Women’s History Month Spotlight: Claire L’Heureux-Dubé CC GOQ and Implied Consent

Claire L’Heureux is a French- Canadian female judge of the Supreme Court of Canada. She was a trailbrazer in terms of redefining Canadian legislation regarding application towards women.

She was a part of the final decision of  R v Ewanchuk, [1999] , a case which it’s decision massively aided terms of consent within Canada as it reviewed the terminology of explicit versus implied consent. The case looked at a situation between a 17 year old girl interviewing for a job with an employer. After the interview, she was invited to Ewanchuk’s (interviewer) trailer, where he made several advances towards the female. Although she said no and refuse offers multiple times, the issued argued was her verbal no versus the implied consent of the girl showing interest by going to Ewanchuk’s trailer in the first place.

L’Heureux-Dube’s stated that there wasn’t any explicit affirmation on the girl’s part in regards to previous touching (he massaged her shoulders) by Ewanchuk plus there was continuous rejection of verbal advances from the girl’s part. L’Heureux-Dube also stated that the absence of  a response doesn’t automatically imply consent either. This was a landmark decision because there wasn’t any precedent in defining consent in this way (implied versus explicit).

This was just one of many ways L’Heureux-Dube aided in Canadian legislation. She was involved the reconstruction of the Canadian Criminal Code in 1982 concerning marital rape as well as redefining the what family was defined as within Canada.

(featured image of female lawyer standing in courtroom used from http://seattlecriminallawyerhelp.com/blog/women-lawyers/)

What are your thoughts? Do you find it interesting that legal definitions of consent was only clarified in Canada less than 20 years? Comment below!

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