M. H. Ogilvie


Established churches; Constitutional law; Canada

Document Type



This paper examines one narrow question which is raised tangentially by virtue of the Constitution Act 1867, section 93 and the Constitution Act 1982, section 29 as interpreted by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Reference Re An Act to Amend the Education Act: what is an established church? It argues that when a single church alone enjoys constitutionally entrenched state support for its schools to the exclusion of all other religious groups, the real legal question is not about the legal protection of that church as a religious minority, especially when the recipient of state support is the largest and most powerful religious group in Ontario and Canada. Rather, the real legal question is whether or not such exclusive support amounts to legal establishment of that privileged religious group. To determine the nature of "establishment" in legal theory, the author examines church establishments in England and Scotland, and in Canada prior to 1867, and concludes that the status of the Roman Catholic Church in Ontario today is probably that of a quasi-established church.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.