Court Challenges Program one step closer to Opening for Business

On November 20, 2018, Canadian Heritage announced the exert panels who will establish policy and approve funding for Charter cases involving issues within federal jurisdiction. The announcement states “details of the … funding application process will be developed in a few weeks.”

$5 million annually has been allocated for the program, of which $1.5 million will be allocated to the clarification of official language rights. The remaining funds will be used to clarify the other rights covered by the program which are:

  • Section 2: Fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion, expression, assembly and association
  • Section 3: democratic rights
  • Section 7: Life, liberty and the security of the person
  • Section 15: equality rights
  • Section 27: Multiculturalism – when raised in support of argument based on equality rights
  • Section 28: Gender Equality

The Court Challenges Program (CCP) will provide funding in the following three areas:

  1. Test case development;
  2. Test case litigation; and
  3. Legal interventions.

The Members of the Expert Panel on Human Rights are:

  1. Yvonne Peters – expert on human rights and disability rights and former Chair, Manitoba Human Rights Commission;
  2. Larry Chartrand – Wiyasiwewin Mikiwahp Native Law Centre, University of Saskatchewan;
  3. Catherine Dauvergne – Dean of Law University of British Columbia, and expert on refugee, immigration, and citizenship law;
  4. Lucie Lamarche – Université du Québec à Montréal, expert on gender, social and economic rights;
  5. Joanne St. Lewis – Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, expert on social justice, sexual violence and online harassment and racial profiling;
  6. Adele Blackett – Faculty of Law, McGill – expert on transnational labour law, domestic workers and critical race theory;
  7. Brenda Yonge – Community Justice Director, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation.

The expert panels will be supported by the University of Ottawa. The role of which is defined as “the independent third party responsible for the general administration and delivery of the modernized program.” The management committee which was established under the umbrella of the University’s Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute. Its President is Jacques Fremont, President of the University and the former Chief Commission of the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse.

Bakerlaw is working with human and equality rights seeking communities to identify cases for development and litigation suitable for funding by the CCP. Individuals or organizations interested in retaining bakerlaw to assist with case development and litigation should contact Anoop Kalsi at ext. 230 or akalsi@bakerlaw.ca.

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