THE COURT is the online resource for debate & data about the Supreme Court of Canada.*

Archive For Entries On Constitutional Law

R v Nur: The Battle of Two Approaches to Challenging a Mandatory Minimum Sentence Under s. 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982

At the heart of the debate surrounding mandatory minimum sentences in Canada lies the insular but simple fact that Parliament, rather than the judiciary, dictates the application of such sentences to ensure that all offenders convicted of a specific crime receive at least a minimum term of imprisonment, regardless of the circumstances which surround the […]

In a Battle of the Doctrines, Division of Powers Trumps Cooperative Federalism: Quebec (AG) v Canada

The federal government has the right to destroy data collected for the highly contentious long-form gun registry, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) ruled late March. In a 5-4 decision, the majority in Quebec (AG) v Canada (AG), 2015 SCC 14, found that the federal government’s right to destroy data it collected is based on […]

Loyola v Quebec, Part II: Freedom of Religion for Religious Organizations

This is the second of a two-part comment on the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) decision in Loyola High School v Quebec (Attorney General) 2015 SCC 12 [Loyola]. It will summarize the judgment of Chief Justice McLachlin and Justice Moldaver, which partially concurred with the majority judgment of Justice Abella. As described in Part I, […]

R v Belcourt : Privacy and Punishment When the Safety Is Off

The British Columbia Court of Appeal (“BCCA”) decision in R v Belcourt, 2015 BCCA 126 [Belcourt], weighed the constitutional underpinnings of two different issues—privacy, and instructions on mens rea requirements—in a second-degree murder charge. The BCCA concluded that the privacy rights of Belcourt, the accused, were not infringed by the production of text messages under […]

Institutional Delay and the Charter: R v Jordan

The Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) will have another opportunity to discuss how claims involving section 11(b) of the Charter should be assessed during the appeal of R v Jordan, 2014 BCCA 241. Section 11(b) of the Charter provides that a person charged with an offence has the right to be tried within a reasonable time. […]

Supreme Court Denies Leave to Appeal in McAteer v Canada (AG): Oath to the Queen Continues

The Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) recently denied leave to appeal from the Ontario Court of Appeal (“ONCA”) decision in McAteer v Canada (Attorney General), 2014 ONCA 578. The case was a challenge to the requirement under the Citizenship Act, RSC 1985, c C-29, to swear an oath to the Queen during the Canadian citizenship […]

Veils, Oaths, and Canadian Citizenship: Ishaq v Canada

On February 6, 2015, in the well-publicized decision of Ishaq v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2015 FC 156 [Ishaq], the Federal Court ruled that it was unlawful for the Canadian Government to ban new citizens from reciting the citizenship oath with a face-covering veil. Since the decision was released, the Harper Government has […]

Minority Language Schools Don’t Have to Be Perfect: NWT v Association des parents ayants droit de Yellowknife

Minority language rights were at the centre of a recent case heard by the Northwest Territories Court of Appeal (“NWTCA”), with the court ruling that equality does not mean perfect schooling conditions. The court, in Northwest Territories (Attorney General) v Association des parents ayants droit de Yellowknife, 2015 NWTCA 2, set aside a lower court […]

Supreme Court of Canada Strikes Down Prohibition against Physician-Assisted Dying in Carter v Canada: Part II

This is the second part of a three-part series discussing the Supreme Court of Canada’s paramount decision in Carter v Canada (Attorney General). Part I has addressed the notion that stare decisis is not a straitjacket that condemns the law to stasis. Part II will address the changes that the Carter decision will have on […]

Supreme Court of Canada Strikes Down Prohibition against Physician-Assisted Dying in Carter v Canada: Part I

This is the first part of a three-part series discussing the Supreme Court of Canada’s paramount decision in Carter v Canada (Attorney General). Part I will address stare decisis. Part II will address the changes that the Carter decision will have on our understanding and interpretation of s. 7 of the Charter. Part III will […]