The right to equality is recognized and protected by the Canadian constitution. Section 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Human Rights provides:
“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 and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”
In addition to the “enumerated” grounds listed above (race, etc), the courts have also recognized the following “analogous” grounds:
- sexual orientation
- marital status
- Aboriginal residency
While the Charter only applies to government action, similar protections are also found in provincial and federal human rights legislation.
Lawyers from Westaway Law Group have been involved in numerous s. 15(1) and Charter cases, such as Vriend v. Alberta.
Our firm is deeply committed to the principles of equality and reconciliation, and the protection and advancement of equality rights. We can help you with:
- Identifying whether your equality rights have been violated
- Developing test cases to challenge discriminatory government conduct
- Drafting funding applications, including for the Court Challenges Program
- Resolving disputes through negotiations and/or ADR
- Intervening in section 15-related cases before the Supreme Court of Canada and appellate courts