"...The first two decades of Charter litigation testify to a certain timidity – both on the part of litigants and the courts – to tackle head on the claims emerging from the right to be free from want." (Louise Arbour)

NAFTA Challenge

CURA researchers Martha Jackman and Bruce Porter, working with the Charter Committee on Poverty Issues (CCPI), developed and presented arguments in this unprecedented constitutional challenge to the effects of new trade and investment arbitral regimes. CCPI was represented by Martha Jackman who co-counselled with lawyers Steve Shrybman and Steven Barrett from Sack Goldblatt Mitchell, representing the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Union of Public Employees. CCPI argued that by failing to adequately protect fundamental human rights in the investor-state adjudication mechanisms negotiated under the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Government of Canada had violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It argued that theCharter requires international human rights be adequately protected in international adjudicative regimes when the government delegates to these bodies the adjudication of challenges to public policy that engage rights to equality and security of the person. Otherwise, CCPI argued, such delegation undermines the protections accorded by the Charter in adjudication of public policy issues in Canadian courts or tribunals.

See Bruce Porter, "Canadian Constitutional Challenge to NAFTA Raises Critical Issues of Human Rights in Trade and Investment Regimes" (2006) 3:1 Housing and ESC Rights Law Quarterly.


Amended Notice of Application

Bruce Porter's Affadavit

Affidavit of Andree Lajoie

Affidavit of David Schneiderman

Affidavit of M. Sonarajah

Affidavit of Stephen Clarkson

CCPI Factum - Ontario Superior Court of Justice

Respondent's Factum - Ontario Court of Appeal

Superior Court Decision

Council of Canadians v. Canada (Attorney General), 2006 CanLII 40222 (ON CA)

CCPI Memorandum for Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada (leave to appeal was refused)