2020 SCC 38
Pursuant to Christopher’s Law (Sex Offender Registry) 2000, S.O. 2000, c. 1, individuals convicted or found not criminally responsible (NCR) of a sex offence are required to register under the provincial sex offender registry and report to provincial authorities for 10 years to life. In 2002, G was found not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder (NCRMD) of two sexual offences and given an absolute discharge by the Ontario Review Board in 2003. In 2004, G was placed on the provincial sex offender registry. G brought a claim seeking a declaration that the application of the provincial sex offender registry to persons in his situation (persons found NCR and granted a subsequent absolute discharge) infringes their rights under ss. 7 and 15 of the Charter.
The ONCA concluded that Christopher’s Law infringes on G’s s. 15 Charter rights (and those of individuals in his situation) and that such infringements cannot be saved under s. 1. As a remedy, they declared Christopher’s Law to be of no force or effect in their application to individuals in G’s situation. ONCA suspended the effect of the declaration for 12 months but exempted G from this suspension. The Attorney General of Ontario appealed the portion of the judgment granting G an individual exemption. The Asper Centre intervened in this appeal to recommend to the court flexible rules for the use of suspended declarations of invalidity and personal remedies for individual successful claimants.
The SCC upheld ONCA’s finding that Christopher’s Law violated the section 15 rights of those in G’s situation and could not be upheld under s.1. Justice Karakatsanis, writing for the majority, accepted the Asper Centre’s recommendation of a “principled approach” in the determination of an appropriate remedy. They upheld the suspended declaration of invalidity as well as G’s exemption from the suspension on the basis that it would balance the interests of protecting public safety while ensuring that G is not denied the benefit of his successful claim.
|2019 / 12 / 16||Applicant – Attorney General of Ontario|
|2020 / 02 / 03||Respondent – G|
|2020 / 02 / 05||Intervener – Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario Division|
|2020 / 02 / 05||Intervener – Canadian Civil Liberties Association|
|2020 / 02 / 06||Intervener – Criminal Lawyer’s Association Ontario|
|2020 / 02 / 06||Intervener – The Empowerment Council|
|2020 / 02 / 06||Intervener – David Asper Centre For Constitutional Rights|
|2020 / 02 / 06||Intervener – Attorney General of Canada|