Osgoode Hall Review of Law and Policy

Document Type


English Abstract

This lecture scans the development of human rights law in Canada from a period of judicially implied rights, to the era of legislative protection, and finally to the status quo of constitutional entrenchment. Progress to this final stage has ensured that human rights are not threatened in Canada. Nevertheless, significant challenges have arisen: The first involves a challenge between advocates of civil liberties and advocates of anti-discrimination rights. The second growing challenge is the practice of removing human rights from judicial review to specialized tribunals free from judicial scrutiny in the interests of national security. The third challenge lies in applying the concept of accommodation inherent in anti-discrimination rights in our increasingly diverse, multi-cultural societies. Through our legal institutions and our institutions of citizenship and community inclusion, these challenges can be acknowledged and brought into the democratic dialogue, thereby ensuring that human rights can be strengthened and sustained.