Expert Panel Members Appointed to Advance Work of Court Challenges Program

News release

GATINEAU, November 20, 2018

The Government of Canada wants to help people and groups in Canada access the justice system to assert their language rights and human rights. We are committed to strengthening and promoting Canada’s two official languages and human rights. It is important that people and groups are able to assert and defend their official language rights and their equality rights. Over the years, the Court Challenges Program (CCP) has been instrumental in helping to clarify and assert official language and equality rights guaranteed under Canada’s Constitution.

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, and the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, today appointed 14 part-time members to two expert panels of the modernized CCP. The two panels, responsible for official language rights and human rights, will assess funding applications to the CCP for court cases of national significance and will allocate resources accordingly.

The following members—experts in their respective fields—were selected through an open, transparent and merit-based process.

Members of the Official Language Rights Expert Panel:

  • Emmanuelle Richez, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Windsor
  • James Shea, Chairman/President, Western Québec School Board
  • Thomas Maillet, Lawyer, private practice
  • Marie-Claude Rioux, Director General, Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse
  • Johane Tremblay, General counsel, Director, Legal Affairs Branch, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (Retired)
  • Gilles LeVasseur, Lawyer and Law and Bussiness Management Professor, University of Ottawa
  • André Poulin-Denis, Associate, Gowling WLG

Members of the Human Rights Expert Panel:

  • Yvonne Peters, Equity and Human Rights Lawyer
  • Larry Chartrand, Academic Director, Wiyasiwewin Mikiwahp Native Law Centre, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan
  • Catherine Dauvergne, Dean and Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
  • Lucie Lamarche, Professeur, Faculté de science politique et de droit, Département des sciences juridiques at the Université du Québec à Montréal; Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa; Member of the Royal Society of Canada
  • Joanne St. Lewis, Assistant Professor, Common Law Section, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
  • Adelle Blackett, Professor of Law & Canada Research Chair in Transnational Labour Law and Development, Faculty of Law, McGill University
  • Brenda Young, Community Justice Director, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation

The two expert panels will be supported by the University of Ottawa, the independent third party responsible for the general administration and delivery of the modernized program.

Details of the Court Challenges Program funding application process will be developed in a few weeks. Before accepting applications, the two expert panels will develop the eligibility requirements and terms of reference for the funding.

Quotes

“The modernized Court Challenges Program will offer access to the justice system to better clarify and assert official language rights and human rights in Canada. Thanks to the support of the selection committee, we are proud to appoint qualified experts who will make it possible to fully implement the program. Their appointments come at the end of an open, transparent and merit-based selection process, an approach that is in keeping with the essential role that these individuals play in guaranteeing respect for our fundamental rights. We are confident that their expertise will help us achieve greater respect for these rights, everywhere in Canada.”

—The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism

“Our government is proud to re-establish the Court Challenges Program, which demonstrates our commitment to better protect human rights and language rights in Canada. Respect for and full exercise of language rights—including education rights in official-language minority communities—are incredibly important to our government. When the rights of the individual are respected, the rights of all are protected. Today’s announcement is good news for our communities and for all Canadians."

—The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie

“The ability to access the justice system to defend and protect human rights is a strong sign of a healthy and democratic society. I was proud to reinstate the modernized Court Challenges Program in 2017, and today I am pleased to support my colleagues in making this announcement. The modernized Court Challenges Program will result in a justice system that better protects and clarifies both human rights and official language rights guaranteed under Canada’s Constitution and Official Languages Act.”

—The Honourable Jody Wilson Raybould, P.C., Q.C. M.P., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Quick facts

  • The Court Challenges Program will provide funding to people and groups in Canada who wish to bring or to join a claim constituting a case of national significance related to official language rights or human rights that has not yet been brought before the Canadian courts.

  • Of the $5 million invested annually in the modernized Court Challenges Program, a minimum of $1.5 million will be allocated to the clarification of official language rights. The remaining funds will be used to clarify the other rights covered by the program.

  • The selection process for the members of the two expert panels was guided by the work of a selection committee that was tasked with recommending candidates who were sensitive to the challenges faced by vulnerable groups when making legal claims related to human rights and official language rights. The committee submitted its recommendations for qualified candidates to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism and the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie. The ministers then appointed the members of the two panels.

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Contacts

For more information (media only), please contact:

Simon Ross
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism
819-997-7788

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage
819-994-9101
1-866-569-6155
pch.media-media.pch@canada.ca

Jérémy Ghio
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and la Francophonie
jeremy.ghio@canada.ca

Célia Canon
Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Justice and
Attorney General of Canada
613-862-3270

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada
613-957-4207
media@justice.gc.ca


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