Socio-Economic Rights Under the Canadian Charter

Canadian Issues/Thèmes canadiens 26-31, (2007)

M. Langford, ed., Socio-Economic Rights Jurisprudence: Emerging Trends in Comparative International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)

6 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2013 Last revised: 14 Mar 2015

See all articles by Martha Jackman

Martha Jackman

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Bruce Porter

Social Rights Advocacy Centre

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: Fall 2007


While the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not mention socio-economic rights explicitly, the language of the Charter – particularly sections 7 and 15 – offers a firm foundation for constitutional protection for economic, social and cultural rights. The author argues that, considering the historical expectations of rights holders; the Charter's open-ended and expansive wording; its balancing of individual rights and collective values; the important interpretive role of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in determining the scope of rights and governments' responsibilities; and the broad range of remedies available for Charter violations, there is no reason why the Canadian courts should not play an active role in safeguarding socio-economic rights in Canada.

Keywords: Canada, Canadian, socio-economic, rights, disability, Charter, discrimination, equality, freedoms, government, socio-economic, economic, Supreme Court, International Covenant, human rights, economic rights

Suggested Citation

Jackman, Martha and Porter, Bruce, Socio-Economic Rights Under the Canadian Charter (Fall 2007). Canadian Issues/Thèmes canadiens 26-31, (2007). Available at SSRN:

Martha Jackman (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5

Bruce Porter

Social Rights Advocacy Centre ( email )


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