Schachter v. Canada et al., (1992) 139 N.R. 1 (SCC)

JudgeCory and McLachlin, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court of Canada
Case DateDecember 12, 1991
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1992), 139 N.R. 1 (SCC);[1992] ACS no 68;[1992] SCJ No 68 (QL);[1992] FCJ No 68 (QL);JE 92-1054;53 FTR 240;93 DLR (4th) 1;1992 CanLII 74 (SCC);[1992] CarswellNat 1006;[1992] 2 SCR 679;139 NR 1;10 CRR (2d) 1

Schachter v. Can. (1992), 139 N.R. 1 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

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

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

Her Majesty the Queen and Canada Employment and Immigration Commission (appellants) v. Shalom Schachter and Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (respondents) and Attorney General for Ontario, Attorney General of Quebec, Attorney General for New Brunswick, Attorney General of British Columbia, Attorney General for Saskatchewan, Attorney General for Alberta, Attorney General of Newfoundland and Minority Advocacy Rights Council (intervenors)

(No. 21889)

Indexed As: Schachter v. Canada et al.

Supreme Court of Canada

Lamer, C.J.C., La Forest,

L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier,

Cory and McLachlin, JJ.

July 9, 1992.

Summary:

Schachter applied for a declaration that unemployment insurance benefits should be payable to natural fathers who stayed home to look after babies on the same basis as benefits were payable to adoptive parents under s. 32 of the Unemployment Insurance Act. Schachter alleged discrimination con­trary to s. 15 of the Charter.

The Federal Court of Canada, Trial Divi­sion, in a decision reported 18 F.T.R. 199, allowed the application. Rather than declare s. 32 invalid and of no force and effect, the trial judge declared that natural parents were entitled to the same benefits as adoptive parents until such time as Parliament amended the legislation to comply with s. 15. Further, Schachter's application for benefits was to be reconsidered on the basis that if, apart from his status as a natural parent, he met the requirements of s. 32, he was entitled to benefits. Pursuant to Federal Court Rule 341A, the court suspended the operation of its judgment pending appeal. The Crown appealed.

The Federal Court of Appeal, Mahoney, J.A., dissenting, in a decision reported 108 N.R. 123, dismissed the appeal. The Crown appealed only on the issue of remedy. The following constitutional questions were stated by the Chief Justice:

(1) Is the Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division, having found s. 32 contrary to s. 15(1) of the Charter, required by s. 52(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982, to declare that s. 32 is of no force and effect?

(2) Does s. 24(1) of the Charter confer on the Federal Court of Canada, Trial Divi­sion, the power to order that natural par­ents are entitled to benefits on the same terms as adoptive parents under s. 32?

The Supreme Court of Canada answered Question 1 in the affirmative, noting that the option was open to suspend the declaration of invalidity to allow Parliament to amend the legislation. The court answered Question 2 in the negative. The court noted that a limited power to extend legislation is avail­able to courts in appropriate circumstances by way of the power to "read in" derived from s. 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982. The court held however, that this was not an appropriate case to apply the "reading in" doctrine. In the result the court allowed the appeal and set aside the decision of the trial judge. The court issued no further declara­tion, noting that s. 32 had since been repealed and replaced by Parliament.

Civil Rights - Topic 5667

Equality and protection of the law - Un­employment insurance - Maternity or child care benefits - The Unemployment Insur­ance Act, s. 32, provided benefits for adoptive parents - There was no compara­ble provision for natural parents - The Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division, declared that s. 32 was discriminatory under s. 15 of the Charter - Instead of declaring s. 32 invalid, the court declared that natural parents were entitled to the same benefits as adoptive parents - The Supreme Court of Canada set aside the decision, ruling that s. 32 should have been declared to be of no force and effect under s. 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, with the option of giving Parliament time to remedy the situation - The court held that this was not an appropriate case to apply the "reading in" doctrine.

Civil Rights - Topic 8361

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Denial of rights - Remedies - General - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed when a remedy is available under s. 24(1) of the Charter, as opposed to s. 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982 - The court stated that an individual remedy under s. 24(1) will rarely be available in conjunction with action under s. 52 - See paragraphs 86 to 88.

Civil Rights - Topic 8380.1

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Denial of rights - Remedies - Confer­ring of rights - Reading in - [See Civil Rights - Topic 5667 and first and second Civil Rights - Topic 8380.2 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 8380.2

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Denial of rights - Remedies - Declara­tion of statute invalidity - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that a court has flexibility in its course of action following a Charter violation which does not survive s. 1 scrutiny - Under s. 52 of the Consti­tution Act, 1982, the court may strike down laws inconsistent with the Constitu­tion, may strike down and temporarily suspend the declaration of invalidity, or may use the techniques of reading down or reading in - In addition, s. 24 of the Charter gives courts of competent jurisdic­tion to grant appropriate and just remedies to those whose Charter rights have been violated - In applying s. 24 or 52, the court will look to the nature of the viola­tion and the context of the relevant legis­lation - See paragraph 25.

Civil Rights - Topic 8380.2

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Denial of rights - Remedies - Declara­tion of statute invalidity - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the remedial options available under s. 52 of the Con­stitution Act, 1982, including the remedies of "reading in" and "reading down" or "severance" - The court discussed in detail how the court can determine the appropri­ate remedial option under s. 52 - The court also discussed the doctrine of "read­ing in" as opposed to a delayed declaration of invalidity which gives the legislature time to remedy the Charter violation - See paragraphs 25 to 85 - The court summa­rized its guidelines for determining the appropriate action under s. 52 - See para­graph 84.

Civil Rights - Topic 8380.2

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Denial of rights - Remedies - Declara­tion of statute invalidity - [See Civil Rights - Topic 5667 and Civil Rights - Topic 8361 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 8380.18

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Denial of rights - Remedies - Reading down - [See first and second Civil Rights - Topic 8380.2 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 8467

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Interpretation - Interrelationship among Charter rights - [See Civil Rights - Topic 8361 ].

Constitutional Law - Topic 2507

Determination of validity of statutes - Reading down - [See first and second Civil Rights - Topic 8380.2 ].

Constitutional Law - Topic 2507.1

Determination of validity of statutes - Reading in - [See Civil Rights - Topic 5667 and first and second Civil Rights - Topic 8380.2 ].

Unemployment Insurance - Topic 1627

Entitlement - Maternity or child care benefits - [See Civil Rights - Topic 5667 ].

Cases Noticed:

Andrews v. Law Society of British Co­lumbia, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 143; 91 N.R. 255; 56 D.L.R.(4th) 1, refd to. [paras. 23, 35, 47].

Attorney General of Alberta v. Attorney General of Canada, [1947] A.C. 503, refd to. [para. 29].

Knodel v. British Columbia Medical Ser­vices Commission (1991), 58 B.C.L.R.(2d) 356 (S.C.), refd to. [paras. 33, 67].

Phillips v. Social Assistance Appeal Board (N.S.) (1986), 76 N.S.R.(2d) 240; 189 A.P.R. 240; 34 D.L.R.(4th) 633 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 40].

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. 44, 45, 109].

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. 45].

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. [paras. 52-54].

Royal College of Dental Surgeons (Ont.) et al. v. Rocket and Price, [1990] 2 S.C.R. 232; 111 N.R. 161; 40 O.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 54].

Osborne, Millar and Barnhart et al. v. Canada (Treasury Board) et al., [1991] 2 S.C.R. 69; 125 N.R. 241, refd to. [para. 58].

R. v. Seaboyer and Gayme, [1991] 2 S.C.R. 577; 128 N.R. 81; 48 O.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 60].

R. v. Swain, [1991] 1 S.C.R. 933; 125 N.R. 1; 47 O.A.C. 81, refd to. [paras. 61, 79].

Tétreault-Gadoury v. Canada Employment and Immigration Commission, [1991] 2 S.C.R. 22; 126 N.R. 1, refd to. [paras. 63, 68, 92, 94, 107].

Singer (Allan) Ltd. v. Québec (Procureur général) et al., [1988] 2 S.C.R. 790; 90 N.R. 48; 19 Q.A.C. 33, refd to. [para. 64].

Devine et al. v. Quebec (Attorney General) et al. - see Singer (Allan) Ltd. v. Qué­bec (Procureur général) et al.

R. v. Morgentaler, Smoling and Scott, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 30; 82 N.R. 1; 26 O.A.C. 1; 44 D.L.R.(4th) 385, refd to. [para. 65].

R. v. Hebb (1989), 89 N.S.R.(2d) 137; 227 A.P.R. 137; 69 C.R.(3d) 1 (S.C.T.D.), refd to. [paras. 69, 73].

Russow v. British Columbia (Attorney General) (1989), 35 B.C.L.R.(2d) 29 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 70].

Welsh v. United States (1970), 398 U.S. 333, refd to. [para. 71].

Blainey v. Ontario Hockey Association (1986), 14 O.A.C. 194; 54 O.R.(2d) 513 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 76].

Manitoba Language Rights Reference, [1985] 1 S.C.R. 721; 59 N.R. 321; 35 Man.R.(2d) 83; 19 D.L.R.(4th) 1; [1985] 4 W.W.R. 385, refd to. [para. 79].

Davidson v. Slaight Communications Inc., [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1038; 93 N.R. 183, refd to. [para. 87].

R. v. Wong et al., [1990] 3 S.C.R. 36; 120 N.R. 34; 45 O.A.C. 250, refd to. [para. 106].

Statutes Noticed:

Barristers and Solicitors Act, R.S.B.C. 1979, c. 26, sect. 42 [para. 35].

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, sect. 1 [para. 9 et seq.]; sect. 7 [paras. 61, 90]; sect. 15(1) [paras. 4, 9, 15, 90, 91]; sect. 24(1) [para. 4 et seq.].

Constitution Act, 1982, sect. 52(1) [para. 10 et seq.].

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1970, c. C-34, sect. 542(2) [para. 61].

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, sect. 276 [para. 60].

Federal Court Rules, rule 341A [para. 12].

Human Rights Code, S.O. 1981, c. 53, sect. 1, sect. 19 [para. 76].

Lord's Day Act, R.S.C. 1970, c. L-13, generally [para. 45].

Unemployment Insurance Act, S.C. 1970-71-72, c. 48, sect. 30, sect. 32(1).

Authors and Works Noticed:

Caminker, Evan, A Norm-Based Remedial Model for Underinclusive Statutes (1986), 95 Yale L.J. 1185, generally [para. 39]; p. 1186 [para. 41].

Duclos, Nitya and Kent Roach, Constitu­tional Remedies as "Constitutional Hints": A Comment on R. v. Schachter (1991), 36 McGill L.J. 1, generally [para. 39].

Lajoie, Andrée, De l'interventionnisme judiciaire comme apport à l'émergence des droits sociaux (1991), 36 McGill L.J. 1338, pp. 1344, 1345 [para. 63].

Rogerson, Carol, The Judicial Search for Appropriate Remedies Under the Charter: The Examples of Overbreadth and Vagueness, in R. Sharpe (ed.), Charter Litigation (1986), pp. 250-252 [para. 28]; 288 [para. 37].

Sharpe, R., Charter Litigation (1986), pp. 250-252 [para. 28]; 288 [para. 37].

Counsel:

David Sgayias, Q.C., and Roslyn J. Levine, for the appellants;

Brian G. Morgan and Lawrence E. Ritchie, for the respondent, Shalom Schachter;

Mary A. Eberts and Jenifer Aitken, for the respondent, Women's Legal Education and Action Fund;

Elizabeth Goldberg and Lori Sterling, for the intervener, the Attorney General for Ontario;

Jean-Yves Bernard and Madeleine Aubé, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Quebec;

Gabriel Bourgeois, for the intervener, the Attorney General for New Brunswick;

George H. Copley, for the intervener, the Attorney General of British Columbia;

Ross Macnab, for the intervener, the At­torney General for Saskatchewan;

Stanley H. Rutwind, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Alberta;

B. Gale Welsh, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Newfoundland;

Emilio S. Binavince, for the intervener, Minority Advocacy and Rights Council.

Solicitors of Record:

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

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, Toronto, Ontario, for the respondent, Shalom Schachter;

Tory, Tory, DesLauriers & Binnington, Toronto, Ontario, for the respondent, Women's Legal Education and Action Fund;

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

Attorney General of Quebec, Ste-Foy, Quebec, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Quebec;

Attorney General for New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, for the intervener, the Attorney General for New Brunswick;

Attorney General of British Columbia, Victoria, British Columbia, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Brit­ish Columbia;

Brian Barrington-Foote, Regina, Saskatch- ewan, for the intervener, the Attorney General for Saskatchewan;

Attorney General for Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Alberta;

Attorney General of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland, for the intervener, the Attorney General of Newfoundland;

Cogan and Cogan, Ottawa, Ontario, for the intervener, Minority Advocacy and Rights Council.

This appeal was heard on December 12, 1991, before Lamer, C.J.C., La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory and McLachlin, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada. The decision of the court was delivered on July 9, 1992, in both official languages, including the following opinions:

Lamer, C.J.C. (Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory and McLachlin, JJ., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 102;

La Forest, J. (L'Heureux-Dubé, J., con­curring) - see paragraphs 103 to 109.

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