Beyond the Social and Economic Rights Debate: Substantive Equality Speaks to Poverty (2002)

An emerging issue in Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms1 jurisprudence is the defeat of poverty-related challenges based on their characterization as ‘social and economic’ rights claims. In a variety of cases, governments have argued, with some success in lower courts, that the Charter is a negative rights instrument—a document of civil and political rights rather than of social and economic rights— which does not impose positive obligations on governments to assume a redistributive role. Tension about this issue is increasing as governments in Canada pursue cost-cutting agendas that diminish protections from poverty, and people are turning to the courts because they have no place else to go.

Beyond the Social and Economic Rights Debate: Substantive Equality Speaks to Poverty (2002)

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