Vriend et al. v. Alberta, (1996) 181 A.R. 16 (CA)

JudgeMcClung, O'Leary and Hunt, JJ.A.
CourtCourt of Appeal (Alberta)
Case DateFebruary 23, 1996
Citations(1996), 181 A.R. 16 (CA)

Vriend v. Alta. (1996), 181 A.R. 16 (CA);

    116 W.A.C. 16

MLB headnote and full text

In The Matter Of the Constitution Act, 1982, enacted by the Canada Act, 1982 (U.K.), and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Individual's Rights Protection Act, R.S.A. 1980, c. I-2, as amended.

Delwin Vriend and Gala-Gay and Lesbian Awareness Society of Edmonton and Gay and Lesbian Community Centre of Edmonton Society and Dignity Canada Dignite for Gay Catholics and Supporters (applicants/respondents) v. Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Alberta and Her Majesty's Attorney General in and for the Province of Alberta (respondent/appellant) and Alberta Federation of Women United for Families, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Focus on the Family (Canada) Association, Alberta Civil Liberties Association, Canadian Human Rights Commission and Canadian Jewish Congress (intervenors)

(Appeal No. 9403-0380-AC)

Indexed As: Vriend et al. v. Alberta

Alberta Court of Appeal

McClung, O'Leary and Hunt, JJ.A.

February 23, 1996.

Summary:

Vriend was dismissed from employment at King's College because he was a homo­sexual. His complaint to the Alberta Human Rights Commission was rejected on the ground that "sexual orientation" was not a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Alberta Individual's Rights Protection Act. Vriend and others applied for a decla­ration that ss. 2(1), 3, 4, 7(1), 8(1) and 10 of the Act, by being under-inclusive, violated s. 15(1) of the Charter of Rights and Free­doms.

The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, in a judgment reported 152 A.R. 1, declared that the challenged sections violated equality rights under the Charter and were not rea­sonable limits prescribed by law under s. 1 of the Charter. The appropriate remedy was to interpret, apply and administer the sec­tions as though they contained the words "sexual orientation" (i.e., reading in). The province appealed.

The Alberta Court of Appeal, Hunt, J.A., dissenting, allowed the appeal. McClung, J.A., held that the deliberate omission of "sexual orientation" did not invoke s. 15(1), because there was no governmental action as required by s. 32(1) of the Charter. Alter­natively, the challenged sections did not violate s. 15(1) because there was no dis­criminatory distinction. O'Leary, J.A., as­sumed that the requirements of s. 32(1) were met, making the challenged sections subject to s. 15(1) scrutiny, and held that the sec­tions did not create a distinction based on sexual orientation and, accordingly, did not violate s. 15(1). Hunt, J.A., dissenting, held that the requirements of s. 32(1) were met, s. 15(1) was invoked and s. 15(1) was vio­lated. The refusal to act reinforced stereo­typical attitudes about homosexuals. Legis­lative silence drew a discriminatory distinc­tion for the purposes of s. 15(1). The court unanimously agreed that if the sections vio­lated s. 15(1) that "reading up" or "read­ing in" was not an appropriate remedy; that the appropriate remedy would be to declare the of­fending sections invalid and suspend the declaration for one year to permit the Al­berta legislature to remedy the problem.

Civil Rights - Topic 953

Discrimination - Sexual orientation - Homosexuals - The Alberta Individual's Rights Protection Act (ss. 2(1), 3, 4, 7(1), 8(1), 10) deliberately excluded "sexual orientation" as a prohibited ground of discrimination - The Alberta Court of Appeal held that the sections did not vio­late s. 15(1) of the Charter - McClung, J.A., held that the deliberate omission of "sexual orientation" did not invoke s. 15(1), because there was no "governmental action" as required by s. 32(1) of the Charter - Alternatively, the challenged sections did not violate s. 15(1) - O'Leary, J.A., assumed that the requirements of s. 32(1) were met, making the challenged sections subject to s. 15(1) scrutiny, and held that the sections did not create a distinction based on sexual orientation and, accordingly, did not violate s. 15(1) - Hunt, J.A., dissenting, held that the re­quirements of s. 32(1) were met, s. 15(1) was invoked and s. 15(1) was violated - The refusal to act reinforced stereotypical attitudes about homosexuals - Legislative silence drew a discriminatory distinction for the purposes of s. 15(1) - The court unanimously agreed that if the sections violated s. 15(1) that "reading up" or "reading in" was not an appropriate reme­dy; that the appropriate remedy would be to declare the offending sections invalid and suspend the declaration for one year to permit the Alberta legislature to remedy the problem.

Civil Rights - Topic 987

Discrimination - Employment - On basis of sex - Sexual orientation - [See Civil Rights - Topic 953 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 8311

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Application - Nongovernmental or pri­vate interference - Section 32(1) of the Charter provided that the Charter applied "to the legislature and government of each province in respect of all matters within the authority of the legislature of each province" - McClung, J.A., held that the Alberta legislature's deliberate omission of "sexual orientation" as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Individual's Rights Protection Act did not constitute governmental action for the purposes of s. 32(1) - Accordingly, the Act would not be subject to Charter scrutiny - O'Leary, J.A., proceeded on the assumption that the s. 32(1) requirements were met - Hunt, J.A., held that the actions of the legislature in refusing to extend the Act to homosexuals was governmental action which engaged the Charter - In the result, the Alberta Court of Appeal held that the challenged sections of the Act were subject to Charter scrutiny - See paragraphs 10 to 35, 67 to 70, 96.

Civil Rights - Topic 8319

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Application - Human rights legislation - [See Civil Rights - Topic 8311 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 8380.1

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Denial of rights - Remedies - Reading in - The Alberta legislature deliberately omitted "sexual orientation" as a pro­hibited ground of discrimination under the Individual's Rights Protection Act - The Alberta Court of Appeal held that even if sections of the Act violated s. 15(1) of the Charter, "reading in" sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination was not an appropriate remedy - Reading in was to be used only in the clearest of cases where "(1) the legislative objective was obvious and reading in would further that objective or interfere less with the objective than would striking down; (2) the choice of means used by the legisla­ture to further the objective is not so equivocal that reading in would unac­ceptably intrude into the domain of the legislature; and (3) reading in would not intrude substantially into the legisla­ture's budgetary decisions." - Reading in should not be used where, as here, the question of how to amend the Act to comply with the Char­ter could not be answered with suf­ficient precision - See paragraphs 42 to 62, 87, 180 to 203.

Civil Rights - Topic 8380.1

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Denial of rights - Remedies - Reading in - [See Civil Rights - Topic 953 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 8668

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Equality rights - What constitutes a breach of s. 15 - [See Civil Rights - Topic 953 ].

Constitutional Law - Topic 2507.1

Determination of validity of statutes - Reading in - [See Civil Rights - Topic 953 and first Civil Rights - Topic 8380.1 ].

Cases Noticed:

Egan and Nesbitt v. Canada, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 513; 182 N.R. 161; 124 D.L.R. (4th) 609, refd to. [para. 2].

McKinney v. University of Guelph, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 229; 118 N.R. 1; 45 O.A.C. 1; 76 D.L.R.(4th) 545, refd to. [para. 18].

Rodriguez v. British Columbia (Attorney General) et al., [1993] 3 S.C.R. 519; 158 N.R. 1; 34 B.C.A.C. 1; 56 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 23].

Schachter v. Canada, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 679; 139 N.R. 1; 93 D.L.R.(4th) 1, refd to. [para. 27].

Zeitel and Henning v. Ellscheid et al., [1994] 2 S.C.R. 142; 165 N.R. 214; 71 O.A.C. 134, refd to. [para. 28].

Grigby v. Oakes (1801), 2 Bos. & Pul. 526; 126 E.R. 1420, refd to. [para. 29].

Richert Co. v. Forbes, [1937] 3 W.W.R. 632 (Alta. C.A.), refd to. [para. 29].

Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), 92 L.Ed.2d 140 (U.S.S.C.), refd to. [para. 32].

Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 143; 91 N.R. 255; [1989] 2 W.W.R. 289; 56 D.L.R. (4th) 1; 34 B.C.L.R.(2d) 273; 36 C.R.R. 193; 25 C.C.E.L. 255, refd to. [para. 33].

Symes v. Minister of National Revenue, [1993] 4 S.C.R. 695; 161 N.R. 243; 110 D.L.R.(4th) 470, refd to. [para. 33].

Eldridge et al. v. British Columbia (Attor­ney General) et al. (1995), 59 B.C.A.C. 254; 98 W.A.C. 254; 125 D.L.R.(4th) 323 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 34].

M. v. H., [1996] O.J. No. 365 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 44].

Bain v. Pinson, 282 U.S. 499 (U.S.S.C.), refd to. [para. 45].

R. v. Askov, Hussey, Melo and Gugliotta, [1990] 2 S.C.R. 1199; 113 N.R. 241; 59 C.C.C.(3d) 449; 79 C.R.(3d) 273, refd to. [para. 45].

R. v. Secretary of State for Defence; Ex parte Smith et al., [1995] 4 All E.R. 427, refd to. [para. 58].

Reference Re ss. 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; 77 C.R.(3d) 1; [1990] 4 W.W.R. 481, refd to. [para. 61].

Miron and Valliere v. Trudel et al., [1995] 2 S.C.R. 418; 181 N.R. 253; 81 O.A.C. 253, refd to. [para. 70].

Thibaudeau v. Minister of National Reve­nue, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 627; 182 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 71].

Blainey v. Ontario Hockey Association et al. (1986), 14 O.A.C. 194; 54 O.R.(2d) 513 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 74].

Adler et al. v. Ontario et al. (1994), 73 O.A.C. 81; 19 O.R.(3d) 1 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 82].

Haig and Birch v. Canada et al. (1992), 57 O.A.C. 272; 9 O.R.(3d) 495; 94 D.L.R. (4th) 1 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 83].

Dolphin Delivery Ltd. v. Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Local 580, Peterson and Alexander, [1986] 2 S.C.R. 573; 71 N.R. 83; 33 D.L.R.(4th) 174; 38 C.C.L.T. 184; 25 C.R.R. 321; [1987] 1 W.W.R. 577; 87 C.L.L.C. 14,002, refd to. [para. 95].

R. v. Swain, [1991] 1 S.C.R. 933; 125 N.R. 1; 47 O.A.C. 81; 5 C.R.(4th) 253; 63 C.C.C.(3d) 481, refd to. [para. 98].

Lavigne v. Ontario Public Service Em­ployees Union et al., [1991] 2 S.C.R. 211; 126 N.R. 161; 48 O.A.C. 241; 81 D.L.R.(4th) 545, refd to. [para. 127].

R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd., [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295; 58 N.R. 81; 60 A.R. 161; [1985] 3 W.W.R. 481; 18 C.C.C.(3d) 385; 18 D.L.R.(4th) 321; 37 Alta. L.R.(2d) 97; 85 C.L.L.C. 14,023; 13 C.R.R. 64, refd to. [para. 139].

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. 140].

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. [para. 161].

Reference Re Electoral Divisions Statutes Amendment Act (Alta.) (1994), 157 A.R. 241; 77 W.A.C. 241; 24 Alta. L.R. (3d) 1 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 171].

RJR-MacDonald Inc. et Imperial Tobacco Ltd. v. Canada (Procureur général) (1995), 187 N.R. 1 (S.C.C.), refd to. [para. 171].

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. 180].

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. [para. 182].

MacKay et al. v. Manitoba, [1989] 2 S.C.R. 357; 99 N.R. 116; 61 Man.R.(2d) 270; 61 D.L.R.(4th) 385; [1989] 6 W.W.R. 351, refd to. [para. 184].

Knodel v. Medical Services Commission (B.C.), [1991] 6 W.W.R. 728; 91 C.L.L.C. 17,023 (B.C.S.C.), refd to. [para. 192].

Tighe v. McGillivray Estate et al. (1994), 127 N.S.R.(2d) 313; 355 A.P.R. 313; 112 D.L.R.(4th) 201 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 197].

Statutes Noticed:

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, sect. 15(1) [para. 3]; sect. 32(1) [para. 11].

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, sect. 229(a) [para. 48].

Individual's Rights Protection Act, S.A. 1980, c. I-2, sect. 2(1), sect. 4, sect. 7(1), sect. 7(2), sect. 7(3), sect. 8(1), sect. 10 [Appendix].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Driedger, E.A., Construction of Statutes (2nd Ed. 1983), p. 86 [para. 28].

Hogg, P.W., Constitutional Law of Canada (3rd Ed. 1992), p. 12-6 [para. 40].

Morgan, R.E., Disabling America: The Rights Industry in Our Time (1984), generally [para. 61].

Pearson, D., and Allen, R.S., The Nine Old Men (1936), p. 99 [para. 57].

Pothier, D., Charter Challenges to Under­inclusive Legislation: The Complexities of Sins of Omission (1993), 19 Queen's L.J. 261, p. 281 [para. 128].

Rehnquist, The Supreme Court; How It Was, How It Is (1987), generally [para. 47].

Counsel:

J.T. McCarthy, Q.C., and D.G. Grainger, for the appellant;

D.R. Stollery, Q.C., S.J. Greckol, and J.R. Kolmes, for the respondents;

D.K. Miller, for Alberta Federation of Women United for Families Association;

S.P. Chotalia, for Alberta Civil Liberties Association;

D.J. Corry and W. Pentney, for Canadian Human Rights Commission;

G.D. Chipeur and B.B. Johnston, for The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada;

T.W. Wakeling and H.L. Treacy, for Focus on the Family (Canada) Associa­tion;

R.S. Abells, for Canadian Jewish Con­gress.

This appeal was heard before McClung, O'Leary and Hunt, JJ.A., of the Alberta Court of Appeal.

On February 23, 1996, the judgment of the Court of Appeal was delivered and the fol­lowing opinions were filed:

McClung, J.A. - see paragraphs 1 to 66;

O'Leary, J.A. - see paragraphs 67 to 87;

Hunt, J.A., dissenting - see paragraphs 88 to 206.

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14 practice notes
  • Vriend et al. v. Alberta, (1998) 224 N.R. 1 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • April 2, 1998
    ...orientation" (i.e., reading in). The province appealed. The Alberta Court of Appeal, Hunt, J.A., dissenting, in a judgment reported 181 A.R. 16; 116 W.A.C. 16 , allowed the appeal. McClung, J.A., held that the deliberate omission of "sexual orientation" did not invoke s. 15(1), because the......
  • Vriend et al. v. Alberta, (1998) 212 A.R. 237 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • April 2, 1998
    ...orientation" (i.e., reading in). The province appealed. The Alberta Court of Appeal, Hunt, J.A., dissenting, in a judgment reported 181 A.R. 16; 116 W.A.C. 16 , allowed the appeal. McClung, J.A., held that the deliberate omission of "sexual orientation" did not invoke s. 15(1), because the......
  • Table of cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Fundamental Justice: Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Second Edition
    • June 22, 2019
    ...120 Vriend v Alberta, [1998] 1 SCR 493, 156 DLR (4th) 385, [1998] SCJ No 29, rev’g (1996), 181 AR 16, 132 DLR (4th) 595, [1996] AJ No 182 (CA)....................................................................60, 118, 357 W(R) v W(E), 2004 NBCA 13 ................................................
  • Table of Cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Individual Employment Law. Second Edition
    • June 16, 2008
    ...293 Vriend v. Alberta, [1998] 1 S.C.R. 493 , 212 A.R. 237 , 156 D.L.R. (4th) 385 , [1999] 5 W.W.R. 451 , quashing (1996), 181 A.R. 16, 132 D.L.R. (4th) 595 , [1996] 5 W.W.R. 617 , 18 C.C.E.L. (2d) 1 (C.A.) ........ 217 W.(D.) v. New Brunswick (Workplace Health, Safety and Compensati......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • Vriend et al. v. Alberta, (1998) 224 N.R. 1 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • April 2, 1998
    ...orientation" (i.e., reading in). The province appealed. The Alberta Court of Appeal, Hunt, J.A., dissenting, in a judgment reported 181 A.R. 16; 116 W.A.C. 16 , allowed the appeal. McClung, J.A., held that the deliberate omission of "sexual orientation" did not invoke s. 15(1), because the......
  • Vriend et al. v. Alberta, (1998) 212 A.R. 237 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • April 2, 1998
    ...orientation" (i.e., reading in). The province appealed. The Alberta Court of Appeal, Hunt, J.A., dissenting, in a judgment reported 181 A.R. 16; 116 W.A.C. 16 , allowed the appeal. McClung, J.A., held that the deliberate omission of "sexual orientation" did not invoke s. 15(1), because the......
  • Conseil de la magistrature (N.-B.) v. Moreau-Bérubé, (2002) 245 N.B.R.(2d) 201 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • February 7, 2002
    ...39 Q.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 46]. Beauregard v. Canada, [1986] 2 S.C.R. 56; 70 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 46]. Vriend et al. v. Alberta (1996), 181 A.R. 16; 116 W.A.C. 16; 132 D.L.R.(4th) 595 (C.A.), refd to. [para. R. v. Ewanchuk (S.B.) (1998), 212 A.R. 81; 168 W.A.C. 81; 13 C.R.(5th) 324 (......
  • Conseil de la magistrature (N.-B.) v. Moreau-Bérubé, 2002 SCC 11
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • February 7, 2002
    ...39 Q.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 46]. Beauregard v. Canada, [1986] 2 S.C.R. 56; 70 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 46]. Vriend et al. v. Alberta (1996), 181 A.R. 16; 116 W.A.C. 16; 132 D.L.R.(4th) 595 (C.A.), refd to. [para. R. v. Ewanchuk (S.B.) (1998), 212 A.R. 81; 168 W.A.C. 81; 13 C.R.(5th) 324 (......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
4 books & journal articles
  • Table of Cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Individual Employment Law. Second Edition
    • June 16, 2008
    ...293 Vriend v. Alberta, [1998] 1 S.C.R. 493 , 212 A.R. 237 , 156 D.L.R. (4th) 385 , [1999] 5 W.W.R. 451 , quashing (1996), 181 A.R. 16, 132 D.L.R. (4th) 595 , [1996] 5 W.W.R. 617 , 18 C.C.E.L. (2d) 1 (C.A.) ........ 217 W.(D.) v. New Brunswick (Workplace Health, Safety and Compensati......
  • Table of cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Fundamental Justice: Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Second Edition
    • June 22, 2019
    ...120 Vriend v Alberta, [1998] 1 SCR 493, 156 DLR (4th) 385, [1998] SCJ No 29, rev’g (1996), 181 AR 16, 132 DLR (4th) 595, [1996] AJ No 182 (CA)....................................................................60, 118, 357 W(R) v W(E), 2004 NBCA 13 ................................................
  • Human Rights Legislation in the Workplace
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Individual Employment Law. Second Edition
    • June 16, 2008
    ...a mandatory drug and alcohol testing policy imposed at the giant Syncrude oil 14 Vriend v. Alberta , [1998] 1 S.C.R. 493, quashing (1996), 181 A.R. 16 (C.A.). 15 Although gender identity has been included under disability, sex, and sexual orientation, arguably it deserves independent recogn......
  • The legally queer child.
    • Canada
    • McGill Law Journal No. 49, October 2004
    • October 1, 2004
    ...160 D.L.R. (4th) 385, 54 B.C.L.R. (3d) 306 (C.A.); rev'd [2000] 2 S.C.R. 1120, 193 D.L.R. (4th) 193. (41) Ibid. at para. 135. (42) (1996), 181 A.R. 16, 132 D.L.R. (4th) 595 (C.A.) [Vriend (C.A.) cited to D.L.R.], rev'd [1998] 1 S.C.R. 493, 156 D.L.R. (4th) (43) Vriend (C.A.), ibid. at para.......

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