Charter: A Course - A podcast about Canadian Constitutional Law & Litigation
Episode 6: Section 15 of the Charter

Episode 6: Section 15 of the Charter

December 17, 2021

About the Series 

Charter: A Course is a podcast created by the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights (the Asper Centre)  and hosted by the Asper Centre’s Executive Director Cheryl Milne

Charter: A Course focuses on Canadian constitutional law and litigation. In each episode, we highlight the  accomplishments of U of T Law’s faculty and alumni involved in leading constitutional cases and issues. Each  episode also includes a “Practice Corner,” where we talk about the ins and outs of what it means to be a  constitutional litigator.  

Whether you are a law student, a lawyer, or just an interested person, we hope that you learn about an aspect  of constitutional law and litigation that interests you in our podcast. 

Episode 6 Show Notes 

Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that 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 based on race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age or mental or physical  disability. 

With the help of our distinguished guests, constitutional litigators Mary Eberts and Jonathan Rudin (author of Indigenous People and the Criminal Justice System: A Practitioner's Handbook) we trace the history of Section 15 and its development in Supreme Court of Canada jurisprudence, as well as its use in furthering the efforts to realize substantive equality for Indigenous peoples in Canada, in particular in the criminal justice system.  

Mary and Jonathan also share their thoughts about the value of interveners in Charter litigation in Canada.  

Find a full transcript of this episode HERE

Case Links 

In this episode, the following cases were discussed: 

Fraser v. Canada (Attorney General), 2020 SCC 28 (CanLII) 

Attorney General of Canada v. Lavell, 1973 CanLII 175 (SCC), [1974] SCR 1349 

The Queen v. Drybones, 1969 CanLII 1 (SCC), [1970] SCR 282 

Corbiere v. Canada (Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs), 1999 CanLII 687 (SCC), [1999] 2 SCR 203

Lovelace v. Ontario, 2000 SCC 37 (CanLII), [2000] 1 SCR 950

R. v. Kapp, 2008 SCC 41 (CanLII), [2008] 2 SCR 483

Law v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), 1999 CanLII 675 (SCC), [1999] 1 SCR 497

Alberta (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development) v. Cunningham, 2011 SCC 37 (CanLII), [2011] 2 SCR 670

Kahkewistahaw First Nation v. Taypotat, 2015 SCC 30 (CanLII), [2015] 2 SCR 548

R. v. Gladue, 1999 CanLII 679 (SCC), [1999] 1 SCR 68

R. v. Ipeelee, 2012 SCC 13 (CanLII), [2012] 1 SCR 433

R. v. Sharma, 2020 ONCA 478 (CanLII)

About the Asper Centre 

The Asper Centre, a part of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law since 2008, is devoted to realizing  constitutional rights through advocacy, research and education. The Centre aims to play a vital role in  articulating Canada’s constitutional vision to the broader world. The cornerstone of the Centre is a legal clinic  that brings together students, faculty and members of the bar to work on significant constitutional cases and  advocacy initiatives. The Centre was established through a generous gift from U of T law alumnus David  Asper (LLM ’07). 

Thank You’s 

Charter: A Course is proudly sponsored by the University of Toronto’s affinity partners: MBNA and TD Insurance. We would like to thank each of our sponsors, and you can discover the benefits of affinity products at  bit.ly/affinity-offers.  

We would like to thank the creators of our theme music for Charter: A Course. Constitutional law  professor Howie Kislowicz and law professor Rob Currie gave us the licence to use their constitutional law shanty  in exchange for a donation to the Calgary Food Bank. The song’s performers are: Vanessa Carroll, Rob Currie,  Howie Kislowicz, Avinash Kowshik, Anna Lund, Patricia Paradis, Elin Sigurdson, Lyle Skinner, and Dave Wright.  You can listen to the entire shanty here: Charter a Course. Please consider contributing to your local food bank! 

Thank you to Flint Patterson, JD student at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, for his contributions to the production of this episode. 

Thank you to our wonderful guests on this episode, Mary Eberts and Jonathan Rudin!

Thank you to our audio editor Liam Morrison of Bell Room Media Solutions. 

Lastly, we are very grateful to you, our listeners, for taking the time to join us on this voyage as we  charter a course into podcasting!

Episode 5: Climate Change Remedies and Section 7 of the Charter

Episode 5: Climate Change Remedies and Section 7 of the Charter

November 26, 2021

About the Series 

Charter: A Course is a podcast created by the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights (the Asper Centre) and hosted by the Asper Centre’s Executive Director Cheryl Milne

Charter: A Course focuses on Canadian constitutional law and litigation. In each episode, we highlight the accomplishments of U of T Law’s faculty and alumni involved in leading constitutional cases and issues. Each episode also includes a “Practice Corner,” where we talk about the ins and outs of what it means to be a constitutional litigator.  

Whether you are a law student, a lawyer, or just an interested person, we hope that you learn about an aspect of constitutional law and litigation that interests you in our podcast.

Episode 5 Show Notes 

Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees that every person has the right to life, liberty, and security of the person, except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. 

This episode focuses on s. 7 of the Charter, climate change litigation and constitutional remedies in these cases.  

In this episode, we speak with lawyer and former Constitutional Litigator-in-Residence at the Asper Centre, Nader Hasan about the meaning and purpose of section 7 in the context of climate change and government action/inaction, and as it relates to protecting the environment for future generations. Nader is legal counsel for the applicants in the Mathur v Ontario climate change litigation (see case link below), which he discusses in this episode.

In this episode’s “Practice Corner”(starting at 38:30), we speak with University of Toronto Faculty of Law Professor Kent Roach about constitutional remedies as a core aspect of charter litigation. Kent is the author of Constitutional Remedies in Canada (Carswell, 2013) and has recently published an article on judicial remedies in climate change litigation internationally.

Find a full transcript of this episode HERE.

Case Links

In this episode, the following cases were discussed:

Gosselin v. Québec (Attorney General), 2002 SCC 84 (CanLII)

Mathur v. Ontario, 2020 ONSC 6918

La Rose v Her Majesty the Queen 2020 FC 1008

Urgenda Foundation v. State of the Netherlands, 2015

Tanudjaja v. Canada (Attorney General), 2014 ONCA 852 (CanLII)

Doucet-Boudreau v. Nova Scotia (Minister of Education), 2003 SCC 62 (CanLII)

About the Asper Centre 

The Asper Centre, a part of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law since 2008, is devoted to realizing constitutional rights through advocacy, research and education. The Centre aims to play a vital role in articulating Canada’s constitutional vision to the broader world. The cornerstone of the Centre is a legal clinic that brings together students, faculty and members of the bar to work on significant constitutional cases and advocacy initiatives. The Centre was established through a generous gift from U of T law alumnus David Asper (LLM ’07). 

Thank You’s

Charter: A Course is proudly sponsored by the University of Toronto’s affinity partners: MBNA and TD Insurance. We would like to thank each of our sponsors, and you can discover the benefits of affinity products at bit.ly/affinity-offers.

We would like to thank the creators of our theme music for Charter: A Course. Constitutional law professor Howie Kislowicz and law professor Rob Currie gave us the licence to use their constitutional law shanty in exchange for a donation to the Calgary Food Bank. The song’s performers are: Vanessa Carroll, Rob Currie, Howie Kislowicz, Avinash Kowshik, Anna Lund, Patricia Paradis, Elin Sigurdson, Lyle Skinner, and Dave Wright. You can listen to the entire shanty here: Charter a Course.  Please consider contributing to your local food bank! 

Thank you to Szymon Rodomar and Flint Patterson, JD students at the U of T Faculty of Law, for their immense contributions to the production of this episode. 

Thank you to our wonderful guests on this episode, Nader Hasan and Professor Kent Roach!

Thank you to our audio editor Liam Morrison of Bell Room Media Solutions

Lastly, we are very grateful to you, our listeners, for taking the time to join us on this voyage as we charter a course into podcasting! 

Episode 4: Religious Freedom & Interventions in Constitutional Litigation

Episode 4: Religious Freedom & Interventions in Constitutional Litigation

November 12, 2021

About the Series 

Charter: A Course is a podcast created by the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights (the Asper Centre) and hosted by the Asper Centre’s Executive Director Cheryl Milne

Charter: A Course focuses on Canadian constitutional law and litigation. In each episode, we highlight the accomplishments of U of T Law’s faculty and alumni involved in leading constitutional cases and issues. Each episode also includes a “Practice Corner,” where we talk about the ins and outs of what it means to be a constitutional litigator.  

Whether you are a law student, a lawyer, or just an interested person, we hope that you learn about an aspect of constitutional law and litigation that interests you in our podcast.

Show Notes 

This episode focuses on freedom of religion and the role of interveners in landmark cases concerning religious freedom. 

Section 2 of the Charter sets out that everyone has four fundamental freedoms, one of which is freedom of conscience and religion in clause 2(a). In this episode, we learn about the different ways in which the court has viewed freedom of religion in the past and the implications of those different views, from University of Calgary Professor Howard Kislowicz. We also hear from Howie about the extent to which interveners can be said to have improved the quality of court decisions, concerning freedom of religion, and the extent to which interveners can be said to have promoted the legitimacy and acceptability of those decisions. 

In this episode’s Practice Corner, we talk about the process and practice of intervening in appeals at the Supreme Court of Canada with lawyer,  Adriel Weaver.

Find a full transcript of this episode HERE.

Time Markers

Due to the extended length of this episode (the content was too compelling to cut down!) we’re happy to include the following “time markers” to allow the listener to easily find specific segments of the conversation: 

At 3:13, Howie and Cheryl discuss Howie’s musical endeavours including how he created the theme song to our podcast, Charter: A Course. 

At 7:59, Howie’s discussion about Freedom of Religion cases begins

At 12:41 the cross-cultural communication aspect in these cases is discussed

At 15:50 the Multani case

At 18:05 the Amselem case

At 21:53 the Hutterian Brethren case

At 36:20 the Ktunaxa Nation case

At 46:09 discussion about Howie’s research on the impact of interveners in religious freedom cases

At 59:13 “Practice Corner” segment with Adriel Weaver on the practice and process of interventions in constitutional litigation begins

At 59:59 the Trinity Western cases

At 1:09:48 the purpose of interveners; written vs oral submissions

At 1:12:37 the Sharma case; trial level vs appellate court interventions

At 1:15:41 key practice tips essential to a good intervention

At 1:17:20 Asper Centre intervention in the Bedford case

At 1:19:55 Intervention by EGALE in Egan case

At 1:21:45 the 10-page factum and 5-minute submissions by interveners

Case Links

In this episode, the following cases were discussed:

Trinity Western University v. Law Society of Upper Canada, 2018 SCC 33 (CanLII)

Multani v. Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys, 2006 SCC 6 (CanLII) 

Syndicat Northcrest v. Amselem, 2004 SCC 47 (CanLII)

Alberta v. Hutterian Brethren of Wilson Colony, 2009 SCC 37 (CanLII)

Ktunaxa Nation v. British Columbia (Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations), 2017 SCC 54 (CanLII)

R v. Oakes, 1986 CanLII 46 (SCC)

R v. Sharma, 2020 ONCA 478 (CanLII)

Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72 (CanLII)

Egan v. Canada, 1995 CanLII 98 (SCC)

About the Asper Centre 

The Asper Centre, a part of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law since 2008, is devoted to realizing constitutional rights through advocacy, research and education. The Centre aims to play a vital role in articulating Canada’s constitutional vision to the broader world. The cornerstone of the Centre is a legal clinic that brings together students, faculty and members of the bar to work on significant constitutional cases and advocacy initiatives. The Centre was established through a generous gift from U of T law alumnus David Asper (LLM ’07). 

Thank You’s

Charter: A Course is proudly sponsored by the University of Toronto’s affinity partners: MBNA and TD Insurance. We would like to thank each of our sponsors, and you can discover the benefits of affinity products at bit.ly/affinity-offers

We would like to thank the creators of our theme music for Charter: A Course. Constitutional law professor Howie Kislowicz and law professor Rob Currie gave us the licence to use their constitutional law shanty in exchange for a donation to the Calgary Food Bank. The song’s performers are: Vanessa Carroll, Rob Currie, Howie Kislowicz, Avinash Kowshik, Anna Lund, Patricia Paradis, Elin Sigurdson, Lyle Skinner, and Dave Wright. You can listen to the entire shanty here: Charter a Course.  Please consider contributing to your local food bank! 

Thank you to Szymon Rodomar and Flint Patterson, JD students at the U of T Faculty of Law, for their immense contributions to the production of this episode. 

Thank you to our wonderful guests on this episode, Howie Kislowicz and Adriel Weaver!

Thank you to our audio editor Liam Morrison of Bell Room Media Solutions

Lastly, we are very grateful to you, our listeners, for taking the time to join us on this voyage as we charter a course into podcasting! 

Episode 3: Jury Fairness and the Charter

Episode 3: Jury Fairness and the Charter

October 29, 2021

About the Series 

Charter: A Course is a podcast created by the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights (the Asper Centre) and hosted by the Asper Centre’s Executive Director Cheryl Milne

Charter: A Course focuses on Canadian constitutional law and litigation. In each episode, we highlight the accomplishments of U of T Law’s faculty and alumni involved in leading constitutional cases and issues. Each episode also includes a “Practice Corner,” where we talk about the ins and outs of what it means to be a constitutional litigator.  

Whether you are a law student, a lawyer, or just an interested person, we hope that you learn about an aspect of constitutional law and litigation that interests you in our podcast.

Show Notes 

Section 11 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides a list of rights for persons charged with a crime. These include, but are not limited to, the right to be tried within a reasonable period of time, under section 11(b), the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty under section 11d, and the right to the benefit of a trial by jury, where the maximum penalty for the offense is imprisonment for five years, or even more severe punishment, under section 11(f).

In this episode we speak with Kent Roach, Professor of Law at the University of Toronto and lawyer Christa Big Canoe, Legal Director of Aboriginal Legal Services in Toronto, about jury fairness in Canada, the impact of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in R v Chouhan and the way in which the court's current understanding of jury selection informs the right to a jury that is representative of the community. The conversation also turns to equality rights, jury representation, and the experiences of indigenous people when it comes to juries.

Lastly, in this episode’s “Practice Corner” we speak with lawyer Janani Shanmuganathan about some of the practicalities of jury selection from the perspective of a criminal defense lawyer.

Find a full transcript of this episode HERE.

Case and Reference Links

In this episode, the following cases/laws were discussed:

R v Chouhan, 2021 SCC 26 (Canlii)

R v Kokopenance, 2015 SCC 25 (Canlii)

Bill C-75 - An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

R v Stanley, 2018 SKQB 27 (Canlii)

About the Asper Centre 

The Asper Centre, a part of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law since 2008, is devoted to realizing constitutional rights through advocacy, research and education. The Centre aims to play a vital role in articulating Canada’s constitutional vision to the broader world. The cornerstone of the Centre is a legal clinic that brings together students, faculty and members of the bar to work on significant constitutional cases and advocacy initiatives. The Centre was established through a generous gift from U of T law alumnus David Asper (LLM ’07). 

Thank You’s

Charter: A Course is proudly sponsored by the University of Toronto’s affinity partners: MBNA and TD Insurance. We would like to thank each of our sponsors, and you can discover the benefits of affinity products at bit.ly/affinity-offers.

We would like to thank the creators of our theme music for Charter: A Course. Constitutional law professor Howie Kislowicz and law professor Rob Currie gave us the licence to use their constitutional law shanty in exchange for a donation to the Calgary Food Bank. The song’s performers are: Vanessa Carroll, Rob Currie, Howie Kislowicz, Avinash Kowshik, Anna Lund, Patricia Paradis, Elin Sigurdson, Lyle Skinner, and Dave Wright. You can listen to the entire shanty here: Charter a Course.  Please consider contributing to your local food bank! 

Thank you to Szymon Rodomar and Flint Patterson, JD students at the U of T Faculty of Law, for their immense contributions to the production of this episode. 

 Thank you to our wonderful guests on this episode, Kent Roach, Christa Big Canoe and Janani Shanmuganathan. 

Thank you to our audio editor Liam Morrison of Bell Room Media Solutions

Lastly, we are very grateful to you, our listeners, for taking the time to join us on this voyage as we charter a course into podcasting! 

Episode 2: Covid19 and the Charter

Episode 2: Covid19 and the Charter

October 15, 2021

About the Series 

Charter: A Course is a podcast created by the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights (the Asper Centre) and hosted by the Asper Centre’s Executive Director Cheryl Milne

Charter: A Course focuses on Canadian constitutional law and litigation. In each episode, we highlight the accomplishments of U of T Law’s faculty and alumni involved in leading constitutional cases and issues. Each episode also includes a “Practice Corner,” where we talk about the ins and outs of what it means to be a constitutional litigator.  

Whether you are a law student, a lawyer, or just an interested person, we hope that you learn about an aspect of constitutional law and litigation that interests you in our podcast.

Show Notes 

This episode focuses on various Charter rights in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Section 6 (1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms confers the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada upon every citizen of Canada. Section 6(2) provides citizens and permanent residents with the right to move and take up residence and to pursue a livelihood in any province. Over the past year and a half, some provinces, including Ontario, have restricted movement across provincial borders. Other legal responses, or lack of responses, from government might also implicate section 7 rights to life, liberty and security of the person, while vaccine mandates raise questions about equality rights under section 15 or freedom of conscience and religion under section 2(a); and arguments have been made that restrictions on gathering affect those rights as well as the right to assembly under section 2(c) or association under 2(d). 

We’ll hear about the complicated relationship between our Charter and the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic from Abby Deshman and Nathalie des Rosiers. We’ll also hear a bit more about a topic we covered in our first episode: section 1 of the Charter. Particularly, whether the Oakes test is too strict in the context of an emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic. To close things off, in our “Practice Corner,” we’ll hear from two recent U of T law graduates, Geri Angelova and Hana Awwad, regarding their experience participating in the law school’s Grand Moot earlier this year, which was on the topic of the constitutionality of mandatory vaccinations.  

Find a full transcript of this episode here: https://aspercentre.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Episode-2-Covid-19-TRANSCRIPT.pdf

Case Links

In this episode, the following Supreme Court of Canada constitutional law decision was discussed:

  1. R v. Oakes, 1986 CanLII 46 (SCC), [1986] 1 SCR 103

About the Asper Centre 

The Asper Centre, a part of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law since 2008, is devoted to realizing constitutional rights through advocacy, research and education. The Centre aims to play a vital role in articulating Canada’s constitutional vision to the broader world. The cornerstone of the Centre is a legal clinic that brings together students, faculty and members of the bar to work on significant constitutional cases and advocacy initiatives. The Centre was established through a generous gift from U of T law alumnus David Asper (LLM ’07). 

Thank You’s

Charter: A Course is proudly sponsored by the University of Toronto’s affinity partners: MBNA and TD Insurance. We would like to thank each of our sponsors, and you can discover the benefits of affinity products at affinity.utoronto.ca.

We would like to thank the creators of our theme music for Charter: A Course. Constitutional law professor Howie Kislowicz and law professor Rob Currie gave us the licence to use their constitutional law shanty in exchange for a donation to the Calgary Food Bank. The song’s performers are: Vanessa Carroll, Rob Currie, Howie Kislowicz, Avinash Kowshik, Anna Lund, Patricia Paradis, Elin Sigurdson, Lyle Skinner, and Dave Wright. You can listen to the entire shanty here: Charter a Course.  Please consider contributing to your local food bank! 

Thank you to Szymon Rodomar and Flint Patterson, JD students at the U of T Faculty of Law, for their immense contributions to the production of this episode. 

Thank you to our wonderful guests on this episode, Nathalie des Rosiers, Abby Deshman, Geri Angelova and Hana Awwad. 

Thank you to our audio editor Liam Morrison of Bell Room Media Solutions

Lastly, we are very grateful to you, our listeners, for taking the time to join us on this voyage as we charter a course into podcasting! 

 

Episode 1: What’s the point of Section 1?

Episode 1: What’s the point of Section 1?

September 27, 2021

About the Series 

Charter: A Course is a podcast created by the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights (the Asper Centre) and hosted by the Asper Centre’s Executive Director Cheryl MilneCharter: A Course focuses on Canadian constitutional law and litigation. In each episode, we highlight the accomplishments of U of T Law’s faculty and alumni involved in leading constitutional cases and issues. Each episode also includes a “Practice Corner,” where we talk about the ins and outs of what it means to be a constitutional litigator.  

Whether you are a law student, a lawyer, or just an interested person, we hope that you learn about an aspect of constitutional law and litigation that interests you in our podcast.

Show Notes 

In this episode, we begin our exploration of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms with a conversation about section 1, which sets out that the rights in the Charter are subject to limits, or as the section says, “reasonable limits that are demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society.” We are privileged to speak with scholar and U of T alumnus Professor Jacob Weinrib. During our “Practice Corner,” we speak with constitutional litigator and U of T Law alumnus Padraic Ryan. 

Find a full transcript of this episode here: https://aspercentre.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Section-1-Episode-Transcripts.pdf

Case Links

The following SCC constitutional law decisions were discussed in this episode: 

R. v. Oakes, 1986 CanLII 46 (SCC), [1986] 1 SCR 103

Gillian Frank, et al. v. Attorney General of Canada (2016)

Newfoundland (Treasury Board) v. N.A.P.E., 2004 SCC 66 (CanLII), [2004] 3 SCR 381

About the Asper Centre  

The Asper Centre, a part of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law since 2008, is devoted to realizing constitutional rights through advocacy, research and education. The Centre aims to play a vital role in articulating Canada’s constitutional vision to the broader world. The cornerstone of the Centre is a legal clinic that brings together students, faculty and members of the bar to work on significant constitutional cases and advocacy initiatives. The Centre was established through a generous gift from U of Tlaw alumnus David Asper (LLM ’07). 

Thank You’s

Charter: A Course is proudly sponsored by the University of Toronto’s affinity partners: MBNA and TD Insurance. We would like to thank each of our sponsors, and you can discover the benefits of affinity products at affinity.utoronto.ca.

We would like to thank the creators of our theme music for Charter: A Course. Constitutional law professor Howie Kislowicz and law professor Rob Currie gave us the licence to use their constitutional law shanty in exchange for a donation to the Calgary Food Bank. The song’s performers are: Vanessa Carroll, Rob Currie, Howie Kislowicz, Avinash Kowshik, Anna Lund, Patricia Paradis, Elin Sigurdson, Lyle Skinner, and Dave Wright. You can listen to the entire song here: Charter a Course.  Please consider contributing to your local food bank! 

Thank you to Szymon Rodomar and Flint Patterson, JD students at the U of T Faculty of Law, for their immense contributions to the production of this episode. 

Thank you to our wonderful guests on this episode, Professor Jacob Weinrib and Padraic Ryan. 

Thank you to our audio editor Liam Morrison of Bell Room Media Solutions

Lastly, we are very grateful to you, our listeners, for taking the time to join us on this voyage as we charter a course into podcasting!

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