During the recent federal election campaign, the Liberal Party committed itself to reinstating the Court Challenges Program of Canada (CCPC) after the Harper Government abolished it in September 2006.
Prior to that, the CCPC, supported by a national Board of Directors and two independent panels of experts, a Language Panel and an Equality Rights Panel, all serving on a voluntary basis, provided support and financial assistance for individual test cases of national significance before the courts of Canada.
It supported cases that impacted the advancement of human rights in Canada, ensuring that Canada’s most vulnerable and historically disadvantaged groups had access to the courts and a voice in defending their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
After 2006, a Language Rights Support Program (LRSP) was created to promote and ensure funding for constitutional language rights cases. Nonetheless, the CCPC continued its work in closing existing files. A group of community-based volunteers with a variety of backgrounds and expertise and a small part-time staff continued to tirelessly support Equality Rights cases as they proceeded through the courts and to recommend further funding to the Department of Canadian Heritage. Naturally, no new Equality Right cases were considered for funding.
Most recently, the Board of Directors of the CCPC contacted both Heritage Minister Joly and Justice Minister Wilson-Raybould to offer our support and assistance in establishing a modern Court Challenges Program. We look forward to hearing from them in the New Year.
Chair of CCPC Board of Directors