Transparency Laws and the Gender Wage Gap

An interesting article on the gender wage gap and changes proposed by the Equal Pay Coalition:

“Ontario must urgently introduce pay transparency laws to tackle a gender wage gap that has remained virtually unchanged for 30 years — the legacy of inadequate enforcement and funding, according to equal pay advocates.

The changes proposed by the Toronto-based Equal Pay Coalition would require employers to report and post hourly wage and pay arrangements, including the breakdown of part-time, contract and temporary agency employees as women increasingly bear the brunt of precarious work.”

Read more here: 


Spotlight on Paradigm Law Group LLP

A fantastic article about Paradigm Law Group LLP:

“Chaisson admitted to having the same dream, but for a different reason. “I’d always wanted to start a female-run business,” says the 32-year-old, “to show others that it’s possible.” In that moment, they both paused to imagine what it would be like to give it a shot. “Once we said it,” says Chaisson, “we couldn’t unsay it. We had to do it.”

The two women decided to start a firm together. But they wanted a third owner, so they reached out to Emma Rhodes, a solo defence lawyer who’s best known for representing youth. “I’d been on my own for more than a decade, so I was really reluctant,” recalls Rhodes, a 42-year-old single mother with a four-year-old daughter. “But being alone didn’t work for me anymore. Picking my daughter up from school and having dinner with her comes first.” So in August 2016, Rhodes, Parker and Chaisson officially opened Paradigm Law Group LLP.”

Read more here:

Did You Know Who was the First Black Female Lawyer in Canada?

Violet King, First Black Female Lawyer in Canada

We’re reposting our article on Violet King from February 2016 because not enough people know about Violet King, Canada’s first black female lawyer.

Violet Pauline King Henry (1930-1981), was the first Black Female Lawyer in Canada. But you won’t find a Canadian Heritage Minute clip for her, and she’s not listed on Historica Canada’s Black History Canada Profiles.

Yet, when Violet King Henry (née King) graduated from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Law in 1953, she was became the first Black person to graduate from the U of A law school. In 1954, after being Called to the Bar, Ms. King Henry became Canada’s first Black female lawyer.

Ms. King Henry was born on October 18, 1929 and grew up in Calgary. Her father, John,worked for the Canadian Pacific Railways (CPR) as a porter and her mother, Stella, was a seamstress. Growing up, Ms. King Henry was an active community leader. In grade 12, she became President of the Girls Association and expressed an interest in practicing criminal law.

In 1948, she entered the University of Alberta (U of A) and continued her community leadership and activism. She was Vice-President of the U of A Students Union and the university’s representative to the Union of National Federation of Canadian University students. She was also an early second wave feminist. Violet King Henry was a member of the U of A Blue Stocking Club, which was a “general discussion group for women at the University of Alberta. The emphasis of the group was on history and public affairs.” The club’s name references the Blue Stockings Society in 18th century England. This was an informal group of educated and intellectual women who discussed the topics and issues of the day. A”bluestocking” referred to women participants, who apparently wore stockings.

Violet King Henry’s Law School and Articling Years

When Ms. King Henry started law school, she was one of three women in the entire student body and was the only women to graduate from the U of A Faculty of Law in 1953. This is hard to believe given that today about 51% of Canadian law school graduates are comprised of female students. But it’s true.

After graduation, she articled  with a local Calgary lawyer Edward McCromick. However, she wasn’t only interested in criminal law. Ms. King Henry apparently acted as treasurer for a local labour union.

Upon completing her articles, Ms. King Henry was admitted to the Alberta Bar in 1954, becoming Canada’s first Black female lawyer as well as Alberta’s first Black lawyer.

Violet King Henry’s Legal Career and Beyond

After Ms. King Henry was admitted to the Alberta Bar, she practiced criminal law in Calgary. She worked at the law firm with A.M. (Milt) Harradence, a criminal lawyer who was eventually elevated to the Court of Appeal.

It’s unclear when exactly an opportunity in Ottawa came up, but Ms. King Henry left Calgary for Ottawa to work in the Department of Citizenship and Immigration. She traveled the country meeting community leaders. In April 1956, she switched her Law Society status to a non-practicing member of the Alberta Law Society.

In 1963, she moved to the United States to work with the Newark, New Jersey, YW-YMCA as the associate general secretary. Ms. King Henry distinguished herself through her hard work and focus on helping unemployed Black persons find jobs. In 1969, she moved to Chicago and was named the Director of Manpower, Planning and Staff Development for the Chicago YMCA. Not much information is available about her years in Chicago.

However, in 1976, Ms. King Henry became the first woman appointed to a senior executive position in the American National YMCA. She took on the role of Executive Director of the National Council of YMCA’s Organizational Development Group. Ms. King Henry credited her legal training as good preparation for social and community leadership work.

She died of cancer in 1981.

Not enough is known about Violet King Henry. We’ve included links to what little information we found on Ms. King Henry. We encourage everyone to learn more about Violet King Henry by reading the Canadian Legal History Blog by clicking  here, or by reading Rachel K. Bailie’s and Professor David Percy’s article here.


The Women’s Legal Mentorship Program is proud to collaborate with the #LawNeedsFeminismBecause 2017 campaign.  The McGill based campaign, led by Rachel Kohut, expands nationally this year.

The #LNFB team is hosting its first national forum at McGill on March 11, 2017.  Law faculties across the country will get involved in the talk about how to shape the legal profession of tomorrow.

We are excited to be involved in the forum and look forward to participating on March 11, 2017!

For more information, visit the #LawNeedsFeminismBecause website.

Gender-Based Violence and the power of male allies

Feminists have been advocating in both public and private spheres for centuries against gender-based violence and its adverse effect on women of all walks of life.

The active participation of men in this fight is integral to the success of the campaign to eliminate gender based violence;  these brothers in India are a good example of why. Learn more by clicking here.