Promoting and claiming social and economic rights through an inclusive human rights practice

What's New

Joint Submissions of SRAC with ESCR-Net and Global Initiaitve for ESC Rights for Human Rights Committee Discussion of New General Comment 36 on the Right to Life

Joint Report from SRAC, ESCR-Net and CCPI for Periodic Review of Canada focusing on Access to Justice for Migrants and Homeless in Canada

Charter Committee on Poverty Issues jointly with the Canadian Health Coalition and ESCR-Net jointly with Amnesty International apply to Intervene in Refugee Health Care Case at Federal Court of Appeal. See CCPI-CHC Written Representations and ESCR-Net/AI Written Submissions

Migrants' Access to Healthcare: Petition to tUN Human Rights Committee. Nell Toussaint v Canada HRC No 2348-2014 to bve considered on merits. See Response to Canada's Submissions on Admissibility

Application for Leave to Appeal to SCC filed in Tanudjaja (Homeless peoples' rights to life, security and equality) Affidavit of Bruce Porter
All other documents

New Book. Martha Jackman & Bruce Porter (eds)  Advancing Social Rights in Canada now published and available at Irwin Law.

SRAC-CCPI Make Submission to CESCR on Right to Effective Remedies in Canada.

SRAC presents at OHCHR Side Event on ESC rights of Migrants in an Irregular Situation

Amicus Brief Filed by ESCR-Net in Detroit Water Cut-off Case. Press Release

Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing Leilani Farha presents Thematic Report to UN General Assembly.

Advancing Strategic Litigation of ESCR under the OP-ICESCR. Read More on Strategic Litigation Initiative

OP-ICESCR gets more ratifications

See the ESCR Case Law Database

and the Toolkit for Action for the OP-ICESR

Book 1 Book 2 Book 3 Book 4

CCPI and CWP file Motion to intervene at Supreme Court on Discrimination because of Povwerty/Social Condition.

Supreme Court Denies Leave in Challenge to Refusal to Waive Fees for Poor People

Toussaint v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Application for Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada


Rights-Based National Housing and Anti-Poverty strategies

Bill C-400 model housing strategy legislation defeated by the Conservative majority.

Strategies to Address Homelessness and Poverty in Canada: the Constitutional Framework

 International Human Rights and Strategies to Address Homelessness and Poverty in Canada: Making the Connection

 

Check out

Social Rights Ontario


New Publications

Martha Jackman and Bruce Porter (eds)  Advancing Social Rights in Canada (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2014)

Helena Alviar García, Karl Klare and Lucy Williams (eds), Social and Economic Rights in Theory and Practice: Critical Inquiries (London and New York: Routledge, 2015)


 Bruce Porter, Inclusive Interpretations: Social Rights and Judicial Accountability 

From the Archives

Bruce Porter, Human Rights and the Right to Housing in Housing - A Right, a publication to coincide with an exhibition at the Power Plant Gallery on homelessness and the right to housing. Now Magazine, Toronto, 1989.

See Further publications

Litigation Support

SRAC provides research and evidentiary support to test case litigation promoting economic and social rights.

SRAC assisted to establish and is an active participant in ESCR-Net's Strategic Litigation Initiative.

SRAC provides administrative support and co-ordinates the work of the Charter Committee on Poverty Issues which has intervened in more than a dozen cases at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Litigation Support 

Claiming the Right to Healthcare as a component of the Right to Life and Equality for Migrants in Irregular Situations: Toussaint v. Canada

Historic Challenge to Homelessness in Canada: Tanudjaja et al v. Canada

ESCR-Net Amicus in Detroit Water Shut-off Case

Right to Health Care for Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Interventions in Doctors for Refugee Health Care Case

Access to Justice for Immigrants living in Poverty

Access to Justice: Advanced Costs Awards

Historic Charter Challenge to Homelessness and Violations of the Right to Adequate Housing in Canada Filed

See the Decisions and Arguments in the Motion to Strike and Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada

Affidavit of Bruce Porter in Support of Leave to Appeal to SCC

Charter Committe on Poverty Issues, Pivot Legal Society and Justice for Girls Court of Appeal Factum

Amnesty International and ESCR-Net Factum

SRAC has been providing extensive legal research and evidentiary support for an historic challenge to homelessness and violations of the right to acdequate housing in Canada.  The challenge was filed in Ontario Superior Court on April 26, 2010 by claimants Jennifer Tanudjaja, Janice Arsenault, Ansar Mahmood, Brian Dubourdieu, and the Centre For Equality Rights In Accommodation (CERA).  A broad coalition of individuals and organizations are working on the case, including ACTO, CERA, the Dream Team, Sistering, the June Callwood Centre, the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, and laywers Fay Faraday, Leilani Farha (CERA), Tracy Heffernan (ACTO) and Peter Rosenthal.

The case is unique, particularly because of the nature of what is  challenged and the remedy that is sought.  The claim does not challenge a particular legislative provision or government action but rather the government's failure to develop and implement a national housing strategy, such as would be implemented under Bill C-304. Some media reports have misunderstood the claim as being about forcing the government to provide public housing, but the problem of homelessness is not solely or even primarily an issue of housing supply in Canada.  What is needed is a coherent strategy including not only social housing but also income supports, rent supplements for those unable to afford housing, and supports for people with disabilities to live in the community.

Petition to UN Human Rights Committee Following Charter Challenge: The Right to Healthcare for Migrants in Irregular Situations: Nel Toussaint

Historic challenge based on sections 7 and 15 of the Charter and international human rights law, launched by Nell Toussaint to the denial of healthcare to many undocumented immigrants in Canada. 

Executive Summary of the Petition

Petition: Nell Toussaint v Canada HRC No 2348-2014

Canada's Response on Admissibility

Author's Comments on Admissibility

Canada's Response on Merits

Applicant's Application for Leave to Appeal to SCC Memorandum

 

Right to Health: Interventions in Doctors for Refugee Health Care Case

The Charter Committee on Poverty Issues (CCPI), in conjunction with the Canadian Health Coalition, sought leave to intervene to challenge Juctice Mactavish's finding that those who rely on publicly funded health care do not enjoy the same protection of the right to life in access to health care that were found, in the Chaoulli case, to apply to those who can afford privately funded health care. SRAC also worked with ESCR-Net and Amnesty International in an intervention application to address the international human rights aspects of this case.

See the following documents relavent to this case:

Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care v. Canada (Attorney general), 2014 FC 651 (CanLII)

Amnesty International and ESCR-Net Motion for Leave to Intervene

CCPI/CHC Written Representations for Leave to Intervene

CCPI/CHC was astonishingly denied standing on the critical Charter issues while Amnesty-ESCR-Net was granted Limited Standing to Intervene -- but prohibited from making the three key arguments they had proposed to make!

Decision of Gauthier J. on Intervention Applications

Memorandum of Amnesty International and ESCR-Net

 

Right to Health: Intervention in Chaoulli v. Quebec

SRAC coordinated CCPI's joint intervention with the Canadian Health Coalition at the Supreme Court of Canada on the right to health under international human rights law as it impacts on the interpretation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Chaoulli case. (See the CCPI/CHC factum).

CCPI/CHC were the only interveners permitted to make oral argument in defence of an inclusive approach to the right to health.  International human rights require the EQUAL enjoyment of the right to heatlh, including for those who are poor and for whom private healthcare insurance would provide no alternative.

See

Bruce Porter, " A Right to Healthcare only if You Can Pay for it " (2005) 6 ESR Review.

Martha Jackman, "The Last Line of Defence for [Which?] Citizens" : Accountability, Equality and the Right to Health in Chaoulli(2006) 44 Osgoode Hall L.J. , 349-75. 

Access to Justice

Charter Challenge to Waive Fees for Humanitarian and Compassionate Review for Undocumented Immigrants Living in Poverty

see case update, memoranda of argument and other documents:

Toussaint v. Canada: Challenge to Refusal to Waive Fees for Poor People Applying for Humanitarian and Compassionate Review

SRAC co-ordinates the  Charter Committee on Poverty Issues which has actively promoted social and economic rights in Canada and internationally for two decades, intervening in more than a dozen cases at the Supreme Court of Canada .  

See the CCPI Memorandum filed June 29, 2010. 

CCPI Memorandum of Fact and Law FCA

Charter Claim to Advance Costs Awards

CCPI has joined in coalition with three other Equality Seeking Groups (LEAF, CCD, PHRC) to intervene at the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Alberta v. Caron SCC File No. 33092.  The caseconcerns 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  and see the Factum of CCD,  CCPI, LEAF and PHRC in Caron

Trade and Investment and Human Rights:

Historic Challenge to Trade and Investment Agrement (NAFTA) fpr failing to Protect Human Rights: Charter Committee on Poverty Isses Challenge to NAFTA

CCPI applealed for leave to the Supreme Court of Canada in a challenge to the failure of NAFTA to adequately protect fundamental human rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Leave was Denied. 

This is a case which needs to be argued again. The Charter challenge was found to be premature by the Ontario Court of Appeal and was not adequately considered. 

CCPI argued that it is unconstitutional to delegate the adjudication of significant public policy issues linked to the protection of human rights to trade and investment arbitral panel, without ensuring that fundamental human rights will be given parmaountcy as required under domestic law.

For more information and documents, click here.

Expert Evidence Provided in Social Rights and Test Case Litigation

Expert evidence was provided in the following recent cases:

· Denise Boulter et al. v Nova Scotia Poer Inc.., et al. ( NSUARB-P-886(3)) [access to utilities for the poor] 

· Keyvan Rasekhi Nejad, Malihe Shali, Komeil Rasekhi Nejad A Minor Under the Age of 18 Years by his Litigation Guardian Keyvan Rasekhi Nejad, And Soheil Rasekhi Nejad a Minor Under the Age Of 18 Years by his Litigation Guardian Keyvan Rasekhi Nejad v. Thomas Volpe and The General Accident Assurance Company Of Canada (Ontario Superior Court Of Justice Div. Ct. File No. 328/03) [access to justice for poor] 

· Andrew Graham et al. v. Ontario (Attorney General) et al Ontario Superior Court of Justice File No. 02-CV-232667CM3 [access to social assistance]

· Dale Broomer et al v. Ontario (Attorney General) et al , Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Divisional Court) File No.: 420/0 [Charter challenge to lifetime ban from social assistance] 

· Ontario Municipal Board File No. R030064, OMB Decision No. 0569 (May 15, 2004) [challenge to zoning restrictions on shelters for homeless persons] 

· R. v. Clarke, [2003] O.J. No. 3883 (Ferrier, J.) [Court found that discriminatory attitudes about poor people are analogous to racial prejudice and constitute grounds for challenge for cause in jury selection] 

· Ontario Ministry of Public Safety and Security, Office of the Chief Coroner, Inquest Into the death of Kimberly Ann Rogers, (Verdict of the Jury released 19 December, 2002) [inquest into death of pregnant woman banned from receipt of public assistance upon conviction for fraud for attending university without disclosure, recommending increased social assistance rates and revoking of lifetime ban on receipt of assistance after conviction for welfare fraud]