barbara findlay

barbara findlay Finding Aid

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barbara findlay Finding Aid

barbara findlay, Q.C. (Queen's Counsel) is a Vancouver-based lesbian feminist lawyer. findlay holds a B.A. from Queen's University, a Master of Arts in Sociology and a LL.B both from the University of British Columbia. findlay was called to the bar in 1977. After practicing in labour law and legal aid services, and having taught in the Law Faculty at UBC, findlay established a general practice in Vancouver.

findlay has undertaken political and advocacy work about issues of oppression, including sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia and disability. She was designated as Queen's Counsel in 2001, and honoured with an Award of Merit by the Sexual Diversity Studies Department at the University of Toronto.

UVic's Transgender Archives holds copies of:

  • Finding Our Place: "Transgendered Law Reform Project" (findlay et al., 1996)
  • The Trans Biography Project: Stories from the Lives of Eleven Trans People in BC (Cross, 2001)
  • Trans Inclusion Policy Manual For Women's Organizations (Darke and Cope, 2002)
  • Trans People in the Criminal Justice System: A Guide for Criminal Justice Personnel (Goldberg, 2003) 

Kimberley Nixon v. Vancouver Rape Relief Society

findlay also donated documents filed in BC Human Rights Tribunal and BC Court of Appeal cases concerning Kimberley Nixon v. Vancouver Rape Relief Society. findlay represented Kimberley Nixon, a trans woman whose offer of volunteer work as rape counsellor was refused by Vancouver Rape Relief because Nixon was transgendered. Nixon filed a human rights complaint alleging discrimination based on sex.

Rape Relief tried to prevent the human rights tribunal from hearing the case, arguing that trans people were not protected at all under the Human Rights Code. They lost that case.

Nixon won her case at the human rights tribunal, but Rape Relief took judicial review, arguing in B.C. Supreme Court that "excluding Nixon based on her experience as a male is not discriminatory under the Human Rights Code." Nixon appealed to the B.C. Court of Appeal (the highest court in the province), but lost. That court held that because Rape Relief is a non-profit delivering services to women, they are exempted from the Human Rights Code altogether by a section of the code designed to protect services delivered by non-profits to groups on the basis of their race, sex, ancestry, place of origin, religious belief, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, etc.

The BC Court of Appeal said that because of that section, Rape Relief was allowed to make its own determination of who was, and who was not, a woman. Nixon appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, but that court determined that the case was not one of national importance and refused to hear it.