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Canada’s Notwithstanding Clause

Q: When are Your Charter protected rights not protected? A: When Section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms—the Notwithstanding Clause—is invoked.

Fri, Sep 14, 2018

This week, the Ontario Government announced it would be using the “Notwithstanding Clause” for the first time in its history. The Notwithstanding clause allows the government to circumvent a court decision, which found the Ontario government violated the Charter when it decided to pass Bill 5 earlier this summer. Bill 5 reduced the size of Toronto City Council from 47 to 25 members. It’s a subject the Conservatives never raised during Ontario’s June election.  

Detractors say this is a personal vendetta by Ford against Toronto Council. While the Tories maintain this is a constitutional way to get what they want because the clause is included in the Charter. While this is happening now in Ontario, some experts feel it could be used elsewhere across the country by other Premiers.

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