Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court of Canada’

Carter & Assisted Suicide: Where We Stand One Year Later

March 2nd, 2016 by Safia Lakhani

This article was first published on the Ontario Bar Association’s website. It is an update to an earlier article which was first published on Rabble.ca.

February 6, 2016 marked one year since the Supreme Court released its ruling in Carter v. Canada, 2015 SCC 5. That decision struck down the constitutionality of Sections 14 and 241(b) of the Criminal Code, which prohibit assisted suicide, on the basis that they infringed on the individual’s right to life, liberty and security, and the right to equal protection under the law, in a manner that could not be justified under Section 1 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Carter was a departure from the Court’s earlier ruling in Rodriguez, in which the provisions prohibiting assisted suicide were found to violate the individuals’ right to life, liberty and security, but in a manner that was justified under Section 1 of the Charter.

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The state of assisted-dying legislation after Carter

December 7th, 2015 by Safia Lakhani

This post was first published on rabble.ca

On November 13, 2015, newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provided his Minister of Justice, Jodi Wilson-Raybould, with a mandate letter. First on the list of priorities is that Ms. Wilson-Raybould “lead a process, supported by the Minister of Health, to work with provinces and territories to respond to the Supreme Court of Canada decision regarding physician-assisted death.”

It has been nine months since the Supreme Court released its ruling in Carter v. Canada, 2015 SCC 5, striking down the constitutionality of Sections 14 and 241(b) of the Criminal Code which prohibit physician-assisted suicide. The Court in Carter departed from the 1993 ruling in Rodriguez, which also dealt with the issue of physician-assisted suicide. In that case, the Court found that the provisions prohibiting physician-assisted suicide violated the individual’s right to life, liberty and security, but in a manner that was justified under Section 1 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. By contrast, the Court in Carter found that the offending provisions of the Criminal Code infringed on the individual’s right to life, liberty and security, as well as the right to equal protection under the law in a manner that could not be justified. Read the rest of this entry

Access to justice crisis: 15 years too long to wait for solutions

March 26th, 2015 by Celia Chandler

We have all heard about Canada’s increasingly underfunded legal aid programs, escalating private market legal costs, and the scarcity of lawyers, especially in smaller, rural and remote communities. This has resulted in what many have termed an access to justice crisis. Indeed, the Canadian Bar Association has set targets for 2030 to equalize access to civil justice, as reported in this column in August 2013. The Toronto Star recently reported on programs in New York City, Windsor, and England and Wales where Self-Represented Litigants (SRLs) get support from students and other advisers who are not lawyers but have some training to find their way through the system — significant in those jurisdictions. But 2030 is 15 years down the road and a long wait for large‑scale system change; in the meantime, we have to live with the significant negative consequences to the legal system.

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‘Whose body is this?’: The right to die with dignity revisited

January 29th, 2015 by Lauren Blumas

Over the holiday season a story out of Winnipeg grabbed the attention of the Canadian public. The story went something like this: an elderly woman fell in the home she shared with her middle‑aged son. She was injured in the fall and left unable to get up under her own power. Her son, apparently carrying out the wishes of his mother, did not call for emergency assistance and did not move her to bed. Instead, the 62‑year-old covered his mother with a blanket where she lay and provided her with food and water until she passed away several weeks later.

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Harper takes a swing at the Supreme Court after losing yet another case

May 7th, 2014 by Priya Sarin

In the past few years, the Harper government has aggressively pursued its own agenda without due regard for the Canadian Constitution, the rights of the provinces and the rights of the most vulnerable Canadians. It has pushed for Senate reform, tougher criminal laws, and even subtly attempted to shift the balance of the Supreme Court of Canada by appointing judges with a conservative bent.

Stephen Harper may have hoped that his five appointments to the Supreme Court would influence the outcome of the cases before it, but a recent string of well‑deserved thrashings in court have demonstrated that the Supreme Court is truly an independent, non‑partisan body, able to act as a check on the government’s (inappropriate) actions.

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Competing human rights: Trinity Western law school controversy pits faith against equality

March 26th, 2014 by Shelina Ali

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada (FLSC) released its report on Trinity Western University’s (TWU) proposed law school program in December 2013. The FLSC gave TWU’s law school preliminary approval despite serious concerns expressed by different sectors of the legal profession, including the Council of Canadian Law Deans, that the school’s Community Covenant Agreement, which requires TWU students and staff to agree not to engage in same‑sex sexual intimacy, discriminates against LGBTQ students.

FLSC’s approval has, unsurprisingly, led to strong and divergent opinions on the appropriate balancing of rights.

Read more on rabble.ca