25th Annual

Osgoode Constitutional Cases Conference 

April 1st, 2022 
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST 

Free of charge  |  Held virtually

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Access the draft papers here (password provided via email)

10:00 AM

Conference Opening

Benjamin L. Berger, Emily Kidd White, Sonia Lawrence, and Dean Mary Condon, Osgoode Hall Law School

10:20 AM - 11:00 AM 


A Review of the Supreme Court’s 2021 Constitutional Jurisprudence  

Providing a review of the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2021 constitutional jurisprudence, highlighting key patterns and trends and commenting on significant developments.  

Craig Martin Scott,Osgoode Hall Law School, "A Review of the Supreme Court’s 2021 Constitutional Jurisprudence."

20-minute break

11:20 AM - 12:35 PM


Lines in the Sand – GGPPA & Desautel 

This panel will discuss two significant cases decided in 2021 that speak to the subject of jurisdiction. From a series of perspectives, panelists will examine the division of powers analyses on offer in the References re Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act by looking historically at the case, more deeply into the recent jurisprudence on federalism, by analyzing the national concern doctrine, and posing important questions about climate change and the constitution. The panel will also discuss the important decision of R. v. Desautel, which considered the recognition of constitutionally protected Aboriginal Rights under s.35(1) rights beyond the borders of the Canadian state that arise based on the prior occupation of Aboriginal societies.

Allan Hutchinson, Osgoode Hall Law School  
Fenner Stewart, University of Calgary, Faculty of Law  "The Great Case of Minimum National Standards"
Jean Leclair, Faculté de droit, Université de Montréal "’Tis a rock — a crag — a cape? A cape? say rather a peninsula!” The SCC’s Revisitation of the National Concern doctrine"
Senwung Luk, OKTLaw "Are there geographical bounds to Van der Peet rights? A study of R v Desautel"

Chair: Emily Kidd White, Osgoode Hall Law School

20-minute break

12:55 PM - 1:40 PM

The Laskin Lecture 2022

Co-sponsored with the York Centre for Public Law and Public Policy

Dr. Linda Colley

Shelby M.C. Davis 1958 Professor of History, Princeton  
Author of The Gun, the Ship, and the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions, and the Making of the Modern World (2021)


20-minute break

2:00 PM - 3:15 PM


Constituting Courts: Principles from the Criminal Cases 

Speakers on this panel will examine a set of criminal law cases decided in 2021 that offer important general lessons for how we think about the role and powers of adjudicators.  Taking up a case examining appeal provisions for accused youth through the lens of section 15(1) [R v CP], the Court’s assessment of provisions controversially aimed at racial bias on juries [R v Chouhan], and a case of overlooked significance addressing the nature and temporal effect of suspended declarations of invalidity [R v Albashir], this panel is about the Court’s constitutional assessment of the criminal process itself, with key doctrinal takeaways for constitutional reflection at large.  

Lisa Kelly, Queen’s Law "Judging Youth Time"
Joshua Sealy-Harrington, Lincoln Alexander Law School
Anne M Turley, Senior General Counsel, National Litigation Sector & Zoe Oxaal, Senior Counsel, Civil Litigation Section, Department of Justice "The Significance of R v Albashirin the Evolution of Constitutional Remedies"

Chair: Benjamin Berger, Osgoode Hall Law School

20-minute break

3:35 PM - 4:50 PM


Speech, Silence and Community  

This panel will consider cases in which the Court split over the idea of “positive rights” in section 2b, considered the relationship between section 2b and section 15, confronted the requirement of open courts in a democracy and dealt with a case about a church community with implications for section 2a jurisprudence. 

Rabiat Akande and Faisal Bhabha, Osgoode Hall Law School "Insulating the Church: Ethiopian Orthodox Church of Canada v. Aga and the Suppression of Public Law in the Construction of Religious Communities"
David Lepofsky, Visiting Professor Osgoode Hall Law School "Viewing Ward v Quebec Human Rights Commission Through a Disability Lens"
Bruce Ryder, Osgoode Hall Law School "Political Expression, Electoral Fairness and the Charter"
Amy Salyzyn and Sam Singer, University of Ottawa Law School "Limits on the Open Court Principle in the 21st Century"

Chair: Sonia N Lawrence, Osgoode Hall Law School  

4:50 PM - 5:00 PM 

Closing of Conference