Monday, October 2, 2017
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
What is the effect of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on the resolution of issues of culture and religion? Are the courts getting the mix right? Is the law falling behind or is it leading?
It is commonplace to speak of Canada as a multi-cultural or multi-ethnic society and these characteristics must figure in any consideration of diversity in the administration of justice. Diversity is an encompassing term that allows for multiple forms of social groupings but also multiple themes that cross between and among social groupings. Diversity is thus an appropriate term with which to examine the manner in which public institutions serve the interests of inclusiveness and equality in the administration of justice.
An important dimension of this conference is the examination of the manner in which public institutions have and should evolve to advance values of inclusiveness and equality, including an assessment of their shortcomings. Another broad dimension focuses on substantive issues (language, religion, race, culture, etc.) concerning complementarity and contradiction between values of diversity and equality.
Albert V. Dicey, the noted British constitutional theorist, propounded a conception of the rule of law in terms of "the equal subjection of all classes to the ordinary law of the land administered by the ordinary courts". The Canadian Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms endorses this conception of the rule of law. Section 15 of the Charter provides that “Every individual is equal before and under the law…". If the same law applies equally to every individual, what is the argument then concerning the importance of taking into account religious and cultural diversity in the legal system? Is it a question of acknowledging the different perceptions that these cultural or religious groups have regarding the law and the administration of justice in general, or rather that the Canadian legal system must adapt and change its substantive norms to reflect these different perceptions?
These issues play out in every aspect of the administration of justice: for the police, for civil and criminal courts and tribunals. This conference is thus relevant to all actors in the administration of justice.
- The Honourable Nicole Duval Hesler, Chief Justice of Quebec
- The Honourable Georgina R. Jackson, Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan, CIAJ President
- Mr. Patrick A. Molinari, Ad. E., FRSC, Lavery, Montreal, CIAJ Vice-President
- Professor Natasha Bakht, Faculty of Law - Common Law Section, University of Ottawa
- The Honourable Danielle Côté, Associate Chief Judge - Criminal and Penal Division, Court of Québec
- Ms. Rime El Rhoul, Student, Faculty of Law, Université de Montréal
- Dean Jean-François Gaudreault-Desbiens, Faculty of Law, Université de Montréal
- The Honourable Sheilah Martin, Court of Appeal for Alberta
- The Honourable Shaun Nakatsuru, Ontario Superior Court of Justice
- The Honourable James O’Reilly, Federal Court of Canada
- Professor Marilyn Poitras, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan
- Professor Martine Valois, Faculty of Law, Université de Montréal