All posts filed under: Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Quebec appeal court rules woman wearing hijab was entitled to be heard in court

A day after Quebec premier-elect François Legault suggested he would be ready to invoke the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause to override the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to ban religious symbols for civil servants, the Quebec Court of Appeal court ruled that a provincial court judge erred when she denied a hearing to a woman wearing a hijab.

French language still needs protection rules Quebec appeal court

A bid to overturn Quebec’s sign law by a group of anglophone merchants suffered yet another setback after the Quebec Court of Appeal upheld two lower court rulings that held that the French language is still vulnerable in Quebec and continues to need protection even though it has made “modest progress” in recent decades.

Why it matters: The Quebec appeal court also appears to have “opened a door” to new legal challenges to the signage law under s. 15 of the Canadian Charter and s. 10 of the Quebec Charter.

Also, the appeal court found that unilingual English websites are too subject to the French language charter.

But the appeal court also appears to have “opened a door” to new legal challenges to the signage law under s. 15 of the Canadian Charter and s. 10 of the Quebec Charter

Red zones violate rights of marginalized people, study says

“Red zones ” or “no-go” orders, conditions of release imposed by police or the courts in bail or probation orders that prohibit an individual from entering or being found within a specific place or area, have become increasingly pervasive but are costly, ineffective and violate people’s rights, concludes a new study.

Why it matters: “Legal actors are pursuing legitimate objectives such as preventing crime and trying to promote social reintegration of offenders in the case of probation orders,” said Marie-Eve Sylvestre, the report's lead researcher and a law professor at the University of Ottawa. “But they are unaware of how inefficient the system is and how little it achieves its objectives in terms of preventing crime.”

Ottawa given until Christmas to address sex-based discriminatory provisions in the Indian Act

The federal government dodged a potential crisis that would have halted Indian status registrations after the Quebec Court of Appeal begrudgingly gave Ottawa until Christmas to address sex-based discriminatory provisions in the Indian Act and complete a bill that has been held up by the Senate.

In a ruling that marks the first time a Canadian appellate court has been called upon to decide whether or not to extend yet again the suspension of a judicial declaration of constitutional invalidity of a legislative provision, the Quebec appeal court scolded the federal government for the “unacceptable delays” and the absence of administrative measures that would have mitigated the discrimination.

“There are limits as to how long suspensions of declarations of constitutional invalidity may last,” said Justice Robert Mainville in a 20-page ruling in AG Canada c. Descheneaux, 2017 QCCA 1238. Justices Marie-Josée Hogue and Patrick Healy concurred with the August 18th decision.

Ruling could lead lawyers to think hard before voicing concerns about legal system

In a controversial decision, the Quebec Court of Appeal recently held that Quebec lawyers can criticize the legal system as long as it is done with dignified restraint, constructively and meets the public’s reasonable expectations of a lawyer’s professionalism.

But the appeal court decision has stoked fears that the ruling will engender a chilling effect, and prompt lawyers to think twice before voicing their concerns about the legal system in public for fear of being reprimanded by their law society.