Constitutional Contact with the Disparities in the World: Poverty as a Prohibited Ground of Discrimination Under the Canadian Charter and Human Rights Law

Review of Constitutional Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 76-122, 1994

47 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2013

See all articles by Martha Jackman

Martha Jackman

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Date Written: 1994

Abstract

While poverty is not a ground of discrimination expressly enumerated under Section 15 of the Charter, it is a condition shared by several of the groups specified in that section. The author argues that the Charter's promise of substantive equality will remain meaningless for large numbers of the disadvantaged in Canada unless poverty is recognized as a prohibited ground of discrimination analogous to those expressly enumerated. In support of her argument, the author documents the magnitude of poverty in Canada and the intolerant attitudes which prevail regarding the poor, attitudes which translate into discriminatory practices. The systemic disadvantaging of the poor also has an impact on their ability to organize politically, all of which qualifies the poor as a “discrete and insular minority” deserving of Charter protection. The author concludes that poverty should be viewed in the same manner as the specified grounds in Section 15 – as an equality and human rights issue.

Keywords: Canada, Canadian, law, legal, Constitution, poverty, discrimination, Section 15, Charter of Rights, substantive, equality, poverty, poor, social, welfare, economic, human rights, rights, systemic

Suggested Citation

Jackman, Martha, Constitutional Contact with the Disparities in the World: Poverty as a Prohibited Ground of Discrimination Under the Canadian Charter and Human Rights Law (1994). Review of Constitutional Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 76-122, 1994. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2316865

Martha Jackman (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

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