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  • Authority of Human Rights Tribunals to Grant Systematic Remedies
  • October 2017 Human Rights Digest
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Lack of Access to Legal Aid Is Discriminatory, Despite Court Ruling

The decision of the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories in Northwest Territories v. Portman (No. 2) (2017 NWTSC 61, CHRR Doc. 17-3077) is dismaying. It does not fit the times, or the serious problems that there are in Canada with access to justice.

Lack of legal aid funding to support access to justice, particularly for poor and vulnerable individuals, is a notorious problem, commented on repeatedly by Canada's Chief Justice, the Honourable Beverley McLachlin. The lack of legal representation for human rights complainants is also a notorious problem, not just in the Northwest Territories, but in many jurisdictions in Canada. In British Columbia, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, in its annual report, recently highlighted the fact that complainants appearing before...

What Was Said

Refusing Legal Aid to Disabled Complainant Is Not Discriminatory

"On its face, the [Human Rights Act] set up to be a “user-friendly” way of addressing alleged human rights violations. In many cases, the resolution of alleged violations will be straightforward and the process meaningful to the parties. Realistically, however, many human rights complaints involve highly complex legal and technical issues that places the process out of reach for people who do not have legal training or access to legal or other services to assist them. When a...

Human Rights Digest 18-7, October 2017