Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society et al. v. Canada (Attorney General), (2010) 294 B.C.A.C. 70 (CA)

JudgeSaunders, Neilson and Groberman, JJ.A.
CourtCourt of Appeal (British Columbia)
Case DateOctober 12, 2010
JurisdictionBritish Columbia
Citations(2010), 294 B.C.A.C. 70 (CA);2010 BCCA 439

Sex Workers United v. Can. (A.G.) (2010), 294 B.C.A.C. 70 (CA);

    498 W.A.C. 70

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2010] B.C.A.C. TBEd. OC.009

Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society and Sheryl Kiselbach (appellants/plaintiffs) v. The Attorney General of Canada (respondent/defendant) and British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia, and West Coast Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (intervenors)

(CA036762; 2010 BCCA 439)

Indexed As: Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society et al. v. Canada (Attorney General)

British Columbia Court of Appeal

Saunders, Neilson and Groberman, JJ.A.

October 12, 2010.

Summary:

Kiselbach, a former sex trade worker, and Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society (SWUAV), challenged the constitutional validity of various Criminal Code sections related to prostitution. They sought to do this through a declaratory action that invoked ss. 2(b), 2(d), and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Attorney General of Canada applied to dismiss the action on the basis that neither Kiselbach nor SWUAV had standing, private or public, to challenge the constitutional validity of the provisions in issue. The Attorney General also applied to have portions of the pleadings struck under rule 19(24) of the Rules of Court and for an order staying that part of the action on the basis that the pleadings disclosed no reasonable claim, and alternatively, applied for particulars. In response to the rule 19(24) application, the plaintiffs sought to further amend their statement of claim.

The British Columbia Supreme Court, in a decision reported at [2008] B.C.T.C. Uned. F54, allowed the application to further amend the statement of claim. The court did not decide the rule 19(24) application, finding instead that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the claim. However, the judge observed that many of the alleged defects could be remedied by further amendments to the statement of claim or through the delivery of particulars. Further, the court found that "some aspects of the statement of claim could be said to raise a serious issue as to the validity of the legislation," and recognized that portions of it relating to s. 7 of the Charter were not challenged by the Attorney General of Canada under rule 19(24). Kiselbach and SWUAV appealed.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal, Groberman, J.A., dissenting, held that Kiselbach and SWUAV had public interest standing. Accordingly, the appeal was allowed, the order dismissing the action was set aside, and the matter was remitted to the British Columbia Supreme Court for disposition of the rule 19(24) application and the application for particulars.

Civil Rights - Topic 8361

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Denial of rights - General - Kiselbach, a former sex trade worker, and Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society (SWUAV), challenged the constitutional validity of various Criminal Code sections related to prostitution - They sought to do this through a declaratory action that invoked ss. 2(b), 2(d), and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - The Attorney General of Canada applied, inter alia, to dismiss the action on the basis that neither Kiselbach nor SWUAV had standing, private or public, to challenge the constitutional validity of the provisions in issue - The motions judge found that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the claim - Kiselbach and SWUAV appealed - Kiselbach also raised the prospect of a claim for a remedy under s. 24(1) for the first time - The British Columbia Court of Appeal held that a s. 24(1) remedy was not available to Kiselbach in a claim of this sort, as she sought only to challenge legislation and not state action - The Supreme Court of Canada had confirmed that s. 52(1) related to unconstitutional laws, and s. 24(1) was a remedy for government action that violated the Charter (Schachter v. Canada, 1992; R. v. Ferguson, 2008) - See paragraphs 34 and 35.

Civil Rights - Topic 8380.2

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

Civil Rights - Topic 8583

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Practice - Who may raise Charter issues (incl. standing) - Kiselbach, a former sex trade worker, and Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society (SWUAV), challenged the constitutional validity of various Criminal Code sections related to prostitution - They sought to do this through a declaratory action that invoked ss. 2(b), 2(d), and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - The Attorney General of Canada applied, inter alia, to dismiss the action on the basis that neither Kiselbach nor SWUAV had standing, private or public, to challenge the constitutional validity of the provisions - The motions judge found that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the claim - On appeal, Kiselbach and SWUAV advanced only Kiselbach's interest as supporting private interest standing - The British Columbia Court of Appeal affirmed that Kiselbach lacked private interest standing - The judge did not err in focusing upon Kiselbach's s. 7 Charter claim - Absent a direct contest between Kiselbach and the state, the claims under ss. 2(b), 2(d) and 15 were best seen as issues that might engage public interest standing - Further, the nature of the impugned laws was also significant - The provisions were found in the Criminal Code - The effect of success would be to discredit Kiselbach's convictions - She had private interest standing to challenge the provisions when she was charged, but now the challenge, as the judge indicated, had overtones of collateral attack - See paragraphs 23 to 36.

Civil Rights - Topic 8583

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Practice - Who may raise Charter issues (incl. standing) - Kiselbach, a former sex trade worker, and Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society (SWUAV), challenged the constitutional validity of various Criminal Code sections related to prostitution - They sought to do this through a declaratory action that invoked ss. 2(b), 2(d), and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - A motions judge found, inter alia, that the plaintiffs lacked public interest standing to bring the claim - The judge found that the first aspect of the test for public interest standing was established where the plaintiffs had raised a serious issue as to the invalidity of the impugned provisions - Second, the plaintiffs had a genuine interest in the legislation's validity - However, he found that the third aspect of the test, whether there were other reasonable and effective means to adjudicate the constitutional validity of the impugned provisions, was not met - Kiselbach and SWUAV appealed - The British Columbia Court of Appeal allowed the appeal - The judge failed to give sufficient weight to the breadth of the constitutional challenge and the comprehensive and systemic nature of the plaintiffs' theory - The court stated that the "term 'systemic' is something of a chameleon: it is used where an entire legislative scheme is challenged and, particularly in human rights cases, is used to describe situations in which disproportionately adverse consequences accrue to persons from legislative provisions that do not, on their face, target those persons adversely" - The court exercised its discretion to grant public interest standing to Kiselbach and SWUAV where there was no reason not to do so - See paragraphs 37 to 71.

Practice - Topic 221

Persons who can sue and be sued - Individuals and corporations - Status or standing - Public interest standing (incl. requirements of) - [See second Civil Rights - Topic 8583 ].

Practice - Topic 221

Persons who can sue and be sued - Individuals and corporations - Status or standing - Public interest standing (incl. requirements of) - The British Columbia Court of Appeal accepted "the proposition that a person who may assert private interest standing to challenge a law, if in fact available in the full sense of the word, will always present a reasonable way to bring the issue to court which, provided the person has either personal ability or the opportunity to have counsel, will likely be effective, so as to negate the criterion the applicant for public interest standing must establish. In the hierarchy of standing, the availability of a person with private interest standing will generally defeat an applicant for public interest standing." - See paragraph 49.

Cases Noticed:

Canadian Council of Churches v. Canada et al., [1992] 1 S.C.R. 236; 132 N.R. 241; 88 D.L.R.(4th) 193, refd to. [paras. 11, 85].

Finlay v. Canada, [1986] 2 S.C.R. 607; 71 N.R. 338; 33 D.L.R.(4th) 321, folld. [para. 12].

R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd., [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295; 58 N.R. 81; 60 A.R. 161; 18 D.L.R.(4th) 321, refd to. [para. 14].

Canadian Egg Marketing Agency v. Richardson - see Canadian Egg Marketing Agency v. Pineview Poultry Products Ltd. et al.

Canadian Egg Marketing Agency v. Pineview Poultry Products Ltd. et al., [1998] 3 S.C.R. 157; 231 N.R. 201; 223 A.R. 201; 183 W.A.C. 201; 166 D.L.R.(4th) 1, refd to. [para. 14].

Kitimat (District) v. Alcan Inc. (2006), 223 B.C.A.C. 27; 369 W.A.C. 27; 51 B.C.L.R.(4th) 314; 256 D.L.R.(4th) 462; 2006 BCCA 75, refd to. [para. 15].

Energy Probe et al. v. Canada (Attorney General) (1987), 61 O.R.(2d) 65; 42 D.L.R.(4th) 349 (H.C.), revd. (1989), 33 O.A.C. 39; 68 O.R.(2d) 449; 58 D.L.R.(4th) 513 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 15].

Smith v. Ontario, [1924] S.C.R. 331; [1924] 3 D.L.R.189, refd to. [para. 18].

Thorson v. Canada (Attorney General), [1975] 1 S.C.R. 138; 1 N.R. 225; 43 D.L.R.(3d) 1, refd to. [para. 18].

McNeil v. Nova Scotia Board of Censors, [1976] 2 S.C.R. 265; 5 N.R. 43; 12 N.S.R.(2d) 85; 6 A.P.R. 85; 55 D.L.R.(3d) 632, consd. [para. 18].

Borowski v. Canada (Minister of Justice) and Canada (Minister of Finance), [1981] 2 S.C.R. 575; 39 N.R. 331; 12 Sask.R. 420; 130 D.L.R.(3d) 588, refd to. [para. 18].

Magder (Paul) Furs Ltd. et al. v. Ontario (Attorney General), [1993] 3 S.C.R. 675; 160 N.R. 161; 67 O.A.C. 81; 107 D.L.R.(4th) 634, refd to. [para. 20].

Bedford et al. v. Canada (Attorney General) et al., [2010] O.T.C. Uned. 4264 (Sup. Ct.), refd to. [para. 21].

Solosky v. Canada, [1980] 1 S.C.R. 821; 30 N.R. 380; 105 D.L.R.(3d) 745, refd to. [para. 24].

Fraser v. Houston, [1996] B.C.J. No. 2096 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 24].

Vriend et al. v. Alberta, [1998] 1 S.C.R. 493; 224 N.R. 1; 212 A.R. 237; 168 W.A.C. 237; 156 D.L.R.(4th) 385, refd to. [para. 24].

Lavoie et al. v. Canada et al., [2002] 1 S.C.R. 769; 284 N.R. 1; 2002 SCC 23, refd to. [para. 24].

R. v. Litchfield, [1993] 4 S.C.R. 333; 161 N.R. 161; 145 A.R. 321; 55 W.A.C. 321; 86 C.C.C.(3d) 97, refd to. [para. 26].

Australian Conservation Foundation Incorporated v. Commonwealth of Australia (1980), 146 C.L.R. 493; 28 A.L.R. 257 (H.C.), folld. [para. 29].

Schachter v. Canada et al., [1992] 2 S.C.R. 679; 139 N.R. 1; 93 D.L.R.(4th) 1, refd to. [para. 35].

R. v. Ferguson (M.E.), [2008] 1 S.C.R. 96; 371 N.R. 231; 425 A.R. 79; 418 W.A.C. 79; 2008 SCC 6, refd to. [para. 35].

Friends of the Oldman River Society v. Canada (Minister of Transport and Minister of Fisheries and Oceans), [1992] 1 S.C.R. 3; 132 N.R. 321; 88 D.L.R.(4th) 1, refd to. [para. 38].

Harelkin v. University of Regina, [1979] 2 S.C.R. 561; 26 N.R. 364; 96 D.L.R.(3d) 14, refd to. [para. 38].

MiningWatch Canada v. Canada (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans) et al., [2010] 1 S.C.R. 6; 397 N.R. 232; 2010 SCC 2, refd to. [para. 38].

Metropolitan Stores (MTS) Ltd. v. Manitoba Food and Commercial Workers, Local 832 and Labour Board (Man.), [1987] 1 S.C.R. 110; 73 N.R. 341; 46 Man.R.(2d) 241; 38 D.L.R.(4th) 321, refd to. [para. 44].

RJR-MacDonald Inc. et Imperial Tobacco Ltd. v. Canada (Procureur général), [1994] 1 S.C.R. 311; 164 N.R. 1; 60 Q.A.C. 241; 111 D.L.R.(4th) 385, refd to. [para. 44].

Fraser v. Canada (Attorney General), [2005] O.T.C. 1127 (Sup. Ct.), refd to. [para. 45].

Grant v. Canada (Attorney General), [1995] 1 F.C. 158; 81 F.T.R. 195 (T.D.), affd. (1995), 184 N.R. 346; 125 D.L.R.(4th) 556; 31 C.R.R.(2d) 370 (F.C.A.), leave to appeal refused (1996), 199 N.R. 160 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 45].

Morgentaler v. New Brunswick (2008), 336 N.B.R.(2d) 121; 862 A.P.R. 121; 295 D.L.R.(4th) 694; 2008 NBQB 258, refd to. [para. 50].

Canadian Association of the Deaf et al. v. Canada (2007), 298 F.T.R. 90; 272 D.L.R.(4th) 55; 2006 FC 971, refd to. [para. 50].

Victoria (City) v. Adams et al., [2008] B.C.T.C. Uned. 976; 299 D.L.R.(4th) 193; 2008 BCSC 1363, revd. (2009), 280 B.C.A.C. 237; 474 W.A.C. 237; 313 D.L.R.(4th) 29; 100 B.C.L.R.(4th) 28; 2009 BCCA 563, refd to. [paras. 50, 78].

R. v. Cunningham (1986), 31 C.C.C.(3d) 223; 28 C.R.R. 226 (Man. Prov. Ct.), refd to. [para. 51].

R. v. Lewis (M.W.) (1996), 139 D.L.R.(4th) 480; 24 B.C.L.R.(3d) 247 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 53].

Cuddy Chicks Ltd. v. Labour Relations Board (Ont.) et al., [1991] 2 S.C.R. 5; 122 N.R. 361; 47 O.A.C. 271, refd to. [para. 54].

Workers' Compensation Board (N.S.) v. Martin et al., [2003] 2 S.C.R. 504; 310 N.R. 22; 217 N.S.R.(2d) 301; 683 A.P.R. 301; 2003 SCC 54, refd to. [para. 54].

R. v. R.J.H. (2000), 255 A.R. 320; 220 W.A.C. 320; 186 D.L.R.(4th) 468 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 54].

R. v. Smith (1988), 44 C.C.C.(3d) 385 (Ont. H.C.), refd to. [para. 56].

R. v. White (S.D.) (1994), 136 N.S.R.(2d) 77; 388 A.P.R. 77; 35 C.R.(4th) 88 (C.A.), dist. [para. 56].

R. v. Gudbranson (1985), 14 W.C.B. 298 (B.C. Prov. Ct.), dist. [para. 56].

R. v. Bear (1968), 54 C.R.(3d) 68 (Alta. Prov. Ct.), dist. [para. 56].

R. v. Kazelman, [1987] O.J. No. 1931 (Prov. Ct.), dist. [para. 56].

Chaoulli v. Quebec (Attorney General), [2005] 1 S.C.R. 791; 335 N.R. 25; 2005 SCC 35, refd to. [paras. 57, 85].

Canadian Bar Association v. British Columbia et al., [2006] B.C.T.C. 1342; 59 B.C.L.R.(4th) 38; 2006 BCSC 1342, affd. (2008), 252 B.C.A.C. 76; 422 W.A.C. 76; 76 B.C.L.R.(4th) 48; 290 D.L.R.(4th) 617; 2008 BCCA 92, leave to appeal dismissed (2008), 390 N.R. 81; 274 B.C.A.C. 319; 463 W.A.C. 319 (S.C.C.), refd to. [paras. 59, 90].

British Columbia v. Crockford (2006), 229 B.C.A.C. 114; 379 W.A.C. 114; 271 D.L.R.(4th) 445; 2006 BCCA 360, refd to. [para. 60].

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, refd to. [para. 67].

R. v. Skinner, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 1235; 109 N.R. 241; 98 N.S.R.(2d) 181; 263 A.P.R. 181; 56 C.C.C.(3d) 1, refd to. [para. 67].

Statutes Noticed:

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, sect. 24(1) [para. 28].

Constitution Act, 1982, sect. 52(1) [para. 13].

Counsel:

J.J. Arvay, Q.C., E.R.S. Sigurdson and K. Pacey, for the appellants;

C. Tobias and K.A. Manning, for the respondent;

J.B. Gratl, for the intervenor, BCCLA;

M.R. Ellis, Q.C., for the intervenor, TLABC;

K. Govender and M. Buckley, for the intervenor, West Coast LEAF.

This appeal was heard on January 21 and 22, 2010, by Saunders, Neilson and Groberman, JJ.A., of the British Columbia Court of Appeal. The decision of the court was delivered on October 12, 2010, and the following opinions were filed:

Saunders, J.A. (Neilson, J.A., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 71;

Groberman, J.A., dissenting - see paragraphs 72 to 100.

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34 practice notes
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    ...2015 FC 774, refd to. [para. 22]. Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society et al. v. Canada (Attorney General) (2010), 294 B.C.A.C. 70; 498 W.A.C. 70; 2010 BCCA 439, affd. [2012] 2 S.C.R. 524; 434 N.R. 257; 325 B.C.A.C. 1; 553 W.A.C. 1; 2012 SCC 45, refd to. [para. Roya......
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3 books & journal articles
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    • Ottawa Law Review Vol. 42 No. 3, December 2011
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