Nov 28, 2014

Legislative Omissions subject to the Charter

Vriend v. Alberta, [1998] 1 SCR 493

Facts: A private religious college dismissed Vriend because of his sexual orientation. Vriend was unable to file a complaint under Alberta Human Rights legislation, which intentionally left out sexual orientation as a category protected from discrimination.

Issue: does the Charter apply to omissions in legislation?

Analysis:

- applicability of the Charter, s 32, is not only limited to positive government acts

- it can apply to omissions

- this is a violation of s 15

- it is not justified under s 1

- court reads into the legislation protection from discrimination on basis of sexual orientation

Ratio: omissions in legislation can amount to a Charter violation.