Current Activities

Access to Health Care for Those Living in Poverty: Canadian Doctors for Refugee Health Care v. Canada.

CCPI has applied for intervener status in the Canadian Doctors for Refugee Health Care case to address scope of section 7 of the Charter.

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CCPI/CHC Written Representations

 

Presentation to UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights on Denials of Access to Effective Remedies in Canada

See the SRAC/CCPI Submissions for the List of Issues for Canada

Challenge to Canada's Failure to Implement a Strategy to Address Homelessness

CCPI led a coalition of interveners before the Ontario Superior Court (see CCPI factum) and the Court of Appeal for Ontario (see CCPI factum) in Tanudjaja v. Canada - the historic Charter challenge to Canada's failure to address the human rights crisis of homelessness and poverty. CCPI filed an affidavit in support of an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Read more.

Access to Justice for Those Living in Poverty

Federal Court of Appeal Finds Minister Must Consider Request for Fee Waiver in Toussaint Case but Rejects Important Constitutional Claims: Leave to Appeal to SCC Filed  Toussaint v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

CCPI Memorandum of Fact and Law FCA

Federal Court of Appeal Decision

CCPI Affidavit in Support of Application for Leave to the Supreme Court of Canada

Application for Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada


RECENT Litigation

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

CCPI Facta (Pleadings)

Dunmore

Lovelace 

J.G.

Baker 

Eldridge 

Symes

Kearney

International Human Rights

CCPI 
Charter Committee on Poverty Issues 
c/o Social Rights Advocacy Centre\ts

See SRAC's website at Socialrights.ca

"The Charter Committee on Poverty Issues has been bringing together low-income activists and poverty law advocates to ensure that poor people are able to make more effective use of their rights"


 

CCPI is a national coalition founded in 1989 to bring together low-income activists and poverty law advocates for the purpose of assisting poor people in Canada to secure and assert their rights under international human rights law, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the "Charter"), human rights legislation and other laws in Canada.

The activities of CCPI fall into three main categories:

i) Initiating litigation and intervening in cases before courts and tribunals to promote and protect the basic human rights of poor people and to ensure that poverty issues are more fully understood and considered by Canadian courts and tribunals

ii) Appearing before and making submissions to United Nations Human Rights bodies to provide information related to compliance with international human rights law and problems of poverty in Canada; and

iii) Engaging in research into how Canadian or international law can be used by poor people to address their needs and to promote compliance with international and domestic human rights guarantees.

Please note that CCPI works with its coalition partners and does not do individual casework. For legal assistance contact your local legal aid office or clinic.


ACTIVITIES

CCPI Applies to Intervene in Canadian Doctors for Refugee Health Care

CCPI has joined with the Canadian Health Coalition to apply to intervene in the appeal at the Federal Court of Appeal in the Canadian Doctors for Refugee Health Care case.

CCPI is greatly concerned by the decision of the Federal Court in this case with respect to section 7 of the Charter which was premised on the assumption that there is a fundamental difference between applying section 7 to the denial of access to privately funded health care, at issue in the Chaoulli case, and applying it to the denial of access to publicly funded health care, at issue in this case. Mactavish J. held that applying section 7 to a denial of access to publicly funded health care would require “a section 7 Charter right to state-funded health care.”  

If given leave to intervene, CCPI/CHC will argue that Justice Mactavish misunderstood the implications of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in the Chaoulli case and the current state of the law with respect to section 7. CCPI/CHC will argue that the proposed distinction between the protection section 7 extends to those who can afford private health care and the protection it offers to those who rely on access to publicly funded health care would, if accepted, deprive people living in poverty of the equal protection and benefit of the fundamental constitutional right to life and security of the person.

CCPI/CHC will argue that Justice Mactavish failed to follow the more nuanced approach to the question of positive obligations under section 7 that accords with the Supreme Court of Canada's jurisprudence in cases in which CCPI has intervened.

CCPI/CHC will argue that a claim to life and security of the person in relation to publicly funded health care cannot be reduced to a claim that the Charter confers a freestanding right to health care and that government measures that deny access to health care and engage section 7 protected rights must be subject to judicial scrutiny to determine if they accord with principles of fundamental justice and can be justified under section 1.

See the CCPI/CHC Written Representations

 

CCPI Intervenes in Support of Fee Waiver in Toussaint v. Canada  (2009 FC 873)

The Charter Committee on Poverty Issues intervened at the Federal Court and again at the Federal Court of Appeal 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 the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.  

At the Federal Court, Justice Snider of the Federal Court, dismissed the applications, finding two of the applications moot, and dismissing the application of Nell Toussaint, finding that poverty is not a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Charter, that access to discretionary administrative decision-making, whatever the stakes may be for the claimant, is not protected by the constitutional principle of the rule of law or access to justice; and that denying poor people access to humanitarian and compassionate consideration for permanent residency because they cannot afford fees is in accordance with fundamental justice. All of these components of the decision of Justice Snider, of course, represent significant setbacks for the rights of poor people in Canada.

The following are documents from the Federal Court.

CCPI Memorandum of Argument for Application to Intervene

Decision on Intervention Application

CCPI Memorandum of Argument

Applicants' Expert Evidence

Gunther v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) (2009 FC 875)

Krena v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) (2009 FC 874)

Toussaint v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) (2009 FC 873)

Appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal Toussaint v. Canada (Citizinship and Immigration) 2011 FCA 146

Nell Toussaint was determined to continue her struggle for justice, and she appealed the decision of Justice Snider to the Federal Court of Appeal. CCPI sought and was granted leave to intervene before the Federal Court of Appeal. CCPI took carriage of the constitutional arguments before the Federal Court of Appeal, both in our written and oral submissions. The Social Rights Advocacy Centre with the assistance of the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation researched and prepared written argument. Raj Anand reviewed the written argument and presented oral argument before both the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal.

The Federal Court of Appeal found that on the basis of statutory interpretation of section 25 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act as it was worded at the time Nell Toussaint sought a fee waiver, the Minister was obliged to consider her request. Ms. Justice Tempered with Compassion”

However, the Federal Court of Appeal proceeded to also rule on all of the important constitutional arguments advanced by CCPI. Without any new analysis and with scant reasoning, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the decision of Justice Snider on all of the constitutional issues. Most significantly, the Court found that poverty is not an analogous ground of discrimination, failing to engage with any of CCPI’s arguments on this critical issue. It further found that constitutional principles of the rule of law and access to justice apply only to courts and not to administrative decision-making which plays an increasingly significant role in Canada critical decisions affecting the enjoyment of Charter rights.

The following are the important Documents from the Federal Court of Appeal in the Toussaint Fee Waiver case.

Toussaint v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) FCA File No. A-408-09     

CCPI Memorandum of Argument for Application to Intervene FCA

Department of Justice Response

CCPI Response

Decision to Grant CCPI Intervenor Status

CCPI Memorandum of Fact and Law FCA

Federal Court of Appeal Decision

Leave Sought to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada

Nell Toussaint has been courageous enough to take her challenge to the refusal to waive fees for poor people all of the way to the Federal Court of Appeal, risking deportation or other reprisals from Canadian Government, primarily because she wanted to correct what she saw as a serious injustice. Although she herself has been permitted to apply for a fee waiver, the Federal Government has now changed the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act so as to require the payment of fees before the Minister is “seized” of an application for Humanitarian and Compassionate Review. The victory Nell Toussaint won in relation to statutory interpretation applies only to her situation and does not help the many others in her circumstances. So Nell decided to seek leave to appeal the constitutional rulings against her that were made by the Federal Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. CCPI filed an affidavit of the chairperson, Bonnie Morton, in support of Nell Toussaint’s leave application.

The following are the important documents in relation to Nell Toussaint’s Application for Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada:

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 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