Paralegal SCOPE Contributor, Judit Schonwald, writes about the “Persons Day” commemorative breakfast, held Oct. 8.
A mere eight decades ago, Canadian women got formal recognition as “persons” under the law. October 18, 1929, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (the highest court of the land that time), decided that women are persons, eligible to sit in the Canadian Senate. The case, Edwards v. Attorney General of Canada  A.C. 124, is better-known as the Persons Case.
To celebrate the anniversary, organizations such a the Women’s Education and Action Fund (LEAF) hold commemorative events. LEAF’s annual “Persons Day breakfast” drew nearly 700 people to the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, October 8. John Tzanis, Paralegal Society of Ontario (PSO) president, joined the 7-9 a.m. gathering, which was emceed by CBC News Now host, Suhana Meharchand.
Guests and speakers included LEAF director, Ms. Diane O’Reggio and former Deputy Prime Minister, the Honorable A. Anne McLellan.
McLellan invigorated her audience with a fierce, passionate and electrifying speech. She said that not enough has changed since the Persons Case. To change the current political system and culture, women must first understand it, make it work to their advantage, then change it. She urged women across the country and across party lines to stand up and run for office.
Women can shift their image as “primary caregivers,” McLellan said, urging women to get involved in every aspect of life. The road ahead is winding and long, she noted.
LEAF joined with the Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN) to sponsor 100 female students for the breakfast and a day of workshops and seminars with legal groups and women in the legal profession.
Similar events are held across Canada, to commemorate the place of women in the legal and political fields, including in Sudbury on October 10.
YWCA Hamilton – Persons Day Breakfast, Oct. 18
Canadian Women’s Foundation – Persons Day information
Judit Schonwald is a paralegal who blogs at: