Posts Tagged ‘Charter of Rights and Freedoms’

Law Society elections send a message on diversity and it’s not what you’d hope

June 27th, 2019 by Shelina Ali

This article was first published on rabble.ca

The Law Society of Ontario (LSO) is once again facing a court challenge claiming that it has violated Section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects the right to freedom of conscience, speech and religion. This court challenge follows the LSO’s successful defence of its decision to refuse to accredit the proposed law school at Trinity Western University (TWU) because of a requirement that attendees sign a covenant agreeing not to engage in homosexual activities. The LSO took the position that this prevented equal access to the legal profession in Ontario by excluding individuals who identified as LGBTQ.

The new battle relates to a Statement of Principles that the LSO requires lawyers to provide as of last year. It’s another example of the LSO attempting to enshrine principles of diversity, anti‑oppression and anti‑discrimination in a profession that is known for its lack of inclusiveness and diversity. In this case, the opposition to advancing these values is coming from other lawyers and is proving to be divisive for the governing council of the LSO — the democratically elected body that oversees its governance Read the rest of this entry

Does the right to housing belong in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

May 29th, 2014 by Shelina Ali

This week, the Ontario Court of Appeal is hearing an appeal of the 2013 court decision in Tanudjaja et. al. v. Attorney General (Canada) et al. dismissing an application — of four individuals who identified as homeless, together with the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (the Applicants) — concerning the right to housing. The application in Tanudjaja asked the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to, among other things, make a declaration that the Government of Canada’s and the Government of Ontario’s failure to implement a national and provincial housing strategy violates the federal and provincial government’s obligations under sections 7 and 15(1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the Charter). By seeking this declaration, the application put the issue of whether social and economic rights are embodied in the Charter squarely in front of the court.

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Supreme Court ruling stirs national debate on sex work

January 6th, 2014 by Priya Sarin

On December 20, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada released a landmark decision on Canada’s prostitution laws (Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford). This decision represents a huge victory for Canada’s sex workers by recognizing that the existing legal framework increases the risk of harm to the lives and safety of individuals working in the industry. The decision has, however, quickly become controversial with anti-prostitution advocates vigorously arguing that the Court has effectively endorsed the exploitation of women. This criticism is misdirected because the Bedford decision is not about whether prostitution should be legal in Canada — prostitution has always been legal here. If you don’t like it, complain to Parliament.

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Hate speech and amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act

July 27th, 2012 by Shelina Ali

The House of Commons recently passed a private member’s bill, Bill C‑304, to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA), repealing Section 13, the “hate speech” clause, in its entirety. Bill C‑304, tabled by Brian Storseth, MP for Westlock‑St. Paul, has received very little attention even though its impact may be more extensive than many people realize.

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