How The Equality Provisions in the Charter Were Won
Canadian women began mobilizing in anticipation of constitutional reform in 1980. After a series of mass actions, conferences and lobbying, women across Canada were successful in achieving significant amendments to the Section 15 equality rights by January 1981. Between 1982 and 1985, women worked to get additional provisions added to the charter needed to guarantee equality to male and female persons. These were eventually accomplished with the acceptance of Section 28 which, together with Section15, established women’s constitutional right to equality.
Nancy Ruth, Linda Palmer Nye and Marylou McPhedran talked to Rise Up about the importance of the struggle and also explained the importance of Section 28 which said that: “Notwithstanding anything else in this Charter, the rights and freedoms in it are guaranteed equally to male and female persons.”
with Nancy Ruth, Linda Palmer Nye and Marilou McPhedran
interviewed by Sue Colley
Section 15: Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
Section 28: “Notwithstanding anything else in this Charter, the rights and freedoms in it are guaranteed equally to male and female persons.”
Material From the Archive
- The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- Why You Need To Be At The Constitutional Table
- Highlights from Canadian Charter Equality Rights for Women: One Step Forward or Two Steps Back?
- Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF)
- Button: Conférence Constitution. Ottawa – Feb 14 1981
- Button: Women and the Constitution
- Footage from the Women and the Contstitution Conference, 1981
This project has been made possible in part by Library and Archives Canada’s Documentary Heritage Communities Program.