Final Observations and Conclusions

AuthorW.H. Charles
Chapter 8
Final Observations and Conclusions
The Supreme Court of Canada in Vancouver (City) v Ward1 did not attempt
an evaluation of the ef‌fectiveness of dam ages as a Canadian Charter of Right s
and Freedoms2 remedy. This is not surprisin g since such an evaluation was
not required to dispose of the legal issues before the Court. I n any event,
tryin g to measure with any degree of accuracy the pract ical ef‌fectiveness of
a Charter remedy presents a real chal lenge. One approach would be to try to
assess the perceived deterrent ef‌fect of damages remedies and the degree
of satisfaction or remedial value exper ienced by individual claimants who
have received damages awards for violations of their Char ter ri ghts. Un-
fortunately, obtaining reliable objective data relevant to these factors would
be either too expensive or impossible. It is impossible to determine the
number of potential Charte r violators who may have been deterred because
of the availability of a remedy like Ch arter damages. Successful claimants
who have received an award could be polled to establish their degree or level
of satisfaction, but such an exercise would be expensive. We can assume
that the satisfaction rate of unsuccessf ul claimants would be low.
What is possible is to measure the ef‌fectiveness of Char ter damages in
terms of (1) frequency of use, (2) the success rate, and (3) the amount of
damages awarded. Fortunately, these types of data have been captured by
1 2010 SCC 27, var’g (sub nom Ward v Vancouver (City)) 2009 BCCA 23, var’g
2007 BCSC 3 [ Ward].
2 Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982
(UK), 1982, c 11 [Charte r].

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