Fonds F0109 - Egale Canada fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Egale Canada fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Graphic material

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Reference code

CA ON00047 F0109

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  • 1972- 2007 (Creation)
    Egale Canada

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Physical description

11.99 m of textual records
178 photographs: 108 b&w and col print. - 20 col. slides. - 51 col negatives.
5 floppy discs
18 VHS Tapes
9 DVDs
2 audiocassettes

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Name of creator

((1986- present))

Administrative history

Egale Canada was founded in 1986 by political lobbyist, Les McAfee. Formerly referred to as, Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere, Egale’s initial mission centered around lobbying the Canadian Federal Government to extend prohibited grounds of discrimination to include sexual orientation under section 3 (1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act. During its early years, the organization consisted of a small group of members based out of Ottawa. Over time, Egale’s main office relocated to Toronto, and its mandate moved beyond its initial focus on the Canadian Human Rights Act, extending to include public education, advocacy, litigation and expert consultations on various LGBTQ+ issues. Egale’s mission is to work towards a Canada free of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and all other forms of discrimination.
In 1991, Les McAfee passed away as a result of an AIDS-related illness. Soon after, Egale underwent a consultative process to rebuild and restructure the organization. By 1993, bylaws were adopted by the organization's members. In 1995, Egale was incorporated as a federal not-for-profit organization and hired an Executive Director. Its Executive Directors have included: John Fisher, Gilles Marchildon, Kaj Hasselriis and Helen Kennedy. The organization elects its Board of Directors from 6 regions in Canada including: British Columbia & the Yukon, the Prairies, Northwest Territories & Nunavut, the National Capital Region, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. In 2001, Egale members voted in favour of changing the organization's name to Egale Canada, to to expand and reflect a more inclusive mandate. As of 2018, Egale had 3,300 members from across Canada.
Egale’s efforts to extend equal rights and protections to LGBTQ+ Canadians, has manifested through political advocacy, legal interventions, public education and research. On a political front, Egale has been involved in the legislative process through providing submissions and testimony to various Federal Parliamentary Committees. These efforts have dealt with a variety of issues, including immigration, spousal benefits, hate crimes, hate propaganda, solicitation laws, marriage equality and the Canadian Human Rights Act. In addition, the organization has also made lobbying material and guides available to its members, through programs such as the Adopt an MP Program, its postcard and letter writing campaigns.
In 2003, Egale played an instrumental role in the formation of the Canadians for Equal Marriage campaign. CEM was as a multi-partisan national advocacy campaign organized to ensure the passage of federal legislation legalizing same-sex marriage. Although the campaign was legally and structurally independent from Egale, a cooperative agreement was made between the two organizations that stipulated that, with the legalization of same-sex marriage, CEM would disband and Egale would be entitled to its assets.
On a legal front, Egale has acted as an intervenor in a number of landmark cases that have gone before the lower courts and the Supreme Court of Canada. Interventions have included cases dealing with extradition, spousal benefits, the freedom of expression and religion, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, same-sex marriage challenges and more. These cases include, but are not limited to: Egan v. Canada, Mossop v. Canada, Vriend v. Alberta, M v. H, Little Sister’s Book and Art Emporium v. Canada Customs, Chamberlain v. Surrey School Board, British Columbia Marriage Challenge and the British Columbia College of Teachers v. Trinity Western University.
The organization’s research efforts have included the preparation and release of briefs, fact sheets, and discussion papers on a number of legal, social and political issues. Consultations and surveys were also conducted by Egale to identify and assess the needs of LGBTQ+ Canadians. In 2003, Egale published Outlaws & Inlaws - Your Guide to LGBT rights, same-sex relationships and Canadian law, which was managed under Egale’s companion charitable organization, the Egale Canada Human Rights Trust. This Infokit provided information regarding the extension of benefits to same sex partners, as a result of legislative changes in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Outlaws & Inlaws included information on employment benefits, taxation, pension coverage, employment law and health insurance.
In addition to its legal and political work, Egale has coordinated and organized various workshops and conferences. In 2003, Egale organized the national conference Rainbow Visions which hosted in Montreal. Attendees from across the country came together to discuss LGBTQ+ issues. Egale has had representatives attend and address the plenary session of the the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993. The organization also sent representatives to the UN World Conference Against Racism and the 2000 UN Conference on Women. Egale was accredited as an Official Partner for the Canada Committee for the International Year of the Family Conference.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds contains administrative and operational records of Egale Canada, that document the activities of the organization dating from its inception in 1986 to 2007. It includes material pertaining to the organization’s administration, its political advocacy work, its legal interventions, research and its public education efforts surrounding LGBTQ+ rights and issues in Canada. It is comprised of minutes, reports, correspondence, research papers, briefs, legal documentation, promotional material and resources.

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  • English
  • French

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The collection is open to researchers.

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Binders and paper clips have been removed from the records.

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