.

The bilingual law reform project proposal aims to address the under-representation of women’s voices broadly and feminist legal expertise, in particular, in law making processes. Its goal is to revitalize the capacity of feminist organizations and advocates to engage on legislative matters that have an impact on women’s equality rights. Led by a dedicated Project Director, the project is designed to rebuild a network of feminist law reform experts in this country including feminist law students, legal academics, lawyers, advocates and leaders from women’s organizations, and equip them to engage with government to effectively address and remedy systemic gender-based wrongs through the law making process. At the close of this fiscal year, NAWL was cautiously optimistic about the project’s fundability and the future of the organization’s critical law reform advocacy work.

Since our last Annual Report, the NAWL Charitable Trust for Research and Education, with generous support from Shirley Greenberg, launched its open access, bilingual online Feminist Law Reform Course. Over 100 feminist law professors, students, lawyers and activists attended the celebratory launch event, held at the University of Ottawa in November 2016. NAWL’s co-Founder, Shirley Greenberg and Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu both addressed the crowd with thoughtful and hopeful remarks and Shirley was presented with a certificate of recognition for her outstanding contribution to the Canadian Women’s movement. It was a fabulous and beautifully intergenerational event – the NAWL NSC is extremely grateful to all of the attendees for the part they each played in making the gathering so successful. 

In 2016/2017, NAWL continued to receive and respond to a number of requests to sign letters, co-author briefs, and join various coalitions engaged in advancing women’s equality.

The following provides a sample of some of these activities:

  • NAWL participated in the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s first meeting of the Ad-Hoc Consultative Committee on the Pan Canadian Network of Women Leaders.
  • NAWL wrote a letter to the Quebec government in December 2016, supporting several Quebec-based women’s and First Nations organizations calling for the launch of an independent and systemic inquiry into police abuse of indigenous and aboriginal women in Val-d’Or.

  • NAWL took an active leadership role in advocating for a restored and modernized Court Challenges Program of Canada. To this end, NAWL drafted a letter to Hon. Melanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage regarding the importance of protecting CCPC’s historic mandate to protect and advance substantive equality and access to justice for disadvantaged groups and official-language minority communities. Over 70 major equality rights focused organizations signed onto NAWL’s letter, a copy of which is available on the NAWL website. 

To read the complete Annual Report, click here.