The Charter and Emerging Issues in Constitutional Rights and Freedoms: From 1982 to 2032

This conference will mark the 35th anniversary of the patriation of the Canadian Constitution and the enactment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms against the background of Canada’s 150th birthday and the 150th birthday of Canada’s Constitution. The focus of the conference will be addressing today’s challenges of today and considering the challenges for the next 10-25 years.

This program qualifies for 11.5 hours of substantive CPD by the Law Society of Upper Canada and 11,5 hours of continuing education by the Barreau and Chambre des Notaires du Québec.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017, Gowlings Moot Court, Fauteux Hall, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, 57 Louis Pasteur Pvt


5:30 – 7:00

The Charter Pitch  is a Dragon’s Den-style event where each participant will get a chance to “pitch” their favorite Charter case to the audience for 7 minutes.  At the end, the audience will have the opportunity to “vote” for their favorite Charter case.


  • Lawrence Greenspon, Greenspon, Brown & Associates
  • Anne London-Weinstein, President, Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa
  • Eugene Meehan, QC, Supreme Advocacy LLP
  • Katherine Kaufman, Justice Canada
  • Hosted by Catherine Clark
Thursday, March 9, 2017, Room 217, Shaw Centre
8:00 – 9:00 Registration
9:00 Opening: Professor Adam Dodek, Faculty of Law, uOttawa


Welcome from Algonquin Elder Fred McGregor

Introduction of President Jacques Frémont by Professor Michael Pal, Director of the Public Law Group

9:20 Welcome address by President Jacques Frémont, University of Ottawa
9:30 – 10:30 Charter Protection for the Environment?

–       Professor Nathalie Chalifour, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

–       Professor Jason MacLean, Lakehead University

o   Against Constitutionalizing Environmental Rights

–       Professor Lynda Collins, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

o   Never Going Back: Constitutional Environmental Rights and the Principle of Non Regression

–       Moderated by Professor Sophie Thériault, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

10:30 – 11:00 Health Break & Student Poster Demonstrations
11:00 – 12:15 Roundtable on Fundamental Freedoms sponsored by the Ottawa Law Review

–       Professor Jamie Cameron, Osgoode Hall Law School

o   Freedom’s Fundamentals

–       Professor Howard Kislowicz, UNB Faculty of Law

–       Jennifer Klinck & Marc-Andre Roy, Power Law, Vancouver & Ottawa

o   The Future of Forgotten Fundamental Freedom: Towards a Freedom of Peaceful Assembly Jurisprudence

–       Moderated by Professor Natasha Bakht, Faculty of Law, uOttawa

12:15 – 1:30 Lunch & Keynote Address by Hon. Richard Wagner, Supreme Court of Canada

  • Introduced by Professor Peter Oliver, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
1:30 – 3:00 The Charter and Social Policy sponsored by Ottawa Law Review

–       Margot Young, Allard Hall, University of British Columbia

o   Social Justice and Rights: Does the Charter Have A Soul?

–       Marie Carpentier, University de Québec à Montréal

o   La Charte canadienne des droits et libertés au secours des droits économiques et sociaux

–       Kerri Froc, University of New Brunswick

o   The Living Tree’s Sour Fruit – How Conventional Constitutional Interpretation Undermines the Charter’s Promise of Social Justice

–       James Hendry, Department of Justice (retired)

o   The Arc of “instrumental Rationality” Review of Government Social Action

–       Emmett Macfarlane, University of Waterloo

o   Dialogue, Remedies and Positive Rights: Carter v. Canada as Microcosm for Past and Future Issues under the Charter

–       Moderated by Professor Martha Jackman, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

3:00 – 3:30 Health Break & Student Poster Demonstrations
3:30 – 4:30 The Challenge of Litigating Charter Claims

–      James Kelly, Concordia

The Supreme Court of Canada as an Implementer-dependent Institution

–     Matthew Horner, Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General

–     Cheryl Milne, The David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights, Toronto

–     Alexander Pless, General Counsel, Justice Canada

–     Moderated by Professor Carissima Mathen, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

5:00 – 7:00 Reception at the Supreme Court of Canada
Friday, March 10, 2017, Room 217, Shaw Centre

9:00   Call to Order and Introduction of Elder Claudette Commanda – Professor Sarah Morales, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

9:05   Greetings from Claudette Commanda, Algonquin Elder

9:15   Greetings from Dean François Larocque, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

9:20 – 10:30 The Charter and Health

–       Colleen Flood and Bryan Thomas, uOttawa

o   Charter Challenges to Canadian Medicare: The Search for Silver Linings

–       Joanna Erdman, Dalhousie University

o   The Charter and Democratic Revolution in Abortion Rights

–       Daphne Gilbert, uOttawa

o   Bricks versus Blood:  Institutional Claims to Freedom of Religion and Patient Rights

–       Amir Attaran, uOttawa

o   The Harm Reduction Court

–       Moderated by Professor Vanessa Gruben, uOttawa

10:30 – 11:00 Health Break and Student Poster Demonstrations
11:00 – 12:30 The Charter and Globalization

–       Mariette Brennan and Miriam Cohen, Lakehead University

o   The Charter and Statelessness

–       Dan Moore, Justice Canada

o   Building a Human Rights Culture Open to All: The Need for Public Decision-Making to Flexibly Engage with Human Rights Values

–       Y.Y. Chen and Jocelyn Kane, uOttawa

o   The Right to Have Rights: Extending Charter Protections to Non-Citizens

–       Ryan Alford, Lakehead University

o   The Charter and Canada’s “National Security Framework”:  Time for Interdisciplinary Dialogue on Sovereignty, Rights, and the Canadian State?

–       Moderated by Laurie Sargent, Justice Canada

12:30 – 2:00 The Shirley Greenberg Chair in Women and the Legal Profession presents:

Keynote Address by the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, QC, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

  • Introduced by Professor Errol Mendes, University of Ottawa
  • Thanked by Ida Mahmoudi, University of Ottawa

(Lunch provided)

2:00 – 3:00 Media Roundtable

–       Alison Crawford, CBC

–       Tonda McCharles, Toronto Star

–       Leslie MacKinnon, iPolitics

–       Moderated by Stephen Bindman, Justice Canada

3:15 Conference Conclusion
Special Pre-Conference Student Roundtable
–       Adam Houston, PhD student, University of Ottawa – The Consumption of Ideas: Mutual Lessons for Public Health and Human Rights from Tuberculosis Jurisprudence under Canada’s Charter of Rights & Freedoms and South Africa’s Bill of Rights

–       Elsa Michel, JD student, University of Ottawa – Fighting Climate Change at a national Level: Amending the Constitution to Achieve Strong Sustainability in Canada

–       Amani Delbani, JD/LLL student, University of Ottawa – Bill C-51, Surveillance or Protection?

–       Garret Lecoq, PhD student, Carleton University – What is to be Done? Analyzing the Charter-Interpreting Process and its Perlocutionary Social Affects

–       Matthew Chan, JD student, UBC – Moving Beyond the Dialogue Theory: Envisioning the Courts as Facilitators of Dialogue in Official Minority Language Education Disputes

–       Brian Bird, McGill – Freedom of Conscience

This content has been updated on 7 March 2017 at 15 h 15 min.