2017 Annual Conference — The Charter Challenge Conundrum: The Clash of Rights and Values and the Canadian Cultural Mosaic

Date: October 2-4, 2017
Price per person: Members – Early bird rate: $795 ($895 after August 2, 2017) – Non-Members – Early bird rate: $895 ($995 after August 2, 2017) – Young lawyer Member (5 years or less): $525 ($600 after August 2, 2017) – Young lawyer Non-Member (5 years or less): $600 ($700 after August 2, 2017) – Students: $75 (enrolled full-time at Canadian universities)
Location: Hyatt Regency Hotel (Soprano Ballroom, 4th Floor), 1255 Jeanne-Mance, Montreal, QC, H5B 1E5

***This event is over. You can watch the videos here and access the documents here.

Honorary Chair

  • The Hon. Nicole Duval Hesler, Chief Justice, Court of Appeal of Quebec 


  • The Hon. Justice Georgina R. Jackson, Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan, CIAJ President
  • Mr. Patrick A. Molinari, Ad. E., FRSC, Lavery, Montreal, CIAJ Vice-President

Continuing Professional Development

  • This program is eligible for 14.25 CPD hours in all provinces
  • Ethics/Professionalism:
    Ontario: 4.5 hours
    Saskatchewan: 14.25 hours
    Other provinces: according to the Law Society
  • Canadian Judicial Council Resolution Reference Number: 29

With the support of: 

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Cultural and Religious Diversity in the Administration of Justice

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 Declaration 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.

Planning Committee

  • Professor Natasha Bakht, Faculty of Law – Common Law Section, University of Ottawa
  • The Hon. Danielle Côté, Associate Chief Judge – Criminal and Penal Division, Court of Québec
  • Dean Jean-François Gaudreault-Desbiens, Faculty of Law, Université de Montréal
  • The Hon. Sheilah Martin, Court of Appeal for Alberta
  • The Hon. Shaun Nakatsuru, Ontario Superior Court of Justice
  • The Hon. James O’Reilly, Federal Court
  • Commissioner Marilyn Poitras, National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
  • Professor Martine Valois, Faculty of Law, Université de Montréal
  • Ms. Rime El Rhoul, Student, Faculty of Law, Université de Montréal


For further information, please contact the Program Coordinator, Mary Plagakis
Tel.: 514-343-6157
Fax: 514-343-6296
Email: mary.plagakis@ciaj-icaj.ca

Cancellation: Only registrations cancelled by email at least 7 days prior to the event are reimbursed, except for 10% of the amount which is withheld to cover administrative fees. At any time, a participant may be replaced by another person without charge.