The equal rights guarantee under section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is an inclusive one, in the sense that equality is guaranteed not only on the enumerated grounds of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability, but also on ‘analogous grounds’ of discrimination. In its decision in Miron v. Trudel ( 2 S.C.R. 418), the Supreme Court of Canada identified a number of factors to consider in determining whether a group or personal characteristic is analogous to those enumerated under section 15, and so deserving of Charter protection.
Such factors include whether the group sharing the characteristic has been the object of historical stereotyping, prejudice or disadvantage; whether the group constitutes a “discrete and insular minority” which is lacking in political power or influence; whether the characteristic is beyond an individual’s control or “changeable only at unacceptable personal cost”; and whether the characteristic is recognized as a prohibited ground of discrimination under other human rights laws, or is similar in any other way to the grounds explicitly included under section 15.
Among the analogous grounds of discrimination recognized by the Supreme Court are citizenship status (see Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia,  1 S.C.R. 143, Lavoie v. Canada,  S.C.J. No. 24), sexual orientation (see Egan v. Canada,  2 S.C.R. 513, Vriend v. Alberta,  1 S.C.R. 493), marital status (see Miron v. Trudel, above) and off-reserve band member status (Corbiere v. Canada,  2 S.C.R. 203).
- R.J. Sharpe & K.E. Swinton, “Equality” in R.J. Sharpe & K.E. Swinton, The Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Toronto: Irwin Law, 1998) 184.
Michael Graham | August 13, 2019 |
With an upcoming federal election, Canadians are preparing to decide who deserves their vote. A 2019 poll conducted for The Globe and Mail found that the biggest issue for voters is ethics in government. This concern is not uniquely Canadian either. In the UK, a man sued recently selected Prime Minister Boris Johnson for “misconduct in public office.” The claim against Johnson was that he deliberately misled the public during the EU referendum, and again during the general election, with the claim that “the UK gave the EU £350m a week.” Just how false was this claim? The chairman of the UK Statistics Authority was so appalled that he wrote a letter to Mr. Johnson decrying the “clear misuse of official statistics”.” Nevertheless, a judge refused to let the lawsuit proceed.
August 13th, 2019
Russell Green | August 9, 2019 |
In 2019, the federal government has been inconsistent about a potential ban on conversion therapy even though the practice is harmful and professionally disregarded. This article will pose and attempt to answer a series of questions:
August 9th, 2019
The Charter protects certain human rights and freedoms. Before considering whether a Charter right or freedom has been violated, there is a threshold question that must be answered: does the Charter even apply? Section 32 of the Charter explains who the Charter applies to:
August 9th, 2019
Russell Green | August 6, 2019 |
Chani Aryeh-Bain, Conservative Party candidate in the upcoming federal election in the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, and Ira Walfish, political activist, both adhere to an Orthodox Jewish faith and strictly follow religious holidays. The date of the upcoming federal election, October 21, happens to coincide with the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret. Aryeh-Bain and Walfish requested of Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) that the date of the election change. They believed the date infringes their religious, democratic, and equality rights under the Charter. The challenge resulted in an initial denial by the CEO, a Court decision which required re-determination, and the CEO’s ultimate decision to keep the election date on October 21 – or Shemini Atzeret – despite the Charter implications for Aryeh-Bain and Walfish.
August 6th, 2019