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Part V Rights and Freedoms, A Litigating and Interpreting the Charter, Ch.32 Charter Remedies

Kent Roach

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution

Edited By: Peter Oliver, Patrick Macklem, Nathalie Des Rosiers

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved.date: 29 September 2022

This chapter argues that interpretative remedies have qualified the supremacy clause in section 52(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982 and should only be used when courts can avoid making choices best left to the legislature. It also suggests that suspended declarations of invalidity facilitate dialogue between courts and legislatures but should, as in the recent assisted dying case, be administered so that litigants not suffer irreparable harm during the suspension. Rights may be better enforced and developed in the criminal than the civil trial context because stronger remedies such as exclusion of evidence are available whereas most awards of Charter damages have been modest. Canadian courts prefer declarations or individual remedies such as damages or habeas corpus over the use of injunctions and the retention of jurisdiction. This has impoverished Charter rights relating to conditions of confinement, illustrating how remedies affect and even shape rights.

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