Discrimination and Dignity
ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW, PART OF THE INTERNATIONAL LIBRARY OF ESSAYS IN LAW AND LEGAL THEORY, 2nd Series, Christopher McCrudden, ed., Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing, 2004, reprinted from (2003)
39 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2011
Date Written: 2004
Recent Supreme Court jurisprudence under s. 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms has identified the violation of human dignity as a key element, perhaps the key element in the determination of whether a legislative distinction is discriminatory.
Although this move has been condemned as introducing a vague and indeterminate concept into equality jurisprudence and for being used to deny worthy claims, it is arguable that some substantive foundation like dignity is needed to make sense of s. 15. However, the Supreme Court has not yet done a very good job of explaining what dignity is and how we can identify its violation.
This article aims to provide a fuller understanding of dignity as a legal value and explain the role is it capable of playing in defining the scope of equality rights. It identifies three forms of indignity implicit in the case law to date and interprets features of the Supreme Court's test for the violation of s. 15 through a dignity lens.
Keywords: Dignity, Human Dignity, Equality, Canadian Equality Rights
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation