Charter: A Course

About the Podcast

Charter: A Course is a podcast created by the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights (the Asper Centre) and hosted by the Asper Centre’s Executive Director Cheryl MilneCharter: A Course focuses on Canadian constitutional law and litigation. In each episode, we highlight the accomplishments of U of T Law’s faculty and alumni involved in leading constitutional cases and issues. Each episode also includes a “Practice Corner,” where we talk about the ins and outs of what it means to be a constitutional litigator.  Whether you are a law student, a lawyer, or just an interested person, we hope that you learn about an aspect of constitutional law and litigation that interests you in our podcast.

Episode 2: COVID-19 and the Charter

Show Notes Episode 2

This episode focuses on various Charter rights in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Section 6 (1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms confers the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada upon every citizen of Canada. Section 6(2) provides citizens and permanent residents with the right to move and take up residence and to pursue a livelihood in any province. Over the past year and a half, some provinces, including Ontario, have restricted movement across provincial borders. Other legal responses, or lack of responses, from government might also implicate section 7 rights to life, liberty and security of the person, while vaccine mandates raise questions about equality rights under section 15 or freedom of conscience and religion under section 2(a); and arguments have been made that restrictions on gathering affect those rights as well as the right to assembly under section 2(c) or association under 2(d).

We’ll hear about the complicated relationship between our Charter and the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic from Abby Deshman and Nathalie des Rosiers. We’ll also hear a bit more about a topic we covered in our first episode: section 1 of the Charter. Particularly, whether the Oakes test is too strict in the context of an emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic. To close things off, in our “Practice Corner,” we’ll hear from two recent U of T law graduates, Geri Angelova and Hana Awwad, regarding their experience participating in the law school’s Grand Moot earlier this year, which was on the topic of the constitutionality of mandatory vaccinations.

Read more here and find a full transcript of Episode 2 here.

Episode 1: What’s the Point of Section 1?

Show Notes Episode 1

In this episode, we begin our exploration of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms with a conversation about section 1, which sets out that the rights in the Charter are subject to limits, or as the section says, “reasonable limits that are demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society.” We are privileged to speak with scholar and U of T alumnus Professor Jacob Weinrib. During our “Practice Corner,” we speak with constitutional litigator and U of T Law alumnus Padraic Ryan.

Read more here and find a full transcript of Episode 1 here.