This paper evaluates the role of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in promoting the equality rights of people with disabilities through the lens of the social model of disablement. This stands for the proposition that structural barriers and attitudes in society are the primary cause of the marginalization of people with disabilities. Through a critical examination of key Supreme Court of Canada cases such as Eaton v. Brant County Board of Education, Granovsky v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), Eldridge v. British Columbia (Attorney General) and Council of Canadians with Disabilities v. Via Rail Canada Inc., the paper maintains that even in those cases where advocates for people with disabilities lost, the Court nevertheless articulated a cogent understanding of the social model of disablement. The paper the n identifies two important recent developments, Canada’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the passage of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, that hold promise for increased accessibility in the future.
"Has the Charter Made a Difference for People with Disabilities?: Reflections and Strategies for the 21st Century."
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
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