Ford v. Quebec (Attorney General), [1988] 2 S.C.R. 712 (1988)

Supreme Court of Canada

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Ford v. Quebec (Attorney General), [1988] 2 S.C.R. 712 (1988)

ford v.

quebec (a. g.), [1988] 2 S.C.R. 712

The Attorney General of Quebec Appellant v.

La Chaussure Brown's Inc. Respondent and

Valerie Ford Respondent and

McKenna Inc. Respondent and

Nettoyeur et Tailleur Masson Inc. Respondent and

La Compagnie de Fromage Nationale Ltée Respondent and

The Attorney General of Canada, the Attorney General for Ontario and the Attorney General for New Brunswick Interveners indexed as: ford v. quebec (attorney general)

File No.: 20306.

1987: November 16, 17, 18; 1988: December 15.

Present: Dickson C.J. and Beetz, Estey*, McIntyre, Lamer, Wilson and Le Dain* JJ.

on appeal from the court of appeal for quebec

Constitutional law -- Charter of Rights -- Application -- Exception where express declaration -- Provincial legislation requiring that public signs, commercial advertising and firm name should be in French only -- Whether provincial legislation protected from the application of s. 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by a valid and subsisting override provision -- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s. 33 -- Charter of the French Language, R.S.Q., c. C-11, ss. 58, 69, 214 -- An Act to amend the Charter of the French Language, S.Q. 1983, c. 56, s. 52 -- An Act respecting the Constitution Act, 1982, S.Q. 1982, c. 21, ss. 1, 7.

Constitutional law -- Charter of Rights -- Override provision -- Provincial legislation adding standard override provision to all provincial statutes enacted before June 23, 1982 -- Standard override provision given retrospective effect -- Whether standard override provisions enacted by provincial legislation valid -- Whether provincial legislation consistent with s. 33 of the Canadian Charter -- Whether all the provisions in s. 2 and ss. 7 to 15 of the Canadian Charter could be validly overridden by a single enactment -- Whether override provision may have a retrospective effect -- An Act respecting the Constitution Act, 1982, S.Q. 1982, c. 21, ss. 1, 2, 7 -- Charter of the French Language, R.S.Q., c. C-11, s. 214 -- An Act to amend the Charter of the French Language, S.Q. 1983, c. 56, s. 52.

Constitutional law -- Charter of Rights -- Freedom of expression -- Provincial legislation requiring that public signs, commercial advertising and firm name should be in French only -- Whether freedom of expression guaranteed by s. 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms includes the freedom to express oneself in the language of one's choice -- Whether the guarantee of freedom of expression extends to commercial expression -- Whether provincial legislation infringes the guarantee of freedom of expression -- Whether limit imposed by the provincial legislation on freedom of expression justifiable under s. 1 of the Canadian Charter -- Whether a denial or negation of a guaranteed right or freedom could be a limit within s. 1 -- Charter of the French Language, R.S.Q., c. C-11, ss. 58, 69.

Statutes -- Application -- Provincial human rights legislation -- Dates from which s. 3 of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms took precedence over the provisions of the other provincial statutes -- Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, R.S.Q., c. C-12, ss. 3, 52 -- An Act to amend the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, S.Q. 1982, c. 61, ss. 16, 34 -- Charter of the French Language, R.S.Q., c. C-11, ss. 58, 69 -- An Act to amend the Charter of the French Language, S.Q. 1983, c. 56, s. 12.

Civil rights -- Provincial human rights legislation -- Freedom of expression -- Provincial legislation requiring that public signs, commercial advertising and firm name should be in French only -- Whether freedom of expression guaranteed by s. 3 of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms includes the freedom to express oneself in the language of one's choice -- Whether the guarantee of freedom of expression extends to commercial expression -- Whether provincial legislation infringes the guarantee of freedom of expression -- Whether limit imposed by the provincial legislation on freedom of expression justifiable under s. 9.1 of the Quebec Charter -- Charter of the French Language, R.S.Q., c. C-11, ss. 58, 69.

Civil rights -- Discrimination based on language -- Provincial legislation requiring that public signs, commercial advertising and firm name should be in French only -- Whether provincial legislation infringes the guarantee against discrimination based on language in s. 10 of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms -- Charter of the French Language, R.S.Q., c. C-11, ss. 58, 69.

In February 1984, the respondents sought a declaration from the Superior Court that ss. 58 and 69, and ss. 205 and 208 to the extent they applied thereto, of the Charter of the French Language, R.S.Q., c. C-11, were inoperative and of no force of effect. Section 58 requires that "Public signs and posters and commercial advertising shall be solely in" French and s. 69 that ". . . only the French version of a...

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