Adler et al. v. Ontario et al., (1996) 204 N.R. 81 (SCC)

JudgeIacobucci and Major, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateNovember 21, 1996
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1996), 204 N.R. 81 (SCC);[1996] 3 SCR 609;30 OR (3d) 642;JE 96-2217;95 OAC 1;1996 CanLII 148 (SCC);66 ACWS (3d) 1057;40 CRR (2d) 1;140 DLR (4th) 385;204 NR 81;[1996] SCJ No 110 (QL)

Adler v. Ont. (1996), 204 N.R. 81 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

....................

Susie Adler, Mark Grossman, Paula Kezwer, Marcy Rapp and Riky Young (appellants) v. Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Ontario, The Minister of Education and The Minister of Health (respondents)

Leo Elgersma, Harry Pott, Raymond Dostal, Harry Fernhout and Ontario Alliance of Christian School Societies (appellants) v. The Attorney General for Ontario, The Minister of Education and The Minister of Health (respondents) and The Attorney General of Quebec, The Attorney General for Saskatchewan, The Ontario Multi-Faith Coalition for Equity in Education, The Ontario Federation of Independent Schools, The Metropolitan Toronto School Board and Ontario Public School Boards' Association and The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (intervenors)

(24347)

Indexed As: Adler et al. v. Ontario et al.

Supreme Court of Canada

Lamer, C.J.C., La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé,

Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin,

Iacobucci and Major, JJ.

November 21, 1996.

Summary:

In two separate applications, parents who sent their children to private religious based independent schools claimed that the denial of public funding under the Education Act violated their right to freedom of religion and their equality rights under ss. 2(a) and 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Ontario Court (General Division), in a judgment reported 9 O.R.(3d) 676, held that the absence of public funding violated ss. 2(a) and 15 of the Charter, but was a rea­sonable limit prescribed by law under s. 1. The court also held that the failure to pro­vide school health support services to pri­vate schools (as provided to public schools) violated ss. 2(a) and 15, but was also a reasonable limit prescribed by law. The parents appealed.

The Ontario Court of Appeal, Weiler, J.A., dissenting in part, in a judgment reported 73 O.A.C. 81, dismissed the appeals. The court held that neither the absence of public fund­ing for private religious based independent schools nor the failure to provide health support services to private schools violated s. 2(a) or 15 of the Charter. The parents appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada, L'Heureux-Dubé, J., dissenting, and McLachlin, J., dissenting in part, dismissed the appeal. Iacobucci, J. (Lamer, C.J.C., La Forest, Gonthier and Cory, JJ., concurring), held that the absence of public funding and school health support services were not subject to Charter challenge, given that the legislation attacked (Education Act funding re denominational and public schools) was constitutionally protected in s. 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867. Sopinka, J. (Major, J., concurring), disagreed that s. 93 protected the absence of funding from Charter scru­tiny, but dismissed the appeal on the ground that there was no violation of s. 2(a) or 15 of the Charter. McLachlin, J., dissenting in part, held that the denial of funding did not violate freedom of religion (s. 2(a)), but did violate equality rights (s. 15). However, the absence of funding was a reasonable limit prescribed by law under s. 1 of the Charter. McLachlin, J., held that the absence of school health support services violated equality rights and was not a reasonable limit prescribed by law. L'Heureux-Dubé, J., dissenting, held that both the absence of funding and school health support services violated equality rights and were not rea­sonable limits prescribed by law.

Civil Rights - Topic 390.1

Freedom of conscience and religion - Infringement of - Schools - Funding and services - At issue was whether the absence of public funding for private re­ligious based schools under the Ontario Education Act violated freedom of religion or equality rights (Charter, ss. 2(a) and 15) - The Supreme Court of Canada held that the funding of public schools coupled with the non-funding of private religious schools was immune from Charter attack - Section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867, defined the extent of the province's obli­gations to set up and fund denominational schools - Section 93 was a comprehensive code with respect to both denominational schools and public schools, the latter being impliedly included within the protection of s. 93 - Although s. 93 did not restrict the province's plenary power to establish and fund other schools, the failure to so fund other schools was not subject to Charter scrutiny, because one section of the Con­stitution (s. 93) could not be found violative of another (Charter, s. 2(a) or 15) - See paragraphs 24 to 49.

Civil Rights - Topic 390.1

Freedom of conscience and religion - Infringement of - Schools - Funding and services - Parents of children attending private religious schools claimed that the failure to provide school health support services to students attending private re­ligious schools (as provided to students of public and denominational schools) vio­lated freedom of religion and equality rights (Charter, ss. 2(a) and 15) - The Supreme Court of Canada held that the services were "education services" rather than "health services" - The court held that, as with non-funding of private re­ligious schools (which was immune from Charter attack), "the school health support services program is simply a manifestation of the Ontario government's fulfilling its mandate to provide an education designed for all members of the community and is, thus, immune from Charter scrutiny" - See paragraphs 51 to 53.

Civil Rights - Topic 5669.5

Equality and protection of the law - Schools - Funding and services - [See both Civil Rights - Topic 390.1 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 8349

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Application - Exceptions - Guaranteed rights of denominational schools - [See both Civil Rights - Topic 390.1 ].

Constitutional Law - Topic 9542

Education - Separate or denominational schools - Extent of constitutional guaran­tees under s. 93, Constitution Act, 1867 - [See both Civil Rights - Topic 390.1 ].

Education - Topic 2625

Schools - Private religious based schools - Funding and services - [See both Civil Rights - Topic 390.1 ].

Cases Noticed:

Reference Re Roman Catholic Separate High Schools Funding, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 1148; 77 N.R. 241; 22 O.A.C. 321; 40 D.L.R.(4th) 18; 36 C.R.R. 305, refd to. [para. 9].

Reference Re Bill 30, An Act to Amend the Education Act (Ont.) - see Refer­ence Re Roman Catholic Separate High Schools Funding.

Education Act Amendment Act, Reference Re - see Reference Re Roman Catholic Separate High Schools Funding.

Renvoi relatif à la Loi sur l'instruction publique, L.Q. 1988, c. 84, [1993] 2 S.C.R. 511; 154 N.R. 1; 56 Q.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 28].

Reference Re Education Act (Que.) - see Renvoi relatif à la Loi sur l'instruction publique, L.Q. 1988, c. 84.

Reference Re Adoption Act (Ont.), [1938] S.C.R. 398, refd to. [para. 28].

Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal et al. v. Québec (Procureur général) et al., [1989] 1 S.C.R. 377; 92 N.R. 327; 20 Q.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 29].

Société des Acadiens du Nouveau-Bruns­wick Inc. and Association des conseillers scolaires francophones du Nouveau-Brunswick v. Minority Language School Board No. 50 and Association of Parents for Fairness in Education, Grand Falls District 50 Branch, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 549; 66 N.R. 173; 69 N.B.R.(2d) 271; 177 A.P.R. 271; 27 D.L.R.(4th) 406, refd to. [para. 30].

Reference Re Public Schools Act (Man.), [1993] 1 S.C.R. 839; 149 N.R. 241; 83 Man.R.(2d) 241; 36 W.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 30].

Mahe, Martel, Dubé and Association d'Ecole Georges et Julia Bugnet v. Alberta, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 342; 105 N.R. 321; 106 A.R. 321, refd to. [para. 31].

Greater Hull School Board v. Quebec (Attorney General), [1984] 2 S.C.R. 575; 56 N.R. 99, refd to. [para. 41].

Tiny Roman Catholic Separate School Board v. R., [1928] A.C. 363 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 42].

Brophy v. Manitoba (Attorney General), [1895] A.C. 202 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 44].

Hirsch v. Montreal Protestant School Board, [1928] A.C. 200 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 64].

Zylberberg et al. v. Board of Education of Sudbury et al. (1988), 29 O.A.C. 23; 65 O.R.(2d) 641 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 90].

Corporation of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association et al. v. Ontario (Minister of Education) and Board of Education of Elgin County (1990), 37 O.A.C. 93; 71 O.R.(2d) 341 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 90].

R. v. Videoflicks Ltd. et al., [1986] 2 S.C.R. 713; 71 N.R. 161; 19 O.A.C. 239; 30 C.C.C.(3d) 385; 55 C.R.(3d) 193; 35 D.L.R.(4th) 1; 28 C.R.R. 1, refd to. [para. 100].

R. v. Edwards Books and Art Ltd. - see R. v. Videoflicks Ltd. et al.

R. v. Jones, [1986] 2 S.C.R. 284; 69 N.R. 241; 73 A.R. 133, refd to. [para. 102].

Sheena B., Re, [1995] 1 S.C.R. 315; 176 N.R. 161; 78 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 104].

R.B. v. Children's Aid Society of Metro­politan Toronto - see Sheena B., Re.

Commission scolaire régionale de Chambly v. Syndicat de l'enseignement de Champlain et autres, [1994] 2 S.C.R. 525; 169 N.R. 281; 62 Q.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 106].

Commission scolaire régionale de Chambly v. Bergevin - see Commission scolaire régionale de Chambly v. Syndi­cat de l'enseignement de Champlain et autres.

Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 143; 91 N.R. 255; [1989] 2 W.W.R. 289; 56 D.L.R.(4th) 1; 34 B.C.L.R.(2d) 273; 36 C.R.R. 193; 25 C.C.E.L. 255, refd to. [para. 110].

R. v. Turpin, Siddiqui and Clauzel, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1296; 96 N.R. 115; 34 O.A.C. 115; 48 C.C.C.(3d) 8; 69 C.R.(3d) 97; 39 C.R.R. 306, refd to. [para. 110].

Miron and Valliere v. Trudel et al., [1995] 2 S.C.R. 418; 181 N.R. 253; 81 O.A.C. 253, refd to. [para. 110].

Egan and Nesbit v. Canada, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 513; 182 N.R. 161, refd to. [para. 110].

Human Rights Commission (Ont.) and O'Malley v. Simpsons-Sears, [1985] 2 S.C.R. 536; 64 N.R. 161; 12 O.A.C. 241; 23 D.L.R.(4th) 321; 9 C.C.E.L. 185; 17 Admin. L.R. 89; 86 C.L.L.C. 17,002, refd to. [para. 113].

Russow v. British Columbia (Attorney General) (1989), 35 B.C.L.R.(2d) 29 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 115].

Bal v. Ontario (Attorney General) (1994), 21 O.R.(3d) 681 (Gen. Div.), refd to. [para. 117].

R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd., [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295; 58 N.R. 81; 60 A.R. 161; [1985] 3 W.W.R. 481; 18 C.C.C.(3d) 385; 18 D.L.R.(4th) 321; 37 Alta. L.R.(2d) 97; 85 C.L.L.C. 14,023; 13 C.R.R. 64, refd to. [para. 130].

Canadian National Railway Co. v. Bhinder and Canadian Human Rights Commis­sion, [1985] 2 S.C.R. 561; 63 N.R. 185, refd to. [para. 138].

R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103; 65 N.R. 87; 14 O.A.C. 335; 26 D.L.R.(4th) 200; 50 C.R.(3d) 1; 24 C.C.C.(3d) 321; 19 C.R.R. 308, refd to. [para. 144].

Irwin Toy Ltd. v. Québec (Procureur général), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927; 94 N.R. 167; 24 Q.A.C. 2; 58 D.L.R.(4th) 577; 25 C.P.R.(3d) 417, refd to. [para. 153].

Reference Re Sections 193 and 195.1(1)(c) of the Criminal Code, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 1123; 109 N.R. 81; 68 Man.R.(2d) 1; 56 C.C.C.(3d) 65; 77 C.R.(3d) 1; [1990] 4 W.W.R. 481, refd to. [para. 153].

R. v. Chaulk and Morrissette, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 1303; 119 N.R. 161; 69 Man.R.(2d) 161; [1991] 2 W.W.R. 385; 62 C.C.C.(3d) 193; 1 C.R.R.(2d) 1; 2 C.R.(4th) 1, refd to. [para. 153].

National Trust Co. v. Christian Com­munity of Universal Brotherhood Ltd., [1941] S.C.R. 601, refd to. [para. 188].

Saumur v. Quebec (City), [1953] 2 S.C.R. 299, refd to. [para. 188].

Roncarelli v. Duplessis, [1959] S.C.R. 121, refd to. [para. 188].

Attis v. Board of Education of District No. 15 et al., [1996] 1 S.C.R. 825; 195 N.R. 81; 171 N.B.R.(2d) 321; 437 A.P.R. 321, refd to. [para. 199].

Ross v. New Brunswick School District No. 15 - see Attis v. Board of Edu­cation of District No. 15 et al.

McKinney v. University of Guelph et al., [1990] 3 S.C.R. 229; 118 N.R. 1; 45 O.A.C. 1; 76 D.L.R.(4th) 545; 2 C.R.R.(2d) 1, refd to. [para. 199].

RJR-MacDonald Inc. et Imperial Tobacco Ltd. v. Canada (Procureur général), [1995] 3 S.C.R. 199; 187 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 199].

Tétreault-Gadoury v. Canada Employment and Immigration Commission, [1991] 2 S.C.R. 22; 126 N.R. 1; 81 D.L.R.(4th) 358, refd to. [para. 215].

Singh v. Minister of Employment and Immigration, [1985] 1 S.C.R. 177; 58 N.R. 1; 14 C.R.R. 13; 12 Admin. L.R. 137; 17 D.L.R.(4th) 422, refd to. [para. 220].

Schachter v. Canada et al., [1992] 2 S.C.R. 679; 139 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 220].

Statutes Noticed:

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, sect. 1 [para. 12]; sect. 2(a), sect. 15(1) [para. 7]; sect. 23 [para. 30]; sect. 27 [para. 192]; sect. 29 [para. 37].

Common Schools in Upper Canada, An Act Respecting, C.S.U.C. 1859, c. 64, sect. 27(16) [para. 45]; sect. 169 [para. 87].

Constitution Act, 1867, sect. 92 [para. 56]; sect. 93(1) [paras. 7, 78]; sect. 93(2), sect. 93(3), sect. 93(4) [para. 7].

Education Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. E-2, sect. 1(1) [para. 7]; sect. 21(1)(a) [paras. 7, 101]; sect. 21(1)(b) [para. 7]; sect. 21(2)(a) [paras. 7, 101]; sect. 70(1)(a), sect. 70(1)(b) [para. 7].

Health Insurance Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H-6, sect. 45 [para. 52].

Health Insurance Act Regulations (Ont.), Reg. 552/90, sect. 13(1), sect. 14(1), sect. 14(2) [para. 7].

Roman Catholics in Upper Canada Certain Rights in Respect to Separate Schools, An Act to Restore to, S. Prov. C., 1863, c. 5, preamble, sect. 7, sect. 9 [para. 42]; sect. 14 [para. 45]; sect. 20 [para. 42].

School Act, S.A. 1988, c. S-3.1, sect. 16 [para. 61].

Scott Act - see Roman Catholics in Upper Canada Certain Rights in Respect to Separate Schools, An Act to Restore to.

Separate Schools Act - see Roman Catholics in Upper Canada Certain Rights in Respect to Separate Schools, An Act to Restore to.

Authors and Works Noticed:

Canada, House of Commons Debates, 6th Session, 7th Parliament (March 3, 1896), vol. 1, p. 2724 [para. 85].

Carignan, Pierre, La raison d'être de l'ar­ticle 93 de la Loi Constitutionnelle de 1867 à la lumière de la législation pré­existante en matière d'éducation (1986), 20 R.J.T. 375, pp. 428 [para. 44]; 431, note 269 [para. 87].

Gibson, Dale, The Law of the Charter: Equality Rights (1990), p. 133 [para. 182].

Hogg, Peter W., Constitutional Law of Canada (3rd Ed. 1992)(Supp.), pp. 52-32, 52-33 [para. 182].

Hope Commission Report - see Ontario, Royal Commission on Education in Ontario (Hope Commission) (1950).

MacKay Report - see Ontario, Committee on Religious Education in the Public Schools of the Province of Ontario, Report on Religious Information and Moral Development (MacKay Report) (1969).

Ontario, Commission on Private Schools in Ontario (Shapiro Report) (1985), Report of, generally [paras. 145, 213].

Ontario, Committee on Religious Edu­cation in the Public Schools of the Province of Ontario, Report on Religious Information and Moral Development (MacKay Report) (1969), generally [para. 89].

Ontario, Legislative Debates, Official Report (Hansard), 4th Session, 31st Parliament (May 23, 1980), p. 2135 [para. 51].

Ontario, Royal Commission on Education in Ontario (Hope Commission) (1950), Report of, generally [para. 88].

Shapiro Report - see Ontario, Commission on Private Schools in Ontario (Shapiro Report) (1985).

Counsel:

Edward M. Morgan, for the appellants, Susie Adler, Mark Grossman, Paula Kezwer, Marcy Rapp and Riky Young;

David M. Brown and Elizabeth Pillon, for the appellants, Leo Elgersma, Harry Pott, Raymond Dostal, Harry Fernhout and Ontario Alliance of Christian School Societies;

Robert E. Charney and Hart Schwartz, for the respondents;

Isabelle Harnois, for the intervenor, Attor­ney General of Quebec;

Thomson Irvine, for the intervenor, Attor­ney General for Saskatchewan;

Peter R. Jervis and David D. Conklin, for the intervenor, Ontario Multi-Faith Coalition for Equity in Education;

John A. Olthuis and H.W. Roger Townshend, for the intervenor, Ontario Federation of Independent Schools;

Brian A. Kelsey, Q.C., and William S. Challis, for the intervenors, Metropolitan Toronto School Board and Ontario Pub­lic School Boards' Association;

Patricia D.S. Jackson and Clare E. Burns, for the intervenor, Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Solicitors of Record:

Davies, Ward & Beck, Toronto, Ontario, for the appellants, Susie Adler, Mark Grossman, Paula Kezwer, Marcy Rapp and Riky Young;

Stikeman, Elliott, Toronto, Ontario, for the appellants, Leo Elgersma, Harry Pott, Raymond Dostal, Harry Fernhout and Ontario Alliance of Christian School Societies;

Attorney General for Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, for the respondents;

Attorney General of Quebec, Sainte-Foy, Quebec, for the intervenor, Attorney General of Quebec;

Attorney General for Saskatchewan, Regina, Saskatchewan, for the intervenor, Attorney General for Saskatchewan;

Lerner & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervenor, Ontario Multi-Faith Coalition for Equity in Education;

Morris, Rose, Ledgett, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervenor, Ontario Federation of Independent Schools;

Brian A. Kelsey and William S. Challis, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervenors, Metropolitan Toronto School Board and Ontario Public School Boards' As­sociation;

Tory, Tory, DesLauriers & Binnington, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervenor, Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

This appeal was heard on January 23-24, 1996, before Lamer, C.J.C., La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin, Iacobucci and Major, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

On November 21, 1996, the judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada was delivered in both official languages and the following opinions were filed:

Iacobucci, J. (Lamer, C.J.C., La Forest, Gonthier and Cory, JJ., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 54;

Sopinka, J. (Major, J., concurring) - see paragraphs 55 to 125;

McLachlin, J., dissenting in part - see paragraphs 126 to 163;

L'Heureux-Dubé, J., dissenting - see paragraphs 164 to 229.

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