CCPI's Litigation

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CURRENT Litigation

Toussaint v. Canada: Challenge to Refusal to Waive Fees for Poor People Applying for Humanitarian and Compassionate Review

Caron v. Alberta - Advance Costs for Access to Justice: Interveners Motion Record

RECENT Litigation

CCPI's Constitutional Challenge to NAFTA - Human Rights in Trade and Investment Regimes 

CCPI Memorandum for Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada in NAFTA Challenge 

Chaoulli v. Quebc: the Right to Health for Poor People - CCPI-CHC Intervener Factum SCC

Gosselin v. Quebec CCPI FACTUM SCC

CCPI's Litigation

International Human Rights


CCPI's Litigation

CCPI Facta (Pleadings)


R. v. Wu









Court of Canada Judgments

New Brunswick (Minister of Health and Community Services) v. G.(J.)

Mavis Baker v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Eldridge v. British Columbia (Attorney General)

R. v. Prosper

Symes v. Canada

Thibaudeau v. Canada

Walker v. Prince Edward Island

BOARD OF INQUIRY (Human Rights Code)

 Kearney et al. v. Bramalea Ltd et al.

Charter Committee on Poverty Issues
c/o Social Rights Advocacy Centre
1038 Portage Flyer Lane
RR4 Huntsville
P1H 2J6

CCPI's Litigation

CCPI has intervened in a number of important cases at the Supreme Court of Canada and at lower courts and tribunals, promoting the rights of poor people. CCPI's interventions have included the following:

Chaoulli v. Quebec (Attorney General), [2005] 1 S.C.R. 791 in which CCPI argued that the right to healthcare under section 7 of the Canadian Charter should be interpreted in a manner which ensures access to healthcare for those who lack the means to access private healthcare;

Gosselin v. Québec (Attorney General), [2002] 4 S.C.R. 429 in which CCPI argued, inter alia, that the right to security of the person in section 7 of the Charter ought to be interpreted as including positive obligations on governments to ensure that disadvantaged members of society have access to adequate food, clothing and housing

R. v. Wu, [2003] 3 S.C.R. 530 .  The issue in that case involved the effect of imposing fine payments on poor people who could not afford to pay them.  CCPI argued, among other things, that section 15 must inform the application of the Criminal Code in order to prevent such a discriminatory outcome for those unable to pay a fine because of poverty.  The Supreme Court did not specifically rule on the application of the Charter in that case, but it affirmed the principle that formal ‘same treatment’ of poor people by the courts, resulting in incarceration of the poor because of their inability to pay a fine, is unacceptable

Baker v. Canada (Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration), [1999] 2 S.C.R. 817.  This case dealt with a review of a deportation order against a woman living in poverty who had four children born in Canada. The critical legal issue was whether Canada’s obligations under international human rights law needs to be considered in such a review. CCPI argued successfully that international law must be considered in such a review and ought to be a critical component of the interpretation of rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

New Brunswick (Minister of Health and Community Services) v. G. (J.), [1999] 3 S.C.R. 46. This case dealt with the rights of low income women involved in custody hearings in court to legal aid. CCPI argued successfully that the government is required by section 7 of the Charter (the right to life, liberty and security of the person) to take positive measures to ensure the provision of legal aid in such cases.;

Eldridge v. British Columbia (Attorney General), [1997] 3 S.C.R. 624. This case challenged the denial of funding for interpreter services for the deaf in the provision of healthcare in British Columbia. CCPI argued successfully that governments have a positive obligation under the Charter of Rights to address the needs of disadvantaged groups and that such obligations are fundamental to the guarantee of equality.

Kearney et al. v. Bramalea Ltd et al. (1998), 34 CHRR D/1 (Ont. Bd. Inq.). This case was brought forward by The Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation , challenging landlords policies of disqualifying low income applicants on the basis of arbitrary minimum income criteria. CCPI argued successfully that refusing rental housing to low income households on the basis of minimum income criteria constitutes discrimination against social assistance recipients, women, young people, single mothers, racial minorities and other groups protected under human rights legislation;

Lovelace v. Ontario, 2000 SCC 37, [2000] 1 S.C.R. 950. This case dealt in part with whether governments have an obligation under section 15 of the Canadian Charter, (equality rights) to take positive measures to address poverty among Aboriginal communities. CCPI argued that the Supreme Court ought to ensure that it interprets governments’ obligations under this section consistently with the finding of many U.N. human rights bodies that poverty in Aboriginal communities in Canada violates many international human rights.

R. v. Prosper, [1994] 3 S.C.R. 236 . This case dealt with the provision of duty counsel to poor people who are arrested or detained by the police. CCPI argued that the Charter of Rights ought to be interpreted as guaranteeing the right to counsel for people living in poverty.

Roberts v. Ontario (1994), 117 D.L.R. (4th) 297 , dealing with whether governments are allowed, under human rights legislation, to discriminate in programs which ameliorate disadvantage (affirmative action programs or "special programs"). CCPI argued that advantaged groups may be excluded from benefits but that discrimination against poor people and other disadvantaged groups should not be permitted simply because a program is an "ameliorative" program.

Symes v. Canada, [1993] 4 S.C.R. 695 . This case dealt with whether courts should defer to governments in areas of taxation and fiscal policy. CCPI argued successfully that these are often the most critical issues of inequality and that the equality guarantee would mean little to poor people if it did not apply in the area of social and economic policy.

Thibaudeau v. Canada, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 627 . In this case CCPI was granted intervener status jointly with the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund, the Federated Anti-Poverty Groups of British Columbia and the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. The intervener coalition argued that the unacceptable levels of poverty among single mothers in Canada was a critical issue of inequality and discrimination and that section 15 of the Charter should provide an effective remedy.

Walker v. Prince Edward Island, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 407 dealt with whether section 7 of the Charter protects "economic rights" of professionals. CCPI argued that the Court should distinguish between economic rights of businesses or professionals and rights such as the right to food and housing contained in international covenants ratified by Canada.

The NAFTA Challenge

CCPI was also a party to an historic challenge to the North American Free Trade Agreement, in which we argued that the failure to adequately protect human righst in the adjudication of investment claims against government legislation, regulation and public policy violated sections 7 and 15 of the Canadian Charter.

Unfortunately, neither the Ontario Superior Court nor the Ontario Court of Appeal were prepared to rule on the Charter arguments, finding them to be premature.

New: CCPI Intervenes for Access to Justice for Immigrants Living in Poverty

SRAC co-ordinated the intervention of the Charter Committee on Poverty Issues in intervening at the Federal Court in an important  legal challenge to the refusal of the Government of Canada to waive fees for impoverished applicants for Humanitarian and Compassionate Review under theImmigration and Refugee Protection Act.  CCPI sought and was granted leave to intervene at the Federal Court of Appeal in the appeal of this decision  in Nell Toussaint v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Federal Court of Appeal File No. A-408-09

See the case update, memoranda of argument and other documents:

Toussaint v. Canada: Challenge to Refusal to Waive Fees for Poor People Applying for Humanitarian and Compassionate Review

Access to Justice - Advance Costs Awards

CCPI has joined in coalition with three other Equality Seeking Groups (LEAF, CCD, PHRC) to seek leave to  Intervene at the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Alberta v. Caron SCC File No. 33092.  The case deals with eligibility for advance costs awards in public interest Charter litigation concerns the discretion of the Courts to award advance costs to claimants who would otherwise be unable to litigate their public interest claims. The decision of the Supreme Court will have significant implications for access to justice for disadvantaged and marginalized groups.  See  Interveners Motion Record


CCPI Intervenes at the Supreme Court of Canada in Chaoulli to Argue for Right to Health for Poor People

A Right to Healthcare only if You Can Pay for it " (2005) 6 ESR Review.

CCPI -CHC Intervener Factum SCC

CCPI - CHC Memorandum on Rehearing on Remedy


CCPI Challenges the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) For Failing to Protect Fundamental Human Rights

CCPI joined with the Council of Canadians and CUPW in an historic constitutional challenge to NAFTA.  Sadly, neither the Superior Court nor the Ontario Court of Appeal were willing to address the critical issues raised by CCPI, finding that the Charter issues were premature.  The arguments raised by CCPI, however, have become central to human rights challenges to trade and investment agreements.  See the following documents:

Bruce Porter , "  Canadian Constitutional Challenge to NAFTA Raises Critical Issues of Human Rights in Trade and Investment Regimes   "(2005) 2 ESC Law Quarterly.  

CCPI Memorandum for Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada

See also the following from Superior Court Trial

Notice of application


CCPI Affidavit


Notice of appeal of November 2005


Factum of the Applicants (word format)


Factum of the applicants at Superior Court pdf format


Factum of the respondent at Superior Court


Affidavit of Andrée LaJoie


David Schneiderman affidavit


Sonarajah affidavit


Stephen Clarkson affidavit