Every individual in society is guaranteed a certain amount of protection and equality from the state regardless of their situation or background. Depending on how the terms discrimination and equality are interpreted in the courts will those rights apply.
In the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 15 consists of two subsections which will be examined in terms of discrimination within society. As stated in section 15 (1) “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection of the law without discrimination......”.1 The term discrimination here refers to all the forms of discrimination such as race, ethnicity, or any forms of disabilities. However, discrimination can also be applied in a general sense to social classes or conditions. If a person were to be at an economic disadvantage, they would be treated differently than others thus making it a form of discrimination.2
An example of a case that is known for examining section 15 is Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia which dealt with section 15 and prima facie violations.3 Mr. Andrews has been a permanent resident in Canada, yet did not have a citizenship. He was not accepted at British Columbia’s provincial bar because he did not have a citizenship. He took the case to court on the grounds that it violated his section 15 rights of the Charter. The case went to the Supreme Court of British Colombia where he appealed his case to test if there was a prima facie violation of equality and the appeal was dismissed3
If the courts were to use the Andrews case as precedent to exclude economic disadvantages from section 15, and used the two stages from the precedent case, it would pass.7 If the definitional balancing test is applied it would pass because those that go through socioeconomic difficulties are subjected to be at a disadvantage in terms of various factors such as job opportunities, financial issues, and poverty. These factors can also pose as harm to the individual if it reaches towards poverty. It would also pass the ad-hoc-balancing test because these factors are justified as a violation of not only section15, but section 1 of the Charter, which will be discussed later on.
There are ways for the courts to prevent things such as trivial matters in courts through proper interpretation. There are two ways courts can interpret matters, there is the textual and contextual approach. In this situation, the approach would be more contextual as it would focus on the use of reason to interpret the law beyond what is in...