This Day in History

Oct. 18, 1929: The Persons Case

Time Periods: 1920
Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Women's History
The Persons Case | Zinn Education Project

Women are Persons Monument on Parliament Hill.

On Oct. 18, 1929, The Persons Case, a legal milestone in Canada, was decided. Five women from Alberta, later known as the Famous Five, asked the Supreme Court of Canada to rule on the legal status of women.

After the Supreme Court ruled that women were not persons (upholding the statement that: “Women are persons in matters of pains and penalties, but are not persons in matters of rights and privileges”), they appealed to the British Privy Council.

The Privy Council found for the women on this day, declaring that women were persons under the law.

Note that this victory applied to white women, however there was not universal suffrage in Canada until 1963. October 18 has since been celebrated as Persons Day in Canada, and October as Women’s History Month.