Court Challenges Program

The Department of Canadian Heritage, in collaboration with the Department of Justice, is reinstating and modernizing the Court Challenges Program (CCP). The CCP will provide financial support to Canadians to bring cases of national significance related to constitutional and quasi-constitutional official language rights and human rights before the courts.

The new CCP will be implemented and managed by the University of Ottawa, an organization independent of the government. Funding decisions will be made by two independent expert panels – one for language rights and one for human rights. These panels will report to the University.

Before funding requests can be accepted, the two independent expert panels must be nominated.

Program Administration

On September 1st, 2017, Canadian Heritage announced, that the University of Ottawa will be responsible for implementing and managing the new CCP. This organization has been selected through an open and transparent proposal assessment process.

Read more about the Program Administration component of the CCP.

Expert Panels

Decisions regarding CCP funding will be rendered by two independent expert panels: an Official Language Rights Expert Panel and a Human Rights Expert Panel. Each panel will consist of seven experts (e.g. key figures from the legal field such as former judges, recognized experts on linguistic or human rights) and will report to the University of Ottawa.

The seven members of each expert panel will be designated through an open, transparent and merit-based selection process, in accordance with the established approach for Government of Canada appointments.

On September 1st, 2017, Canadian Heritage announced, the five people designated to sit on the Selection Committee responsible for recommending candidates for the 14 positions on the two independent expert panels:

  • Ms. Jenifer Aitken, Assistant Deputy Minister for Strategic Policy, Planning and Corporate Affairs at the Department of Canadian Heritage
  • Mr. Gino LeBlanc, Director of the Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs, Simon Fraser University
  • Ms. Renu Mandhane, Chief Commissioner at the Ontario Human Rights Commission
  • Ms. Audrey Poitras, President of the Métis Nation of Alberta
  • Ms. Laurie Wright, Assistant Deputy Minister for Public Law and Legislative Services Sector at the Department of Justice Canada

The Selection Committee will determine the assessment criteria (to be approved by the Minister). It will then recommend a list of qualified candidates, and the Minister of Canadian Heritage will appoint seven members to each of the two expert panels from that list.

More details on how to apply will be posted on this web page in the near future.

For more information on the Selection Committee:

Official language and human rights funding

We are not currently accepting funding requests for individuals or groups seeking to initiate test cases pertaining to rights and freedoms covered by the Program. The process to select the members of the expert panels is not yet complete.

Information on when funding requests can be submitted will be available in the coming months.

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