An Update from the Women Lawyers Forum

  • November 24, 2022

Message from the Chair

The leaves are falling, which means another CBA year is well underway. As the Women Lawyers Forum (WLF) reflects on last year’s accomplishments, we are also planning for what’s ahead. On that note, we are continuing to explore our mandate in the hopes of making the WLF as inclusive and impactful as possible. Please read on to learn more about our work!

Jennifer Taylor (Halifax, NS)
Chair, 2022-2023 Women Lawyers Forum

Pay Equity Report & Webinar

On March 8, 2022 – International Women’s Day – the WLF released its long-awaited report, “Pay Equity in the Legal Profession”, co-authored by the WLF Pay Equity Committee and Erin Cowling.

The report includes analysis and recommendations coming out of the WLF’s Roundtable on Pay Equity in the Legal Profession, a national research initiative designed to gather qualitative data about Canadian lawyers’ experiences with pay inequity and their proposed solutions.

On May 2, 2022, we hosted a webinar called “Achieving Pay Equity in the Legal Profession & Beyond: Practical Steps Forward” to explore what legal employers, law societies, governments, and lawyers themselves can do to close the gender pay gap.

WLF Statement on the Dobbs Decision

In June 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States released its decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This devastating decision overruled the precedents that had established a constitutional right to abortion access in the United States and prompted many Canadians to consider the potential fallout for abortion access in this country. The WLF issued a statement outlining the robust (if imperfect) protection for abortion access in Canadian law, and framing abortion access as a fundamental issue of equality.

“Writing Them In” Essay Contest Winner

The WLF is pleased to announce the winner of its annual essay contest, “Writing Them In”. In an outstanding field of essays, this year’s top prize was awarded to Kirsten McCann for the essay ““Petro-Masculinity” is Poisoning the Canadian Climate Regime: An Argument for a Mandatory Gender-Based Analysis Plus Provision for all Canadian Environmental Law.”

This essay not only tackles the most urgent crisis of our times – climate change –  but offers practical and achievable solutions. It is hoped that the calls to action in this paper will be taken up by members of the legal profession, politicians, environmental advocates, and everyone fighting for climate justice across the country.

Madam Justice Series

The WLF continues to share the stories of diverse judges across Canada through our Madam Justice project.

We are especially pleased to highlight our profile of Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin, who on September 1, 2022 became the first Indigenous Justice on the Supreme Court of Canada.

The scope and title of the Madam Justice project are under review as we strive to become more inclusive. Ideas for judges to profile, and new names for the project, are welcome!

Touchstones 2.0 Podcast Series

Looking ahead, 2023 will be the 30th anniversary of “Touchstones for Change: Equality, Diversity and Accountability” – the CBA’s seminal report on gender equality in the legal profession. The WLF will be marking this anniversary with a new podcast series (details forthcoming). We look forward to hosting discussions about how much has changed in the 30 years since Touchstones – and where change still needs to happen.

Stay Tuned and Follow Us on Social Media

To learn more about the work of WLF, follow us on our social media channels:

@CBA_WLF on Twitter and Instagram & LinkedIn