NAWL Trust

In 1983, the National Association of Women and the Law Charitable Trust for Research and Education (NAWL Trust) was established to complement NAWL’s advocacy work. A registered charity, the NAWL Trust’s mandate includes undertaking research and education on legal issues concerning all aspects of the social, economic and political life of Canadian women. It assists in the protection of women’s civil rights and liberties by charitable means, as well as in the relief of poverty. Donations to the NAWL Trust are used for charitable activities, including those delivered by NAWL for the NAWL Trust.

Some past activities funded by donations to the NAWL Trust include, but are not limited to:

  • Creating a bilingual, free, online course — Feminist Law Reform 101. The course provides practical, accessible, and engaging tools for participants who wish to develop or improve skills to assist in feminist law reform;
  • Hosting an annual essay contest for law students on topics of interest relating to feminist research, education, and law reform;
  • Providing grants to researchers working on legal issues that affect women in Canada. Research topics included: customary law and women’s rights, intimate violence and fundamental human rights, temporary labour migration to Canada, and child protection; and,
  • Developing an alternative law school orientation guide for law students. The guide includes excerpts of writing from 28 legal feminist scholars and activists.

Historically NAWL’s operations and work have been supported by: public funding primarily from the federal government, membership fees, and funds received from foundations, individuals, and other sources from time to time. At the request of the NAWL Trust, NAWL also delivers activities funded by charitable donations made to the Trust. When NAWL was defunded in 2006 by the (then) federal government, all staff were laid off and the office was closed. More than a decade later, through the hard work of NAWL’s dedicated National Steering Committee, NAWL received a multi-year grant and operations fully resumed in 2017.

The NAWL Trust is a registered charity and relies solely on the generous donations of individuals, and grants and donations from foundations and from other eligible sources.

Charitable registration number: 14083 5885 RR0001

Our Trustees

Kristen is a Senior Director in the Library of Parliament’s Parliamentary Information and Research Service (PIRS). She graduated from the Western University Law School in 1987, having served two years as a Director of Community Legal Services. Kristen joined the NAWL Steering Committee while in law school, and continued in that role as she articled and was called to the bar in Ottawa. After a short period of private practice in family law with the Ottawa office of a national law firm, she joined the Library of Parliament in 1990. Starting with the organization as an analyst working in a wide variety of areas of law and policy and serving a number of parliamentary committees, Kristen joined the Library’s management team in 2008 and has been an executive since 2010.

Michelle Flaherty is an experienced mediator, arbitrator, and workplace investigator specializing in labour, employment, and human rights matters. She is fully bilingual in English and French.

Michelle graduated summa cum laude from the University of Ottawa. After clerking with Justice L’Heureux-Dubé of the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999–2000, Michelle entered into private practice. A member of the Law Society of Upper Canada since 2001, Michelle has extensive professional experience practicing labour law, administrative law, human rights, and constitutional law. During the course of her career, she has acted for both unions and employers.

From 2012 to 2018, Michelle was an Associate professor of law at the University of Ottawa, where she taught labour law, human rights, administrative law, and alternative dispute resolution.

 

Michelle is on the Ontario Minister of Labour’s List of Approved Arbitrators and is an arbitrator with the Grievance Settlement Board. Michelle served as a Vice-chair and a member of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario from 2008 to 2018. She is a member of the Ontario Labour-Management Arbitrators’ Association and the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Michelle was inducted into the University of Ottawa Common Law Honours Society for her service to the law school and the profession. In 2011, she was named one of Bishop’s University’s Top 10 after 10 graduates.

Lorena Sekwan Fontaine is Cree-Anishnaabe and a member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, Canada. She is the Indigenous Academic Lead, co-director of a new Indigenous languages program and an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Rights at the University of Winnipeg. Her research includes linguicide, the legacy of the residential schools and Indigenous language rights.

Dr. Fontaine has taught for the First Nations University of Canada and the School of Public Policy Graduate Program at Queens University. She has spoken nationally and internationally and has authored articles on residential school issues and Indigenous language rights in Canada. Her PhD research was presented in a CBC documentary entitled “Undoing Linguicide.” She has also worked with the Assembly of First Nations as an advisor on Indigenous languages and linguistic rights.

Since 2003, Dr. Fontaine has been an advocate for Indigenous Residential School Survivors as well as their descendants. She has been involved with a Digital Storytelling project on the Intergenerational Legacy of the Residential Schools. She was a task force member and contributor to the Assembly of First Nation’s Report on Canada’s Dispute Resolution Plan to compensate for abuses in Indian Residential Schools. Dr. Fontaine also acted as a legal consultant to the Toronto law firm Thomson, Rogers in a National Class Action on Indigenous Residential schools. Recently, she was a co-organizer of an educational forum on the legacy of the residential schools and the Holocaust with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Dr. Fontaine was an Equality Rights Panel member for the Court Challenges Program and a National Steering Committee Member for the National Association of Women and the Law. She has also been involved with the Women’s Legal Education and Action fund as a board member and subcommittee member.

Martha is a Professor of constitutional law at the University of Ottawa where she has taught in the French Common Law program since 1988. She publishes and lectures extensively on social and economic rights, equality and the Canadian Charter. She is regularly involved in lobbying, continuing judicial and legal education, and litigation in these areas, including as counsel for the Charter Committee on Poverty Issues, LEAF, and other interveners in Charter test cases at the trial, appellate and Supreme Court levels.

She was a long-time editor of the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law/Revue femmes et droit, a past member of LEAF’s National Legal Committee and Board of Directors, a former member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Health Coalition, a member of the board of the Social Rights Advocacy Centre and a member of the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario. From 1999-2004, she sat on the Equality Rights Panel of the Court Challenges Program of Canada; from 2007-2011, she held the University of Ottawa’s Shirley E. Greenberg Chair for Women and the Legal Profession; and, from 2004-2015, she was the academic lead for two $1,000,000 SSHRC-funded Community-University Research Alliance projects aimed at improving socio-economic rights accountability. In 1996, she received CRIAW’s Marion Porter Prize; in 2007, she was awarded the Law Society of Ontario Medal; in 2015, she was the recipient of the Canadian Bar Association’s Touchstone Award in recognition of her efforts to advance equality, and; in 2017, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Most recently Martha was granted the David Walter Mundell Medal for Legal Writing, by the Attorney General of Ontario (2018), and the Canadian Health Coalition’s Guardian of Public Health Care Award (Academic) (2019).

Martha has been on the NAWL National Steering Committee since 2007 and has acted as its’ co-chair 2012-2020. Martha was the Chair of the 2020-2021 National Steering Committee.

Cheryl is the Executive Director of the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto. She was called to the Ontario Bar in 1987 and completed her M.S.W. at University of Toronto in 1991. She practised at the legal clinic Justice for Children and Youth from 1991 to 2008 where she appeared at all levels of court and various administrative tribunals on behalf of young people. There she also led the clinic’s Charter litigation including the challenge to the corporal punishment defence in the Criminal Code [Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law v. Canada (2004)], the striking down of the reverse onus sections of the Youth Criminal Justice Act for adult sentencing [R. v. D.B. (2008)], and an intervention involving the right of a capable adolescent to consent to her own medical treatment [A.C. v. Manitoba Child and Family Services (2009)].

As Executive Director of the Asper Centre, she has represented the Centre at the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Conway, R v. Barton, R. v. Kokopenace and the jury vetting appeals [R v Emms, R v Davey, R v Yumnu (2012)], as well as in the Polygamy Reference case at the B.C. Supreme Court and Tanudjaja v Canada (Attorney General) at the Ontario Court of Appeal. She is the past Chair of the Ontario Bar Association, Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights Section and has served on the CBA National Constitutional and Human Rights Law and Child and Youth Law Sections executive. From 2018 to 2020 she served on the Child and Family Services Review Board and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and continues to serve on the Steering Committee of the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL). In 2019, Cheryl was awarded the Law Society Medal by the Law Society of Ontario for her contributions to the legal profession.

She teaches a Constitutional Advocacy clinic and Child and Youth Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto.

Other Ways to Give


Leaving a Gift in Your Will

Many of our supporters have been with us since NAWL was founded in 1974 — and their steadfast commitment to protecting and promoting women’s equality rights in Canada continues to inspire the work we do today.

These supporters often choose to kindly remember NAWL or the NAWL Trust with a legacy gift.

Frequently asked questions

A legacy gift is when an individual wants to designate part of their estate in the form of a planned future gift to a non-profit or a registered charity.

The most popular way to leave a legacy gift is to make a bequest in your will. A bequest is an instruction that a certain amount of money, a particular item of property or the residue of your estate once your other bequests are made should be given to NAWL or the NAWL Trust at your death. Upon death, NAWL or the NAWL Trust will issue a receipt for the bequest. A bequest to the NAWL Trust may result in significant tax savings.

Seek professional help from a legal advisor with experience preparing wills to make sure your wishes are honoured. Make sure when drafting your will that our full name (National Association of Women and the Law) is included — we may not receive your gift otherwise.

Seek professional help from a legal advisor with experience preparing wills to make sure your wishes are honoured. Make sure the Trust’s full name (National Association of Women and the Law Trust) and charitable registration number (14083 5885 RR0001) is included in your will. We may not receive your gift otherwise.

Here are a few clauses for you and your lawyer to consider including in your will:

To give a specific amount to NAWL, which is a not-for-profit organization (not tax-receiptable): “I give to the National Association of Women and the Law, 234 St. Patrick Street, Ottawa, Ontario, the sum of $10,000”

To give a specific amount to the NAWL Charitable Trust, which is a registered charity (tax receiptable): “I give to the National Association of Women and the Law Charitable Trust for Research and Education, charitable registration number 14083 5885 RR0001, 234 St. Patrick Street, Ottawa, Ontario, the sum of $10,000.”

To give a percentage of the estate: “I give to [the National Association of Women and the Law OR the National Association of Women and the Law Charitable Trust for Research and Education] fifty percent (50%) of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate.”

To give a specific asset, such as shares in a company: “I give to [the National Association of Women and the Law OR the National Association of Women and the Law Charitable Trust for Research and Education] 500 shares of ABC Co. Inc.”

You can also give a gift contingent upon the occurrence of a condition. For instance, “In the event that my brother does not survive me, I give to [the National Association of Women and the Law OR the National Association of Women and the Law Charitable Trust for Research and Education].”

We are here to help.  For more information about creating a gift in your will, please get in touch. And if you have chosen to include us in your will, please contact us and let us know—we would really like to thank you personally!

Click here if you’d also like to learn more about how to gift RRSPs or RRIFs.

Gifting Stocks and Securities

The most tax effective way to give.

If you own publicly traded securities that have increased in value since you purchased them, using them to make your charitable donations is the most tax effective way to give. You may donate publicly traded securities, stocks and bonds as well as mutual funds held in a non-registered investment account by transferring them “in-kind” to the National Association of Women and the Law Charitable Trust for Research and Education (NAWL Trust).

Currently, the NAWL Trust is only able to accept gifts of this nature through our charity profile page on the secure online platform, CanadaHelps. On behalf of the NAWL Trust, CanadaHelps handles the “in-kind” transfer, sale of securities, donor receipting and disbursement the proceeds to the NAWL Trust.

gift stocks and securities
Frequently asked questions

“In-kind” means that you do not sell the security and transfer cash as your gift. Rather your securities are transferred to a brokerage account through CanadaHelps and sold on behalf of the NAWL Trust. If you sell them first, you will pay tax on 50% of the capital gain.

Yes, you will receive a charitable e-receipt from CanadaHelps on behalf of the NAWL Trust for the full market value of the securities on the day the NAWL Trust receives the “in-kind” transfer and you pay no tax on the capital gain.

You can only donate securities held in a non-registered investment account. Always donate stocks, bonds or mutual funds with the greatest capital gain to save the most tax.

 

  1. Complete our online securities donation form. Once you have completed and submitted the form, you will receive an email from Canadahelps.org confirming all the details of your pledge to the NAWL Trust.
  2. Complete the provided Letter of Direction form  and send it to your financial advisor or investment firm. This authorizes the transfer of shares to CanadaHelps on behalf of the NAWL Trust.
  3. Once your shares are sold, CanadaHelps will send you a confirmation email with your charitable tax receipt and disburse the proceeds to the NAWL Trust.

It is our policy t o sell the shares immediately upon receipt and convert the shares to cash. Upon receipt of the transferred securities, CanadaHelps, on behalf of the NAWL Trust, will issue a charitable tax e-receipt based on the full market value of the securities on the day it receives the “in-kind” transfer (the closing bid price on that day). The transfer of shares can take a few days, or weeks in the case of mutual funds. Please allow up to 4 weeks for this process to be completed.

Donating RRSPs or RRIFs

You can designate the National Association of Women and the Law or the National Association of Women and the Law Trust as a full or partial beneficiary of your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF).

The tax burden can be considerable for registered funds, such as RRSPs and RRIFs. When someone dies, it is as if they cashed in their assets all at once and it is added to their taxable income. Generally, the largest tax hit on an estate is for the remaining balance of an RRSP or RRIF on the death of a spouse, because the Canada Revenue Agency treats this as income in the year of death.

When this happens, this means the estate could be taxed at the highest income rate. This could be more than 50 per cent when probate fees are added.

Donating your RRSPs or RRIFs would eliminate this tax—but it does require careful planning. Donors should seek independent legal and/or accounting advice when considering a gift funded from RRSP/RRIF assets to ensure that they are not caught unaware of the tax implications of such gifts.

Frequently asked questions

It is possible to use the charitable tax credit to offset tax on withdrawal while the donor is living.  When you withdraw funds from an RRSP, your financial institution withholds the tax. The rates depend on your residency and the amount you withdraw. For residents of Canada outside of Quebec, the RRSP withdrawal rates are:

  • Under $5000, it is 10%.
  • Up to $15,000, it is 20%.
  • Over $15,000, it is 30%.

If you are living in Quebec, or aren’t a Canadian resident, please speak with your financial institution as the rates differ.

To note, a probate or executor is not needed to facilitate this type of gift given the donor is still living.

Giving your RRSPs or RRIFs later can allow you access to the funds throughout the donor’s lifetime while also reducing the tax burden on the Estate.

Designating NAWL or the NAWL Trust as a direct beneficiary of your RRSP or RRIF protects the RRSP or RRIF from being subject to estate administration taxes (probate fees) or executor fees because it does not go through your Estate. Beneficiaries can be named directly on your RRSP/RRIF, with the option of listing multiple beneficiaries.

To note, for direct beneficiary designations the value of the eligible charitable gift receipt will be the value of the gift on the date of death.

It may be possible to avoid having tax withheld from the withdrawal from an RRSP/RRIF if you complete a T1213 (A Request to Reduce Tax Deductions at Source). This is particularly beneficial for larger donations.

Your financial institution or an accountant can help complete the necessary paperwork. While it can take several weeks for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to process the form, once approved and provided to the financial institution holding the RRSPs/RRIFs, the financial institution would not be required to withhold an amount in respect of tax and the full amount of the withdrawal may be transferred to the registered charity.

As with all significant gifts to a charity, careful planning is required to realize the maximum impact of the donation. Donors should seek independent legal and/or accounting advice when considering a gift funded from RRSP/RRIF assets to ensure that they are not caught unaware of the tax implications of such gifts.