Egan and Nesbit v. Canada, (1993) 153 N.R. 161 (FCA)

JudgeMahoney, Linden and Robertson, JJ.A.
CourtFederal Court of Appeal (Canada)
Case DateDecember 09, 1992
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1993), 153 N.R. 161 (FCA)

Egan v. Can. (1993), 153 N.R. 161 (FCA)

MLB headnote and full text

James Egan and John Norris Nesbit (appellants/plaintiffs) v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada (respondent/defendant)

(A-1335-91)

Indexed As: Egan and Nesbit v. Canada

Federal Court of Appeal

Mahoney, Linden and

Robertson, JJ.A.

April 29, 1993.

Summary:

The plaintiffs commenced an action for a declaration that the definition of the word "spouse" in s. 2 of the Old Age Security Act constituted discrimination on the basis of sex or sexual orientation contrary to s. 15 of the Charter.

The Federal Court of Canada, Trial Divi­sion, in a decision reported 47 F.T.R. 305, dismissed the plaintiffs' action. The plaintiffs appealed.

The Federal Court of Appeal, Linden, J.A., dissenting, dismissed the appeal.

Civil Rights - Topic 953

Discrimination - Sexual orientation - Homosexuals - The Old Age Security Act, s. 2, provided that the word "spouse" in the Act included persons of the opposite sex who lived together for at least one year and publicly represented themselves as husband and wife - Section 19(1) pro­vided that certain "spouses" of pensioners were entitled to "spousal allowances" - A homosexual couple who resided together for over 40 years argued that the definition of "spouse" in s. 2 of the Act, which resulted in a denial of a "spousal allow­ance" to the couple, consti­tuted discrimi­nation on the basis of sex or sexual orien­tation contrary to s. 15 of the Charter - The Federal Court of Appeal affirmed that the challenged law did not infringe the plaintiffs' rights under s. 15.

Civil Rights - Topic 953

Discrimination - Sexual orientation - Homosexuals - The Federal Court of Appeal, per Robertson, J.A., stated that "though the Supreme Court [of Canada] has yet to adjudicate on whether homosex­uals constitute a disadvantaged group entitled to Charter protection, I take it to be settled law that sexual orientation can be invoked as an analogous ground of discrimination under s. 15(1) ... " - See paragraph 10.

Civil Rights - Topic 953

Discrimination - Sexual orientation - Homosexuals - The Federal Court of Appeal reviewed the Canadian jurispru­dence on gay and lesbian rights - See paragraphs 14 to 33.

Civil Rights - Topic 1066

Discrimination - By sex - What consti­tutes - [See all Civil Rights - Topic 953 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 8668

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Equality rights (s. 15) - [See first Civil Rights - Topic 953 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 8672

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Equality rights (s. 15) - Analogous categories - [See second Civil Rights - Topic 953 ].

Cases Noticed:

Leshner v. Ontario (1992), 16 C.H.R.R. D/184 (Ont. Bd. Inq.), refd to. [para. 4 et seq.].

Egan v. Canada, [1992] 1 F.C. 687; 47 F.T.R. 305, refd to. [para. 4].

Schachter v. Canada, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 679; 139 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 4 et seq.].

Knodel v. British Columbia Medical Ser­vices Commission (1991), 58 B.C.L.R.(2d) 356 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 5 et seq.].

Canada (Attorney General) v. Mossop, [1991] 1 F.C. 18; 114 N.R. 241 (F.C.A.), affd. (1993), 149 N.R. 1 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 5 et seq.].

Vesey v. Correctional Service of Canada (1990), 109 N.R. 304 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 5 et seq.].

Andrews v. Law Society of British Co­lumbia, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 143; 91 N.R. 255; 56 D.L.R.(4th) 1, appld. [para. 9 et seq.].

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) 197; 39 C.R.R. 193, refd to. [para. 9 et seq.].

Brown v. British Columbia (Minister of Health) (1990), 42 B.C.L.R.(2d) 294 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 10 et seq.].

Vesey v. Correctional Service of Canada, [1990] 1 F.C. 321; 29 F.T.R. 74; 44 C.R.R. 364 (T.D.), affd. (1990), 109 N.R. 304 (F.C.A.), refd to. [paras. 10, 115].

Haig and Birch v. Canada et al. (1991), 5 O.R.(3d) 245, affd. (1992), 57 O.A.C. 272; 9 O.R.(3d) 495 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 10 et seq.].

Vogel and North, Re (1992), 79 Man.R.(2d) 208; 90 D.L.R.(4th) 84 (Q.B.), refd to. [paras. 16, 41, 78].

Douglas v. Canada (1992), 58 F.T.R. 147 (T.D.), refd to. [paras. 16, 115, 119].

Andrews v. Ontario (Minister of Health) (1988), 49 D.L.R.(4th) 584; 64 O.R.(2d) 258 (H.C.), refd to. [para. 23 et seq.].

Brooks, Allen and Dixon et al. v. Canada Safeway Ltd., [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1219; 94 N.R. 373; 58 Man.R.(2d) 161; 59 D.L.R.(4th) 321, refd to. [paras. 26, 37, 122, 133].

Bliss v. Canada (Attorney General), [1979] 1 S.C.R. 183; 22 N.R. 527, refd to. [para. 37].

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. [paras. 38, 83, 144].

R. v. Schacter, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 679; 139 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 81].

Andrews v. Law Society of British Co­lumbia, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 143; 91 N.R. 255; 29 D.L.R.(4th) 1, refd to. [para. 83].

R. v. Swain, [1991] 1 S.C.R. 933; 125 N.R. 1; 47 O.A.C. 81, refd to. [paras. 104, 106, 112, 130].

United States v. Carolene Products Co. (1938), 304 U.S. 144 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 113].

R. v. Hess; R. v. Nguyen, [1990] 2 S.C.R. 906; 119 N.R. 353; 46 O.A.C. 13; 73 Man.R.(2d) 1; 3 W.A.C. 1; [1990] 6 W.W.R. 289; 79 C.R.(3d) 332; 59 C.C.C.(3d) 161, refd to. [paras. 113, 130].

R. v. Nguyen - see R. v. Hess; R. v. Nguyen.

Dredd Scott v. Sanford (1856), 19 How. 393 (U.S.S.C.), refd to. [para. 117].

Reference Re Meaning of the Word "Per­son" in S. 24 of the British North America Act, 1867, [1928] S.C.R. 276, revsd. [1930] A.C. 124 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 117].

Edwards v. Canada (Attorney General), [1930] A.C. 124 (P.C.), refd to. [paras. 117, 118].

Southam Inc. v. Hunter, [1984] 2 S.C.R. 145; 55 N.R. 241; 55 A.R. 291; 9 C.R.R. 355; 14 C.C.C.(3d) 97; 41 C.R.(3d) 97; [1984] 6 W.W.R. 577; 33 Alta. L.R.(2d) 193; 27 B.L.R. 297; 84 D.T.C. 6467; 2 C.P.R.(3d) 1; 11 D.L.R.(4th) 641, refd to. [para. 118].

Meinhold v. United States (Department of Defence), [1993] W.L. 15899 (C.D. Cal.), refd to. [para. 119].

Ontario Human Rights Commission 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; 52 O.R.(2d) 799; 9 C.C.E.L. 185; 17 Admin. L.R. 89; 86 C.L.L.C. 17,002, refd to. [para. 121].

Action Travail Des Femmes v. Canadian National Railway Co. et al., [1987] 1 S.C.R. 1114; 76 N.R. 161, refd to. [para. 121].

Canadian National Railway Co. v. Canada (Canadian Human Rights Commission) - see Action Travail Des Femmes v. Canadian National Railway Co. et al.

Janzen and Govereau v. Pharos Restaurant and Grammas et al., [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1252; 95 N.R. 81; 58 Man.R.(2d) 1, refd to. [para. 122].

Janzen v. Platy Enterprises Ltd. - see Janzen and Govereau v. Pharos Restaur­ant and Grammas et al.

Wolff (Rudolph) & Co. and Noranda Inc. v. Canada, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 695; 106 N.R. 1; 39 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 130].

Tétreault-Gadoury v. Canada Employment and Immigration Commission, [1991] 2 S.C.R. 22; 126 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 133].

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), 163 U.S. 537, refd to. [para. 137].

Brown v. Board of Education (1954), 347 U.S. 483, refd to. [para. 137].

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. [paras. 142-144, 153].

R. v. Big M Drug Mart, [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295; [1985] 3 W.W.R. 481; 58 N.R. 81; 60 A.R. 161; 18 C.C.C.(3d) 385; 18 D.L.R.(4th) 321; 37 Alta. L.R.(2d) 97; 85 C.L.L.C. 14,203; 13 C.R.R. 64, refd to. [para. 143].

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; 14 D.L.R.(4th) 10; 28 C.R.R. 1, refd to. [para. 144].

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

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

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. 144].

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. 144].

Committee for the Commonwealth of Canada v. Canada, [1991] 1 S.C.R. 139; 120 N.R. 241, refd to. [paras. 144, 149].

R. v. Wholesale Travel Group Inc. and Chedore, [1991] 3 S.C.R. 154; 130 N.R. 1; 49 O.A.C. 161, 67 C.C.C.(3d) 193; 8 C.R.(4th) 145, refd to. [para. 144].

Statutes Noticed:

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, sect. 1 [paras. 1, 67, 71, 137-153]; sect. 15(1) [para. 1 et seq.]; sect. 24(1) [paras. 100-102, 108].

Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, R.S.Q. 1977, c. C-12, sect. 10 [para. 16].

Constitution Act, 1867, sect. 24 [para. 117].

Constitution Act, 1982, sect. 52(1) [paras. 81, 100-103, 108, 132, 152].

Guaranteed Available Income for Need Act, R.S.B.C. 1979, c. 158, generally [paras. 138, 148].

Human Rights Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. H-6, generally [para. 116].

Human Rights Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 214, sect. 12 [para. 16].

Human Rights Act, R.S.Y 1986, c. 11, generally [para. 16].

Human Rights Act Amendment Act, S.N.B. 1992, c. 30, generally [para. 16].

Human Rights Code, S.M. 1987-88, c. 45, sect. 9(2) [para. 16].

Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H-19, sect. 1, sect. 2, sect. 3, sect. 5, sect. 6 [para. 16].

Old Age Security Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. O-9, sect. 2 [para. 2 et seq.]; sect. 19(1) [paras. 92, 148].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Bayefsky, Anne, A Case Comment on the First Three Equality Rights Cases under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Andrews, Workers' Compen­sation Reference, Turpin, [1991] 1 Sup. Ct. L. Rev.(2d) 503, pp. 518, 519 [para. 61].

Beaudoin, G., and E. Ratushny, The Cana­dian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (2nd Ed. 1989), p. 563 [para. 37].

Canada, House of Commons Parliamentary Committee on Equality Rights, Equality for All (1985), generally [para. 116].

Developments - Sexual Orientation and the Law (1989), 102 Harv. L. Rev. 1511, generally [para. 9]; pp. 1511, 1512 [para. 48], note 1 [para. 74].

Elliott, David, W., Comment on Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia and Section 15(1) of the Charter: The Em­peror's New Clothes? (1990), 35 McGill L.J. 235, pp. 238, 241, 243, 246 [para. 44].

Gibson, Analogous Grounds of Discrimi­nation under the Canadian Charter: Too Much Ado About Next to Nothing (1991), 29 Alta. L.R. 772, pp. 780, 781, 790 [para. 44].

Gibson, Dale, Equality and the Law (1991), 40 U.N.B. L.J. 1, p. 13 [paras. 43, 44].

Hansard, House of Commons Debates (June 6, 1975), pp. 6542, 6543 [para. 73].

Hansard, Minutes of Proceedings, First Session, 30th Parliament, Issue No. 25, p. 25:7 [para. 85].

Hansard, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Standing Committee on Health, Welfare and Social Affairs, Hearings on Bill C-62 (June 12, 1975), pp. 25:7 [para. 140]; 25:11, 25:18; 25:21; 25:28 [para. 139].

House of Commons Debates - see Han­sard, House of Commons Debates.

Minutes of Proceedings (Parliament) - see Hansard, Minutes of Proceedings.

Wolfsen, E., Civil Rights, Human Rights, Gay Rights: Minorities and the Humanity of Difference (1991), 14 Harv. J.L. & Public Policy 21, p. 31 [para. 4].

Counsel:

Joseph J. Arvay, Q.C., for the appellants;

Harry Wruck, Q.C., Faye Campbell, Q.C. and Lisa Hitch, for the respondent.

Solicitors of Record:

Arvay, Finlay, Vancouver, British Colum­bia, for the appellants;

John C. Tait, Q.C., Deputy Attorney Gen­eral of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard in Vancouver, British Columbia, on December 9, 1992, before Mahoney, Linden and Robertson, JJ.A., of the Federal Court of Appeal. The decision of the court was delivered on April 29, 1993, including the following opinions:

Robertson, J.A. - see paragraphs 1 to 79;

Mahoney, J.A., concurring in the result - see paragraphs to 80 to 90;

Linden, J.A., dissenting - see paragraphs 91 to 162.

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    ...v. Mossop, [1993] 1 S.C.R. 554; 149 N.R. 1; 100 D.L.R.(4th) 658, refd to. [para. 19]. Egan and Nesbit v. Canada, [1993] 3 F.C. 401; 153 N.R. 161; 103 D.L.R.(4th) 336 (F.C.A.), leave to appeal allowed [1993] 3 S.C.R. vi; 163 N.R. 239, refd to. [para. R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103; 65 N.R.......
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8 cases
  • Rodriguez v. British Columbia (Attorney General) et al., (1993) 158 N.R. 1 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court of Canada
    • September 30, 1993
    ...[para. 159]. Daigle v. Tremblay, [1989] 2 S.C.R. 530 ; 102 N.R. 81 ; 27 Q.A.C. 81 , refd to. [para. 167]. Egan and Nesbit v. Canada (1993), 153 N.R. 161 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 171]. Brooks, Allen and Dixon et al. v. Canada Safeway Ltd., [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1219 ; 94 N.R. 373 ; 58 Man.R......
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    ...[para. 159]. Daigle v. Tremblay, [1989] 2 S.C.R. 530 ; 102 N.R. 81 ; 27 Q.A.C. 81 , refd to. [para. 167]. Egan and Nesbit v. Canada (1993), 153 N.R. 161 (F.C.A.), refd to. [para. 171]. Brooks, Allen and Dixon et al. v. Canada Safeway Ltd., [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1219 ; 94 N.R. 373 ; 58 Man.R......
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