Rebuilding Feminist Law Reform Capacity

In August 2017, NAWL received funding from Status of Women Canada (now Women and Gender Equality Canada) to implement a three-year project to increase women’s capacities to meaningfully engage in the law making process.

Since then, NAWL has been leading feminist advocacy with decision-makers on current federal law reform issues. We have also joined in solidarity with, and supported the work of, a range of feminist and equality-seeking organizations, networks and coalitions, working together on a wide range of women’s rights issues.

We have been updating and developing resources and tools to support current and emerging feminist law reformers. By convening workshops and consultations across the country to strengthen women’s capacities and commitment to engage in the law making process at the federal level, we are building a diverse and inclusive network of students, service providers, academics, activists and allies.

Our National Project Advisory Board

NAWL is committed to working in collaboration with other feminist and equality seeking groups in Canada working towards advancing women’s equality rights. To ensure that NAWL remains connected to these movements, we established a National Project Advisory Board.

Members of the Advisory Board are appointed to share their respective expertise, and provide input and advice to NAWL Project staff, including advice related to strategies, approaches and processes. The Advisory Board will also assist NAWL Project Staff in identifying additional stakeholders with expertise relevant to the implementation of the NAWL Project: Rebuilding Feminist Law Reform Capacity: Substantive Equality in the Law Making Process. Members of the Advisory Board serve on a voluntary basis and do not receive any remuneration for this role.

The Advisory Board includes feminist legal academics, lawyers, activists, advocacy and/or service delivery organizations engaged in feminist law reform in Canada, using an intersectional feminist analysis, and reflecting the NAWL Project’s commitment to bilingualism, diversity and inclusion. Advisory Board members will include representatives of NAWL and of other feminist equality seeking stakeholders and partners with expertise in the priority areas identified in the NAWL Project.

Project Advisory Board Members

Lisa is the Executive Director of Downtown Legal Services (DLS), the University of Toronto Faculty of Law Legal Clinic. Lisa is a feminist lawyer and has practiced in the areas of human rights, education, housing and family law in a wide variety of social justice organizations including DLS, ARCH and the Ontario Human Rights Commission. In addition to her legal work, Lisa has extensive experience in public legal education and community outreach. Lisa a long-standing Board member and former President of ACCLE (Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education). She is a member of the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Community Advisory Board and Legal Aid Ontario’s Clinic Advisory Committee. Lisa joined the NAWL National Steering Committee in 2011.

Pamela Cross is a feminist lawyer; a well-known and respected expert on violence against women and the law for her work as a researcher, writer, educator and trainer. She works with women’s equality and violence against women organizations across Ontario.

One of her key roles is as the Legal Director of Luke’s Place Support and Resource Centre in Durham Region, where she leads the organization’s provincial projects, including research, training and advocacy.

She has also been a member of the teaching faculty with the National Judicial Institute, and continues to plan and deliver educational programs on violence against women to Canadian judges. In 2012, she developed violence against women curriculum for law schools in a project with the Law Commission of Ontario.

Pamela works with the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, for whom she co-authored “Muslim and Canadian Family Laws: A Comparative Primer” and was the author of “Violence Against Women: Health and Justice for Canadian Women,” as well as delivering workshops on family law to CCMW members.

Pamela’s most recent paper is “When Shared Parenting and the Safety of Women and Children Collide,” published in 2016. With funding from the federal Department of Justice, she led a team that conducted research into the use of family violence screening tools for family law practitioners. The final report, entitled “What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: The importance of family violence screening tools for family law practitioners”, includes a draft screening tool.

In her role as Luke’s Place Legal Director, Pamela is the lead trainer for Ontario’s Family Court Support Workers, providing both in-person and online training and support for approximately 100 frontline workers who assist abused women in family court. She recently completed the delivery of domestic violence awareness training to approximately 2,500 Legal Aid Ontario staff, community clinics and lawyers across the province. She was also Co-Chair of the Violence Against Women Roundtable, which provided guidance to the provincial government on this issue.

Pamela is the 2019 recipient of both the Laura Legge Award from the Law Society of Ontario and the Guthrie Award from the Law Foundation of Ontario, and a 2015 recipient of the Attorney General’s Victim Services Award of Distinction for her work on the issue of violence against women. In 2006, she was awarded the YWCA Toronto Women of Distinction award for her work in the area of law reform. She is also a member of the Gender Equality Network Canada (GENC), a national network of more than 150 diverse women leaders nominated by community organizations across Canada.

She is a frequent speaker at provincial, national and international conferences. She is also a regular commentator on violence against women and the law for print media, radio and television across Canada.

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; and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Health Coalition. 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 was awarded CRIAW’s Marion Porter Prize; in 2007, she was granted the Law Society of Upper Canada Medal for her contributions to the legal profession; 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. Martha has been on the National Steering Committee since 2007 and NSC co-chair since 2012.

Lise Martin has held several positions in the pan-Canadian women’s movement. She is the founding Executive Director of Women’s Shelters Canada, an organization that provides a unified voice for systemic change to end violence against women while providing leadership for collaboration and knowledge exchange among shelters and transition houses across the country. Lise is a member of the Advisory Council for the federal government’s Gender-Based Strategy. Prior to joining WSC, she was the Executive Director of Women’s World 2011, an international feminist conference that hosted more than 2,000 participants from 92 countries in Ottawa in July 2011. For many years Lise was with the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW), first as a Research Officer and then as Executive Director. Lise is also one of the founding members of FAFIA, the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action.

Lorena is Cree-Anishinabe from the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba. She is an associate professor in the Department of Indigenous Studies at the University of Winnipeg. She has spoken nationally and internationally and has authored articles on residential school issues and Aboriginal language rights in Canada. Since 2003, Lorena has been an advocate for Aboriginal Residential School Survivors as well as Children of Residential School Survivors. 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. Lorena also acted as a legal consultant to the Toronto law firm Thomson, Rogers for the plaintiffs and their counsel in the Baxter National Residential School Class Action as well as to Mother of Red Nations Women’s Council in Manitoba on cultural harm issues. Lorena is also a former panel member of the Court Challenges Program of Canada.