Beverley Baines

Canada Summer Jobs

Concrete challenge: Another fight over the Canada Summer Jobs attestation

Par Beverley Baines juin 29, 2018 29 juin 2018

Concrete challenge: Another fight  over the Canada Summer Jobs attestation

 

The constitutionality of the Canada Summer Jobs attestation requirement returns to the Federal Court in Sarnia Concrete Products Ltd’s application for judicial review after Service Canada denied it a grant to fund one student job. That was because the corporation refused to make the attestation that it respects the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as other rights, including “reproductive rights, and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”

Instead, Sarnia Concrete attached a letter claiming the attestation requirement violated its Charter rights to the freedoms of conscience, opinion, belief, thought and expression. The contention is almost identical to the one made unsuccessfully in January when the Right to Life Association of Toronto applied for an interlocutory injunction to stay the addition of the new attestation requirement. The only difference is the Association also claimed equality rights.

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Constitutional law

Untying the Blackmore case from the Polygamy Reference

Par Beverley Baines mars 19, 2018 19 mars 2018

 

The recent ruling by the Supreme Court of British Columbia upholding the polygamy convictions of Winston Blackmore and James Oler raises three problematic questions, constitutionally speaking, about due process, the binding nature of reference opinions and the rules revisiting earlier decisions.

In 2011, the B.C. Supreme Court upheld Canada’s anti-polygamy laws in a much-publicized reference decision. In her ruling in  Blackmore, Justice Sheri Ann Donegan followed the opinion of then Chief Justice Richard Bauman in the Polygamy Reference. She viewed his opinion about the constitutionality of the polygamy prohibition as a binding judgment.  For the reasons discussed below, she should have untied her decision from his.

The first question raised by the Blackmore ruling is whether Justice Donegan adhered to due process when she raised the issue about the constitutionality of s. 293 of the Criminal Code banning polygamy. There is no indication in Justice Donegan’s otherwise detailed judgment that she gave the applicants, Winston Blackmore and James Oler, any notice of her intention to raise the issue of the constitutionality of section 293. Neither Mr. Blackmore or Mr. Oler argued this issue. Justice Donegan confirmed that “Mr. Blackmore specifically does not challenge the constitutionality of the polygamy provision” (emphasis in original).

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Canada Summer Jobs

It’s not about women’s constitutional right to abortion

Par Beverley Baines février 27, 2018 27 février 2018

It’s not about women’s constitutional right to abortion

 

Does the constitutionality of the Canada Summer Jobs attestation requirement depend on whether the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects women’s right to abortion or more generally to reproductive freedom? The answer is no.

The federal Liberal government imposed the attestation requirement on not-for-profit, public-sector, and small business employers who apply for wage subsidies to hire secondary and post-secondary students for summer jobs. Liberals had received complaints about previous summer job funding going to summer camps that refused to hire LGBTQ staff and to groups that distribute graphic anti-abortion pamphlets.

The coming summer could also see complaints from students working in faith-based hospitals and long-term care homes that refuse to comply with new assisted dying laws. To protect women, LGBTQ, and differently abled students from employment discrimination, the Liberals require employers to sign an attestation requirement asserting they respect human rights, that is, that they do not seek to remove or actively undermine these rights.

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Article

Les défis identitaires de la Charte

Par Beverley Baines septembre 20, 2012 20 septembre 2012

Les défis identitaires de la Charte

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