Terms of Reference – Expert Panel Selection Committee

The Government of Canada announced the reinstatement of the Court Challenges Program (CCP) on February 7, 2017, as a cornerstone of its commitment to a diverse, fair and inclusive Canada.

The modernized CCP will provide financial support to individuals and groups in Canada Canadians to bring cases of national significance related to certain constitutional and quasi-constitutional official language and human rights before the courts.

The CCP is implemented and administered by the University of Ottawa, an organization independent of the Government. Funding decisions are made by two independent expert panels – one for official language rights and one for human rights. The Panels are each composed of experts who report to the University of Ottawa.

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Mandate of the Expert Panel Selection Committee

The mandate of the Expert Panel Selection Committee is to determine the selection criteria for the Notice of Opportunity, assess and interview candidates for both expert panels and recommend a list of qualified candidates to the Minister of Canadian Heritage. The Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism is responsible for appointing members of the Human Rights Expert Panel and the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and Francophonie is responsible for appointing members of the Official Language Rights Expert Panel. Member of the expert panels can be appointed for terms up to 4 years.

The Selection Committee is composed of members who are sensitive to the challenges disadvantaged groups face in pursuing human rights and official language rights cases.

Composition of the Expert Panel Selection Committee

When necessary to fill positions within the expert panels, a Selection Committee will be established. The Committee will be composed of senior public service executives as well as experts working outside the public service with expertise in matters of official language rights or human rights.


The Selection Committee members are not paid for their time. They are, however, reimbursed for their travel and meeting expenses.

Recommendation Process

The members of the Selection Committee will:

  1. develop the criteria for the Notice of Opportunity that outlines skills and qualifications required of potential expert panelists. The Notice of Opportunity will be posted online for the public to apply;
  2. observe the highest standards of impartiality, integrity and objectivity in their consideration of all potential candidates;
  3. apply fairly and with consistency the criteria provided in the Notice of Opportunity in assessing whether potential candidates meet the qualifications;
  4. conduct interviews to assess whether potential candidates meet the knowledge, skills and ability qualifications for appointments;
  5. establish a list of qualified candidates for appointment based on selection criteria, and seek to support the Government's intent to achieve gender balance and to ensure representation of Indigenous peoples and linguistic minority and ethnic communities;

Assessment Principles

The Selection Committee's work is founded on the ideals of collegiality and mutual respect, encouraging the expression of a diversity of views from all sectors of society.

The assessment principles are described below:

  • Transparency: Communicate the assessment criteria for applications and the details related to the assessment process before the individuals apply.
  • Due diligence and relevance: Use an assessment process that is consistent with the qualifications and expertise required for the members of the two expert panels.
  • Conflict of interest management: Report any potential conflicts of interest the Selection Committee members may have.
  • Confidentiality: Ensure that applicants' files are kept confidential.
  • Representativeness: Guide criteria for selecting the members of the expert panels by the imperatives of representativeness, competence and expertise.
  • Official languages: Assess and interview in the official language of the candidates' choice.

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