This week, West Coast LEAF was granted leave to intervene in two cases that will impact the security and safety of women in BC.
Lloyd v R: Challenging mandatory minimum sentences for women
First, West Coast LEAF will be intervening at the Supreme Court of Canada in a case challenging the constitutionality of a section of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that creates a mandatory minimum jail sentence of one year for drug trafficking in certain situations. In particular, the case will look at the impacts of mandatory one-year jail sentence on a variety of offenders to determine whether the sentence violates section 7 or 12 of the Charter.
West Coast LEAF will argue that the mandatory jail sentence at issue in this case has a disproportionate impact on women because of their role as primary caregivers and the potential for loss of child custody, and the likelihood that women will be jailed far from their home communities because of the lack of adequate facilities for incarcerated women in BC, among other issues. Judges must have the discretion to meaningfully consider all of these factors when determining a fit sentence, and limiting that discretion violates the Charter rights of some women offenders.
To learn more about our work on this case, click here.
College of Massage Therapists of BC v Scott: Ensuring safe healthcare for women
West Coast LEAF will also be intervening at the BC Court of Appeal in a case about when and how the governing bodies of healthcare professions can act to protect the public in response to a complaint of sexual misconduct against a healthcare practitioner.
We will argue that allegations of sexual misconduct require urgent action in order to protect the public, and specifically to protect the safety of women accessing healthcare. When governing bodies are considering whether there is a risk to the public, they must take into account the inherent likelihood that the only evidence of sexual misconduct will often be a complainant’s word against a registrant’s; as a result, they must take great care not to assess the women’s complaints of misconduct on the basis of discriminatory myths and stereotypes.
To learn more about out work in this case, click here.
West Coast LEAF’s involvement in both of these cases will ensure that our highest Courts can consider the experiences of women, as well as the potential impact on them, when determining these important issues.