The Protection of Welfare Rights Under the Charter

82 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2013

See all articles by Martha Jackman

Martha Jackman

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Date Written: 1988


This article argues that section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the right to life, liberty and security of the person) guarantees protection for social welfare rights in Canada. The article suggests that the context in which the Charter was adopted and the background against which the language of specific sections must be understood reinforce an interpretation of section 7 that encompasses welfare-related interests. In support of this reading of section 7, the article examines Canadian social and political traditions regarding the relationship between the individual, the community and the state; Canada's international human rights commitments; the American welfare rights experience; and the underlying purposes of the 1982 constitutional reforms. The article discusses the nature and scope of the procedural and substantive obligations section 7 creates, including the right to a minimum level of welfare protection. The article concludes by considering the implications of constitutional recognition of welfare rights for the role of the judiciary within the larger Canadian political framework.

Keywords: Canada, Canadian, law, legal, constitution, Charter of Rights, section 7, life, liberty, security, social, welfare, rights, political, international human rights, 1982, substantive, procedural, welfare rights, judiciary,

Suggested Citation

Jackman, Martha, The Protection of Welfare Rights Under the Charter (1988). Ottawa Law Review, Vol. 20, pp. 257-338, 1988, Available at SSRN:

Martha Jackman (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5

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