Equality: nowhere near there yet
West Coast LEAF is the first and only organization in BC dedicated to using the law as a strategy to work towards an equal and just society for all women and people who experience gender-based discrimination. Since our founding in 1985, we have helped bring about some of Canada’s most important feminist victories for reproductive rights, workplace standards, fairness in family law, legal protections from sexual harassment, and more. Read about our history.
In collaboration with community, West Coast LEAF uses litigation, law reform, and public legal education to create social change. While we are focused on issues in British Columbia, we also take action in matters of national significance that are important to the equality and human rights of people in British Columbia. We aim to transform society by achieving:
- Access to healthcare
- Access to justice
- Economic security
- Freedom from gender-based violence
- Justice for those who are criminalized
- The right to parent
West Coast LEAF envisions an equal and just society for all women and people who experience gender-based discrimination.
We recognize that gender-based inequalities threaten the safety, well-being, and human rights not only of women, but also of Two-Spirit people, intersex people, gender non-conforming people, trans people of all genders (not only women), and people with non-binary gender identities. West Coast LEAF is committed to an inclusive vision of feminism that defends the right to be free from discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.
West Coast LEAF recognizes our responsibility to work for the full realization of the rights of Indigenous peoples. In the context of historic and ongoing colonial violence and injustice, West Coast LEAF understands that fulfilling this responsibility requires a deep and continual commitment. We respectfully acknowledge that our office is located in Vancouver on traditional, ancestral, and unceded Coast Salish homeland, including the territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We understand that many of us are uninvited guests to these territories. As an organization that includes many settlers, we take responsibility for learning and seeking long-term transformation in our relationships with Indigenous peoples and land.
West Coast LEAF promotes substantive equality, an approach that recognizes and celebrates differences. Rather than treating everyone the same, substantive equality ensures that historically disadvantaged people can actively participate in society and access justice. We strive to ensure that the equality principles in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which advance the rights of all disadvantaged and marginalized groups, are fulfilled.