Supreme Court of Canada

  • Andrews v Law Society of British Columbia, [1989] 1 SCR 143 is the first Supreme Court of Canada case to deal with section 15 (equality rights) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In the case the court outlined a test, sometimes called the Andrews test to determine if there has been a prima facie violation of equality rights. This case expanded the application of s.15 of the Charter by adding analogous grounds for discrimination to the extant enumerated grounds. Read the judgment here.
  • Arsenault-Cameron v Prince Edward Island, [2000] 1 S.C.R. 3, 2000 SCC 1, is a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision on minority language rights. The Court found that the numbers of Francophone children in Summerside, Prince Edward Island warranted French language education in Summerside, under section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the province was constitutionally obligated to create a French language school. Read the judgment here.
  • Blencoe v British Columbia (Human Rights Commission), [2000] 2 S.C.R. 307 is a leading Supreme Court of Canada decision on the scope of section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and on the administrative law principle of natural justice. Read the judgment here.
  • British Columbia (Public Service Employee Relations Commission) v British Columbia Government Service Employees’ Union [1999] 3 S.C.R. 3, 1999 SCC 48 – called Meiorin for short – is a Supreme Court of Canada case that created a unified test to determine if a violation of human rights legislation can be justified as a bona fide occupational requirement (BFOR). Read the judgment here.
  • Carter v Canada (AG) is a Supreme Court of Canada decision where the prohibition of assisted suicide was challenged as contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by several parties, including the family of Kay Carter, a woman suffering from degenerative spinal stenosis, and Gloria Taylor, a woman suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In a unanimous decision, the Court struck down the provision in the Criminal Code of Canada, giving Canadian adults who are mentally competent and suffering intolerably and enduringly the right to a doctor’s help in dying. The court suspended its ruling for 12 months, with the decision taking effect in 2016, giving the government enough time to amend its laws. Read the judgment here.
  • Egan v Canada, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 513 was one of a trilogy of equality rights cases published by a very divided Supreme Court of Canada in the spring of 1995. It stands today as a landmark Supreme Court case which established that sexual orientation constitutes a prohibited basis of discrimination under Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Read the judgment here.
  • Law v Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), [1999] 1 S. C. R. 497 is a leading Supreme Court of Canada decision. The ruling is notable because the court created the Law test, a significant new tool that has since been used by Canadian courts for determining the validity of equality right claims under section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, the Law test has since been discredited by the Supreme Court. Read the judgment here.
  • Multani v Commission scolaire Marguerite‑Bourgeoys, [2006] 1 S.C.R. 256, 2006 SCC 6 is a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada in which the Court struck down an order of a Quebec school authority, that prohibited a Sikh child from wearing a kirpan to school, as a violation of freedom of religion under section 2(a) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This order could not be saved under section 1 of the Charter. Read the judgment here.
  • Pro Swing Inc v Elta Golf Inc 2006 SCC 52 is a leading Canadian case decided by the Supreme Court of Canada on conflict of laws. The Court held that foreign non-monetary judgments may be enforced in Canada where they have been rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction, the rendering is final, and the nature of the judgment is such that comity requires it to be enforced. Read the judgment here.
  • R v Asante-Mensah, [2003] 2 S.C.R. 3, 2003 SCC 38, is a leading Supreme Court of Canada decision where the Court affirmed the limits to which private citizens may undertake an arrest, as well as the limits of private individuals in the use of force to protect property. This case holds particular importance as the prevalence of private security has become increasingly popular across Canada. Read the judgment here.
  • R v Feeney, [1997] 2 S.C.R. 13 is a leading decision of the Supreme Court of Canada on the right, under section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms against unreasonable search and seizure. The Court held that the police are not permitted to enter into someone’s house without a search warrant. Read the judgment here.
  • R v Latimer [2001] 1 S.C.R. 3, was a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada in the controversial case of Robert Latimer, a Saskatchewan farmer convicted of murdering his disabled daughter Tracy Latimer. The case had sparked an intense national debate as to the ethics of what was claimed as a mercy killing. Read the judgment here.
  • R v Morgentaler was a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada which held that the abortion provision in the Criminal Code of Canada was unconstitutional, as it violated a woman’s right under section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to security of person. Since this ruling, there have been no criminal laws regulating abortion in Canada. Read the judgment here.
  • R v Morrisey, [2000] 2 S.C.R. 90 is a leading Supreme Court of Canada decision on the right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment under section 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court held that there can be exemptions for mandatory prison sentences where the sentence is unreasonable or has an effect upon the accused that may be considered harsh. Read the judgment here.
  • R v Oakes [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103 is a case decided by the Supreme Court of Canada which established the famous Oakes test, an analysis of the limitations clause (Section 1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that allows reasonable limitations on rights and freedoms through legislation if it can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. Read the judgment here.
  • Syndicat Northcrest v Amselem [2004] 2 S.C.R. 551 was a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada that attempted to define freedom of religion under the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Although the Supreme Court split on their definition, the majority advocated tolerating a practice where the individual sincerely feels it is connected to religion, regardless of whether the practice is required by a religious authority. Read the judgment here.