Case Law / Court Decisions / Inquests
Droit jurisprudentiel / Décisions de la Cour / Enquêtes
this page, you'll find links to information about recent and not-so-recent Court
cases, inquests and appeals dealing with human rights, poverty and welfare issues.
This is definitely *not* a comprehensive collection of Canadian welfare and human rights case law and litigation, and I'm not an expert in this field. But I do know from first-hand experience that exploring the contents of a court decision or a factum always yields interesting and unique insights, information that you can't find anywhere else - about the context and background of a particular court case or inquest AND about the values that shape our society, as reflected in the rationale for the decisions/recommendations of a court or a tribunal.
[The date that appears for each case below is the date a decision was rendered...]
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To search ONLY the page you are now reading,
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General Canadian Caselaw Resources
Law (Court Decisions)
- direct links to the Decisions page of each of the following:
* Ontario Court of Justice (most family and criminal cases in Ontario)
* Ontario Superior Court (main civil court in Ontario, some family and criminal)
* Ontario Divisional Court (administrative appeals, judicial reviews and smaller civil appeals)
* Ontario Court of Appeal (highest Ontario Court)
* Federal Court - Trial Division (first level court for matters under federal jurisdiction such as telecommunications, intellectual property, rail/air/shipping, maritime, immigration etc)
* Federal Court of Appeal (appeals from Federal Court - Trial Division)
* Supreme Court of Canada
* UK and Ireland Cases (British cases are often relevant to the interpretation of Canadian law)
* Australia and NZ Cases (also useful in interpretation)
of Canada Decisions
The Supreme Court of Canada Decisions website provides free access to Court decisions since 1948.
of Supreme Court of Canada cases - from Wikipedia
[Note: According to TheCourt.ca, "this is a remarkable effort. It lists notable cases from the beginning of the court and links to the judgments, and lists all current judgments starting with 1998. Moreover, there are good charts of voting patterns in the recent cases. Well worth the visit."]
Justice and Social Welfare - "an information and research resource"
NOTE: this site link was dead when I visited on April 16, 2010. Pity.
I'm leaving the entry on this page for historical purposes and in the hope that this U. of T. website will be reactivated.
"This site is an initiative of the Discretionary Justice
and Social Welfare Working Group, sponsored by the University of Toronto,
Faculty of Law."
- incl. links to : Case Law - Litigation Materials - Statutes and Regulations - "Guidelines" and Other Forms of Soft Law - Papers, Presentations, and Reports - Course Outlines, Bibliographies, and Related Material - Related Links
University of Toronto Law School
Social Rights Advocacy
"Promoting and claiming social and economic rights through an inclusive human rights practice"
Incorporated in 2002, the Social Rights Advocacy Centre is a not for profit, non-governmental organization whose purpose is to relieve poverty and improve access to adequate food, clothing, housing, education, healthcare and other requirements of dignity, equality and security of low income persons and other disadvantaged groups through:
* public education in social rights
* legal advocacy and representation.
- be sure to check the links to Canadian human rights caselaw, including the historic Charter Challenge to Homelessness and Violations of the Right to Adequate Housing in Canada.
SRAC provides administrative support and co-ordinates the
work of the Charter Committee on
Poverty Issues which has intervened in more than a dozen cases at
the Supreme Court of Canada.
Human Rights Centre
The Poverty and Human Rights Centre is committed to eradicating poverty and promoting social and economic equality through human rights.
Role of International Social and Economic
Rights in the Interpretation of Domestic Law in Canada
February 1, 2008
This Law Sheet, produced by the Poverty and Human Rights Centre, is concerned with the role that international human rights law can play in the interpretation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and other laws in Canada. It is intended to assist lawyers in their advocacy work before courts and tribunals. It is also intended to assist non-governmental organizations who rely on the human rights framework in their work to assist members of vulnerable groups. It is specifically focused on the domestic enforcement of social and economic rights.
The Factum Library section contains factums, pleadings and other litigation documents from selected Canadian Charter of Rights and statutory human rights cases. The materials are organized by case name, parties, and document date.
Women's Court of Canada
The Womens Court of Canada is an innovative project bringing together academics, activists, and litigators in order literally to rewrite the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms equality jurisprudence. Taking inspiration from Oscar Wilde, who once said the only duty we owe to history is to rewrite it, the Womens Court operates as a virtual court, and reconsiders leading equality decisions. The Womens Court renders alternative decisions as a means of articulating fresh conceptions of substantive equality.
- incl. links to :
* Home * About Us * Blog * WCC Judgments * Media and Events * Resources * Archives * Contact
Court of Canada Judgments
The first six WCC judgments were published in the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law in early 2008. These decisions concern issues that affect the lives of Aboriginal women, women with disabilities, women living in poverty, women with children, and women workers.
The WCC judgments are for the following cases:
* Symes v. Canada,  : deduction child care expenses women taxpayer income
* Native Womens Association of Canada v. Canada,  : funding freedom of expression women equal constitutional
* Eaton v. Brant County Board of Education,  : placement disabled special child pupil
* Law v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration),  : discrimination differential treatment claimant survivors pension dignity
* Gosselin v. Quebec (Attorney-General),  : programs welfare recipients security of the person dignity legislation
* Newfoundland (Treasury Board) v. Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees,  : pay equity government crisis hospital workers women
Resources - links to over two dozen useful feminist resources
Human Rights Institutions At Risk
By Shelagh Day, Senior Editor and Publisher, Canadian Human Rights Reporter
July 28, 2010
It is time to go into worry mode about Canadas human rights institutions.
Here are some recent developments that cause concern:
Saskatchewans Minister of Justice proposes to dismantle the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal and send human rights complaints directly to the courts
The B.C. Law Institute has been asked by the Ministry of Labour to conduct research and analysis in relation to workplace dispute resolution mechanisms in British Columbia. The disputes in question include human rights employment complaints.
* Heather MacNaughton, the widely respected Chair of the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, was not re-appointed. Human rights watchers speculate that British Columbia also plans to dismantle its Tribunal.
The Supreme Court of Canada has granted leave to appeal in Canada (Attorney General) v. Mowat, a case about whether the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has the authority to award legal costs to a successful complainant. This case arises because the Canadian Commission has stopped representing human rights complainants before the Tribunal and courts, and complainants are increasingly appearing unrepresented, with a high likelihood of losing, or they are hiring their own counsel.
The effect of shutting down Tribunals, sending human rights complainants to courts, and using legal costs as a substitute for public access, will be to weaken Canadas system of human rights laws and discourage Canadians from using them.
Women's Court of Canada
Links to more resources about the Gosselin case - this link takes you further down on the page you're now reading
rights in 20th Century Canada - A Historical Perspective
"...key court cases and laws that have shaped human rights in our country since 1900."
The site is divided into 4 distinct periods: 1900-1924 /// 1925-1949 /// 1950-1974 /// 1975-2000.
You can navigate the site via one of these time portals or by subject.
Subjects include : Human Rights - Women's Rights - Minority Rights - Aboriginal Rights - Persons with Disabilities - Freedom of Expression - Freedom of Religion - Voting Rights - Criminal Law - International - Charter - Justice Department's History - Ministers
Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Full text from the Dept. of Justice)
of 'rogue' immigrants must repay welfare money
June 10, 2011
OTTAWA The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the right of federal and provincial governments to collect social-service payments from the sponsors of immigrants. The landmark ruling involves the cases of eight Ontario immigrant families that sponsored relatives from abroad, and who later went on social assistance. Under federal immigration law, the sponsors agreed to repay any welfare payments that their new arrivals may have incurred after they got to Canada. The high court, in a unanimous 9-0 ruling, overturned an earlier Ontario Court of Appeal ruling in favour of the sponsors, all of whom claimed various hardships.
[ Comments (56) ]
A topical weblog of current affairs, opinion and issues featuring what is making news in Canada from the immigrants and newcomers' point of view.
Court of Canada Judgment:
Quebec (Attorney General) v. Canada
File No.: 33524
March 3, 2011
[ Version française du jugement ]
"The Canada Assistance Plan (CAP), which has been repealed, was enacted in 1966 in the context of the federal governments anti-poverty plan. The CAP made it possible for provincial governments to enter into agreements with the federal government on sharing the costs of certain assistance programs and welfare services provided in their territory. Quebec signed such an agreement with the federal government in 1967. It subsequently commenced an action for a declaration that the federal government had to share under the CAP in costs paid in respect of two types of services: social services provided in schools (SSS) between 1973 and 1996 and support services provided to persons with disabilities living in residential resources (SSPD) between 1986 and 1996. The federal government refused to share in these costs, arguing that SSS were not covered by the CAP and that the costs of SSPD had been shared since 1977 under another Act of Parliament. The Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal decided in the federal governments favour and dismissed Quebecs claim."
Held: The appeal should be dismissed.
The Canada Assistance Plan, or CAP, was the statutory vehicle
for federal contributions to the cost of social assistance and social services
in the provinces and territories from 1967 until 1996, when the Canada Health
and Social Transfer (CHST) superseded CAP (changed in 2004 to the Canada Social
Transfer, or CST). You'll find a number of historical resources concerning
CAP and its successors the CHST and the CST on the CAP/CHST/CST Resources
page of this site:
I thought it would be appropriate to highlight the Preamble of the 1966-67 CAP statute as evidence of *some* federal government interest in poverty reduction in Canada:
"Whereas the Parliament of Canada, recognizing that
the provision of adequate assistance to and in respect of persons in need
and the prevention and removal of the causes of poverty and dependence on
public assistance are the concern of all Canadians, is desirous of encouraging
the further development and extension of assistance and welfare services programs
throughout Canada by sharing more fully with the provinces in the cost thereof."
(Source: Preamble to the Canada Assistance Plan - see the Appendix to the Supreme Court Judgment above)
Exemplary --- a model for the free world, eh.
Now, fast forward to Stephen Harper (in 2009):
"Canada does not accept recommendation 17 or the related recommendation from Ghana to develop a national strategy to eliminate poverty. Provinces and territories have jurisdiction in this area of social policy and have developed their own programs to address poverty."
[ http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/pdp-hrp/inter/101-eng.cfm ]
Heritage Canada Human Rights Program:
Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of Canada
(PDF - 97K, 24 pages)
March 3, 2009
- includes a list of the 68 recommendations Canada received from other States.
of Canada to the Recommendations
June 5, 2009
Canada welcomes and has given careful consideration to the 68 recommendations made during its Universal Periodic Review. (...)
Universal Periodic Review
Canadas review before the United Nations Human Rights Councils Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group session took place on February 3, 2009. A total of 45 states intervened during the three-hour interactive dialogue. These states made recommendations to Canada in a 24-page report in March 2009
Federal Government's Role in Poverty Reduction in Canada
- this link takes you to a section of another Canadian Social Research Links page
For related information, go to the Canada Assistance
Plan / Canada Health and Social Transfer / Canada Social Transfer Resources
Federal Court denies retroactive Quebec claim
for $394 million
under the Canada Assistance Plan
June 6, 2008
From 1966-67 until 1996 when it was replaced by the Health and Social Transfer, the Canada Assistance Plan (CAP) was the statutory framework for federal government contributions (50% of eligible expenditures) towards the cost of social assistance (welfare) and social services in the provinces and territories. [See the CAP Resources page of this site for more detail.]. From 1996 to 2000, the federal government settled all of its outstanding accounts with each jurisdiction, except for Quebec, which filed a court action for close to $400 million against the federal government. This amount represented the total of federal cost-sharing that Quebec officials felt they were entitled to receive under CAP but never did. CAP officials maintained all along that the program did not allow for cost-sharing of services and initiatives that were already receiving federal support under another program (such as Education) or that were universal in nature.
NOTE: the links below were broken when I checked them, so I've removed them but left the text for your reading enjoyment (and if you wish to follow up using Google's search engine).
Upon review, the Court concluded (June 6,
2008) that Canada
was not obliged under the terms of CAP to share the cost of the specified expenses.
English summary (PDF - 16K, 1 paragraph)
* The services for which Quebec was seeking cost-sharing were:
Services provided to juvenile delinquents in Quebec between 1979 and 1984
--- a period during which juvenile delinquents were housed in the same institutions as children in care of the Quebec government
Social services provided in a school environment between 1973 and 1996
--- from the time Quebec transferred this budget item to the Ministère des Affaires sociales in 1973 until the end of CAP
Support services provided to people with disabilities living in a residential
--- from the time this type of establishment appeared in the health and social services network until the end of CAP
Decision IN THE MATTER OF QUEBEC vs. CANADA
June 6, 2008
PDF version - 3MB, 241 pages
The Federal Court's jurisdiction - its scope of authority to hear and decide issues - extends across the federal landscape, and it includes claims involving the Federal Crown.
The National Child Benefit Supplement Clawback
NOTE: Some of the links below were broken when I checked them, so I've removed the broken ones and left the text for information.
Hand Off! Stop Taking Our Baby Bonus!
A campaign to stop the clawback of the National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS)
"The Hands off! Campaign asks the Provincial and the Federal government to do 2 things:
* End the clawback of the National Child Benefit Supplement from families on social assistance, now!
* Fund the reinvestment programs that work for low-income families out of other provincial and federal revenues.
- includes links to : Take Action | Send an e-Card | Lobby MPP / MP | Endorse Campaign | Links | Income Security Advocacy Centre | Contact Us
Clawback Court Challenge
In December 2004, a legal challenge to the clawback was filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice by the Income Security Advocacy Centre, the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA)and the Charter Committee on Poverty Issues.
Reports confirm that the National Child
Benefit contributes to reducing child poverty
August 4, 2005
"OTTAWA Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services today affirmed that the National Child Benefit contributes to reducing child poverty in Canada1. This is supported by an analysis they released today titled Impact of the National Child Benefit on the Incomes of Families with Children: A Simulation Analysis. It is also supported by two recently released reports: National Child Benefit Progress Report: 2003 released on April 6, 2005 and Evaluation of the National Child Benefit Initiative: Synthesis Report released on June 6, 2005. (...) Technical evaluation reports are available upon request from Social Development Canada."
Complete report + annexes:
NOTE: The links below were broken when I checked them, so
I've removed them and left the text for information.
Try using Google.ca to find another version of this content
Impact of the National Child Benefit on
the Incomes of Families with Children: A Simulation Analysis (2003)
Annex 1: Impact of the National Child Benefit on the Incomes of Families with Children: Using Post-Tax Low-Income Measure (LIM)
Annex 2: Impact of the National Child Benefit on the Incomes of Families with Children: Using Market Basket Measure
Related links to government content:
National Child Benefit Progress Report:
2003 - April 2005
Evaluation of the National Child Benefit Initiative: Synthesis Report - February 2005
The National Child Benefit Website
[Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services]
child deserves to be poor
By CAROL GOAR
March 11, 2005
Life was supposed to get better for Canada's poorest children when the federal government introduced its national child benefit supplement seven years ago.
For approximately half the 1 million kids living below the poverty line, it did. The other half got nothing.
The difference: their parents' source of income.
This week, a coalition of child welfare organizations, faith groups, women's shelters, legal aid clinics, unions and municipalities launched a public appeal to the Ontario government to treat all low-income children equally. The campaign is called Hands Off! It is designed to convince Dalton McGuinty that it is wrong to snatch money out of the pockets of parents who can't afford groceries, decent housing or school supplies."
The Toronto Star
NOTE: The links below were broken when I checked
them, so I've removed them and left the text for information.
Try using Google.ca to find another version of this content
Challenge to the Clawback of the
National Child Benefit Supplement - OPICCO
December 10, 2004
"Today the Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC), the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) and the Charter Committee on Poverty Issues (CCPI), have formally launched a legal challenge to the clawback of the National Child Benefit Supplement from families on social assistance. The Applicants are three single parents who have been struggling on OW or ODSP to make ends meet, without the benefit of the NCBS. They live in Timmins, Port Colborne and Toronto. Counsel for this application are Kate Stephenson from WeirFoulds and Cynthia Wilkey from ISAC. Both the Federal Government and the Province of Ontario will be served today with an Application under Rule 14 claiming that the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Agreement to claw back the NCBS and the Regulations that implement the clawback in Ontario violate both s.7 and s.15 of the Charter."
Press Release (Word doc., size 88 kb)
Backgrounder (Word doc., size 31 kb)
This legal challenge is a matter of principle for these Ontario-based social justice groups. They contend that the reduction of social assistance rates by an amount equal to the NCB Supplement is unfair, and that it discriminates against families with children in receipt of welfare in Ontario and (because the case involves the federal government) everywhere else in Canada.
I wholeheartedly support any effort to improve the financial well-being of needy families with children in Ontario and everywhere else in Canada. However, I also support adequate welfare levels for *childless* individuals and couples receiving social assistance, and I hope that, in the event of a legal victory, any resulting court-ordered increases to welfare levels for families with children would not be to the detriment of clients without kids.
I agree that
NCB reinvestment funds should not come from the cheques of families with children
receiving social assistance in Ontario or anywhere else in Canada. But I do support
most of the progressive initiatives that were put in place as reinvestments since
the National Child Benefit initiative started in 1998.
I do hope that, at the end of the day, there will still be sufficient funding for these reinvestments...
Talk - Summer 2003 Issue
Newsletter of the Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC)
1. Looking for justice in all the wrong places (ref. to the Kelly Lesiuk case)
2. Low Income People Hit Hardest By Blackout
3. ISAC Persuades Premier To Declare ODSP Offices An Essential Service
4. Ontario Needs a Raise!
5. An Ontario Child Benefit?
6. Regional Updates
7. The "Lifetime Ban" Goes to Court
8. ISAC AGM Notice
Source: Income Security Advocacy Centre
General of Canada v. Kelly Lesiuk - from the Income Security Advocacy
ISAC overview of the Lesiuk case
- ISAC's factum for the Lesiuk case
- the Umpire's Decision (March 2001)
- the Federal Court Decision (January 8, 2003)
- Few Benefits for Part-Time Work (ISAC op ed article [short .RTF file] on the Lesiuk case published in the Toronto Star on July 31, 2003)
Source : Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC)
Supreme Court won't hear challenge to EI system:
Decision allows 'fundamental injustice' against women to continue
Posted July 21, 2003
"The Supreme Court of Canada has declined to hear the case of a former Manitoba nurse who says the Employment Insurance system discriminates against women."
Source : National Union of Public and General Employees
Alberta woman's case against EI rejected
July 17, 2003
"Ottawa An Alberta nurse who argues that Canada's Employment Insurance program discriminates against mothers who don't work full-time lost her bid Thursday to have the case heard by the Supreme Court of Canada. Kelly Lesiuk sought leave to appeal after the Federal Court of Appeal ruled the unemployment-insurance system did not discriminate against her."
Source : The Globe and Mail
Court of Canada Judgements
[NOTE: I can't find a transcript of the Lesiuk decision. Go to this page and use the search engine to find "Kelly Lesiuk" or look for a July 17, 2003 release.]
Decision (November 1998)
Appeal to an Umpire by the Claimant from a Decision by the Board of Referees given on November 19, 1998 at Winnipeg, Manitoba
Court of Appeal Decision (January 2003)
- Heard at Edmonton, Alberta, on November 19 and 20, 2002.
Judgment delivered at Ottawa, Ontario, on January 8, 2003
with Dignity : Remember Kimberly Rogers
Coroner's inquest in Sudbury (Ontario) into the death of Kimberly Rogers in August 2001, after being convicted of welfare fraud in the spring of that year for not declaring student loans she received while collecting social assistance.
Kimberly Rogers Inquest Alerts (index)
- index organized by day of the inquest
fails Kimberly Rogers again:
Three years after her death while under house arrest, Queen's Park is still ignoring the bulk of the jury recommendations
August 3, 2004
Article by Jane Smith (a juror in the Kimberly Rogers inquest) and Jacquie Chic (Director of Advocacy and Legal Services at the Income Security Advocacy Centre, which represented two groups at the inquest).
The Toronto Star
with Dignity : Remember Kimberly Rogers
A coroner's inquest was held, starting in October 2002 in Sudbury into the death of Kimberly Rogers on August 11 (2001), after being convicted of welfare fraud in the spring of that year for not declaring student loans she received while collecting social assistance. The Justice with Dignity website is where you'll find the most complete and current collection of information about this inquiry.
DisAbled Women's Network - Ontario
to the Editor - contact info for Toronto Star - Globe and Mail - Northern
Life - National Post - Ottawa Citizen
DAWN DisAbled Women's Network - Ontario - Near the top of the DAWN home page, you'll find links to the DAWN Ontario Media Kit (Effective Letters to the Editor - Writing & Publishing an Op-Ed - Taking Action to the Airwaves) plus an extensive media directory for Ontario and contact information for Ontario MPPs
21 Recommendations (PDF file - 685K, 4 pages)
Recommendations by the Ontario Social Safety NetWork (OSSN)
and the Steering Committee on Social Assistance (SCSA)
-includes links to other suggested recommendations by : the City of Sudbury - the CAEFS Coalition (Canadian Elizabeth Fry Societies, National Association of Women and the Law, Women's Legal Education and Action Fund, National Anti-Poverty Organization) - Sudbury Social Planning Council - Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.
Media Coverage - Post Rogers Inquest (Justice with Dignity
[NOTE : the articles below are just a small sample of what you'll find on the DAWN - Ontario Justice with Dignity site
welfare rules must be changed
Editorial, Toronto Star, Dec. 23
glory, Tory ghosts in uneasy mix
by Murray Campbell, Globe & Mail, Dec. 23
mercy for those with zero power
by Linda McQuaig Toronto Star, Dec. 22
to maintain lifetime welfare ban by Murray Campbell & Keith Lacey,
Globe & Mail, Dec. 20
welfare fraudsters a break: jury - Ontario rejects finding: Inquest
into suicide of pregnant woman under house arrest
by Robert Benzie, National Joke, Dec. 20
welfare bans: jury - Crackdown on cheats called 'devastating and detrimental'
Osprey Media Group Inc. Dec. 20
bitter fruits - The welfare system's emphasis on "the shortest
route to employment" instead guarantees long-term need
by Barb Anello and Jacquie Chic, Op/Ed, Toronto Star, Dec. 20
curbs on welfare cheats, jury says - 40-year-old pregnant woman died of
overdose while serving house arrest
by James McMartin, Canadian Press, Toronto Star, Dec. 19
government urged to eliminate homicidal punishment for welfare
fraud - The coroners jury at the inquest into the death of Kimberly Rogers
has ruled she committed suicide
by Keith Lacey, Northern Life, Dec. 19
lifetime ban for welfare fraud, jury says
by Darren Yourk, Globe and Mail, Dec. 19
On October 29, 2001, the Supreme Court
of Canada heard an historic case - the first claim under the Canadian Charter
of Rights and Freedoms and the first claim under human rights legislation to a
right to an adequate level of social assistance for those in need.
Gosselin v. Quebec goes back to a Québec government policy in the mid-eighties that paid a maximum welfare allowance of $173* a month to single employable welfare recipients under 30 years of age and $434 a month to people over 30 and those who were unemployable, before the regulation changed in 1989 to eliminate the lower maximum benefit level for clients under 30. Ms. Gosselin alleged that the regulation violates sections 7 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as section 45 of the Charte québécoise des droits et libertés de la personne [- Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms -]
The case had potential repercussions on welfare programs across Canada
[* This amount varies depending on which account one reads. In fact, for the period covered by the case (April 1985 to August 1989), the amount went from about $160 to $175]
vs Quebec (Attorney General) : Autonomy with a Vengeance
(PDF file - 71K, 20 pages)
Posted February 1, 2004
"Gwen Brodsky, one of the lawyers intervening in the Gosselin c+ase, has written a paper on the implications of the decision for future anti-poverty litigation in Canada."
Gosselin vs Quebec (Attorney General): Autonomy With a Vengeance
What are the implications of the Supreme Court of Canada in decision in Gosselin, for future anti-poverty litigation? In an upcoming issue of Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, a case comment by Gwen Brodsky criticizes the majority decision in Gosselin: "The challenged social assistance regulation embodied a negative stereotype of young men and women who are reliant on social assistance, which, sadly, the majority of the Court embraced." However, Brodsky also shows that "the decision is deeply divided, and the majority decision turns on a finding that the evidence was insufficient. Therefore, as precedent," argues Brodsky, "the outcome of the Gosselin case may not be particularly significant.
Gosselin Decision Forewarns of Right to Welfare
(PDF file - 120K, 2 pages)
Human Rights and Housing Groups see Positive
Signs in Supreme Court Poverty Decision
Supreme Court sanctions dismantling of welfare
By Keith Jones
27 December 2002
World Socialist Web Site
Womens Court of Canada: Gosselin v. Quebec (Attorney General), 
July 8, 2009
by Gwen Brodsky, Rachel Cox, Shelagh Day and Kate Stephenson
The Womens Court of Canada reconsiders the 2002 decision [see link below, under Related links] in Gosselin v. Québec (Attorney General), in which the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that section 29(a) of Québecs Regulation Respecting Social Aid, which reduced the welfare rate of recipients under the age of thirty to below subsistence level (in the 1980s), did not violate sections 7 or 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or section 45 of the Québec Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
"(...) We decided to participate in the Womens Courts reconsideration of Gosselin because we believe that sections 15 and 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and section 45 of the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms are fully capable of addressing poverty issues and that the reluctance of courts in Canada to interpret them in this way reflects what Louise Arbour has called 'judicial timidity.'
* Recommended reading for welfare historians and anyone interested in sections 7 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
The Gosselin Decision - Selected responses and analysis
(The links below pointed to content from the PovNet website which has since been re-launched. I've removed the old broken links - just go to the PovNet site and use the search engine)
National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL)
- "NAWL is extremely disappointed by the majority ruling of the
Supreme Court of Canada in Gosselin v. the Attorney General of Québec."
The Charter Committee on Poverty Issues (CCPI) - "Majority leaves ray of hope for Canada's poor : minority finds right to adequate living standards"
The Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) - "Human Rights and Housing Groups see Positive Signs in Supreme Court Poverty Decision - The Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation and the Ottawa-based Barriers Elimination Working Group believe that while this case leaves many issues important to low income people undecided, it takes steps in the right direction"
Poverty and Human Rights Project summary (PDF file - 59K, 4 pages) - "The Court is split, and there is both good news and bad news for those who are concerned about the current punitive attitudes of federal and provincial governments towards poor Canadians."
Victoria Anti-Poverty Coalition - "Canada's Supreme Court is out of touch with economic, environmental and poverty realties."
Coroner's Report Released
Supreme Court of Canada Divided on Welfare Benefits
December 19, 2002
PovNet's home page offers a summary of both the Kimberly Rogers inquest in Sudbury (Ontario) and the Louise Gosselin case in the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as links to further information in both cases.
Gosselin Decision : A Divided Court
December 19, 2002
National Association of Women and the Law
Gosselin Case Website - from the Charter
Committee on Poverty Issues
- incl. links to : Facta (CCPI - National Association of Women and the Law - Attorney General of Ontario) - NAPO News article - NAWL Information - Rewriting the Charter at 20 or Reading it Right: The Challenge of Poverty and Homelessness - CCPI's AFFIDAVIT - CCPI Links
Gosselin v. Québec --- an important case for
the future of social assistance
- "A right-to-welfare court challenge in Quebec could affect us all."
- Ref. to the Gosselin case ("...the real legacy of this case will be that litigants may turn to documentary evidence from international human rights instruments, nowhere legislated in domestic law, to push for ever greater economic benefits and state resources. Why work when you can sue?")
Fraser Institute - "Competitive Market Solutions for Public Policy Problems"
James Finlay v. Canada (Minister of Finance) (HTML - 113K, 26 pages)
Supreme Court Decision concerning the Canada Assistance Plan, cost-sharing of provincial social assistance and the adequacy of those benefits.
Focuses (among other matters) on "basic requirements" under provincial welfare programs.
Collins v. Canada (T.D.)  2 F.C. 3
"This case involves the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Old Age Security Act, which accord to spouses of pensioners a spouse's allowance when they reach the age of 60, payable until they themselves become pensioners at age 65. The plaintiff alleges that these provisions violate subsection 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on the ground of marital status because they exclude separated spouses from receiving the spousal allowance."
Collins v. Canada Court of Appeal, Fredericton, December 3, 2001
Decision re. Collins v. Canada Court of Appeal - March 1, 2002
NOTE: I've removed the dead links --- try doing a Google search for each of these titles (using the text that is bolded above)
Federal Court of Canada Decisions
Same Sex Unions
unions : the radical choice
Canada delays action on proposed same-sex marriage law
January 29, 2004
"Canada's attempt to legalize gay marriage likely will be delayed until after expected national elections because the government asked its supreme court Wednesday to decide whether traditional marriage meets constitutional requirements. The supreme court already is considering the constitutionality of the federal government's proposed legislation sanctioning same-sex unions, and Wednesday's move gives justices another issue to consider."
The Advocate "The national gay and lesbian newsmagazine"
of Canada reaffirms its position on Supreme Court Reference
January 28, 2004
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Irwin Cotler:
"May I begin by saying that the Government of Canada is reaffirming its position in the marriage reference, organized around two foundational principles - support for equality - and within that the extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples - and support for religious freedom - and within that protection for religious officials from being forced to perform a marriage ceremony between two persons of the same sex where it is against their religious beliefs. But there is a third important principle, and that is the importance of a full and informed debate before the court, in Parliament and in response to concerns of the public. It is to respect that third principle that the Government is seeking the opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada on a new question in the reference on civil marriage and the legal recognition of same-sex unions."
Related Justice Canada Links:
Marriage and the Legal Recognition of Same-sex Unions (Backgrounder)
Reference to the Supreme Court of Canada on Civil Marriage and the Legal Recognition of Same-sex Unions (Fact Sheet)
Maternity and Parental Leave
For Action: Maternity & Parental Leave Threatened
"The following Appeal was drafted by a small group of feminist activists -- Bev Bain, Maryann Bird, Barbara Cameron, Marjorie Griffin Cohen, Shelagh Day, Martha Friendly, Martha Jackman, Kerry McCuaig and Leah Vosko -- who see an urgent need for a collective response to protect maternity and parental leave benefits offered through Employment Insurance. We ask you to read our Appeal, act on it and circulate it through your networks"
[ Election 2004 ] - also incl. links to : Political Parties - Ridings and Candidates - Tools and Resources
[ Disabled Women's Network - Ontario ]
puts parental leaves in jeopardy
Decision comes at awkward time for Martin's agenda
CanWest News Service
January 29, 2004
"OTTAWA - A landmark Quebec Court of Appeal ruling that parental leaves are provincial jurisdiction and that employment insurance should not be used to fund social programs could have an impact on the federal government's ability to help Canadian families, Paul Martin, the Prime Minister, said yesterday."
Procureur général du Québec
c. Procureur général du Canada (Word file - 167K, 41
pages) - French only
[This broken link was removed - try doing a Google search...]
January 27, 2004 - the official decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal
Jugements.qc.ca (French only)
Court of Appeal of Quebec
Quebec Parental Leave Program - from Éducaloi (Quebec Law Page - English)
Canada News Search Results: "Quebec Court of Appeal, parental leave"
Google Canada Web Search Results: "Quebec Court of Appeal, parental leave"
v. Canada (Attorney General), 2009
November 12, 2009
Ontario Court of Appeal
opens door to immigrant debt relief
By Nicholas Keung
November 12, 2009
People who found themselves with huge debts after sponsoring immigrants have won a landmark decision in Ontario's Court of Appeal. The court Thursday told the Ontario government to revisit its social assistance collection policies to recover debts owed by residents who sponsored immigrants to Canada. The court chided both the federal and provincial governments for disregarding the changing circumstances of the sponsors and the people they sponsored with their cut-and-dried collection policies.
not automatically responsible for family debts: court
Ontario Court of Appeal orders governments to stop automatically charging
individuals for social assistance debts of relatives they sponsored as immigrants;
ruling could cost governments millions
By Kirk Makin
November 12, 2009
The Ontario Court of Appeal has ordered governments to stop automatically charging individuals tens of millions of dollars for social assistance debts run up by family members who they had sponsored as immigrants. The Court said that it is unfair to force people to pay substantial sums of money on behalf of a relative they sponsored without first giving them an opportunity on a case-by-case basis to explain why they should not have to pay.
Globe and Mail
v. Canada,  2 S.C.R. 627
(Re. child support)
- information concerning Canadian human rights cases involving the Charter
Committee on Poverty Issues.
Source : Charter Committee on Poverty Issues (CCPI) - Canada
Supreme Court of Canada 'cap on CAP' Court decision - A Golden Oldie...
In 1990, the federal government, in order to reduce the federal budget deficit, decided to cut expenditures and limit the growth of payments made to financially stronger provinces under the Canada Assistance Plan. The whole issue ended up in court. The decision includes a lot of good background info.
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