The Role of International Social and Economic Rights in the Interpretation of Domestic Law in Canada

This Law Sheet, produced by the Poverty and Human Rights Centre, is concerned with the role that international human rights law can play in the interpretation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and other laws in Canada. It is intended to assist lawyers in their advocacy work before courts and tribunals. It is also intended to assist non-governmental organizations who rely on the human rights framework in their work to assist members of vulnerable groups. It is specifically focused on the domestic enforcement of social and economic rights.

For the United Nations human rights treaties there are two levels of adjudication and enforcement. First, United Nations treaty bodies review the compliance of countries that have ratified the treaties and receive and adjudicate petitions or complaints under the treaty.  Secondly, within Canada, courts and tribunals provide another avenue for adjudication and enforcement of Canada’s obligations under international human rights law. this Law Sheet is focused on the second level. It explores how to use international human rights law in Canadian courts and tribunals.

The Role of International Social and Economic Rights in the Interpretation of Domestic Law in Canada (PDF)

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