Nouveau cours appliqué sur la réforme féministe ANFD/ NAWL's applied course in feminist law reform

Monday, October 3, 2016

Chère amie, cher ami de l’ANFD,

Nous vous invitons à assister au lancement du nouveau cours appliqué sur la réforme féministe du droit intitulé : « Réforme du droit féministe 101 » du Fonds pour la recherche et l’éducation de l’Association nationale Femmes et Droit. Le lancement, suivi d’une réception, auront lieu le mercredi 2 novembre, de 18 h à 20 h, au Pavillon des diplômés Alex-Trebek, 157, Séraphin-Marion privé à l’Université d’Ottawa.

Il s’agit d’un tout nouveau cours en ligne d’accès ouvert et complètement bilingue qui se fonde sur l’expertise de juristes, de militantes et d’autres féministes activement engagées dans le processus de réforme du droit. Le cours se veut une sorte de « boîte à outils » permettant de développer les compétences nécessaires pour faire avancer les droits à l’égalité. Les sujets abordés comprennent notamment l’interaction avec des représentant(e)s du gouvernement et des députés, le recours efficace aux médias, et le travail au sein de coalitions. Ce cours combine des lectures avec de brefs clips vidéo et propose des questions à débat dans un format interactif susceptible d’être utilisé aussi bien en salle de classe que dans d’autres cadres. Après son lancement, le cours sera accessible ici.

Prière de répondre par courriel avant le 28 octobre à : N’hésitez pas à diffuser cette invitation parmi votre entourage et auprès de toute personne susceptible de vouloir assister à ce lancement. Nous espérons vous voir en grand nombre le 2 novembre ! 

Dear friend of NAWL:

We are writing to invite you to attend the launch of the National Association of Women and the Law Charitable Trusts’ new applied course on feminist law reform: ‘Feminist Law Reform 101’.  The launch and reception will take place on Wednesday November 2nd, from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. in the Alex Trebek Alumni Hall, 157 Séraphin-Marion Private, at the University of Ottawa.

This new online open-access and fully bilingual course draws on the expertise of feminist lawyers, activists and others actively engaged in the law reform process and provides a “tool-kit” for pursuing systemic legislative change. Topics covered include interacting with the executive branch and MPs, making effective use of the media, and working in coalitions.  The course combines readings with short video clips and suggested discussion questions in an interactive format designed for use in both classroom and non-classroom settings.  The course can be accessed herefollowing the launch.

Please RSVP before October 28th by e-mailing Feel free to share this invitation with anyone who may be interested in attending and we look forward to seeing you on November 2nd

WLMP awards Shirley E. Greenberg

Shirley E. Greenberg recently received the Friend of the Women's Legal Mentorship Program Award. The WLMP has recognised Ms. Greenberg's dedication to women's legal mentorship and her work to increase the retention of women in the law.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Some of our fabulous uOttawa law students invite you to #DanceIsMyExpression—a night of youth choreographed dance in support of mental health.

The night will feature dance pieces choreographed by Ottawa youth between the ages of 6 and 18 that are expressive of something they wanted to share with the world. These dancers have really done a fantastic job with their choreography. Their stories range from being in their happy place, to losing a grandparent, to bullying, to depression/suicidal thoughts, to friendship, to taking everything life throws at you. The showcase features all styles of dance and aspecial guest performance by YTV host Carlos Bustamante!

The showcase is being held on Friday Oct 14th from 7pm to 9:30pm at St. Paul's High School and all the proceeds from the event are going to the Paul Hansell Foundationa non-profit organization aimed at supporting the mental health and emotional well-being of youth. 

Tickets are available at:

An evening with Trey Anthony

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Save the Date: An Evening with Trey Anthony

The Joint Chair in Women’s Studies at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa will be hosting an evening with Trey Anthony, the award-winning playwright, actor, executive producer, and director of the theatrical production “Da Kink in My Hair”. 

Anthony was the first Black Canadian woman to write and produce a television show of the same name for the Global Television Network and has been a writer and producer for the W Network, Comedy Network and CTV.  Anthony volunteers with Black Queer Youth Group in Toronto, mentoring female adolescent girls and in 2009, she founded a woman-focused wellness facility The Trey Anthony@One Centre in Toronto.
Please save the date to hear and welcome this Canadian icon on Tuesday, November 1st 2016 from 4 – 6pm.  This is a bilingual event.
Want to see the play?  Plan to stay and watch the NAC production of “Da Kink in My Hair” that night!  For ticket information, please consult the NAC’s website:  Please note that we are looking into securing discount tickets.
More details on both the event and the tickets to follow soon.

Prenez date : Une soirée avec Trey Anthony

La Chaire conjointe en études des femmes, de l’Université d’Ottawa et Carleton University, organise une soirée avec Trey Anthony, dramaturge, comédienne, productrice exécutive et réalisatrice de la pièce de théâtre « Da Kink in My Hair ».

Couronnée de plusieurs prix, Mme Anthony est la première femme noire canadienne à écrire et à réaliser une émission télévisée, qui porte le même nom que sa pièce de théâtre, pour le Global Television Network et a travaillé comme scénariste et réalisatrice pour le W Network, le Comedy Network et CTV. Mme Anthony travaille aussi comme bénévole avec le Black Queer Youth Group à Toronto, où elle offre un encadrement aux adolescentes. En 2009, elle a fondé à Toronto le The Trey Anthony@One Centre, un centre de bien-être pour femmes.

Veuillez réserver la date du mardi 1er novembre 2016, de 16 h à 18 h, pour accueillir cette idole canadienne. L’événement est bilingue.

Voulez-vous voir la pièce de théâtre? Restez pour assister à la représentation de « Da Kink in My Hair » au CNA ce même soir! Pour plus d’information sur les billets, veuillez consulter le site Web du CNA : Veuillez noter que nous explorons la possibilité d’offrir des billets à tarif réduit.

Plus de détails sur l’événement et les billets suivront prochainement.  

Looking for information on the Greenberg Chair's Sept 22nd and Feb 22nd events?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

For more information on the Greenberg Chair's Feb. 22nd, 2017 and Sept. 22nd. 2016 events showcasing a variety of opinions on legal responses to the sex trade, please scroll down.

Racism and the Robin Camp Inquiry

Daphne Gilbert, Lise Gotell & Elizabeth Sheehy

What does it mean to be “racialized” in Canada? And what does it have to do with our responses to sexual violence?

We used this term in our recent op ed on the Justice Camp Inquiry before the Canadian Judicial Council.  One of the points we made in this piece is that Justice Robin Camp’s alleged “re-education” on sexism (as it inhibited his ability to judge the issue of sexual assault fairly) seemingly failed to deal with the issue of racism, which we believe was also critical in this case.

We said this because the complainant at whom he directed his aggressive and disparaging remarks was a young Indigenous woman. We were reinforced in our view by the fact that the Crown prosecutor, whose effort to focus his attention on the law (as opposed to his opinions) he rebuffed with a cruel remark, was herself racialized.

But you won’t find the word in our op ed because the news agencies involved were not satisfied that we could demonstrate that the Crown prosecutor is either objectively a “woman of colour” or considers herself “racialized”. They were also understandably worried that ordinary readers would not know what this word means.

The difficulty is that being “racialized” is about how one is perceived and treated in a given society at a particular historical moment—it’s not about either “facts” such as physical appearance or “self-identity”. As our colleague Professor Joanne St Lewis observes, the issue is whether one is a member of a community that is subjected to racism. In other words, the word “racialized” recognizes that “race” and the subordination that accompanies this designation is not inherent in the person but is rather a social relation—an exercise of power.

So, while the “incomprehensible” and “unsubstantiated” word “racialized” was excised, we remain convinced that racism has been “whitewashed” out of the Camp Inquiry and that there is something critical to discuss. Too late—but we were able to substantiate our use of the word, with the help of our colleague Professor St Lewis. This Crown attorney self-identifies as “Arab” and even Statistics Canada recognizes that people viewed as “Arab” are “visible minorities.”  Arab-Canadians do experience discrimination in daily life in Canada. Lise Gotell comments that Ms Mograbee’s colleagues, including judges, saw this as a significant aspect of what unfolded in the now infamous sexual assault hearing before Justice Camp.

We hope by this comment to both acknowledge the gap between racialized and non-racialized communities in terms of knowledge and experience of racism, and contribute to our collective understanding of racism as a critical force in perpetuating and excusing sexual violence.  

Perspectives on Legal Responses to the Sex Trade

Friday, September 16, 2016

Perspectives on Legal Responses to the Sex Trade

 The Shirley Greenberg Chair in Women and the Legal Profession will present two events during the 2016-17 academic year showcasing a variety of perspectives on legal responses to the sex trade. Faculty members, staff, students, alumni and the broader University of Ottawa community hold very different opinions on the appropriate legal response to the sex trade in Canada, reflecting a spectrum of positions from abolitionism to de-criminalisation or legalisation. These events are intended to provide a venue for the respectful expression and debate of opinions along this spectrum.

The first event will take place in the fall term, on September 22nd, 2016, and will feature three speakers whose positions reflect a diversity of abolitionist perspectives.  The second event, planned for Feb. 22nd, 2017, will reflect a variety of legalisation and de-criminalisation perspectives. The order of these events is dictated by the availability of the speakers, and does not reflect a hierarchy of ideas.

One of the most important roles of a university is to create an environment for the free, respectful expression and exchange of ideas. At the Faculty of Law we aim to foster a space of inquiry, learning, debate and exchange. These two events are designed to educate the members of the law school community on the relevant debates, and to provide a forum for respectful questioning and discussion.

Below you will find a series of links to information on the spectrum of proposed legal responses to the sex trade.

Amnesty International’s research and policy work on decriminalization (set in an international context).

Emily Bazelon writes about the history of difficult feminist discussions on the sex trade.  

Janine Benedet offers an abolitionist perspective.

The Open Society Foundations offers Ten Reasons to Decriminalize Sex Work.

The Social Action and Executive Committees of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies passed an abolitionist resolution.

Réforme féministe du droit/Feminist Law Reform course - update

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Prof. Martha Jackman is offering an exciting course in feminist law reform, open to English or French Common law students. The course is now open to students who wish to AUDIT the course, as well as those who wish to enroll for credit. Please contact Prof. Jackman at:

Réforme féministe du droit/Feminist Law Reform course

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Below you will find the syllabus for Prof. Martha Jackman's exciting feminist law reform/Réforme féministe du droit course at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law. Interested students should sign up!

Études intensives: Thème choisi en droit - Réforme féministe du droit (CML4914)
Automne 2016
PROFESSEURE :                              Martha Jackman (FTX383)
Téléphone/courriel :                           613-562-5800 poste 3299;
Horaire et salle de cours :                 mercredi 17 h 30 à 20 h 30; FTX 102


La réforme du droit fait partie intégrante de la lutte pour l’égalité des femmes au Canada. Ce cours séminaire bilingue (avec conférencier(e) invité(e)s et quelques visites hors campus) offrira aux étudiant(e)s l’occasion de développer des connaissances et habiletés nécessaires pour la poursuite de stratégies systémiques de réforme du droit au niveau fédéral. Profitant de l’expertise de juristes féministes et d’autres personnes activement impliquées dans le processus de réforme du droit fédéral, les sujets de discussion et d’apprentissage comprendront : l’accès à l’information et la recherche; représentations et comparutions devant des comités parlementaires; lobbying; campagnes médiatiques et de relations publiques; éducation juridique populaire; liaison communautaire; sensibilisation et autres outils et pistes clés pour la défense de la réforme féministe du droit. (3 crédits)


Droit constitutionnel I ou un cours équivalent portant sur la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés. Ce cours et bilingue. Les étudiant(e)s doivent posséder une bonne compréhension (passive) des deux langues officielles.  La professeure changera de langue chaque semaine et les conférencier(e)s invité(e)s feront leurs présentations soit en anglais, soit en français. Les étudiant(e)s peuvent employer la langue de leur choix en classe. Les étudiant(e)s du programme français devront cependant faire leur présentation orale et rédiger leur travail écrit en français.


Matériel de cours en version électronique disponible sur le site Web de la professeure.


La méthode d’évaluation comporte cinq volets :
1) la préparation et la présence en classe (10 % de la note finale);
2) une lettre à la rédaction, d’au plus 200 mots, remis avant 16h le 7 décembre (5 % de la note finale);
3) un commentaire à la rédaction, d’au plus 700 mots, remis avant 16h le 7 décembre (15 % de la note finale);
4) une lettre à un ministre/au premier ministre, d’au plus 200 mots, remis avant 16h le 7 décembre avril (5% de la note finale); et
5) un mémoire écrit, d’au plus 3 000 mots (5,000 mots pour répondre à l’exigence du mémoire de recherche), portant sur un sujet d’intérêt personnel dans le domaine de la réforme féministe du droit, remis avant 16h le 22 décembre (65 % de la note finale.)

Intensive Study: Select Legal Issues - Feminist Law Reform (CML4914)
Fall 2016
PROFESSOR :                                  Martha Jackman (FTX 383)
Telephone/e-mail :                             613-562-5800 ext. 3299;
Class schedule and location :            Wednesday 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.; FTX 102


Law reform is an essential component of the struggle for women’s equality in Canada.  This bilingual seminar course (with guest speakers and some off-campus visits) will provide students with an opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for the pursuit of systemic legislative remedies at the federal level.  Drawing on the expertise of feminist lawyers and others actively engaged in the federal law reform process, areas of discussion and training will include: access to information and research; submissions and appearances before parliamentary committees; lobbying; media and public relations campaigns; public legal education; grassroots outreach and other key tools and avenues of feminist law reform advocacy.  (3 credits)


Constitutional Law I or an equivalent course on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  This is a bilingual course.  Students must have a good (passive) knowledge of both official languages.  The instructor will switch between languages each week and presentations by guest speakers will be in English or in French. Students may use the language of their choice in class. 


Course materials available electronically on the Professor’s faculty web-site.


The method of evaluation includes five components:
1) class preparation and attendance (10% of the final grade);
2) a letter to the editor, of a maximum 200 words in length, due by 4 p.m. on December 7 (5% of the final grade);
3) an op-ed, of a maximum 700 words in length, due by 4 p.m. on December 7 (15% of the final grade);
4) a letter to a minister/prime minister, of a maximum 200 words in length, due by 4 p.m. on December 7 (5% of the final grade); and

5) a written brief, of a maximum 3,000 words in length (5,000 words to fulfil the major paper requirement), on a feminist law reform topic of the student’s choice, due by 4 p.m. on December 22 (65% of the final grade). 

Reporting Order Insufficient to Stop Canada from Discriminating against First Nations Children

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

This is cross-posted from the View Point column from the May/June 2016 issue of the Human Rights Digest, with permission.

Anne Levesque

On January 26, 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (“CHRT”) released a historic decision (‘’decision’’) finding that Canada is racially discriminating against over 163,000 First Nations children and their families by providing flawed and inequitable child welfare services ("FNCFS Program") and by failing to implement Jordan's Principle to ensure equitable access to government services available to other children.1 In a subsequent order issued on April 26, 2016, the CHRT commented on Canada’s failure to take sufficient immediate action to comply with its January decision. It wrote: “[i]t is unclear why and how some of the findings [of discrimination] have not been addressed within the three months since the [January] decision. Instead of being immediate relief, some of these items may now become mid-term relief”.2

In response to this inaction, the CHRT ordered Canada to confirm that it had fully implemented Jordan’s Principle and to report on the steps it had taken to comply with its January decision. Such reporting orders are exceptional and are generally issued only in cases where the failure to promptly comply with an order may cause irreparable harm, particularly to a vulnerable group, as was the case in Doucet-Boudreau.3  Similarly, in Caring Society (No. 15), the CHRT heard and accepted evidence that Canada’s discriminatory FNCFS Program was causing First Nations children to be removed from their families and communities and put into care at alarming rates.4 It ordered Canada to immediately cease its discriminating conduct towards against First Nations children in accordance with its ruling.5

It is disappointing that in the face of these tragic circumstances and such an exceptional legal measure, Canada failed to take the immediate action necessary to lessen the discrimination experienced by First Nations children receiving child welfare services following the CHRT’s April reporting order. By way of example, the 2016 Budget allocates $71.1 million to First Nations child welfare services in 20162017, only $60.38 million of which will be directed to service delivery for children and families. By contrast, Canada’s own internal documents estimated that a minimum of $108.1 million plus an annual 3 percent increase for inflation was required (in 2012 dollars) to provide First Nations children with child welfare services comparable to those available off reserve.  The largest funding allocation in the 2016 Budget for child welfare services for First Nations children will not be conferred until 20202021 and that depends on whether the current government gets re-elected. When asked why First Nations children needed to wait five years — or a quarter of their childhood — to receive services comparable to those available to others, Prime Minister Trudeau stated that the government needed to “create the capacity” before providing additional funds to FNCFS agencies.6 Yet, none of the evidence presented before the Tribunal supports the Prime Minister’s claim that First Nations agencies do not have the capacity to deliver equal services to First Nations children. From a human rights perspective, the claim, which is akin to stating that discrimination against certain groups is acceptable because they are not, in the eyes of the party responsible for the discrimination or the public, ready for equality, is also very problematic.

Canada’s inaction with respect to the implementation of Jordan’s Principle is equally disconcerting. In its May 10, 2016, compliance report to the CHRT, Canada claimed that it had fully implemented Jordan’s Principle. Yet, Canada has failed to take the measures necessary to ensure that First Nations children not longer experience discrimination as a result of jurisdictional disputes. For example, the INAC website directs the public to contact a series of telephone numbers for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (“INAC”) regarding Jordan’s Principle cases. The Caring Society called each number to test the accessibility of INAC’s Jordan’s Principle reporting system. Results revealed out of service telephone numbers, automated answering machines that did not include a Jordan’s Principle option and government officials who were not aware of Jordan’s Principle or referred the caller to a First Nations organization. Only one INAC office was able to send contact information for officials several hours after the original call.7  The results of the calls were immediately brought to INAC’s attention and the Caring Society sought confirmation from INAC that the matter has been addressed but no response has been received. This raises significant concerns regarding Canada’s compliance with the CHRT January order. More importantly, it suggests that First Nations children will continue to experience discrimination when seeking access to government services, or simply be denied those services altogether.8 This is not surprising given that the CHRT found that jurisdictional disputes caused First Nations children to be denied services available to other children due to poor or complete lack of coordination between and within governments. Such ongoing systemic and widespread discrimination cannot be remedied simply by making grandiose statements.

On June 14, 2016, faced with this continued inaction, and upon receipt of Canada’s compliance report regarding the CHRT’s findings of discrimination relating to its FNCFS Program, the CHRT cancelled an upcoming case conference it had scheduled with the parties to discuss the implementation of the January decision. In particular, it wrote:

The Panel finds there are far more unresolved issues to deal with th[a]n it had expected and is now questioning the benefit of having a meeting at this time. Therefore, the Panel proposes to use its limited resources to address as many of the outstanding issues as it can now.9

The CHRT is expected to rule upon the Caring Society’s requests for immediate relief later this year. It is unfortunate that such requests are even necessary and that Canada remains unwilling to comply voluntarily with the CHRT’s decision by ceasing its discriminatory conduct towards some of the most vulnerable members of our society, First Nations children.

Anne Levesque, B.A., LL.B., MSt (Oxon)
is proud to have been one of the lawyers who represented the
 First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada in this case.
1.     First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada v. Canada (Attorney General) (No. 15), 2016 CHRT 2, CHRR Doc. 16-3003 (“Caring Society (No. 15)”). When there is a dispute as to which level of government must fund a particular service, Jordan’s Principle states that the service must be immediately provided by the government that is contacted first, and that jurisdictional issues must be sorted out later. For more information on Jordan’s Principle, visit
2.     First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada v. Canada (Attorney General) (No. 16), 2016 CHRT 10, CHRR Doc. 16-3033, para. 21.
3.     In Doucet-Boudreau v. Nova Scotia (Minister of Education), [2003] 3 S.C.R. 3 (“Doucet-Boudreau”), the Supreme Court of Canada upheld an order of a trial judge from Nova Scotia in a language rights case to retain jurisdiction to hear reports on the status of the effort of the province to provide adequate school facilities and programs for Francophones. In so doing, the Supreme Court noted that for every school year that governments do not meet their obligations under s. 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, there was an increased likelihood of assimilation which carries the risk that numbers might cease to “warrant”, and thus extinguishing the right to school instruction in a official minority language. 
4.     Caring Society (No. 15), at para. 344.
5.     Ibid, at para. 481.
6.     APTN Interview with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dated June 3, 2016, available at:
7.     For more information about the calls, see APTN story which aired on June 21, 2016, available at
8.     On June 7, 2016, the Caring Society contacted the regional offices and numbers on the website and asked to speak to the person in charge of Jordan’s Principle cases noting that the INAC website says that persons with questions regarding Jordan’s Principle should call the regional INAC office. The object of the exercise was to ensure members of the public with Jordan’s Principle cases were able to bring them to INAC’s attention and have them addressed. The Caring Society contacted the 1-800 number listed under the Atlantic, Quebec and Manitoba Regions and the person receiving the call advised that they did not have a contact person and that they would send out a general email. The number listed for Quebec Region (1-800-263-5592) yielded a completely automated system with five options to leave messages about specific topics. None of the topics included Jordan’s Principle inquiries. The number listed for the Atlantic Region appeared to be out of order as multiple calls yielded only a tone at the end of the line. Calls to the remaining regional offices of Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the Yukon revealed polite responses from staff but did not yield a person to speak to about the cases. The Caring Society received responses ranging from options only to leave messages on voice mail to staff saying they did not know what Jordan’s Principle was, to being referred to the First Nations Health Authority (in BC) and suggesting they leave a message for a person who would not be back in the office for several days. Ontario region did contact the Caring Society several hours after our call with the names and addresses of persons to reach.

9.     Letter from the CHRT to the parties dated June 14, 2016. 
Designed by Rachel Gold.