AuthorRobert J. Sharpe; Kent Roach
The amendment of the Canadian const itution in 1982 to include the
Charter of Rights and Freedoms brought about a fundamental change in
Canadian law and politics.1 The Charter signif‌icantly increased the law-
making power of Canad ian courts. Decisions on many important public
issues, formerly within the exclusive authority of Parliament and the
provincial legislatures, are now subject to judicial review. Charter lit iga-
tion has become an importa nt tool used by interest groups to advance
their political ends. Ca nadian courts now play a central role in deciding
how the law should deal with such intr actable issues as assisted dying,2
abortion, 3 mandatory retirement,4 the legitim acy of laws restrict ing
pornography5 a nd hate propaganda,6 law s concern ing prost itution,7
and the treatment accorded minorities such as gays and lesbians.8
1 Canadian Char ter of Rights and Freedoms, Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, be-
ing Schedule B to th e Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11 [Charter].
2 Carter v Canad a (Attorney General), [2015] 1 SCR 331.
3 R v Morgentaler, [1988] 1 SCR 30, 44 DLR (4th) 385.
4 McKinney v University of Guelph, [1990] 3 SCR 229, 76 DLR (4th) 545; Stoffman v
Vancouver General Hospital, [1990] 3 SCR 483, 76 DLR (4th) 700.
5 R v Butler, [1992] 1 SCR 452, 70 CCC (3d) 129; R v Sharpe, [2001] 1 SCR 45, 194
DLR (4th) 1.
6 R v Keegstra, [1990] 3 SCR 697, 61 CCC (3d) 1.
7 Canada (Attor ney General) v Bedford, [2013] 3 SCR 1101.
8 Vriend v Alberta, [1998] 1 SCR 493, 156 DLR (4th) 385; M v H, [1999] 2 SCR
3, 177 DLR (4th) 577; Little Sisters Book and Art Emp orium v Canada (Minister
of Justice), [2000] 2 SCR 1120, 193 DLR (4th) 193; Halpern v Canada (Attorn ey

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