Litigation Archives


June 23, 2022

Supreme Court of Canada Rules Charter Challenge to Forced Psychiatric Treatment Laws Can Continue

June 23, 2022, (Vancouver, BC) Today the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the BC government’s five-year legal campaign aimed at stopping the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) – a nationally respected disability rights organization – from challenging BC’s outdated and unconstitutional forced psychiatric treatment laws. The court not only rejected the government’s appeal, but also confirmed that CCD has the legal right to bring the case forward. In an extraordinary move, the Court also ordered that the government pay for all legal costs associated with this unnecessary delay.“The Supreme Court unanimously and decisively resolved the standing question in CCD’s favour,” says Michael Feder, a lawyer with the law firm McCarthy Tétrault who argued the case on behalf of CCD. “This ruling has broad importance for access to justice and for ensuring discriminatory and other unconstitutional laws can be challenged in court.” Read more.

November 24, 2021

Immediate and Meaningful Action Required to Address Systemic Discrimination of Adults Who Have a Disability in Nova Scotia

The Beth MacLean decision has sent a powerful message across Canada about Nova Scotia’s systemic discrimination against people with disabilities. Following this landmark decision, the National Organizations are writing this letter in support of the Disability Rights Coalition’s call for immediate action to end the human rights emergency in Nova Scotia. Read more.

October 6, 2021


Nova Scotia lags well behind other Canadian provinces in providing community homes and supports for people with intellectual disabilities. Today’s ruling presents an opportunity to the new provincial government in Nova Scotia to acknowledge (1) that they have fundamentally wronged persons with disabilities for decades, (2) that systemic barriers to community inclusion for persons with disabilities are no longer tolerable in a free and democratic society, (3) that they stop fighting persons with disabilities in courts, and (4) that they will work with the community to address their human rights emergency. Read more.

January 25, 2019


The CCD is pleased by the Supreme Court's decision in S.A. v MVHC. Read more.

November 29, 2018

Update on the Charter Challenge to BC's Mental Health Act

In August 2018, the BC government brought an application to have the case dismissed, arguing that CCD did not have the legal status (“standing”) to defend the rights of people with mental disabilities in court. In October 2018, the BC Supreme Court decided that CCD did not have standing and dismissed the case before it got to trial. CCD has appealed the Court’s decision. Read more.

April 24, 2018

S.A. v. Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation

On April 25, 2018, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) is intervening in a very important case before the Supreme Court of Canada. This case could have a significant  impact on persons with disabilities, affecting their autonomy, independence and inclusion. The case is called S.A. v. Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation. It raises the question: can absolute discretionary trusts, also known as Henson Trusts, be taken into account in eligibility criteria for social programs, like a housing subsidy or social assistance?  Read more.

February 27, 2018


The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), the ODSP Action Coalition and the Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC) will be at the Divisional Court - Superior Court of Justice to intervene in an appeal hearing on a case called Abbey v. Ontario on February 28, 2018.  ARCH Disability Law Centre (ARCH) and ISAC are representing the interveners. Read more.

April 19, 2016

A Modernised Court Challenges Program of Canada: A perspective from the Council of Canadians with Disabilities

The Court Challenges Program of Canada (“CCPC”) is essential to ensure access to justice for persons with disabilities in accordance with article 12 and 13 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. If persons with disabilities do not have the means to access the courts, the rights to equality guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and in human rights legislation are hallow and meaningless. Read more.

September 5, 2014

Factum in the Carter Case - August 2014

CCD/CACL want the public to understand the concerns of the community assisted suicide/euthanasia is said to benefit. To learn more you can access the CCD/CACL factum submitted to the Supreme Court. Read more.

January 2, 2014

Affidavit of Michael Bach in Carter Case

CCD and CACL filed affidavits concerning the Carter case with the Supreme Court of Canada. Read more.

January 2, 2014

Affidavit of Laurie Beachell in Carter Case

CCD and CACL filed affidavits concerning the Carter case with the Supreme Court of Canada. Read more.

January 2, 2014

Reply to Appellants' Opposition to Intervention in the Carter Leave Application

CCD's submission to the Supreme Court in regard to the Appellants opposition to our intervention in the Carter leave application.

This material will be filed with the Court this morning. Read more.

January 11, 2013

Factum in the Carter Case

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) and the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) were granted intervenor status in the appeal of the Carter Case, which struck down Canada’s Criminal Code prohibitions against assisted suicide. CCD/CACL argued in their factum Criminal Code prohibitions on assisting suicide and on euthanasia are justified and in accord with the principles of fundamental justice. CCD and CACL requested an order that the appeal be allowed and the trial judgement set aside. Following directions from the Court, CCD and CACL restricted their factum to arguments based upon Section 7 (Security of the Person) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Another intervenor, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition was directed by the Court to focus on Section 15 (Equality Rights) arguments. Read more.

November 18, 2012

The Moore Case: Summary of Key Points

The Moore case says that students with disabilities are entitled to receive the accommodation measures they need to access and benefit from the service of public education.  In this regard, the Court said that adequate special education is not “a dispensable luxury”.  With respect to children with learning disabilities, the Court said that such services serve as “the ramp that provides access to the statutory commitment to education made to all children in British Columbia.” Read more.

March 23, 2012

Factum in the Moore Case

CCD has intervened in this appeal because it is deeply concerned about the template for comparator group analysis adopted by the lower courts, reducing the right to accommodation to a right to the same treatment or same accommodation that others receive. The reasoning of the lower courts, if accepted by this Court, threatens to make the duty to accommodate meaningless, thereby profoundly eroding the human rights of persons with disabilities in a wide variety of settings. Read more.

February 10, 2012

Supreme Court Ensures that the Voice of Women with Disabilities Will Be Heard by Courts

The Supreme Court’s decision in the DAI case upholds that all persons, regardless of disability, will have their day in court when their rights have been violated. Read more.

November 15, 2011

Factum in the D.A.I. Case

In the D.A. I. case, the Supreme Court of Canada was asked to consider whether people with intellectual disabilities should be allowed to testify in court. Specifically, the question before the Court is whether people with intellectual disabilities are required to demonstrate an understanding of the concept of a “promise to tell the truth” in order to be permitted to testify. CCD was been granted intervener status in this case.  CCD argued that courts should not impose a test to allow people with disabilities to testify that is not imposed on others. Courts should focus scrutiny on the testimony given by individuals not the individuals themselves. Read more.

March 8, 2011

Factum in the Mowat Case

This case involves a woman, Ms. Donna Mowat, who filed a human rights complaint after she experienced sexual harassment at work. According to the Federal Court of Appeal, Ms. Mowat, whose sexual harassment complaint was largely successful, was entitled to only $4000 in compensation, although her legal fees to bring her complaint forward were nearly $200,000.

In this appeal, the Supreme Court was asked to decide if those who experience discrimination should be reimbursed for their legal costs relating to filing human rights complaints. The legal fees to file complaints and to have them heard by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal can be more than what is awarded as compensation to successful complainants. As a result of this, even when victims of discrimination win their cases, they are very often out of pocket several thousands of dollars.

The CCD argued that the human rights legislation must be accessible to people who experience discrimination. This is particularly important for people with disabilities who represent the largest proportion of complainants before the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Read more.

December 10, 2010

Council of Canadians with Disabilities to Intervene at Supreme Court of Canada Hearing Regarding Access to Justice for Victims of Discrimination

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities, a national human rights organization, will be appearing before the Supreme Court of Canada in Mowat v. Canada (Attorney General), an appeal about access to justice for victims of discrimination. The CCD was granted leave to make written and oral arguments in this matter. Read more.

September 21, 2010

Report of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities Human Rights Committee's Litigation: 2009-2010

Since the spring of 2009, the CCD Human Rights Committee has been involved in four very important cases involving the interpretation of equality and persons with disabilities. This report provides a summary of the Committee's work regarding public interest litigation.

The factum (a legal brief that details the arguments put forward by CCD to the courts) for each case can be found on CCD's website.
  Read more.

May 27, 2010

Factum in the Caron Case

Fighting a case in court is costly and CCD learned this lesson during its litigating against VIA Rail in support of accessible passenger trains. The Caron case focuses on the court's power to award interim costs while a case is in progress rather than waiting until its conclusion. An interim award provides a litigant with some of the resources it needs to present its case to the court.

CCD, working in coalition with other organizations (LEAF, Charter Committee on Poverty and the Poverty and Human Rights Centre), is intervening in the Caron case. Read more.

October 21, 2009

CCD Affidavit in the Hughes Case

Mr. Peter Hughes encountered barriers when he went to cast his ballot in a Canadian Federal election. As a result, he made a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission regarding the inaccessibility of his local polling station. Elections Canada is responsible for access at polling stations in Federal elections. This case is to be heard by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. CCD submitted an affidavit seeking recognition as an interested party in the case. CCD has an in-depth understanding of the barriers experienced by persons with disability in the context of voting. In its affidavit, CCD shares its perspective on the fundamental importance of voting and the impact on people with disabilities when they experience barriers that prevent them from voting on an equal basis as people without disabilities. Understanding these barriers is critical for the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in order to interpret the duty to accommodate and the factors to be considered in assessing undue hardship. Read more.

July 27, 2009

CCD Factum in the Moore Case

CCD intervened in the Moore case because the case is about ensuring the legal duty to accommodate persons with disabilities is interpreted in a manner that serves its remedial purposes. Specifically, CCD intervened in the appeal because of a concern that the comparator group analysis adopted by the learned Chambers Judge has the potential to undermine the rights of all persons with disabilities to accommodation in a variety of settings. CCD respectfully submitted that the Court erred in determining that to establish discrimination, a student with disability, seeking accommodation in public education, needed to demonstrate differential treatment of students with disabilities in special education. CCD argued that remedial purpose of the duty to accommodate means there is a constant comparison inherent in the duty to accommodate. The comparison is between persons with and without disabilities. Read more.

June 19, 2008

Groups Call for Complete Restoration of Court Challenges Program

A coalition of equality-seeking groups, including CCD, called on the Canadian Government today to ensure that the government's settlement with the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada includes restoration of funding for the Court Challenges Program for both minority language groups and equality-seeking groups. Read more.

April 7, 2008

People with Disabilities Appear in Federal Court and Argue that Two Agencies of the Federal Crown have Failed to Accommodate Their Needs in the York Steps Project

CCD had two practical pieces of advice for the Court on how the NCC/PW could have avoided the discrimination created by the lack of accommodation by the York Stairs: consult with experts with disabilities when developing accommodations and adhere to universal design principles when constructing public space. Read more.

February 25, 2008

Groups in Court to Seek Restoration of Funding to the Court Challenges Program

On February 25 and 26, the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada will appear before the Federal Court to challenge the withdrawal of funding from the Court Challenges Program. A coalition of equality seeking groups, including CCD, supports this important case. Read more.

January 1, 2008

Factum of the Intervener, Council of Canadians with Disabilities, in the Supreme Court of Canada Case Honda Canada v. Kevin Keays

In this factum, CCD explained that for disadvantaged groups, such as people with disabilities, access to justice requires a robust and effective Canadian Human Rights Commission where issues of discrimination can be addressed. Read more.

February 1, 2007

Factum of the Intervener, Council of Canadians with Disabilities, in the Federal Court of Canada Case Brown v. Public Works.

In this Factum, CCD argues how the principles of universal design should guide the development of new construction and how consultation should be undertaken when an accommodation, intended to benefit the disability community, is being planned. Read more.

January 1, 2005

Mckay-Panos Factum

April 1, 2004

Integrated Case Factum

December 1, 2003

Factum of the Intervener, Council of Canadians with Disabilities, in the Federal Court of Canada Case Brown v. National Capital Commission.

In this Factum, CCD argues how the principles of universal design should guide the development of new construction and how consultation should be undertaken when an accommodation, intended to benefit the disability community, is being planned. Read more.

October 29, 2003

VIA Rail Factum

September 20, 2001

Brockie Case Factum

February 14, 2001

Chesters Case Factum

April 1, 2000

Latimer Case Factum 2000

November 22, 1999

Lovelace Case Factum

August 1, 1999

Granovsky Case Factum

July 29, 1999

Grismer Case Factum

February 26, 1999

Genereux Case Factum

October 1, 1998

Latimer Case Factum 1997

February 9, 1998

Orillia Case Factum

March 24, 1997

Eldridge Case Factum

June 8, 1996

Eaton Factum

January 1, 1996

Gibbs Case Factum

April 22, 1995

Latimer Case Factum 1995

January 1, 1993

Rodriguez Case Factum

January 1, 1993

Thwaites Case Factum

May 25, 1987

Andrews Case Factum

January 1, 1984

Bhinder Case Factum