Rapports Annuels

2016-2017 was a busy year for NAWL. The organization submitted a significant multi-year application for Status of Women Canada funding, launched its online Feminist Law Reform course and kept up its work to advance women’s equality through law reform advocacy.

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. 

In 2015-2016, NAWL continued operating with a skeletal structure. While committed to remaining administratively sound, the National Steering Committee decided that, in keeping with the direction set in 2013, we would spend as few resources as possible given an inability, without state funding, to do the research and advocacy work the organization was designed to do.

Following Status of Women Minister Patty Hadju’s July, 2016 announcement that advocacy funding would be restored under the Women’s Program, NAWL is cautiously optimistic about the future of the organization.

Despite an extremely reduced structure, in 2015/2016 NAWL continued to work toward its vision of providing feminist law students with the skills necessary for advancing systemic law reform remedies at the federal level.

Since our last Annual Report, the NAWL Charitable Trust for Research and Education, with generous support from Shirley Greenberg, completed work on the development of its open access, bilingual online Feminist Law Reform Course. After a decade of federal government disinterest in, if not outright hostility to, democratic values of equality and inclusion, the NAWL online course is designed to rebuild the skills necessary to advance equality rights and to encourage public re-engagement in the Canadian legislative process.

In 2015/2016, NAWL continued to receive and respond to a number of requests to sign letters, co-author briefs, join various coalitions and make submissions before Parliamentary Committees. In the last year, NAWL has also taken an active leadership role in the work to ensure federal government funding for advocacy was restored. The following provides a sample of some of these activities:

  • NAWL joined other women leaders in signing the “Respect Women” letter in the final days of the Election in October, 2015 calling on “all leaders and public figures in the country to refrain from allowing the issue of the niqab to in any way create an atmosphere of intolerance and xenophobia in this country.”
  • NAWL contributed information about out organizational history for the archival website Rise Up: A digital archive of feminist activism in Canada 1970 to 1990.
  • Shortly after the election last fall, NAWL authored letters to the Minister of Justice and the Minister for Status of Women explaining the importance of state funding for feminist law reform advocacy and research. NAWL also co-authored a letter calling on the Federal government to restore funding for women’s equality advocacy and research with FAFIA, CRIAW, NWAC, LEAF and DAWN.
  • In collaboration with FAFIA, NAWL met with the Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women and the Department Head, to discuss the importance of reinstating funding for feminist law reform expertise in Canada. NAWL also authored its own letters to the Ministers of Justice and Status of Women on this issue.
  • NAWL took an active role at the AGM of the Court Challenges Program of Canada.
  • NAWL responded to an invitation by the Director of the University of Ottawa Human Rights, Research and Education Center to participate in the development of a strategy to promote and achieve Canada’s long-overdo adherence to the American Convention on Human Rights.
  • Finally, in the Spring of 2016, NAWL had representatives making submissions before two Parliamentary Committees, the Special Committee on Pay Equity (on proactive federal pay equity legislation), and the Standing Committee for Status of Women (on the impact of cyber-bullying on women and girls). Written submissions to these Committees can be accessed on the NAWL website.

Following Status of Women Minister Patty Hadju’s July, 2016 announcement that advocacy funding would be restored under the Women’s Program, NAWL is cautiously optimistic about the future of the organization.

To read the complete Annual Report click here.