This Week in Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms 2018-06-03

by | June 3, 2018

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

“Appeal by the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform of a decision dismissing its application for judicial review of the respondent’s decision refusing to permit the appellant to place certain anti-abortion advertising on the respondent’s transit buses. The appellant was a public interest group that focused its efforts on the issue of abortion. The proposed advertising consisted of full colour depictions of fetuses with the graphics “abortion kills children” and “ENDTHEKILLING”. The respondent refused to permit the proposed advertising because it would be disturbing to people within the community. The appellant argued its right to freedom of expression was violated. The reviewing judge found that the advertisement, when considered in the context of the content of the appellant’s website, consisted of strong statements that vilified women who had chosen to have an abortion. The judge found that the rejection of the appellant’s advertisement in furtherance of the respondent’s statutory objectives had infringed the appellant’s freedom of expression but that infringement was not absolute, because the respondent had not refused to post any advertisements, just the particular one originally submitted. She concluded that the advertisement was likely to cause psychological harm to some women and to cause fear and confusion among children. The judge found the respondent had acted proportionately and reasonably in refusing this particular advertisement.”


“Try to imagine what it must have been like growing up as the son of former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

You probably would have heard more than a million times how great your dad was.

You likely would have encountered scores of people telling you how the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms changed their lives.

You would have met Ismaili Muslims, Chilean Canadians, and people of many other cultural and religious backgrounds telling you how grateful they were that your father enabled them to come to Canada to build a new life.

Scholars would have told you that your dad was brilliant. Some might have even remarked that your father had attended Harvard, the London School of Economics, and the Sorbonne, which is the academic equivalent of scoring a hat trick.

Gays and lesbians would have said they’re eternally grateful to your father for declaring that the state had no place in the bedrooms of the nation.”


“As with thousands of other Canadians, Robert Wayne Nelson had the chance to die on his own terms.

Nelson’s earlier diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease was enough to handle in the years leading up to his spring 2016 diagnosis of progressive supranuclear palsy — a disease his daughter, Jen Wiles, described as Parkinson’s “evil big brother.”

Doctors didn’t know what to do. The severe brain disorder holds no effective treatments.

However, as a biologist throughout his life, the then-71-year-old had always followed legislation surrounding medical assistance in dying.

“My dad was the first medically assisted death in our community,” said Nelson’s only daughter, Wiles, of her father who died on Feb. 15, 2017, in Camrose.”


“When Ontario abolished mandatory retirement in 2006, employers could still terminate benefits for workers who turned 65. But in May, the province’s Human Rights Tribunal determined the provision in the Human Rights Code that allowed employers to do so was unconstitutional.

Previously, employers often offered benefits to older workers to encourage them to stay and cut benefits at 65 if they wanted to encourage retirement, says Tiina Liivet, vice-president of benefits and health at Accompass Inc. in Toronto.

But she isn’t at all surprised by the tribunal’s decision, noting the provision was at odds with the ban on mandatory retirement. “I think it’s taken a while [for someone to] feel strongly enough about it to take it to the Human Rights Tribunal,” she says.”


“The P.E.I. government says any restrictions on freedom of expression in its new referendum legislation are “reasonably necessary” to ensure a level playing field for both sides in the upcoming debate — and vote — on proportional representation.

Bill 38, the Electoral System Referendum Act, would limit groups and individuals to spending no more than $500 on referendum advertising unless they register with government, in which case they would be permitted to spend a share of $75,000 in taxpayer funding for each side in the debate.

Exceeding spending limits would lead to fines of $10,000 or more.

Both the Green Party and the P.E.I. Coalition for Proportional Representation have raised concerns, suggesting the legislation would not withstand a legal challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”


“WATERLOO — Senators at Wilfrid Laurier University approved a freedom-of-expression statement Tuesday that details the school’s commitment to not censoring difficult or controversial ideas.

The final statement, developed by the Task Force on Freedom of Expression, says Laurier “unequivocally embraces the principles of free expression required in an academic environment.” That includes a range of perspectives and ideas, “including those that may be deemed difficult, controversial, extreme, or even wrong-headed.”

In a presentation to senators Tuesday afternoon, Robert Gordon, chair of the task force, said “the principles are grounded by a commitment to academic freedom, freedom of speech … and the relevant legislation around free speech.” That includes the Criminal Code of Canada, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the Ontario Human Rights Code.”


Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott:

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