TORONTO, December 7, 2012, ( – The City of Toronto has decided to award its Constance E. Hamilton Award on the Status of Women to one of Canada’s most outspoken abortion, homosexuality, and socialist activists.

City Manager Joseph Pennachetti presented Carolyn Egan, a co-founder of the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics, with the Constance E. Hamilton award.

Egan made a name for herself as a lesbian activist in the 1970s, then became famous for asking abortionist Henry Morgentaler to come to Toronto to provide abortion services. She was often at the abortionist’s side at press conferences and other events during the campaign to overturn the federal abortion law.


In the 1980’s she co-founded the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics, played a major role in organizing Toronto’s annual International Women’s Day march, and worked as a director at a Toronto abortion mill.

In 1998 she was given the C. Labor Burdick Award by the U.S.-based National Abortion Federation for her work in support of “women’s reproductive freedom.”

In addition to her pro-abortion and homosexual activist work, Egan has written numerous articles for the Socialist Worker, which describes itself as “a revolutionary anti-capitalist newspaper published by the International Socialists.” Egan’s articles include “How workers can win” and “Labour and the fight for reproductive justice.” Socialist Worker also publishes articles with titles such as “Sex-selection abortion: the latest anti-choice ploy.”

In 1995, Egan received the Toronto Steelworker of the Year award. The “birth control and sexual health centre” where Egan worked was affiliated with the United Steelworkers. Egan is the president of USW Local 8300.

The City of Toronto handed out other awards at the Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards night, held in the Council Chamber of City Hall on December 4, including a “Pride Award for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Transsexual Two Spirited Issues” given to Martine Stonehouse, a “transsexual woman” who has been an activist for gender confused people in Ontario for the past 14 years and currently works for the Toronto District School Board “advocating for ‘gender identity’ as a visible ground in both Ontario and Canadian human rights legislation.”

“These…awards are a testimony to the resilience of the residents of Toronto who continue their struggle to build an equitable and just society,” Pennachetti said, according to a December 5 press release. “Together we fulfill our vision of making the City of Toronto a global example of diversity, equity and inclusion.”

The Constance E. Hamilton award, named after the first woman member elected to Toronto City Council in 1920, was established by Council in 1979 as a commemoration of the 1929 Privy Council decision that declared Canadian women “persons” under section 24 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

Up to that time the term “person” did not include women, a situation that parallels current Canadian law which does not recognize pre-born children as persons.

The awards were presented by the City Manager along with Councillors Mike Layton (Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina), Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale), Adam Vaughan (Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina), Pam McConnell (Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale), Joe Mihevc (Ward 21 St. Paul’s) and Paula Fletcher (Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth).

“Toronto City Council is often at the forefront of social justice issues for the simple reason that it has the most direct contact with citizens,” said Councillor Mike Layton, who, according to the press release brought greetings on behalf of Mayor Ford and City Council. “Direct contact provides the best opportunity for citizens to engage government, and to change society for the better.”


Mayor Rob Ford
Office of the Mayor
Toronto City Hall, 2nd Floor
100 Queen St. West, Toronto ON M5H 2N2
Phone: 416-397-FORD (3673)
E-mail: [email protected]

Toronto City Council
Marilyn Toft, Secretary
Phone:  416-392-7032
Fax: 416-392-2980
E-mail: [email protected]
Website with contact info for all council members.