The Economics of Canadian Anti-Discrimination Laws

  • Reagan Seidler


Prohibiting discrimination is a noble political statement. What does it mean as economic policy? Applying a neoclassical framework, the article examines how Canada’s human rights laws affect society and marginalized groups from a welfare perspective. The article offers several practical reforms to improve the efficiency of current laws such as uncapping damage awards, removing criminal sanctions, and allowing non-profits to participate in remedies so as to compensate marginalized groups for systemic effects of discrimination. It also discusses bolder market-based options, including the taxing and licencing of discrimination for instances where our great project towards equality might be better served by redistribution than prohibition.