Canada’s Court Challenges Program has historically provided funding for challenges under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that advance the rights of marginalized and disadvantaged groups. Funding to the Court Challenges Program was ceased in 2006. While applauding the Court Challenges Program’s recent reinstatement, CFSC has joined many other groups to express concerns over some of the details. Specific concerns include:
- The new terms of the Court Challenges Program do not specify that challenges to be funded must advance equity, so challenges that are in opposition to the rights of marginalized groups could be funded. In particular, the panels who choose the cases to fund will now be composed of lawyers and judges rather than members of disadvantaged groups.
- Aboriginal and Treaty rights (Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982) are not included in the list of claims that can be funded by the program.