Novel Uses of the Charter Following Doré and Loyola

Edward J. Cottrill

Abstract


Doré and Loyola affirmed that administrative decision-makers have a duty to balance statutory aims and values protected by the Charter. In several cases, decision-makers have weighed Charter protections and values on both sides of a contested issue. Sometimes this is a matter of a genuine conflict between different Charter restraints on the state. In other situations, Charter values or even Charter rights have been found to weigh on the side of state action, providing support and justification for an otherwise Charter-infringing state act. Such cases challenge an orthodox understanding of the Charter’s nature and role. In this article, the author describes the orthodox view of the Charter within a broadly classical liberal model; that is, as being a restraint on the state, as affecting government rather than private conduct, and as being a source of few free-standing positive entitlements. The author then describes the pre-Doré exceptions to these basic precepts and contrasts the uses made of the Charter by administrative decision-makers via the balancing prescribed in Doré and Loyola, noting where the outcome or analysis has challenged an orthodox conception of our Charter. The article then situates these developments within contemporary discussions of the relevance of orthodox liberal constitutionalism in Canada.

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