Canadian Social Research Links

Case Law / Court Decisions / Inquests

Sites de recherche sociale au Canada

Droit jurisprudentiel / Décisions de la Cour / Enquêtes


Links checked November 17, 2012
Liens vérifiés le 17 novembre 2012

[ Go to Canadian Social Research Links Home Page ]

On 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...]



Click on a link below to jump directly to a specific case further down on this page:

* General Canadian Caselaw Resources
-
scroll down just past this yellow box.

* Sponsors of 'rogue' immigrants must repay welfare money - Added June 10, 2011

* Supreme Court of Canada Judgment re. Quebec appeal of the June 2008 decision
--- incl. Quebec govt.claim for $394 million under the Canada Assistance Plan (decision released June 6, 2008)

* The National Child Benefit Supplement Clawback
* Kelly Lesiuk
* Kimberly Rogers
*Louise Gosselin
* James Finlay
* Mary Collins
* Same-Sex Unions
* Maternity and Parental Leave
* Miscellaneous
(Charter equality rights - the cap on CAP - more...)

* Sections 7 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights

* Women’s Court of Canada

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Spouse-in-the-house : The Falkiner Case (A separate Canadian Social Research Links page)
- includes background info, the official Court record of the May 13 (2002) decision, the September 2004 announcement by the Ontario Government that it would not pursue an appeal of the court ruling, and several related links.
NOTE: the Ontario Government formally dropped its plan to appeal the ruling against its "spouse-in-the-house" rule as of September 2004 - but retains a three-month cohabitation rule for both Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program. Click the above link for more info...

 
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General Canadian Caselaw Resources

Case 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)
Source:
Isthatlegal.ca (Ontario)
The purpose of the Isthatlegal.ca website is to provide, in one convenient and generally accessible on-line location, detailed and thorough legal guides to areas of Ontario and Canadian law of general importance to the economically vulnerable in our society, and to their advocates. All users should ensure that they meet the Terms of Use of the site.
[
Terms of Use ]


Case Law Search - search case law decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada (1993 to date), the Federal Court of Canada (1993-1995) and the B.C. Court of Appeal and Supreme Court (1996 to date) 
Source:
The Internet Law Library
(Browsable Law Directories)

The Canadian Justice System - from Justice Canada

Supreme Court of Canada Decisions
The Supreme Court of Canada Decisions website provides free access to Court decisions since 1948.

List 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."]


THE COURT

An initiative of Osgoode Hall Law School, The Court is a site where scholars, practitioners and other interested citizens can discuss the recent work of the Supreme Court of Canada

THE COURT's Supreme Court Links - six links worth checking...

Canadian Caselaw Links - from the Law Library at Dalhousie University
- incl. federal and provincial-territorial judgements and decisions, legislation, etc.

Discretionary 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
Source:
University of Toronto Law School

Social Rights Advocacy Centre (SRAC)
"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:
* research
* 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.

Poverty & Human Rights Centre
The Poverty and Human Rights Centre is committed to eradicating poverty and promoting social and economic equality through human rights.

The 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.

Factum Library
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.


Sections 7 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights

Canadian Charter of Rights Decisions Digest
- incl. links to : Contents | Interpretation | Waiver | Criminal Code | Statutes | Cases
This is a must-read for anyone interested in the Canadian Charter of Rights, for the connoisseurs and the curious alike --- includes an overview of each section of the Charter with commentaries (by Graham Garton, Q.C., Department of Justice, Ottawa) plus a large section of Charter decisions (with links to the actual text wherever possible).

Here are the links to two of the most relevant sections for poverty law in Canada:

Section 7 - Life, liberty and security of person
"Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."

Section 15 - Equality

Section 15(1) - Equality before and under law and equal protection and benefit of law
"15.(1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability."

Section 15(2) - Affirmative action programs
"15.(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability."

Source:
CanLII - Canadian Legal Information Institute

---

20th Anniversary of the Equality Clause*
- incl links to : Home | Welcome | About the Coalition | Discussion Papers | Quotes | Press Releases | Supreme Court of Canada Section 15 Cases | Media Coverage | Relevant Links | Contact Us | français
"April 17, 2005, marks the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guaranteed the right of Canadians to equality. The Charter itself came into force in 1982. The three-year delay of section 15 allowed federal, provincial and territorial governments time to bring their legislation into line with its provisions." [Excerpt from the Welcome page]
*NOTE: this website is no longer online.
Clicking the link above takes you to a copy of the site from Archive.org as it appeared in June of 2008.

----------------------------------------------------------------

CHARTER EQUALITY RIGHTS: INTERPRETATION OF
SECTION 15 IN SUPREME COURT OF CANADA DECISIONS
Prepared by Mary C. Hurley
Law and Government Division
August 1995 - Revised January 2005
"This paper contains a summary review of a number of principles relevant to section 15 and section 1 analysis, as determined by the Supreme Court of Canada, followed by a chart setting out basic elements of the Court’s decisions in which the equality rights provision has been raised.(...) Subsection 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in effect since April 1985, provides that every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability."
Source:
Parliamentary Information and Research Service Publications
[ Parliament of Canada ]

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Caselaw related to the justiciability of social and economic rights in Canada (Word file - 62K, 3 pages)
- list of Canadian cases that address social and economic rights --- includes links to specific cases
Source:
Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation


Women's Court of Canada
The Women’s 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 Women’s Court operates as a virtual court, and ‘reconsiders’ leading equality decisions. The Women’s 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

Women's 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, [1993] : deduction — child care expenses — women — taxpayer — income
* Native Women’s Association of Canada v. Canada, [1994] : funding — freedom of expression — women — equal — constitutional
* Eaton v. Brant County Board of Education, [1997] : placement — disabled — special — child — pupil
* Law v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), [1999] : discrimination — differential treatment — claimant — survivor’s pension — dignity
* Gosselin v. Quebec (Attorney-General), [2002] : programs — welfare recipients — security of the person — dignity — legislation
* Newfoundland (Treasury Board) v. Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees, [2004] : pay equity — government — crisis — hospital workers — women

Resources - links to over two dozen useful feminist resources

-----------------

Canada’s 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 Canada’s human rights institutions.
Here are some recent developments that cause concern:
• Saskatchewan’s 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.
* more...
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 Canada’s system of human rights laws and discourage Canadians from using them.
Source:
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

Justice Canada

Human 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

Women's Rights in Canada since 1900
Aboriginal Rights in Canada since 1900
Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Canada since 1900

Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Full text from the Dept. of Justice)

 Selected Cases

Sponsors 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) ]

Source:
CTV

Related links:

The Supreme Court Ruling - June 10, 2011
Source:
Judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada

---

ImmigrantsCanada.com/
A topical weblog of current affairs, opinion and issues featuring what is making news in Canada from the immigrants and newcomers' point of view.

Supreme Court of Canada Judgment:
Quebec (Attorney General) v. Canada

File No.: 33524
March 3, 2011
---
[ Version française du jugement ]
---

Case summary
"The Canada Assistance Plan (“CAP”), which has been repealed, was enacted in 1966 in the context of the federal government’s 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 government’s favour and dismissed Quebec’s claim."

Held: The appeal should be dismissed.

---

COMMENTARY:

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:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/cap.htm
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 ]

From the
Heritage Canada Human Rights Program:

The 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.

Response 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. (...)

Canada's Universal Periodic Review
Canada’s review before the United Nations Human Rights Council’s 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

Related links:

The 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 page:
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/cap.htm

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.
Source:
English summary (PDF - 16K, 1 paragraph)

* The services for which Quebec was seeking cost-sharing were:

1. 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

2. 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

3. Support services provided to people with disabilities living in a residential establishment
--- 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
Decision T-2834-96
HTML version
PDF version - 3MB, 241 pages
Source:
Federal Court
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.

Related links

* Canada Assistance Plan

* Canada Assistance Plan Regulations

 

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

NCBS 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.

Source:
Income Security Advocacy Centre
Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation
Charter Committee on Poverty Issues

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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

Source:
The National Child Benefit Website
[Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services]

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No 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."
Source:
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)

Source:
Ontario Project for Inter-Clinic Community Organizing (OPICCO)

Editorial comment:

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...

Kelly Lesiuk

Plain Talk - Summer 2003 Issue
August 2003
Newsletter of the Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC)
Contents:
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

Attorney General of Canada v. Kelly Lesiuk - from the Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC)
ISAC overview of the Lesiuk case
Resources:
- 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

Related Links:

Supreme 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.]

Umpire's 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

Federal 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

Google Web SearchResults: "kelly lesiuk"
Source:
Google.ca

Kimberly Rogers

Justice 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

Source : DAWN DisAbled Women's Network - Ontario

Government 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).
Source:
The Toronto Star

Related Link:

Justice 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.
Source:
DisAbled Women's Network - Ontario


Ban the Ban!
(Followup to the decision in the Kimberly Rogers case)
"105 people to date are subject to the lifetime ban [National Post figures]. That number will continue to grow as the government said they do not intend to change the law. We have to change their mind. The most immediate thing we can do is to send many letters to the editor and call radio shows to say that the jury that heard 8 weeks of evidence, and the Sudbury police department, got it right--the ban is not only morally wrong but also a threat to public safety.
We will then start a campaign to enlist many more allies such as public health departments, municipalities (again), etc. in pushing for change. But we need their to be some broader public attention to this issue. This next few days right after this story came out is the best time to do that. As busy as everyone is with work and personal lives in this holiday season, please take the time to fire off a quick letter to your local paper or call a radio station."
Thanks,
Nancy Vander Plaats
Ontario Social Safety NetWork (OSSN)

Related Links:

Letters to the Editor - contact info for Toronto Star - Globe and Mail - Northern Life - National Post - Ottawa Citizen
- also includes text suggestions for you to use in your letter if you want to have your say but aren't sure of the right words...

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

NDP Wants Fast Action on Rogers Inquest Findings
Press Release
December 19, 2002
Source : Ontario New Democratic Party

Social Planning Council Deeply Concerned
Press Release

December 20 2002
Source : Peterborough Social Planning Council



Rogers Inquest Verdict and Recommendations

Verdict of Coroner's Jury into the Death of Kimberly Ann Rogers
December 19, 2002
- plus 14 recommendations and rationale
Source : DAWN DisAbled Women's Network - Ontario

Coroner's 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 Campaign site)
[NOTE : the articles below are just a small sample of what you'll find on the DAWN - Ontario Justice with Dignity site

Cruel welfare rules must be changed
Editorial, Toronto Star, Dec. 23

Tory glory, Tory ghosts in uneasy mix
by Murray Campbell, Globe & Mail, Dec. 23

No mercy for those with zero power
by Linda McQuaig Toronto Star, Dec. 22

Ontario to maintain lifetime welfare ban by Murray Campbell & Keith Lacey,
Globe & Mail, Dec. 20

Give welfare fraudsters a break: jury - Ontario rejects finding: Inquest
into suicide of pregnant woman under house arrest
by Robert Benzie, National Joke, Dec. 20

End welfare bans: jury - Crackdown on cheats called 'devastating and detrimental'
Osprey Media Group Inc. Dec. 20

Poverty's 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

Ease 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

Eves government urged to eliminate ‘homicidal’ punishment for welfare
fraud - The coroner’s jury at the inquest into the death of Kimberly Rogers
has ruled she committed suicide

by Keith Lacey, Northern Life, Dec. 19

End lifetime ban for welfare fraud, jury says
by Darren Yourk, Globe and Mail, Dec. 19

Louise Gosselin

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]


The Gosselin Decision

December 19, 2002
The decision of the Supreme Court was announced on December 19, 2002. The Gosselin case was dismissed by a narrow majority (5-4)

Complete Judgment

Source:
CanLII - Canadian Legal Information Institute

---

Mirror copy of the decision:

Gosselin v. Quebec (Attorney General), [2002] (106 pages)
- the official decision of the Supreme Court of Canada
Source:
Supreme Court of Canada Decisions

Gosselin 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.
Source:
PovNet

Gosselin Decision Forewarns of Right to Welfare (PDF file - 120K, 2 pages)
January 2003
Chris Schafer
"The special-interest lobby is chomping at the bit in regards to the possibilities that this most recent Supreme Court judgment presents to support further claims of a constitutionally-mandated right to welfare, housing, etc."*
Source : Fraser Institute
*NOTE: the author cites a press release (see below) by the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) as proof-of-chomping. CERA's "special interest"? "CERA works to remove the barriers that keep disadvantaged individuals and families from accessing and retaining the housing they need."

Related Link:

Human Rights and Housing Groups see Positive Signs in Supreme Court Poverty Decision
News Release (December 19, 2002)
"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."
Source: Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation

---

Canada’s Supreme Court sanctions dismantling of welfare
By Keith Jones
27 December 2002
Source:
World Socialist Web Site

---

The Women’s Court of Canada: Gosselin v. Quebec (Attorney General), [2006] (39 pages)
July 8, 2009
by Gwen Brodsky, Rachel Cox, Shelagh Day and Kate Stephenson
The Women’s 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 Québec’s 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 Women’s Court’s 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
Press Release
December 19, 2002
Source:
National Association of Women and the Law

The 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?")
Source:
Fraser Institute
- "Competitive Market Solutions for Public Policy Problems"


James Finlay
1993

Robert 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.

Mary Collins
1999
Collins v. Canada (T.D.) [2000] 2 F.C. 3
"This case involves the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Old Age Security Act,[1] 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[2] 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)

Source:
Federal Court of Canada Decisions

Same Sex Unions

Civil 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."
Source:
The Advocate "The national gay and lesbian newsmagazine"

Government of Canada reaffirms its position on Supreme Court Reference
News Release
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."
Source:
Justice Canada

Related Justice Canada Links:

Civil 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

Call 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"
Source:
Issues
[ Election 2004 ] - also incl. links to : Political Parties - Ridings and Candidates - Tools and Resources
[ Disabled Women's Network - Ontario ]

Related Links:

Ruling puts parental leaves in jeopardy
Decision comes at awkward time for Martin's agenda
Elizabeth Thompson
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."
Source:
Canada.com

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
Source:
Jugements.qc.ca (French only)

Court of Appeal of Quebec

Quebec Parental Leave Program - from Éducaloi (Quebec Law Page - English)

Google Canada News Search Results: "Quebec Court of Appeal, parental leave"
Google Canada Web Search Results: "Quebec Court of Appeal, parental leave"

Miscellaneous

Mavi v. Canada (Attorney General), 2009
November 12, 2009
Ontario Court of Appeal

Related links:

Court 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.
Source:
Toronto Star

---

Sponsors 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.
Source:
Globe and Mail

---

Thibaudeau v. Canada, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 627
(Re. child support)

Litigation - information concerning Canadian human rights cases involving the Charter Committee on Poverty Issues.
Source : Charter Committee on Poverty Issues (CCPI) - Canada


The 1991 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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