CBA Constitutional and Human Rights Law Online Symposium 

Apr. 18, 2023

CBA Constitutional and Human Rights Law Online Symposium

CBA Constitutional and Human Rights Law Online Symposium

Presented by the CBA Constitutional and Human Rights Law Section

Tuesday, April 18, 2023
11:00 am - 4:30 pm (times listed in Eastern Time)
Registration Fees

Emerging Issues in Constitutional Law and Human Rights

Over the past few years, new constitutional law and human rights issues have emerged and become the focus of significant public discourse. The CBA Constitutional Law & Human Rights Section is pleased to present a unique, one-day, online symposium that will focus on tackling some of these emerging issues. The symposium will include: a panel discussing delays and developments at the Human Rights Tribunal; a panel exploring the constitutionality and human rights implications of the recent and ongoing expansions to Canada's medical assistance in dying framework; and a panel unpacking the increasingly fraught and frequent uses of the Notwithstanding Clause. Importantly, this intensive, one-day symposium will balance theoretical discussions with practical considerations, making it especially valuable for health law practitioners, human rights litigators, and new calls to the bar.

Tuesday April 18, 2023 | 11:00 AM – 4:30 PM ET

11:00 am–11:05 am ET

Welcome and Introduction
Megan Mah, WeirFoulds (Toronto, ON)
Garifalia Milousis, The Acacia Group (Ottawa, ON)

11:05 am–12:30 pm ET
Session 1: Human Rights Tribunal: Covid and Delays

As Covid-19 restrictions wane across the country, legal challenges continue to be waged in human rights tribunals across the country. Issues including past or existing workplace policies and conditional access to public spaces are being challenged as discriminatory, and some provinces have even considered adding vaccination status as an enumerated ground in human rights legislation. How are human rights tribunals and practitioners responding? What are the trends coming out of recent human rights decisions? What legal distinctions are being drawn between religion and conscience, if any? What should practitioners know to best advocate for their clients?

At the same time, human rights tribunals across the country have faced significant case loads going back well before the onset of the pandemic, resulting in lengthy delays for cases to be processed, investigated, and adjudicated. How has an influx of Covid-19 related cases contributed to existing delays? What are jurisdictions across the country doing to reform their human rights tribunals to reduce delays? What can practitioners do when faced with inordinate delay?

Join our panel in discussing emerging issues in human rights law across the country. This panel will have a significant practical element, making it ideal for junior litigators and human rights practitioners.

Scott Newell, Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (Saskatoon, SK)
Jaime Hoopes, Roper Greyell (Vancouver, BC)
Richa Sandill, Don Valley Community Legal Services (Toronto, ON)

Danica McLellan, Neuman Thompson (Edmonton, AB)

12:30 pm–1:00 pm ET


1:00 pm–2:30 pm ET
Session 2: MAID, MAID MD-SUMC, and the Charter: Emerging Constitutional & Human Rights Issues

In the eight years since the Carter v. Canada (Attorney General) decision, Canada’s medical assistance in dying (“MAID”) framework has evolved significantly. With the passage of Bill C-7, many Canadians with disabilities and organizations representing these communities have expressed concern about the expansion of MAID, arguing that the law violates substantive equality. Bill C-7 also extended MAID eligibility to include Canadians whose sole underlying medical condition is a mental disorder ("MAID MD-SUMC"), although implementation of this expanded eligibility will not occur until March 17, 2024. Concerns have been raised about Canadians who reportedly would not have sought access to MAID but for poverty, homelessness, or lack of supports. And UN experts have questioned whether Canada’s MAID framework is in compliance with Canada’s international human rights obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities. On the other hand, arguments have been raised that existing restrictions on MAID violate the Charter rights of those seeking access to it, and that further expansions are needed.

This timely panel will focus on unpacking some of the nuanced constitutional law and human rights concerns that continue to emerge surrounding MAID in Canada. Panelists will explore the following questions, among others: Has the Supreme Court’s decision in Carter been properly understood and implemented? Does Canada’s current MAID framework pass constitutional scrutiny, particularly under s. 7 and s. 15 of the Charter? How should contentious cases or compliance concerns be reviewed and addressed? How do professional and conscientious objections fit in Canada’s MAID framework? What are the government's obligations in relation to MAID, MAID MD-SUMC, providing healthcare supports and alternatives, and ensuring oversight of MAID cases?

Professor Kerri Froc, University of New Brunswick (Fredericton, NB)
Professor Daphne Gilbert, University of Ottawa (Ottawa, ON)
Professor Mary Shariff, University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, MB)
Professor Jonas-Sébastien Beaudry, McGill University (Montréal, QC)

Garifalia Milousis, The Acacia Group (Ottawa, ON)

2:30 pm–3:00 pm ET


3:00 pm–4:30 pm ET
Session 3: The Notwithstanding Clause: Theory, Practice and the Future of Section 33

As provincial legislatures increasingly invoke section 33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, debates surrounding this so-called “notwithstanding clause” – both normative and interpretive – have intensified. This panel will provide practical and theoretical views of these important conversations, addressing both section 33’s desirability and the legal effects of the clause’s invocation. Discussion of these issues will be framed within the context of recent invocations of section 33, specifically Quebec’s Bill 21.

Olga Redko, IMK s.e.n.c.r.l./LLP (Montreal, QC)
Geoffrey Sigalet, University of British Columbia (Kelowna, BC)
Cara Zwibel, Canadian Civil Liberties Association (North York, ON)
Grégoire Webber, Queen’s University (Kingston, ON)

Richard Mailey, University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB)

4:30 pm–4:35 pm ET

Closing Remarks
Megan Mah, WeirFoulds (Toronto, ON)
Garifalia Milousis, The Acacia Group (Ottawa, ON)


Registration fees for the entire 1-day symposium

CBA Members: $179
CBA Young Lawyer Members (<5 years): $139
CBA Student Members: $79
Non-Members: $349
Government: $259
Plus applicable taxes

Group Rates For Firms / Organizations

5 – 9 registrants = 10% discount
10 – 19 registrants = 15% discount
20+ = 20% discount
To take advantage of the discount, please contact:


Unless otherwise specified, sessions will be presented in English.
Registrants will receive on-demand recording(s) following the symposium.


Up Arrow


printPrint     Bookmark and Share


FAQ & Cancellation